Grand Cayman Underwater

I wanted to tell you all about our Photo Workshop with Alex Mustard in Grand Cayman.

As usual, click on the images to see them at a larger size (& they are copyright to Suzy Walker or Michael Toye so please do not use without permission).

Overall I enjoyed the diving very much. It’s not like Egypt where the reef goes right to the surface, the more interesting dives are quite deep with the interesting bits at the bottom so we used Nitrox to allow us more dive time. We went to cave areas with glass fish and great swim-throughs, we did an off camera strobe model shot that Alex set up for us, we saw sharks, we saw (lots of) sting rays and I even got my macro on for a dive or two. I did notice there wasn’t as much fish life as I’m use to (we usually spend time in Indonesia or Red Sea) but I think that’s a Caribbean thing rather than a Cayman thing since there seemed to be many more fish than we saw at Bonaire.

Alex provides an excellent level of photo workshop (He runs this trip every year and there are quite a few repeat trippers), he explained a lot about light this workshop during evening lectures (take a jumper for these – I was cold) & image critique and on the boat and during the day. He even spent all day in the freezing cold pool showing people strobe positions (I skipped out on that since I was too cold from the 26 degree sea water to brave the pool as well)! This was our 1st trip of the year but not the first workshop we have taken with Alex so we knew what to expect from the workshop.

The pace is quite fast, you couldn’t possible fit any more into this trip but it was so relaxed that you could decide to skip any of it if you wanted to just chill out and enjoy the holiday. We went specifically to dive for photos and learn from the workshop, however the cold water & rocky boat (take you sea sickness tablets with you!) got the better of Mike and I spent a lot of my time diving with a nice American lady, Ellen, who also found herself with no buddy too.

We stayed at Ocean Frontiers (Compass point) in the East End of Grand Cayman. I didn’t actually know it was self-catering until we got there (it came as a surprise since we’re so used to liveaboards now). I cannot say that I’m a great fan of self-catering – we’re spoiled and when we go holiday I don’t like to worry about going to the supermarket and feeding ourselves, but the facilities of the room were good and we probably

saved a bit of money (since everything on Cayman seemed very expensive even at the supermarket – and I live in London so that much be saying something!!) We ate out a lot at a ear by restaurant (5min drive) called Portafinos which was pricey but delicious. We had a teeny tiny white car included in the holiday price that drove like a go kart but it was enough to get us around the island – we worked out after a few days that the speed signs were Miles per hour and speedo was in Kilometres ;)

The dive centre was great – we didn’t have to take care of our gear at all the whole week (which is always good when you have so little time and so much camera gear to get ready).

Off Camera strobe Model shot

and you can see the rest of my images here:
http://www.pbase.com/suzy_walker/cayman2010

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3 thoughts on “Grand Cayman Underwater

  1. Suzy,

    Nice to see your photos. We were at Ocean Frontiers from 14-21 August. The water was the same but we dove in 5 mm wet suits and weren’t bothered by the temperature. If you browse some of my pictures (slowly being posted on RedBubble -thank you), it is interesting how some of our’s match up. I also have a picture of Sailfin Sally and I am sure it is the same fish as you saw as I was led there by my dive master. Secretary blennys were relatively plentiful, as well. We only saw one shark (he swam too fast for a good picture) and only one turtle. Nevertheless, I was able to get in 14 dives over 6 days and had a lot of bottom time as I used nitrox, as well. I agree with you about the fish life. You can find stuff but it is not as plentiful as the Red Sea. I have not been to Indonesia yet, so I can’t comment on that.

    As fot the workshop, I was with Alex in Cayman about 2 years ago. I really did learn a lot from him and the intensity is good. The stingrays were the best part. Some many fun photos.

    Regards to Mike.

    jack

  2. Hi Jack, thanks for commenting. I think Mike & I both need to get new wetsuits (his is too big & mine is just old & thin) I think that’s why we have such an issue with the cold. I look forward to seeing all your Cayman pics on red bubble :) I’m glad your liking it – its a nice community. You need to get on over to Indonesia! It chock full of life (although some places not as pretty as the red sea).
    Hope you are both well :)

    Suzy

  3. Hi Suzy:
    Thanks for your article – I live in Grand Cayman about 4 months of the year, and are glad people can come & enjoy the island. I’m sure you found out that the people are friendly and the island is safe. And yes, it is expensive here – we tend to eat-in often, and do more local things, which helps to save.
    Glad you were able to visit Ocean Frontiers. I live on the Seven Mile Beach side of the island, so I don’t go down there very often. I did my first shark dive there, which they had back in 2000. They since stopped promoting that due to local pressure, but it was exciting, and very informative. I also notice that they have kitesurfing/windsurfing there now, and last time we ate at Portofino’s – we enjoyed watching the guys who were out on the reef area.
    I use to dive with just a thin wetsuit – now I have a 3mm; it’s fine during the winter season, not really needed during the summer months.
    I’ve been to the Red Sea – didn’t have the chance to dive there. Will have to put that on my list of sites to visit. Since we are here in Cayman so much, I do all my diving here. I know there is a lot more to see so I’ll have to plan to add some trips for diving!
    Best to you,
    Jane Warren, Publisher
    http://www.towabletubesdirect.com/

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