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

Divers Down/Carnival Valor, Dec, 2005,

by Hugh Aaron, VA, United States . Report 2234.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean, Virginia, North Carolina
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Time limit, required to stay close to boat (good thing)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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 snorkeler.

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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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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