Cayman Island dive sites have been the topic of various magazine articles for over 30 years. More recently, internet forums and social media discuss what the best dive sites in Grand Cayman are. A quick Google search will pull you up over one and a half million results.
One of the most discussed and written about sites is 'Babylon.' Located on the north side of Grand Cayman, it has been written about countless times over the years. As such it's developed a mythical reputation, and is one of the most requested sites by customers visiting.
Babylon lies just far enough outside of Divetech's operating range, that we don't dive there. So when spending a week diving with Ocean Frontiers on the east end, I made sure to request the site I'd heard so much about. My crew shrugged. "Sure, we can go there," the Captain replied, "but there are better sites."
After my first dive on the site, I found myself asking my dive buddy what he thought of it. "It was nice, but I don't see what the fuss was about. I think Princess Penny's Pinnacle is better."
I wanted to know from those who dive the sites regularly, what are the best dive sites in Grand Cayman? What do dive professionals and regulars think are the best sites?
We took to Survey Monkey to find out. I pulled the dive sites from Grand Cayman's West Bay and North Wall, and uploaded them into a survey. The question was simple - just check off all of the dive sites you like.
I first gave this survey to the staff members at Divetech. Then I posted a fresh version of the survey to various public forums - Facebook and Scubaboard.com. Here are the results:
1. Trinity Caves
2 Big Tunnels
3 Princess Penny's Pinnacle
4 Tarpon Alley
5 Ghost Mountain
6 Lighthouse Point House Reef
7 Round Rock
9 Bonnie's Arch
10 Chain Reef
11. Eagleray Pass
12. Hepp's Pipeline
13. Orange Canyon
14. Sand Chute
15. Alex's Alley
1. Trinity Caves
2. Ghost Mountain
3. Lighthouse Point House Reef
4. Big Tunnels
5. Orange Canyon
6. USS Kittiwake
7. Doc Paulson
8. Oro Verde
9. Bonnies Arch
10. Hepps Pipeline
11. Eagleray Pass
12. Little Tunnels
13. Northwest Point Dropoff
14. Sand Chute
15. Leslie's Curl
Notice how Bloody Bay Wall hasn’t made it to either of those lists? That’s because it’s off another Little island in a galaxy far, far away. So, even though we’d love to take you, it is not feasible, so please stop asking us if we can go there on our four hour scheduled morning 2 tank trips :)
As you can see there are some variations in the two lists. There could be multiple reasons for this.
Dotted around Grand Cayman there are around 240 listed dive sites available for the taking, give or take a missing mooring or two. As the old saying goes - variety is the spice of life - and on our weekly rotation we try our best to have a varied dive site visitation and not repeat sites for any of our divers. However, sometimes there’s a reason why we keep going back to some sites every trip. Every crew member and captain have their own personal favourites, so they will have their go to sites they frequent most often. Customers that only dive a couple of times a year may have favourites because they saw that one thing there on that one dive they did, and therefore hold cherished memories, but the dive itself might not be as solid as others.
One of the top quotes you’ll hear in any Divemasters briefing worldwide is “The last time I was here I saw…… “
I’ll let you in on a little secret - that’s probably a white lie. In reality that mythical creature was probably spotted somewhere in the vicinity by a guide once upon a time, but we always hold out hope that the fabled beast will return.
We try our best to accommodate requests, but it’s not always possible to get to a particular site on a particular day, hence why we don’t have a planned dive site schedule for the week. One of the best things about diving in Cayman is that we rarely have to share dive sites with other groups. Most of our sites are allocated one mooring, with the exception of some of the really popular signature dives like the Kittiwake. Currents here can be very targeted to particular spots, so sometimes that will rule out a site also. Though rare, because of the limited run off thanks to the lack of fresh water flowing from land, bad visibility, or the Green Monster as we like to affectionately call her, can affect some sites on select days, so we always try to avoid those too.
Outside of Babylon and Bloody Bay Wall, another request we get from the more tech orientated guests is a visit to the Sponge Belt. Let me tell you this, you have more chance of doing an altitude dive in the Sea of Tranquility than getting an underwater tour around the island of the Sponge Belt.
Clearly, the best dive site is held in the mask of the beholder, and there really is no such thing as a bad dive in Cayman. So no matter where you end up splashing, you’re in for a treat.
See you out there !