Cayman Islands

Located 480 miles south of Miami in the western Caribbean, the Cayman Islands are comprised of three separate landmasses; Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Each of these islands has its own set of unique attractions, and all three are recognised as world class dive destinations. The clear, warm water of the Cayman Islands have long since made them an obvious choice for divers from all over the world, but despite their popularity the islands’ reefs are still impressively pristine. Here, astonishingly beautiful coral defines some of the most spectacular wall diving in the Caribbean, while a series of photogenic wrecks combine with a vast array of thriving marine life to make Cayman diving unforgettable. In order to fully appreciate everything that this British Crown Colony has to offer, divers should explore the underwater wonders of all three islands- a goal that is best accomplished via liveaboard charter. The Cayman Aggressor IV liveaboard operates out of Grand Cayman on a weekly basis, and offers guests the opportunity to take in all the best dive sites of this Caribbean paradise in absolute luxury.

There is such a plethora of spectacular dive sites strewn throughout the Caymans that it is hard to choose favourites. The Cayman Aggressor IV itinerary includes visits not only to the most famous of the islands’ sites, but also to a handful of lesser known gems; thereby ensuring that guests get the absolute most out of their experience on board. Although the itinerary is weather dependent, highlights should include the wreck of the M/V Keith Tibbetts off Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman’s world-renowned Stingray City encounter, and Little Cayman’s breathtaking Bloody Bay Wall. There are many wrecks throughout the waters of the Cayman Islands, sunk both intentionally and by accident. The most famous of these is the M/V Keith Tibbetts, a Russian destroyer sent to the seafloor in 1996, and which now provides a home for schooling barracuda, huge grouper and inquisitive green morays. Its plentiful marine life, as well as the beautiful coral formations that have encroached upon its structure, make this wreck a particularly photogenic one. There are many other wrecks too, each of which have their unique charms; including the Ore Verde where rare midnight blue parrotfish are often seen, and the David Nicholson, which is home to 9 foot tall bronze mermaid statue.

Wrecks are by no means the only reason to visit the Caymans- in 1503 Christopher Columbus named the islands Las Tortugas in recognition of the abundance of turtles found there. To this day, the Caymans display an incredible richness of marine life, where the dive sites yield an almost constant procession of vibrant tropical fish interspersed with frequent sightings of turtles, sharks and rays. The Mixing Bowl is possibly the most diverse of all the Cayman dive sites, located along the length of the legendary Bloody Bay Wall. There, large schools of Bermuda chub, horse-eye jack, grouper and snapper can all be seen, as well as lobster, eagle rays and the occasional passing shark. In the shallows, smaller creatures including eels, snapping shrimp and yellow-headed jawfish are often spotted. The Stingray City stop on the itinerary is rewarding in a different way, allowing divers to get up close and personal with the hordes of southern stingrays that gather in the bay to interact with and be fed by admiring visitors. The list of species seen throughout the three Cayman Islands is infinite; from shoals of tarpon to hammerhead sharks, this really is an area positively bursting with life. Best of all, these sightings take place against a backdrop of plunging walls, delicate arches, ghostly shipwrecks and vivid, captivating coral structures.

Divers can enjoy all this and more aboard the Cayman Aggressor IV, and with unlimited diving for the duration of the liveaboard, there will be more than enough opportunity to do so. For those that want to combine their underwater adventures with some topside R&R, the itinerary also offers the chance to go ashore and make the most of the Caymans’ idyllic beaches and spectacular snorkelling. The Cayman Aggressor IV is a luxury vessel specifically designed for divers, and comes complete with a sun deck, hot tub, digital photo center, wet bar and hot water showers. All meals and beverages are included in the trip price, as well as filled cylinders, weights and weight belts: any other dive gear can be rented for the duration of the trip. With water temperatures ranging between 78-82°F and visibility frequently reaching over 100 feet, the Caymans are an ideal place to explore diving interests further; which is why a full range of specialty and further education courses are offered on board. For those that don’t yet dive but would like to learn how, check-out dives and entry level courses are also available. A word of warning, though- with such perfect conditions and so many beautiful reefs to explore, you might just find that learning to dive in the Cayman Islands is the start of a lifelong addiction.

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