Friday, July 6, 2012

Cayman Brac - Diving in Paradise



In June of 2012, Eric and Rob (my two brothers) and I joined a group from DJ's Scuba Locker (dive shop in Lyons, IL) on a six day, seven night dive trip to the Cayman Islands.  More than 20 of us spent a week exploring the reefs (and one wreck) surrounding Cayman Brac, the middle sized Sister Island.  A great time was had by all.  Here are some of the details

A Little History

The first logged sighting of the Cayman Islands took place on May 10, 1503 by Christopher Columbus during his fourth and final voyage to the New World.  The first recorded English visitor to the islands was Sir  Francis Drake in 1586.  He is credited with naming the Islands "Cayman" after caiman, a Neo-Taino word for "alligator".  During its history, the islands played host to a variety of settlers including pirates,  refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors, and deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica.

The English first took control of the Cayman Islands, along with Jamaica, under the Treaty of Madrid in 1670.  Many of today's island inhabitants are of African and English descent.  In Islands continued to be governed as a part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962 when the Islands became a separate Crown colony.

In September of 2004, the Cayman Islands, which lie pretty much at sea level, were hit by Hurricane Ivan.  The storm surge flooded many areas of Grand Cayman and it is estimated that 95% of the buildings on the island were damaged or destroyed.  In two years however, the majority of the island's infrastructure was returned to normal.   Because of its tropical location, it  is estimated that the Caymans Islands are hit or brushed by a hurricane every 2.23 years.


The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea and are, in reality,the peaks of a massive underwater ridge known as the Cayman Ridge (or the Cayman Rise).  The Ridge flanks the Cayman Trough which drops to an ear popping 20,000+ feet into the "Deep Blue" as the natives call the deep ocean.  The Cayman Islands are made up of three separate islands; Grand Cayman (76 sq.mi.) and the two Sister Islands; Cayman Brac (38 sq. mi) and Little Cayman (28.5 sq mi).  We stayed on Cayman Brac.

Most of the three islands are flat with the exception of the eastern part of Cayman Brac which host "The Bluffs" which gradually rise to more than 140 ft. above sea level.  Roughly translated, "Brac" is a Gaelic word meaning "bluff".


In 1957, dive operator Bob Soto began the islands' first recreational diving business and introduced the world to the pristine waters off of Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands.  In June, 2012, I was fortunate to experience first-hand the wonders of the underwater world of the Cayman Islands.

Our Trip

My Dive Log

All divers should keep a log of their dives.  Here is a quick summary of the dives I did on Cayman Brac:

June 10th

Dive #1 - East Chute
76' for 36 minutes

Dive #2 - Charlie's Reef
57' for 1 hour, 2 minutes

Dive #3 - Preacher's Barge
43' for 1 hour, 2 minutes

June 11

Dive #1 - Knuckle's Reef/Wall
84' for 47 minutes

Dive #2 - Radar Reef
54' for 1 hour, 4 minutes

Diver #3- Angelfish Reef
61' for 56 minutes

June 12

Dive #1 - Eden Wall
89' for 47 minutes

Dive #2 - Butterfly Reef
59' for 57 minutes

June 13 (Dives #1 and #2 on Little Cayman.  Dive #3 on Cayman Brac)

Dive #1 - Dot's Hot Spot
90' for 51 minutes

Dive #2 - Cumbers Cave
50' for 59 minutes

Dive #3 - End of Island
59' for 59 minutes

June 14

Dive #1 - Ken's Mount
90' for 45 minutes

Dive #2 - Kinder's Kingdom
72' for 53 minutes

Dive #3 - Snapper Point
67' for 49 minutes

June 15

Dive #1 - Wreck of No. 356
81' for 52 minutes

Dive #2 - Snapper Road
43' for 1 hour, 4 minutes.