Guess who’s back, back again…
Hi everyone! Unless you’ve been living on another planet you are probably aware that the year 2020 brought some crazy changes throughout the world, including an unexpectedly long hiatus from our much-beloved blog here at Divetech.
We all lived through the pandemic so I’ll keep the summary of this part brief - Covid sucked and Cayman shut down…for almost 2 years. From March 2020 to late November 2021, the Cayman Islands were closed for tourism and the Divetech staff instead found themselves getting creative as everyone’s career suddenly and drastically changed. For a glimpse of island lockdown life you can check out some of our former blog posts like The Pros of Being Far From The Madding Crowd, Five Dive Related Things to do During Lockdown, and When will the Cayman borders open?.
Divetech staff masked-up and social distancing in June of 2020
After a seemingly endless wait, our borders did officially reopen on November 30, 2021 to much excitement from staff and guests alike! It was a bit of a complicated reopening however, as the island was still under “Phase 4” travel restrictions. With a LOT of thanks to everyone who put up with travel applications, mask mandates, testing requirements and quarantines in the first half of 2022, we made it through and now we’re back and better than ever! Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. Like most other businesses we are still climbing out of the hole caused by almost 2 years of no tourism, but things are looking a lot more like ‘normal’ now that we’re free from any pandemic-related restrictions.
So, what’s going on with Divetech in 2023? Well we’ve got some exciting new changes to share with y’all!
For starters, there’s new direct flights to Cayman! Cayman Airways started a direct flight between LA and Grand Cayman, the first direct flight from the West Coast to the Caribbean, and we’ve had plenty of happy guests this past year who took advantage of that flight!
This year, Cayman Airways has announced new direct flights for Panama and Barbados, and are also planning to add more LA flights. Sun County Airlines, out of Minnesota, also started a direct flight to Grand Cayman earlier this year. For a full list of direct flights from the US, Canada, and the UK, check out the list on the Cayman Islands Tourism site here.
Okay now for the most exciting news of the year - we’ve moved back to Cobalt Coast! After 7 years, we are so excited to be back at our original location. We can’t wait to share with you a brightly renovated (and air conditioned!) dive shop, a dock for our very own fabulous boat Atamyway, and a gorgeous pool for easy training. You can find us at 18-A Sea Fan Drive in West Bay, right next to the incredibly delicious new restaurant NOVA.
And for those of you who love diving at Lighthouse Point (like me) you’ll be happy to hear the dive site is still open for shore diving, and that our shop there also just got a brand new face-lift and is looking pink-tastic!
Our stunning new dive site at Cobalt Coast!
The lockdown didn’t seem to have too much impact on the reefs here around Grand Cayman as residents were still able to dive and lionfish were continuously culled. Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is sadly present here, but the Department of the Environment (DOE) is staying on top of monitoring and testing. You can even see one of their research sites at our house reef at Lighthouse Point - keep an eye out for white tags labeled ‘DOE’ around the site!
One casualty of the pandemic however is the loss of the Stingray City dive site. The stingrays weren’t fed over lockdown so, unsurprisingly, they all left the dive site when their yummy food source of dried squid (and maybe a couple nibbles on fingers) stopped. We’re as disappointed by the news as you are, but luckily the stingrays still can be found at the sandbar and plenty of snorkel operators run daily trips out to see them. We recommend reaching out to Red Sail, Captain Marvin’s, or Cobalt Custom Charters to book your tour.
Despite our wonderfully generous owner Jo doing everything she could to keep her staff employed during covid (see here for more details), most staff left Divetech during and right after the pandemic. But the good news? We have some super friendly, experienced, and outgoing new staff here to welcome you! Our returning guests may also remember senior staff member Raggy, and anyone who dived with Cayman Diving down in Georgetown in years prior will be happy to see the incredible Rachael as our new manager here. Make sure to stop by to say hi and meet everyone!
Owner Jo is so happy to be driving the boat again in 2023!
So there you have it. It’s been a wild ride these past few years but we are so thankful and happy to still be here. We’ve finally been able to catch our breath and will be once again updating our blog regularly so keep checking back in. And we can’t wait to see all of you on your next trip to Grand Cayman!