No matter how clear or safe the sea, some just aren’t keen to dive right into the water. For those not adventurous enough to take the plunge, booking a submarine tour is the perfect alternative.
Atlantis Adventure Centre offers underwater sightseeing excursions aboard the Atlantis XI, a submarine specifically designed for family-friendly undersea adventures. The 48-passenger submarine explores Grand Cayman’s National Marine Park, allowing visitors to get close-up views of the underwater terrain, coral canyons and marine life.
Departing from George Town waterfront, hop on board the transfer boat to the submarine for a 45-minute ride descending to depths of 100 feet. Cayman’s incredibly clear water and amazing visibility ensures excellent viewing of all the underwater life on offer, from huge barrel sponges to star corals, snapper, grouper and even the occasional stingray or sea turtle.
If dark seas sound much more enticing, try the night tour and explore the water’s depths after dark. The submarine follows the same route as the afternoon tour, except the special lights onboard will allow passengers to view nocturnal marine animals, particularly predatory fish that don’t usually surface during the day. This unique experience pairs perfectly well with dinner before or afterwards for an unforgettable evening in Cayman.
Glass bottom boat
When the idea of a submarine doesn’t float your boat, or if you are a family with children under 4 years old, why not take a ride on the Seaworld Observatory (also booked through Atlantis) or The Nautilus? Designed and built specifically for tours of the shallow reefs around Grand Cayman, these glass bottomed boats or semi-submarines allow views below the surface of the water. Head down into the hull to an air-conditioned observatory, five feet below the surface of the water and view the aquatic wonders of the Caribbean through large windows.
Passengers will get views of the dramatic shipwreck, the Cali, a steel schooner built in 1900, as well as the wreck of the Balboa, a 375-foot freighter that sunk 100 yards off the coast during a hurricane in 1932 while en route from Cuba to Grand Cayman.
At Cheeseburger Reef, see colorful coral while scuba divers hand-feed the shoals of fish in full view. Look out for tarpon, brightly colored parrot fish, butterfly fish and angel fish. Sightings of stingrays and turtles are common so be sure to have cameras at the ready.
Docks next to Rackam’s Bar along George Town’s waterfront. Visit nautiluscayman.com for more information.
Atlantis Adventure Center
Located on George Town’s waterfront and offers a ferry shuttle service from the Westin on Thursday afternoons. For more information on tour times and prices, visit www.caymanislandssubmarines.com