The great thing about living in Florida is that we are part of the Caribbean. If you don’t think so, go visit the Florida Keys – then get back to me. think of it this way, from Miami – Curacao and St Thomas are just a 3 hour flight. Bahamas are a matter of minutes away. If we ever get past 1958, Cuba will be the same distance as Freeport. But till then the real jewel has to be the 1-hour flight to Grand Cayman.
Going to Grand Cayman is as pleasurable as the time spent on Grand Cayman. Cayman Airways is the nicest airline I have ever flown. I think the main reason is – they get it. Tourism is a big industry for Grand Cayman and they want people to come back. For divers, this is apparent on the return home flight. When my dive gear was still a little wet and my luggage was over the 50lbs limit they asked me “What’s in the bags?” My response, “Dive gear.” The bags went on, no fees, and I was happy.
When I go on trips with Jeff and Donna, from JND Scuba Center, they usually find a hotel for the night before departure. I always want to stay at the hotel they pick near the departure airport (usually Miami). There are several obvious reasons, like the free parking they always find, and there is the intangible reasons – these people are great. The group that dives with them (us) are just a great group of people and the night before our flight we all go out for dinner. Our vacation begins before we ever leave.
Besides being a short flight, the flight is a picturesque flight too. Always try to get a window seat on the flight to Grand Cayman. The reason becomes apparent as the plane flies over Cuba. Pristine beaches and reefs sparkle upwards awaiting a future visit some day. Cuba’s fall into communism has had one benefit for the rest of the world – lack of development. This is clearly seen from above and the beautiful reefs smiling up.
Cobalt Coast Resort
I have been to Cobalt Coast twice and plan a third trip this year. Located on the north west side of the island, Cobalt Coast is close to everything yet is isolated. It is separated from the tourist parts of the island by a residential divide. Travel to Seven Mile Beach must be by vehicle – a walk would be too far. However, all the amenities are at the resort. This includes:
- A place to eat.
- A place to sleep.
- Always easily accessible tanks (both air and nitrox).
- A dock with a ladder for 24/7 shore diving.
- Gear lockers and cleaning rack.
- Great dive shop (see DiveTech, below).
What more could a diver ask for? Oh yeah, great dives and they have those.
Cobalt Coast has a main building which includes the small restaurant and many of the guest rooms. Across the street it has extra lodgings in the form of small town homes. The first year I was there I stayed out back. Although it does not have wifi there, I prefer those small town homes (but you cannot go wrong either way). Also part of the main complex is a pool. This is a great place to relax after dives.
Last, I have to mention the view. If you like the ocean you will love the view.
DIVETECH is the dive operator for Cobalt Coast and Lighthouse Point. These guys and gals know there stuff. Always friendly and always willing to help when it comes to diving. And they can be quite funny. If you want to dive but feel a tad bit insecure because you are new at diving, have never dove off a boat, or whatever – these people will calm your nerves. I’ve not seen a more experienced group anywhere.
Lighthouse Point Resort
Lighthouse Point is mentioned here because if you stay at Cobalt Coast you can get a trip over to Lighthouse Point to shore dive there. It is well worth the short travel time. The shore dive is set up the same as at Cobalt Coast. Pick a tank, strap in, walk out – dive, dive, dive.
The shore dive here is amazing. The is a wall about a hundred yards off from a smaller wall. In between is a sand valley. The distant wall has a coral reef all along its edge and fingers reach toward the shore. Just beautiful. While over the sand, which goes to a depth of around 75-80 feet you can take spectacular photos of divers in crystal clear water.
The Kittiwake is a recently sunk artificial reef. It is as shallow as an artificial reef comes. Depth to the sand is a mere 58 feet. It has been cut up to allow penetration dives to be conducted for anyone safely. Night dives on it are the best. If you get to Grand Cayman make sure to take the time to dive this wreck. At that depth a strong hurricane may do some “shifting.” All that means is that we’ll have to dive it again.
The only thing I had trouble with on my trip to Grand Cayman was my regulator’s yoke adapter would not fit the valves on the tanks. The first year there I was able to procure a ScubaPro yoke adapter for my Dive Rite regulator from DIVETECH. That worked flawlessly. By the time I went in 2012 I had bought my own ScubaPro yoke adapter. No one else had this trouble and I believe it is an issue only with the size of the Dive Rite adapter.