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A Marine sponge photograph taken in the Cayman Islands
A Marine sponge photograph taken in the Cayman Islands

The three islands of the Cayman Islands are the exposed top of an underwater mountain. Underwater, the sides of this mountain are quite steep, vertical in some places, within as little as a few hundred metres from shore.

In addition to the expected coral reefs, colourful fish, and other underwater creatures, this "wall diving" provides something extraordinary for scuba divers. Scuba diving in the Caymans can be done by boat, or at many dive sites, directly from shore.

The tourism industry on the Cayman Islands caters to divers, with many resorts and condominium complexes having in-house diving operations offering course work, daily excursions, scuba equipment sales and rentals.

Grand Cayman

See also: Stingray City, Grand Cayman

The diving on Grand Cayman is divided roughly into 4 areas; Seven Mile Beach and the Northwest Point, The North Wall, The South Side, and The East End, with over 159 dive sites.[1] Because of the prevailing south-east winds, it is rare to dive the South Side dive sites, though it is done when possible as the sites are really lovely. Due to the myriad sites available for diving, there are opportunities for virtually all levels of divers to explore this stunning underwater world. Popular dive sites include the Kittiwake which is located on the North Western tip of Seven Mile Beach,[1] and the popular, 12 foot dive of Stingray City.[1]

Visibility is exceptionally good due to the island's geography. There is very little runoff of silt or fertilizers from the land, and the steep walls result in the reefs being unusually close to deep ocean water.

Marine life in Grand Cayman includes tarpon, silversides, French angelfish, and Barrel Sponges among others.[1]

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman

Both of the 'sister islands' are thin strips of land lying roughly east to west, and the diving is divided between the north and south sides. Because of the prevailing south-east winds, it is rare to dive on the south side of these islands. Cayman Brac features over 50 dive sites and popular among nature lovers. On Cayman Brac, you'll find the MV Capt. Keith Tibbets. Best for experienced divers, it is the only Russian warship available to divers in the Western hemisphere.[2] Cayman Brac also has an additional 11 dive sites reachable by shore.[2] On Little Cayman, 'Bloody Bay Wall' and 'Jackson Bay' are commonly requested dive destinations. Little Cayman features shallow dives as low at 20 feet and as deep as 6,000 feet.[3] They are both situated on the north side of the island, and are not accessible year-round because of weather conditions.