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Dive Review of Divers Down/Carnival Valor in
Cayman Islands/Stingray City

December, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Hugh Aaron, VA, United States
Report Number 2234
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Virginia, North Carolina
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy, cloudy  
Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Time limit, required to stay close to boat (good thing)  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
My wife, 12 year old son and I were on the Carnival Valor the week between
Christmas and New Years, 2005.  My wife and I have been diving for about 25
years.  My son was certified this past summer.  This was his first
saltwater dive.

Grand Cayman was our first stop on the cruise. We had made arrangement (via
email) before we left home to dive Stingray City with Divers Down at noon. 
Divers Down is located in Georgetown about one-quarter of a mile from the
tender dock.  We had also planned to do a shore dive at Eden Rock (also
within walking distance of the tender dock) in the morning.  We managed to
get on an early tender, however, the conditions were fairly rough. 
Although the Eden Rock dive shop was open, shore diving was closed for the
day due to weather.

Since Eden Rock was closed, we headed down the street to Divers Down to
check in.  At Divers Down, the staff informed us that conditions were not
ideal, but they were going to attempt the noon trip to Stringray City. 
They suggested that we leave our gear with them (which we appreciated),
walk around a bit and come back around 11:30.  We did a walking tour of
Georgetown (a bit touristy, but nice people) and returned around 11:30. 
There were seven other people (all from a different cruise ship) who had
also booked the noon Stingray City trip with Divers Down.  Of the seven,
two were certified divers, four were resort course divers and one was a

From the shop, Divers Down loaded us all into a comfortable van and took us
to a marina about 15 minutes away.  We filled out the usual paperwork in
route.  No one ever checked our C-cards.  

At the marina, we boarded the dive boat. The boat had plenty of room and
was well set-up for diving.  There were two dive masters from Divers Down
aboard with us.  It was about a 20 minute run out to Stingray City in
fairly choppy, drizzly conditions.  

At Stingray City, we anchored in the sand in about 12 feet of water.  Much
to our surprise, we were the only dive boat at Stringray City.  One of the
dive masters went in to check the conditions.  He concluded that, while not
ideal, the conditions were acceptable.  In addition to a 1 to 2 foot chop,
there was some current.  Divers Down took the extra precaution of placing a
safety line on the bottom with an anchor on one end and a weight belt on
the other end.  The purpose of line appeared to be to provide a reference
point so we would know when the current carried us too far aft of the boat.
 It was really helpful.

After a through briefing, including an educational talk on the proper way
to interact with the stringrays, we all entered the water.  Both the Divers
Down dive masters dove with us.  Although we appreciated having them in the
water, I was initially a bit concerned that no one remained in the boat. 
Once in the water, we were immediately greeted by a group of 20 to 30
stingrays.  There was mix of larger females and smaller males.  We spent
about 45 minutes in the water interacting with the stingrays, including
feeding them squid.  

Although my wife and I are both experienced divers and this was a very
shallow dive to a bare sand bottom, we both really enjoyed ourselves.  The
stingrays were non-aggressive and quite interesting.  My son was a bit
overwhelmed by the stingrays.  At one time he was swarmed by so many
stingrays that his masked was knocked off.  No big deal, but it made him a
little nervous.  After that, he did not want to feed them anymore,
although, I think he enjoyed watching.  We also saw a poisonous stonefish,
which gave my son one other thing to be nervous about.

All-in-all, we had a great experience, notwithstanding the rough whether. 
The Divers Down dive masters were excellent.  They made sure no one drifted
too far from the safety line and that everyone had plenty of opportunities
to feed the stingrays.  In general, they seemed very safety conscious and
very interested in making sure that we all had a good experience.  We would
dive with Divers Down again and would definitely recommend their Stingray
City trip.
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All Cayman Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Cayman Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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