This is an excerpt from a newspaper travel story in the Charleston (WV) Sunday Gazette-Mail, published 6/21/15. The link is at the bottom to read the complete story.
The islands are small, without much soil or freshwater, and at the most only rise about 60 feet above the sea level. What they do have is incredible warm blue water with a gentle breeze and year-round warm air temperatures.
And scuba diving. The Cayman Islands have lots of scuba diving.
I’ve been there four times over the last 10 years. The first three times were while conducting safety training for local dive instructors and to do research for my latest novel, “Return to Cayman,” which is based on the island.
On my last trip, my “reason” for visiting was to hold a release party and book signing, with all proceeds from book sales benefiting a volunteer effort to restore a coral reef damaged when a cruise ship dropped anchor on a reef.
My real reason for traveling to Grand Cayman, of course, was the legendary diving.
For the avid diver, one of the best places to stay on the island is Sunset House. Sunset House and My Bar are featured prominently in “Return to Cayman” as well. The resort bills itself as “a hotel for divers, by divers” and it does not disappoint. The entire resort is oriented toward making it convenient to scuba dive, either off one of their boats or in unlimited shore diving for guests.
It’s easy to get there from Charleston. I generally leave out of Yeager Airport on the 7 a.m. flight to Atlanta and get to Grand Cayman in time for lunch at My Bar. It’s a small island, so the commute from the airport literally just takes a few minutes after you clear customs.
Situated about 200 miles south of Cuba, the Cayman Islands are located in the Western Caribbean just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Air and water temperatures hover around 80 degrees with very little variation. The rainy season runs from May through October, roughly corresponding with hurricane season.
The last major storm to hit the island was Ivan in 2004. It tore the island up, tearing roofs off of houses, but since then the island has only suffered on glancing blow from a storm.