Experience Cayman’s underwater world

Cayman is recognised as one of the best diving destinations in the world. However, diving might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately it is not necessary to miss out on the underwater wonders of the Cayman Island entirely if you are not into diving.
Snorkelling is quick, easy, and above all, cheap.
The equipment is simple – just a mask, a snorkel and a pair of fins will get you going. Many retailers on Island offer kits containing all three, or you can select the equipment that best suits you individually. Those who usually wear glasses can even get a mask with corrective lenses.
Depending on the type of snorkel you buy, it might contain a sump valve to keep water from blocking the flow of air to your mouth or a splash guard to keep water from splashing into the snorkel.
As for the fins, the most important thing is to get a pair that fit. Fins tend to be sized according to shoe size, but as with shoes, sizing and fit can differ from one manufacturer to the next.
For those who are not confident swimmers, a flotation vest can also be helpful.
Once you have your equipment, you should choose a site for your snorkelling adventure. Although it is a bit of a drive, Rum Point is an excellent venue for first time snorkelers, as the water is shallow and you are unlikely to get yourself into trouble. There are many excellent venues elsewhere on Grand Cayman as well, with Smith Cove a favourite as well as any number of sites along Seven Mile Beach.
The first challenge is to keep your mask from fogging up. There are anti-fog solutions you can rub on the inside of the lens, but the other option is a bit of saliva. Yes, there is a valid reason for spitting in your mask.
The biggest challenge most first-time snorkelers face is trying to get their fins on and then get into the water without falling down. Some people waddle in, other try walking backwards in order to avoid their find sticking in the sand. Whatever you do, just do it slowly.
While snorkelling, remember to keep the snorkel upright, otherwise you are likely to get more water than air on your next breath. Adjust the position of the snorkel by adjusting the position of the clip that holds it to your mask strap. Also remember to only breathe out through your mouth, as breathing out through your nose could allow water into the mask.
Of course, remembering to put sunscreen on your back and the back of your legs is vital. Many a first time snorkeler gets so caught up in the wonders of the underwater world that they forget about the tropical sun beating down on their exposed back and legs and end up with an excruciating sunburn.   WH