Heather Holt's Top 5 Cayman Dive Sites
It is no secret, the Cayman Islands are known for their clear blue waters. The secret is what lies below the surface of the azure blues. And, for SCUBA divers of the world it's this colour that invokes an uncontrollable curiosity to know what lies below.
1. Devils Grotto/Eden Rock - Georgetown, Grand Cayman
This dive site is a Cayman classic. Located just to the south of Georgetown Harbor in downtown Georgetown, this shallow dive site is a maze of swim through and caverns that are a unique adventure. Lurking in the shadows of these caves lie fish and critters of all sorts, but the main attractions are the docile, yet rather large tarpon. When you turn a dark corner of these caves it is not uncommon to come face to face with these gentle giants and you will find yourself in a stand off as these fish seem like they just can’t be bothered to move out of your way. The belly of the caves are a true adventure of discovery, while the topside of the reefs are filled with schools of horse eyed jacks, barracudas and other classic Cayman reef fish.
2. Spanish Bay – Northside, Grand Cayman
Spanish Bay Reef got its name from an old all-inclusive resort that used to sit at the shore from this patch of stunning reef. Since it is a little far from most of the main dive shops many operators do not head all the way over to these sites so chances are you will have the place to yourself! There are 3 mooring balls that make up the area, a deep wall mooring (3 Towers) as well as 2 shallow sites (Conch Point and Carson’s Reef). As always they are accessible by boat, however if you would like to make it more of an adventure this is a gorgeous shore dive and a favorite among locals. The entry can be tricky and you definitely want to go on a calm day, however once you are in you can enjoy coral encrusted pillars that plunge into the abyss with small caves that are home to all kinds of little critters. It is also a great place to hunt for the invasive lionfish! The shallow sites are some of the most beautiful stretches of mini wall around the entire island. With the spurs and grooves of coral formations ranging from about 10-50 feet it is just teeming with sea fans and soft corals providing homes for all sorts of schooling fish and critters.
3. Bloody Bay Wall – Little Cayman
Little Cayman is home to hands down some of the all time best dive sites in the Cayman Islands. Because Little Cayman is not only little, it is off the beaten path for the mainstream tourists, leaving the reefs less travelled and in an overall healthier state. As mentioned above the Cayman Islands are surrounded by “the wall”, which mostly starts at about 50-80 feet or deeper. In comparison Bloody Bay Wall starts at just 20ft! Once you are at depth you can look up and see up to 80 feet of vertical wall towering above you. This wall is home to not only the big stuff in the blue water like turtles, sharks, and rays, but on the reef the friendly Nassau Grouper, schools of horse eyed jacks along with countless other species of fish and critters abound.
4. Trinity Caves – Westside, Grand Cayman
One of Grand Cayman’s most famous dive sites this site is extraordinarily popular and with good reason! This wall dive starts at about 60 feet. Once you drop down to the sand there is an inconspicuous entryway where you can swim through a coral tunnel which then spits you out at about 75 feet into the blue water off the wall. From there you can swim back into the next set of tunnels and loop your way around an underwater cavernous pinnacle. As you explore this maze of reef you will come across the precious Black Coral that fetches a high price at the surface. Luckily the coral here is protected by the Marine Parks so it is safe to grow and allows us all to enjoy its branchy beauty.
5. Babylon – Northside, Grand Cayman
Babylon is another slightly out of the way dive site as it lies at the outskirts of where the usual dive operators tend to frequent, and like Spanish Bay, it is also accessible by shore on a calm day. The deep wall topography is absolutely stunning and the coral that covers the pinnacles at this site is out of this world. To top it off there is a swim through at about 100 feet through one of the pinnacles and a real adventure to swim through as you avoid the long sea wipes and clusters of black coral. As with any wall dive a peek into the blue every now and again is always necessary to keep your eye out for passing pelagic wildlife. If you do it by shore, the swim back to the shallows is also stunning. You will pass over the deep coral fingers and once a bit shallower you will glide through a garden of colorful sea fans swaying to the motion of the water currents.
Ranging from underwater photography, to the Red Carpet in Hollywood, Heather has been provided with opportunities to create intimate images of people, land and culture. Her images make up a diverse portfolio and unique style of photography. With these years of creating images, her work has been published globally including Thailand, Scotland, Israel, Hong Kong, France, Denmark, the Cayman Islands and the United States. To see more of Heather's work visit www.heatherholt.com