Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cruise Report - Day 3 - Diving!

So in the morning the ship arrived at Grand Cayman.

We had a quick breakfast then went to the gathering spot on the ship for the shore excursions, and Jerry and I along with our gear got on a tender and headed for the port. A tender is a smaller boat that takes you to the dock as the Cruise ship didn't directly dock. The girls, not being divers hadn't booked a shore excursion - more on their experience in the next post.

At the dock we were met by the rep from Don Foster's Dive Cayman, the Scuba company that was running the dive excursion. After a very fun bus ride, complete with the driver talking to the other traffic - "I'm turnin here mon, don't you see me turnin?" , it was a blast. We got to the shop and signed our waivers, showed our C cards and of course bought Don Foster's Dive T-shirts.

We were briefed that the first dive would be to 80 feet and the second to 50, so Jerry and I opted for Nitrox for the first dive - the only two out of the 6 divers to do so. So with our tanks ready, we got on the boat and headed to the reef.

e had an excellent divemaster and she gave a very good briefing on the boat, including the instruction "If you see us putting our life jackets on you may want to do the same". We opted to forgo our wetsuits and went in in t-shorts and shorts. The water was 80 degrees, a far cry from cold Michigan lakes. Indeed, the visibility was stunning. From the surface at 80 feet we could clearly see the reef below.

Here I am hanging out at 80 feet:

Here's Jerry:

We saw a great variety of fish on the two dives:

On both dives Jerry and I kept up excellent team communication and had excellent trim and buoyancy control - That DIR Fundamentals class and subsequent practice really paid off.

Some of the other dives were diving feet down, banging their SPGs off the reef as they swan or running or bumping into us due to lack of good situational awareness.

Jerry and I did ascents without touching the upline and held our safety stops perfectly, so it was a great display of all of the past year's practice really paying off.

The dives were incredible, clear, warm water, and wonderful dive sites. The staff of Don Foster's kept everyone essentially together during the dives and ran the dive profile, even though Jerry and I had our computers and full gear. This made sense given there were 6 divers in the water with very different skill levels, and the divemaster pointed out some neat fish and coral formations as we went.

So if you're in the Caymans, you'll definitely want to consider diving with Don Foster's Dive Grand Cayman - a very nicely run dive operation indeed.

The excellent dive experience was enough for me to seriously consider moving to the Carribean.

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