grand-cayman Kids Sea Camp
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Destination

Grand Cayman 2014

July 12th-19th and July 19th-26th 

 

 

Cayman Island dreaming

Margo’s home away from home is Grand Cayman

by Margo Peyton

On a day like today when I’m sitting at my desk, as I stare out the window at the ardent cold of winter. The browns and grays that fill my view, the heavy winter coat sits on the chair still wet from the icy rain I escaped.  I dream of a better place, my better place, I dream of Cayman.

Grand Cayman 2014 brochure

I look at my Cayman Islands screen saver as it flashes memories; the blues, cobalt, turquoise and azure seascapes. For a brief moment I am once again transported by those magical images of natural beauty to my better place. Remembering sunbathed beaches, pure white sand that filters through my toes like sugar, the warmth of the sun and the sea surrounding me. All the colors that one could possibly create dancing on the walls and reefs below.

My office phone rings snapping me quickly back into my cold office, my headset on, “Hello, Family Dive Adventures. Margo speaking, how may I help you?”

It’s my good friend Dora from Cobalt Coast and Divetech.  She wants more details for another family asking her for information on Kids Sea Camp for this summer. And I easily fade back into images of Cayman rolling across my screen.

I’ll start off with just a bit of information about the Cayman Islands in case you have not had the pleasure to visit there.

There are 3 islands, Grand Cayman (76 sq mi), Cayman Brac (22 sq mi) and Little Cayman (20sq mi), often referred to as the Cayman sisters.

They have been called; “The Perfect Dream”, “All the Colors of Blue”, “The Ultimate Dive Destination”, “The Divers Endless Summer,” The list can go on and on. I simply refer to the Cayman Islands as my home away from home.

I lived in Grand Cayman for 5 years. And my life was indeed good above the water as deep below. Many blue moons ago, I arrived with only my open water diver card in hand and a degree in Travel & Tourism in the other. I worked at for an International Travel company while earning my PADI Dive Master.  Now nearly 20 years later, I look back on that time as some of the most defining moments of my life.

I have spent the last 20 years traveling the world to some of the most incredible places, yet, The Cayman Islands always call me back, like a craving that can’t ever be fulfilled.

I’m a PADI MSDT Instructor now, thanks to Nancy and Jay Easterbrook, owners of Divetech, whom have inspired me for the past 11 years providing one of the best family dive vacations on the planet to thousands of kids and their parents.

The staff is warm and charming, whether you’re a resident or guest; you are met with welcoming smiles and familiar hugs. Grand Cayman is filled with the sweet sounds of music playing at various places all over. The island is famous for the steel drums, which will greet you upon arrival at Cobalt Coast Resort. And pirates will clash the steel of their swords with the kids on the beach and expect their goblets to remain full or Dads will walk the plank. Dress up is fun for all and the sounds of giggles and snarls are all the rage.

Cobalt Coast, Divetech, Grand Cayman, Kids Sea Camp

Cobalt Coast and Divetech one the wonderful shores of Grand Cayman. Photo by Jay Easterbrook.

The Caymanians are well known to be a fun loving society. The Cayman culture is multiracial and multicultural. The Cayman Islands are safe and peaceful, there are no annoying street vendors or hagglers like you would have encountered in many other destinations.

The Cayman Islands hosts some of the best dining in the Caribbean. At Cobalt Coast, owner, Arie Barendrecht has done a fine job serving up a varied menu, from local cracked conch, jerk chicken, American fare or Indian basics. Cobalt Coast has it all for food lovers, including rum tasting and rum cakes.

Cobalt Coast has always been a favorite of mine; it reminds me believe it or not of a Nantucket home.  The wooden architecture is truly one of a kind in Grand Cayman.  Being from Cape Cod, the resorts feel along with owner Arie impeccable service make me feel at home.All of Cobalt Coast resort is ours for the week, so you and your kids are the priority for the staff.

The environment and the ocean are the mainstay of our week and both are celebrated and respected throughout with great pride and passion.

It’s important for me to express to you how “Grand Cayman Kids Sea Camp” really is for everyone; every age, dive ability and interest.  With beautiful beaches, surf park, skate park, botanical gardens, bird sanctuaries, Stingray City, wrecks to explore, reefs to snorkel, food to share, music and culture, painting classes, rum tasting and smoothies. What could possibly be missing?  Not to mention it’s close to home with 5 or more inexpensive flights a day from multiple gateways, Miami, Houston, Atlanta, New York or New Jersey.

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Ok, so here is the grand finally, I have saved the best for last. With over 4,000 dives under my belt, I’m still in love with diving in Grand Cayman!

I return when I want to stop the world and submerge myself in the azure blue clear water.  I return when my husband and I want to have a romantic dive getaway.  I return when I just need to recharge, relax and re-align.  I return with the kids and even bring along about 50 other families each year during Kids Sea Camp family weeks.

The Cayman Islands is known for it’s majesty coastline which differs from ragged iron shores to mangroves and sea grass beds to its most famous bluffs and stretches of snow white sand beaches lapped by crystal clear, calm turquoise waters.  It is here that I found the secret, the magical world below that calls me back time and time again.

The only thing I could want would be unlimited bottom time. Year-round 80-degree water temperatures and visibility often exceeding 150 feet makes diving conditions exceptional most of the year. There are more than 250 dive sites; pristine reefs dramatic drop offs and sheer deep walls as well as legendary shipwrecks to explore.

My toughest decision when planning a trip with limited time is; do I go with my kids and family for Kids Sea Camp week and enjoy pirates, dancing, diving together and watching the kids meet new friends from round the world, or do we go on our own during the quiet time and enjoy just us. Mostly I choose family weeks, because my kids love coming back.

I choose Divetech because when I’m thinking about the kids its 100% about dive training, and superior safety. “DiveTech,” The name really says it all.  From Seal team, open water certifications, wreck diver, deep diver and all the way to dive instructor, they offer the full range of certifications as well as Tech courses, free-diving courses and now, SASY swim school for kids age 5a d up.  This PADI 5-star and Tech operation caters to all divers, young, old, beginner or advanced divers. At the end of the week, the endless divers smiles says it all.

DiveTech is right on the property. This team of instructors is top notch, professional and all about teaching and training.  I think Scubapro uses the tag line “Deep down you want the best,” Well, I would definitely apply that to DiveTech.  I have hosted Kids Sea Camp Family weeks here for the past 11 years with thousands of satisfied divers coming back again and again.

I personally have 30 or 40 favorite dives in Grand Cayman, but my top two would be, the Kittiwake wreck dive with the kids, this is new to the Cayman Islands largely due to the persistence of Nancy Easterbrook owner of DiveTech who made this long awaited wreck dive come to life.  The Kittiwake is 250 foot long and 46 foot wide, sitting in some 60 foot of crystal clear water, where she settled on a white sandy bottom, perfectly posed for pictures.

My number 2 is jumping off dock at Light House point, without a scooter it’s a macro delight. With a scooter, it’s fun adrenalin pumped dive with turtles, tarpon and rays.   Just ask co-owner Jay Easterbrook which direction to go for what you want to see, he is sure to point you in the right direction and maybe even join.

My number 3 is Ghost Mountain and Divetech will take you there, just ask.

If you really want to feel the soul of the islands without all the touristy trends, have a glimpse into the past of the Las Tortugas, (as Christopher Columbus so named the islands for the many turtles in the waters surrounding them); you should venture off to Little Cayman or even Cayman Brac.  I recommend combining them both, Grand Cayman for family and fun and for a secluded and semi-private dive getaway Little Cayman. I have enjoyed all 3 islands over my 25 years of diving and when I can get away, even for few days, I’m packing for Grand Cayman and looking forward to Diving with Divetech.

Maybe some day you will understand the feeling I have about Cayman. And maybe it will whisper to you like it lingers with me, everyday dreaming of the easy, peaceful dive dream that is Grand Cayman.

Useful  links:

http://www.caymanrestaurants.com/

http://www.ecayonline.com/cayman-islands-culture.html

http://www.piratesweekfestival.com/

http://www.guyharveyoceanfoundation.com

http://www.cobaltcoast.com

http://www.divetech.com

The Cayman Districts

West Bay: 7 Mile Beach, George Town, East of George, Red Bay, Savannah, Bodden Town, Breakers, North Side and Rum Point.
Seven Mile Beach: from the Grand Cayman Yacht Club road to the lights at West Bay Rd, North Church St and Eastern Ave.
George Town: From the lights at West Bay Rd, North Church St and Eastern Ave to the junction of Crewe Rd, South Sound Rd and Red Bay Rd
East of George Town: East of the junction of Crewe Rd, South Sound Rd and Shamrock Rd; includes: Red Bay (RB), Savannah (SA), Bodden Town (BT), Breakers (BR), East End (EE), North Side (NS) & Rum Point (RP)
  Little Cayman and Cayman Brac: Spot Bay, Creek Watering Place,Stake bay, West End

 

 

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