Little Cayman: diving the Bloody Bay Wall
Published on 2013-11-29 12:33:44
Little Cayman is a puddle jumper half hour away from Grand Cayman, flying East. Its sister island, Cayman Brac, which I have not visited yet, is only 7 minutes further on the same de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. There are 3 flights a day to and from Grand Cayman, and divers should know that they charge excess luggage fee if you carry more than 70lbs (32 kg) - but it is relatively cheap and they don't care if you have 3 or 4 bags - and that they climb above 5,000ft with an unpressurized cabin (so don't dive at least 18 hours before).
Little Cayman diving is famous for the Bloody Bay Wall, a sheer drop of several hundred feet featuring a very colorful and healthy reef structure. Like everywhere else in the Caribbean, its fish population is ridiculously small for the amount of reef there is. It's better than Grand Cayman, but it is still not the South Pacific.
Diving the wall is great and exhilarating if you like entering a little hole at 25ft and exiting at 90ft, going through swim throughs and caves or if you just like to look below into the blue and see the fantastic sea fans and gorgonian coral dancing in the surge (yes there is surge, but not much) or the huge red barrel sponge formation whose colors may have given the wall its name. One of the coolest thing in Little Cayman though, are the friendly groupers. I had never petted a fish before, but in Little Cayman, you can! They will come to you, big boys of a few feet, and just hang out. Just like a dog. That's very cool and you get no excuse for a blur or fish butt shot...
Water there is crystal clear, but it seems to be better in Summer than it was when I was there in November. Or maybe it was just because we had had a big storm that messed up the sea on our first day and forced the Little Cayman Beach Resort, the local operation we were diving with to dive the protected areas, South of the island. Well protected is kind of an overstatment since a few people (including yours truly) ended up feeling pretty nauseous for the rest of the day after having been tossed around in 6ft swells and 10ft waves for two dives!
On the first day also, my BC decided to die after 15 years of loyal service but one of the divers on our boat, presumably feeling more nauseous than the rest, was kind enough to lend me his on the second dive and I dove with a rented one for the rest of our week. Note to self: don't think you can fix everything with aquaseal.
We spent 5 days in Little Cayman, 4 days of diving, 2-tank morning each day. The Little Cayman Beach Resort offers full board and the kitchen is outstanding. On the first night, the executive chef came to our table and when he learned about my French heritage promised me he would cook Foie Gras for me the next dinner. And he did. Just for me. It was awesome. The rest of the food was excellent, very varied and even though most will pile up their plate at the buffet with EVERYTHING they can, you can easily opt for healthy choices and be picky.
One thing for sure in Little Cayman, you will not be bothered by the crowd. I actually wonder: if you don't dive, what do you do? The island boasts a population of less than 170 and is about 10 miles (16km) long East to West and 1 mile (less than 2km) North to South. That's very small. There's no town, just a few houses, a church and a couple of stores, lots of swamps and iguanas. We rented a scooter and drove around the island in about 3 hours, stopping at Point of Sand, the Eastern point of the island, a nice secluded (like everything in Little Cayman) beach with it's own pontoon, yours for a mere $1.875M. Other than that, jou can probably fish and bird watch. The island is home to a colony of red-footed boobies. I did not see them. Maybe, just like the crabs that swarm the island in Summer and disappear after that, they hibernate or something. Or moved out to Grand Cayman to go to the mall or catch a movie. Who knows?
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