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Posts from the ‘Diving’ Category

Dive, Dive, Dive

Now that I have completed my advanced open water diver training;  I am diving as much as I can and enjoying every minute. Most days I do a two tank dive in either the morning or the afternoon.  I have logged 35+ dives over the last 5 weeks. 

I have done almost all of my diving with Don Fosters’s just outside of George Town, Grand Cayman. Their entire team is friendly, knowledgable, professional and most important me, very safety conscious. My instructors for the advanced course, Danni, Luc and  Amy were amazing and made the course interesting & fun. All the instructors continue to offer wise advise on improving my diving skills. Safety should always be the # 1 concerns for divers. I have a very hard time with divers that complain that the instructors/dive masters do too many air checks on them while they are diving.

The first dive is always the deep dive with a profile of  80 ft -100 ft and the lead ensures that everyone  stays out of the decompression zone and get back on the dive boat with at least 500 PSI.  Our second dive after a suitable surface interval is a shallow dive with a depth of approximately 50 feet. The instructors profile of the dive site before we get wet is always very through and  provides useful information.

The instructors and some of my dive buddies do a great job of pointing out interesting underwater life. This is great for me as I have become passionate about underwater photography.  We have seen  numerous sea life including, moray ells, lion fish, puffer fish, lobsters, turtles, large tarpon in swim throughs, a nurse shark and friendly angel fish to name a few.

Go Home Lionfish

The lionfish were first found in the Cayman waters in 2008.  It is not known how they arrived in this region as their natural territory is the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  One theory is that private aquariums were damaged in recent Florida hurricanes and lionfish were released into the sea.  Although beautiful, they are a menace and creating a serious problem in the Cayman Islands.

Lionfish Facts:

  • They are predators known for eating juvenile fish & crustaceans in large quantities.
  • Have no natural predators.
  • They have venomous spines to ward off predators and cause very painful wounds to humans. Other symptoms of the sting to humans may include swelling, redness, bleeding, nausea, numbness, joint pain, anxiety, headache, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, paralysis, and convulsions.
  • Lionfish produce approximately 30,000 eggs each month which makes it extremely impossible to eliminate them.

Divers must be alert especially in a wreck, cave or swim—through,  as lionfish are able to rest, upside down, on the ceilings of these features. Divers have been stung by lionfish they were not aware of.

The intestation has become so intense that the  Cayman Islands, Department of Environment now offers lionfish culling courses and license the use of Hawaiian slings to assist in capture and killing these fish.

On the positive side, they are great tasting and considered a delicacy and many local resturants now offer lionfish on their menus.

Diving in Grand Cayman

Lionel’s 1st Ever Night Dive in Grand Cayman

Thursday, January 27th 2012

I completed my first night dive this evening. I was somewhat nervous going in but is was great and I can’t wait to do more night dives. As part of the training I had to practice some of the navigation skills I had learned in the navigation training earlier in the day. At one point during the dive we turned off our lights to see the phosphorescence in the water. Although it was cool, I was very happy when we turned the lights back on!

Advanced Open Water

I received my basic dive certification through the YMCA in 1985. My open water test was done in the dark & freezing waters of Lake Simcoe with 10ft visibility.  My first dive in the Caribbean was an eye opening experience and has quickly become a passion.

I decided that one of the items I wished to accomplish on my sabbatical was to do an advanced diver training course and cross over to a PADI certification. I signed up with Don Fosters which is a great dive facility close to our Cayman Paradise and where I do most of my diving. They are professional, very safety conscious and fun!

To get your certification you have to do five courses which include classroom theory and actual dives. Two of the courses are compulsory – Deep Diving & Underwater Navigation. My electives are Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Multilevel & Computer Diving.