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Dad Diaries: Scuba Diving with Son in Little Cayman, Caribbean

Hi Folks,

Well, the fun keeps on going…

This one is for SCUBA Divers…

Tom (formerly known as Tommy) turned 30 on November 3rd.  Sometime during the first of the year, I mentioned he and I should experience a bro thing (in front of Patti), and celebrate his 30th in the Caribbean scuba diving.

Off we went to the island of Little Cayman in the Caribbean.  With 50 lbs. of gear in my bag, hot temperatures and sunshine galore (not the best for a red head according to my dermatologist).  Sounds great.  It was great.

trio of scuba divers at little cayman island caribbean

Checking the Qualifications for Little Cayman Diving

When we arrive, the first thing they ask for is your “dive card certification”.  It is just one step down from a driving license with a picture, bar codes, unique serial numbers, etc.  Tom had no problem, but when I hand my card to a 20 something at the dive shop desk, I always get the same response…”What is this?”  I politely tell them it’s my dive certification even though it does not have a serial number, picture, etc., nothing but my name and the date of certification – wait for it… 1974.  Jacques Cousteau days.  Lloyd Bridges and “Sea Hunt” days.  They finally see there is no option but to accept my dive card.

dive boat little cayman diving

Scuba diving is the opposite environment of work.  Work is constant senior leader meetings, talking, teaching, presentations, interviews and assessments.  Scuba is being in another world that is QUIET!   Absolutely quiet except for inhales, bubbles, an occasional crackling of parrot fish biting off corral, etc.  The ultimate background noise was when I was diving in Tahiti.  Humpback whales were constantly singing while I dove.  There, I never even acknowledged hand signals from the dive master.  I simply was overwhelmed with the whale songs.

little cayman beach resort best little cayman hotels reef divers

Perfect Little Cayman Hotels

Back to the Caribbean.  We stayed at the Little Cayman Beach Resort.  There are a few other “resorts” with diving, but none of them can touch this one.   The dive shop is the best run I have dived with (and that is a LONG time).  The staff is unbelievable.  By the second day, they know your name, where you are from and details close friends don’t know.  From the beginning of the day, they are so happy, singing and are acutely aware how to service the guests.  The rooms were great, but make no mistake, Little Cayman and Little Cayman Beach Resort is for divers, only.  There is nothing else on the island to do except stepping over the 3 foot iguana’s all over the resort.   They have a sandy beach, but the water is full of seagrass.

Iggy iguana little cayman diving

Little Cayman Beach Resort does a great job when you are above water with food and activities, but it is all about the diving, and rightly so.  The diving off this island, rivals with Hawaii. I know there are other incredible diving sites like the Maldives, but there are few in the same category as Little Cayman.  The remarkable fact is, the reefs are intact and flourishing.   This reef system is the best I have seen in 40 years.  Simply outstanding which you will see from the pictures on my underwater camera.

The reef system on the north side of the island is composed not only of the most active reef, but just north of the reef is a wall that goes from about 50 feet deep, to approximately 16,000 feet!

With the clarity of the water, and the fact I HATE HEIGHTS, diving off the reef over the wall when you can’t see ANYTHING underneath you but the deep blue (nothing solid), it takes getting used to.

Tom on the wall - barrel sponge little cayman island

Tom, certified (with a real dive card) since he was 14, did great.  He did have several “firsts” on this trip at 30 years old.

rick and tom with scuba diving board little cayman caribbean

He had his first birthday celebration on a dive boat, had a second celebration at dinner with the entire dining room singing “happy birthday” and a cake presentation and then, at Karaoke, another birthday celebration (did I mention there was not a lot to do on the island and everyone embraced the opportunity).

6 ft nurse shark up close little cayman diving Caribbean

Other “firsts” were seeing his first sea turtles, coming virtually nose to nose with a six foot shark, diving a 10,000 foot wall, a very angry squirrel fish, a 110 foot dive, friendly Nassau groupers, fish “cleaning stations”, sting rays, etc.

Angry Squirel Fishlittle cayman scuba

Let me be clear.  If you want more than spectacular, unique coral reefs and 10.000’ wall diving, this is not your place.  The Grand Cayman Islands offers great diving, but a lot more for “extracurricular” activities; dining, nightclubs etc.

I am going to edit the myriad of underwater videos on the reefs and the wall. The show be a 100 times better than the pictures.  HDTV.  I’ll send them along to put an exclamation mark on this trip, once Eileen shows me how to reduce the file size so I can send it.

Rick (and Tom)

P.S.  The wine was great, but not as good as Italy.

Rick Cotter

Author Rick Cotter

Rick Cotter is a Massachusetts native and new world traveler. After scuba diving throughout the Caribbean and road tripping across the USA, he's moved onto Europe as a new baby boomer playground. Follow Rick's adventures in his 'Dad Diaries' series on Pure Wander.

More posts by Rick Cotter

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Sina says:

    Oh wow! That looks like an amazing experience! But I definitely do agree about the wine 😁

  • What an amazing experience. The underwater life of Little Caymen looks breathe taking. What a great way to spend a father and son trip. I bet a lot of great memoirs were made.

  • I can see why you are such a big fan of scuba diving it sounds like an incredible experience and I can imagine it must be a stark contrast to the world above. I definitely need to be a better swimmer before I try diving but nevertheless I would still like to try it. Beautiful photos x

  • Wow what a great experience! Those photos are amazing, I would so love an under water camera!

  • Joline says:

    What a fun time! I’ve gone scuba diving and while it’s awesome, I tend to get claustrophobic after a while, much to the dismay of my dive instructor LOL. And how amazing is that shark?? (I would prolly panic though TBH haha)

  • soonjoo says:

    Wow! this looks so much fun! Perfect get away for family. I never tried scuba diving (am little scared) but looking at beautiful in ocean I would love to try! Great share!

  • Aditya says:

    Well, I dont drink alchol so cannot say much. But all which I have heard about Scuba diving, sounds very amazing and your blog proves that.

  • Mayuri says:

    This looks like an amazing experience. I wish I could dive and experience underwater life myself…I love all the underwater pictures you have posted. Can you please tell me which camera you used?

  • My friend has just come back from a diving holiday and it looked like so much fun, this must have been an incredible experience x

  • Jess says:

    That looks like such an incredible experience! I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving!

  • It’s so nice to see a son and a Dad so close to each other even after he’s left the nest. Your trip looks like it was so much fun, and I’ll definitely be considering the Cayman as my destination for scuba diving… it’s been on my bucket list for a while now!

  • Suchi says:

    This sounds like so much fun! The underwater pics looks amazing! Would like to do this with my daughter at some point in time when she grows up!

  • Kallia says:

    Everything underwater just looks more magical in my honest opinion and your pictures just show it!! You and your son seem like you had loads of fun!

  • Jen S says:

    This looks like it was a blast! I love looking at the marine life in oceans, it’s always so lively! I’m never able to get good underwater pictures though 🙁 You’re definitely much better at that than me.

  • Ali Rost says:

    Happy 30th to your son Tom! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. While I’ve never been, my husband has a few different times. Like you, he loves the quiet and I know would love to hear more about the whales singing their songs. I’m really looking forward to seeing your videos and reading more of your underwater tales. x

  • The reef there does look quite amazing. I love all of the pictures. Although i would probably be like you feeling a bit off when the reef dropped off to a sheer cliff. That would make me pause.

  • I am not a strong swimmer, so do not know if scuba diving would be suitable for me, but would certainly lvoe to give it a go in shallower open sea.

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