Ryan and I got our open water certifications a few years ago in Cayman and never ended up diving again despite being back multiple times over. It’s probably worse for Ryan because he lives in one of the best places in the world to dive. The water is warm, the dive sites are only a few kilometers away from the island and the visibility is extremely good making Cayman a divers dream.
I decided that since Ryan would be too busy that week to take advantage of the diving I would have to go myself and ended up doing two 2-tank dives with Seasports Diving, which is the same outfit I used to get certified. I really liked the small groups because we got personalized tours and more attention for our individual needs. After taking a short refresher we were off. The first day of dives we went through a series of underground tunnels and caves some of which were tight and dark. A little scary for the clausterphobic but once you got past that you were well rewarded with some beautiful scenery. It’s like a new world under water and it’s such a relaxing experience. You move slowly enough to see the fish and other creatures go by you and observe on a completely different level. Your breath is slow and steady and the more relaxed you
are, the better your experience. Diving, as I had soon remembered, was one of the most relaxing experiences you could partake in.
The second day we dove the USS Kitiwake which was formerly a submarine rescue vessel but retired quite some time ago. The Cayman Islands Government and tourism board decided to sink the vessel instead and use it as a dive site. It’s been sunken for about 18 months now and you can see that it’s been quite taken by the fish and sea creatures below.
This is the propeller at the bottom of the ship
This is the ground floor or 2nd floor. The dive took us inside and through the compartments of the ship. It’s pretty surreal in there. I felt like I was in some zombie video game waiting for the monsters to come out at each corner. It was a bit dark and spooky in some spaces.
Looking upwards 2-3 floors from the ground floor.
Swimming through the doors and up floors without taking the stairs was a pretty cool experience. I imagine this is what it’s like to fly or be in space. When you’re going through reefs you don’t sort of conceptualize the height or space of things because you’re measuring yourself against a wall or a reef. When you’re in a ship, you’re going up several flights of stairs with a mere kick of your fins and so it just makes it that more space-floatation like.
This would be either cool or freaky for most people passing through the bathroom and seeing themselves underwater at 60ft.
There were 2 hyperbaric chambers which I bravely got into for like 30 seconds. There was actually an air pocket in there where you could come out of the water but the dive operator said he wouldn’t reccommend we breathe the stale air– would have been a little rank. Wouldn’t want to get stuck in there though huh?
Along the deck of the ship.
Outside of the ship. I hope I’ve convinced Ryan to go soon with me. More info on the Kittiwake here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Kittiwake_(ASR-13)