The Cayman Islands are not only a popular travel destinations in the Caribbean but they are generally considered one of the best diving holiday destinations in the world. But what makes them so special for divers?
The most remarkable site at Little Cayman is arguably the Bloody Bay Wall. The wall extends some 2 kilometers (6000 feet) below you but it is the abundant marine life around and on the wall itself that is most likely to catch your attention. The shallowest point of the wall starts at about 6 meters (18 feet) so even novice divers can visit it. In 1999, a group of photographers created the Bloody Bay Wall Mural: a life-sized image that shows a 20 feet by 60 feet section of the Bloody Bay Wall.
Cayman Brac has a lot of opportunities for reef, wall and wreck diving alike. A must-visit site is the wreck of MV Captain Keith Tibbetts also known as Frigate 365. Cayman Islands government purchased this 95 meters (311 feet) long ship in 1996 and it was then scuttled to create a dive site. In a major storm in 2004 the ship broke two. The still impressive wreck is the home for myriads of marine species ranging from nudibranchs to barracuda.
Most divers visiting Grand Cayman want to dive at Stingray city. The site is just 4 meters (12 feet) deep and swarming with southern stingrays. The sheer number of them makes this dive a unique experience. And talking about unique experiences, do not forget to dive through winding ravines of the Maze, another popular dive site around Grand Cayman.
Chances are that you have not visited Saint Kitts and Nevis , a Caribbean country of two islands. You may, however, want to add it to your “must visit” list of diving holiday destinations particularly if you are looking for experiences “off the beaten path”.
In winter you can expect water temperature around 25°C (78°F) and around 28°C (84°F) in summer.
The variety of marine life is large. You may come across sea turtles, yellowtail snappers, spiny lobsters and octopuses as well as barracudas or the occasional Caribbean reef shark. Some 200 wrecks in the area are sure to pamper even the most demanding wreck divers.
There are several scuba outfits that can take you to the dive sites and, if you are a beginner, you can also take your first diving course on the islands to kick-start your diving career.
For many of us, South America is the big unknown at least when it comes to diving. If you are looking for an opportunity to get your flippers wet in South American waters, here are some great dive sites from Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina.
The coastline of South America offers some of the most diverse and interesting terrain in the world, ranging from the warm and pleasant waters around the equator through to one of the closest land points in the world to Antarctica. This means that there is a wonderful variety of scuba diving to enjoy around the continent, including some of the most spectacular and memorable diving spots in the world. Whether you are a scuba diving novice or are looking for a challenging trip, the coast of South America will have a great destination for you.
Sometimes you would love to take your own scuba gear with you to a far away destination but you are afraid of the hassle and cost. Here are a few pointers that will help you along the way.
A good starting point is to figure out why you want to take your own scuba gear with you. That should help you also in deciding what to take with you. Here are some common reasons and items to pack:
Comfort and convenience: Your own regulator’s mouth piece has been molded to fit your teeth, your mask never leaks unlike most rental masks you’ve tried, you want to use your own dive computer because that way you can download the log to your PC, …. Whichever items give you the comfort or convenience you want, if what you should pack and, to keep cost and the hassle to minimum, nothing else.
You are not sure if the gear you need is available where you go: underwater camera, yoke or DIN adapter (which you may need if you are taking your own regulator set with you), gloves,…
Safety: You are concerned that rental gear might malfunction or that you would be at risk because you are not familiar with the gear. If this is your motivation, then your packing list should include at least your BCD, regulator set and weight belt.
Because you just want to: In this case, you probably would like to pack all you have and then the kitchen sink. In this case, you may want to consider the cost: On most airlines it is the weight that matters so you may want to leave the heavier items behind.
Now that you know what to pack, you have a few options on how to get your scuba gear to the destination:
Carry-on: Good for few small items and you can be relative certain that they do not get lost or delayed on the way.
Checked luggage: Check your airlines web pages for rules about extra weight and extra pieces of luggage. Some airlines have special pricing for scuba gear that will save you some money.
Air-cargo, couriers, shipping,…: There are a plenty of other options that come handy especially if you are traveling long distance with lots of gear.
If you want to check in scuba gear as luggage you may want to keep a few things in mind when preparing for the trip:
Early on, figure out the total weight of your luggage, the number of pieces and the size of each piece.
This lets you to compare the total price or, in other words, the price of the ticket plus extra fees between airlines.
Also, keep an eye on the absolute maximum limits for checked luggage set by the airline. These are limits that you cannot exceeded; not even by paying extra. If you have more luggage, consider using air-cargo or a similar option.