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Reef Divers’ registration paperwork is now online. We want you to start your vacation by relaxing, so it’s no longer necessary to print out and bring your forms with you or fill them out when you arrive. We will send you an email with link to complete your registration about 30 days prior to your arrival.
This paperless process is getting rave reviews. It takes about 10 minutes and can be done on your mobile device or desktop computer. If using your desktop, first scan and save the front and back of your C-card which you will upload during the process. Mobile users will be able to take photos of their cards as the complete their registration.
If you booked through a dive travel planner, we’ll send them your link(s) to forward onto you for completion. If you are part of a group, we will have sent the group leader links for everyone traveling with them and ask that they send on to you. If you have NOT received 21 days prior to your scheduled arrival on island, please contact us or whomever planned your dive travel.
Then when you arrive, you can relax and enjoy a cold drink and our warm, island ambiance as the perfect start to a wonderful dive vacation.
These are among our staff rock stars. Look for these people to help you feel at home on your next visit to one of our resorts.
Mark is one of the smiling faces you’ve seen at our resort the past 4 years – one who always remembers your name and what you like to drink. He’s originally from Pampanga, Philippines, which is about 1 hour from Manilla. His Dad was a pastry chef at the resort. So, after completing his BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management – it was a natural leap to join our team here.
“I want guests I serve to feel at home here – to really relax and enjoy our hospitality,” according to Mark who loves meeting lots of people from all over. His secret for remembering names? They all become friends. Over their stay, he learns about their homes, their families, and their lives.
When not working, Mark enjoys diving (which he learned after moving here), biking, fishing, and playing basketball and volleyball. And he just started rock climbing. Mark’s also a great bathroom singer of romantic music, but we’ll have to take his word for that.
Tamara’s effervescence bubbles over. Whether she’s tending bar, moderating game nights, or hosting karaoke – this Biloxi, Mississippi, native brings her Southern charm to Little Cayman.
“My wish is that guests leave feeling happy – that we’ve made positive differences in their lives,” said Tamara, whose first career was with a crime unit for a police department. She thought it a great fit for an introvert as she saw herself then. But after working in a casino bar and fine dining restaurant – she realized she wasn’t a wallflower and blossomed. So when Tamara applied for a job with our company’s St. Petersburg, Florida, headquarters – she was pleasantly surprised to find she’d be moving to Little Cayman.
When not working, Tamara enjoys volunteering with the groups on Little Cayman focused on protecting the Rock Iguanas and with the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s Reef Go Live program for elementary students in addition to riding her bike around the island. She’s currently working on her Rescue Diver course.
One of the hardest skills to perfect but necessary for becoming a good diver is managing your buoyancy. Being able to achieve that state of neutral buoyancy where you neither sink nor float up is vital for you to glide effortlessly through the water. It’s also important for the protection of the marine environment as you learn how to hover over reefs and sea creatures to observe without crashing into them. Being more comfortable on your dives also means you can relax, reduce fatigue, and consume less air – all good practices for a sport that’s about enjoying yourself and the beautiful underwater world.
The most common way to achieve neutral buoyancy is to add an appropriate amount of lead weight to your BCD or to a weight belt. While this seems simple, it’s not always obvious that as conditions change – you must make adjustments.
In general, you are more buoyant with a wetsuit than without. And the thicker the wetsuit – the more buoyant you become and the more weight you need to get underwater and achieve neutral buoyancy. You are also more buoyant in sea water than fresh water.
The goal is to achieve a neutral state where you can do many if not most of your underwater depth adjustments through breathing. Long slow inhales cause you to rise gently and slow, deep exhales allow you to descend. But it’s also important to be able to comfortably stay underwater at 15-feet for your safety stop when you’re near the end of the dive and you’ve used most of the air in your tank.
Sources suggest that for saltwater as we have in the Cayman Islands’ Caribbean you start with 8-10% of your body weight in lead. If you’re a muscular build, deduct some because muscle is heavier than fat. And if you tend to be plumper, you may have to add. Next calculate for your wetsuit. If you wear a neoprene one, a good rule of thumb is 2-3 pounds per millimeter of thickness. This is for a full suit, so if you wear a shorty, you’ll need less.
Then experiment. Be ready to make adjustments after your first dive. If you found yourself having to add too much air to your BCD, then drop a pound the next dive. If you had difficulty staying under for your safety stop – add a pound. It’s a balancing act and once you figure it out, this is important information you should record in your dive log so you’ll know the next time you’re diving in a similar place.
Rowan is from Amersham, England, and is on the Reef Divers staff at Cobalt Coast Resort on Grand Cayman. He has a passion for the marine ecosystems and fish identification so especially enjoys pointing out his discoveries to guests.
Hepp’s Pipeline is one of Rowan’s favorite dives. It’s offshore north of the resort and at just 25 to 65-feet deep provides the perfect opportunity for maximum bottom time and maximum marine life. Divers love the beautiful, thriving reef full of schooling fishes, sort corals, sponges, and sea fans found on and around the site’s two mini-walls. Frequently you’ll spot eagle rays cruising along the sandy bottom. And macro photographers will find all kinds of small creatures, including Gaudy Clown Crabs in the hardpan near the mooring pin.
So the next time you’re at Cobalt Coast Resort, make sure you ask about diving Hepp’s Pipeline if conditions permit.
For divers who take the time to hover over reefs looking for small marine life, you’ve hopefully been rewarded with glimpses of the cute roughhead Blenny (Acanthemblemaria aspera). They are fairly common to our Cayman Caribbean and easier to spot with the yellow coloration as in this photo than in other colors which blend with their surrounding environment. They’re not especially shy, so with a little patience and good buoyancy you should be able to get close enough to observe and take photos.
Here are some other interesting facts:
Learn more about our marine environment and creatures from Katie Correia, former Science & Education Manager at Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Little Cayman. For more information on the CCMI, visit www.reefresearch.org.