Things to see
During the Second World War, Cayman was on constant lookout for German U-boats, which were suspected to be lurking in the tranquil waters around these Islands. The sinking of the Como Agua off Grand Cayman proved that these fears were not unfounded.
However, the only submarine to be found in Cayman today is a quite different beast altogether and not at all threatening. The technological marvel that is the Atlantis submarine provides a unique glimpse into the underwater world off the coast of Grand Cayman.
As the Island that put recreational scuba diving on the map, Cayman’s underwater world has been thrilling visitors and locals alike for decades. Although the colours and shapes that lurk in Cayman’s depths have been accessible to divers for ages, there are those who have neither the time nor the inclination to get themselves wet in order to see the underwater wonders. Atlantis Submarines makes it possible for everyone, regardless of age or physical ability, to experience what lies beneath the waves.
Passengers are taken out to the submarine by boat, where they are treated to the spectacle of seeing the submarine surfacing from beneath the waves.
The 48 passenger Atlantis XI Submarine dives to depths of 100 feet, with guides pointing out the changing scenery and species as the submarine sinks deeper and deeper. The light changes and colours shifts as the submarine sinks, with ever more unique creatures making their appearance. One of the most noticeable elements of the descent into the depths is the relative lack of drama. The submarine just descends as smooth as you could like. Then again, that is where technology really shows itself – in the absence of creaks, bumps and panic. With everything there is to take in, you are on your way to the surface again before you know it. There is really too much to take in on one dive and of course different species can be seen depending on which day you take the dive.
For those who want something completely different, the company also offers nighttime excursion, which showcase a different world altogether as the daytime species retire and the creatures of the dark emerge. The lights of the submarine reveal a world few ever have the opportunity to experiencing, right on your doorstep.
For those who still feel a little bit wary about being completely submerged, or for a slightly more affordable option, the Seaworld Observatory gives passengers a glimpse of the underwater world without ever leaving the surface. Passengers sit under the waterline, with the big windows giving an unsurpassed view of the tropical fish and other marine life that frequent the reefs in Hog Sty Bay. The trip also provides a great view of the wrecks that lie hidden from view under the water, while the tour guide relates the unique history that accompanies each wreck. A diver also accompanies the trip in order to feed the reef fish that throng around the windows the moment he enters the water. Also keep an eye open for the massive tarpon what tend to lurk in the shadows – the big silvery fish are very impressive to behold. WH
All trips depart from the Atlantis Adventure Centre dock on the George Town waterfront. Bookings can be made by visiting atlantisadventures.com/caribbean/cayman or calling 949-7700.