If your travel dates are flexible, you can leave winter’s cold and ice for a warm, sunny Clearly Cayman Dive Resort getaway. Trade your snow boots for dive booties and start off 2018 the right way doing some fabulous, world-class diving.
Availability is very limited at Cobalt Coast Resort on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman Beach Resort.
New Year 7-Night Dive Package Rates*
Travel Dates: 12/30/17 – 4/14/18
Book by: 11/17/17
* Rates include standard accommodations (per person based on double occupancy), breakfast and dinner daily (dinner arrival day through breakfast departure day), 6 days x 2-tank morning boat dives, airport ground transfers, resort fees, taxes, and more.Rates for other dates, length of stays, room types or occupancy, and/or different dive and meal package options will differ. Subject to availability.
Call us or consult your dive travel professional to learn more.
It’s hard not to get excited about sponges when viewed through the eyes of Joseph R. Pawlik, Ph.D., esteemed professor of marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). He’s been studying them and conducting research on Caribbean sponges for the past 25+ years because, according to Pawlik, “…they are an excellent model system for studying biological phenomena. And in general, sponges are doing very well there—probably in detriment to corals.”
“Professor Sponge” (our nickname for him and not necessarily one his students would use!) recently made his second research trip to Cayman Brac, doing multiple dives on the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts to measure growth of the sponges on the wreck.
“Cayman Brac is a great place to study sponges, because we know when the Tibbetts wreck was sunk and therefore the exact moment when earliest growth began,” said Pawlik. “The island’s waters have also largely remained untainted by humans as compared to other areas of the Caribbean. Sponges don’t do well in places with poor water quality.”
In non-scientific terms, sponges and seaweed have teamed up against corals. Sponges create fertilizer that supports the growth of seaweed, which is a form of algae. Seaweed produces sugars that fuel sponge growth. And proliferation of algae can choke off oxygen to corals, causing them to become diseased and potentially die.
But the solution isn’t to eliminate sponges, because they provide habitats for many marine animals as a safe refuge from predators. They also serve as food for turtles, some species of angelfish, sea slugs, starfish, and some larvae. And important to divers—sponges increase water visibility, removing particulates as they turn over their entire water column in as little as two days.
Pawlik feels that researching and understanding more about this process may help answer many questions we have about preserving, protecting, and the future of the marine environment.
Professor Pawlik is originally from Minnesota – more than 1,000 miles away from seawater and about 1,600 miles from the warm Caribbean. He developed a love for the marine world as a young boy in the early 1960s, watching “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” on a small black and white TV in his family’s living room. In high school Pawlik spent his disposable income on a marine aquarium, finally learning to dive in Minneapolis with open water checkout dives in the Bahamas. He studied biology at the University of Minnesota and earned his Ph.D. in Marine Biology in1988 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego. Pawlik has been with UNCW since 1991.
If you live in one of these areas or plan to visit, stop by our booth at these dive shows to talk about Cayman Islands’ diving and pick up our show specials:
Look for these friendly faces to help you feel at home on your next visit to one of our resorts.
UK native Liz came on holiday to Little Cayman, fell in love with the island, and moved here after landing a job at our resort four years ago. Although she makes trips home to see her family, when her mom and brother visit her, Liz has the opportunity to share with them the slower pace of life and tranquility that she loves about living on an island with only 150 permanent residents.
“Even the worst day here isn’t bad because Little Cayman is such a great place,” according to Liz. She enjoys BBQs, diving, and keeping her beloved beaches beautiful with regular cleanups. The island has become her home and the staff her extended family.
“We are a happy bunch,” says Liz. “I want guests to feel welcome and totally comfortable in our environment where everyone is working among friends. And by the time they leave, they should feel like they’re part of our family, too.”
One of our company’s longest-serving team members, Everton has been with us for more than 17 years. Although he’s a naturally happy person, he positively beams when everything at the resort is running smoothly and guests are satisfied.
“I want guests to come back, so especially when there is a problem, I try to take care of it right away—even if I’m at home and have to come back to the resort,” says Everton, whose can-do attitude and skill set come in handy on an island with limited access to service and repair people.
The native Jamaican and his wife raised three girls and one boy there, but they now call the Brac home, loving the quiet life and safety the island provides its residents. Everton is a very religious man who proudly proclaims that he is a Christian who loves the Lord and spends much of his free time volunteering for church-related projects.
How often do you return from a dive vacation with clothing and other items you felt were important to take with you, but never were used? The secret to smart, efficient packing is advance planning.
These items are nice to have when traveling to warm dive destinations and take up little space in your luggage: zipper re-closable storage bags, insect repellant and sunscreen wipes, and an empty water bottle. As you’re packing, do a final evaluation, and use your wetsuit to pad the most fragile items in your dive bag.
And one final tip—always pack a swimsuit in your carry-on luggage. If your bags don’t arrive with you—worst-case scenario—dive gear can be rented, but not all destinations carry swim apparel.
If you have a great tip to share, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig, Cobalt Coast’s new general manager, moved from Wales, UK to work with Reef Divers when he realized he could make a living doing what he loved. Recently promoted from dive operations manager, he brings seven years’ experience with our company to his new position.
Orange Canyon is among Craig’s favorite dives on Grand Cayman, because it has something for everyone. Divers take in the beautiful panorama of the reef as they descend. Many nooks and crannies in the canyon walls provide places to find and photograph lobsters, crabs, and stations where Pederson shrimp stay busy cleaning grouper of parasites, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Craig alerts divers to be on the lookout for gigantic elephant ear sponges along the wall at 70’–80′, with swimming green morays, triggerfish, and turtles normally at 45’–60′ deep. With garden eels, stingrays, and eagle rays in the sandy flats, Craig’s assertion rings true—that this dive is truly a “diver’s buffet.”
Photo Credit: Patrick Walther
The tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is a big, beautiful, and very curious fish that divers see at many dive sites around the Cayman Islands. The next time you spot one, remember these cool facts about tarpon:
Learn more about our marine environment and creatures from Katie Correia, Science Programme Coordinator at Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Little Cayman Research Center. For more info on the CCMI, visit www.reefresearch.org.