by Stacie Sybersma
Visitors and locals planning a dive in the Cayman Islands may have stumbled across iDive, a website that summarises every dive site surrounding the Islands using videos, pictures and user reviews. Jason Washington, creator of iDive, is no stranger to Cayman’s hundreds of dive sites — he has dived every single one to film footage for the website. “Bloody Bay Wall is a favourite for anyone who dives it,” he says.Located off the north coast of Little Cayman, Bloody Bay Wall is one of the top diving destinations in the world. Starting at a mere 20 feet deep, the reef drops down dramatically for thousands more feet, making it attractive to any level of diver. The wall is covered with beautiful, colourful and healthy corals, including sea fans and sponges. There is so much wildlife here, you’ll spot every creature on your wish list, including sea turtles and rays. To top it all off, the beautiful reef is situated in warm, crystal-clear waters that can be explored year-round.
Bloody Bay Wall is also one of Washington’s favourite places to dive, because, unlike other walls, it starts very shallow. “The beauty of Bloody Bay Wall is that the wall starts between 20 to 30 feet, lending itself to divers of all levels,” explains Washington. “Even brand new divers can experience the wall there, which is uncommon since walls normally start at 60 feet deep, just out of range for new or young divers,” he continues. “Experienced divers can also enjoy the wall by exploring the deeper portions. There is something for everyone.”
Aside from Bloody Bay Wall’s shallow depth, the other defining characteristic of this dive destination is the dramatic drop of the wall. “The Bloody Bay Wall is a sheer vertical wall with no incline,” explains Washington. “It is just straight up and down. It is the most dramatic drop off I have experienced, as other drop offs usually have some sort of an incline.”
In addition to the shallow starting depth and the incredible drama of the drop off, the marine life is astonishing. Divers can expect to see sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, lobsters, reef fish of every colour, schooling jacks and beautiful corals of all shapes and sizes. When asked what the most exciting thing he ever saw on the wall, Washington says: “Everyone would expect me to say a reef shark, but for me it would be the schooling eagle rays. There are times that you can see 15 to 20 eagle rays in a group, which is life changing.” If you want to see a school of eagle rays, a diving trip to the wall can be arranged during the Summer months, which is when the rays are seen in schools.
Getting to Little Cayman is easier than you might expect. Cayman Airways Express offers daily direct flights to Little Cayman from Grand Cayman. Once on Island, there are several accommodations, such as Little Cayman Beach Resort, Pirates Point Resort and Southern Cross Club, all of which have in-house dive operators, making a dive trip easy to plan.
Bloody Bay Wall has approximately 20 designated dive sites. Each dive is unique and spectacular in its own way. Washington’s personal favourite spots on the wall are Bus Stop, named after the bus you can see on shore, and Nancy’s Cup of Tea (also known as Magic Round About), which features a large and distinct underwater pinnacle that joins the wall at the base, dropping thousands of feet into the deep. Three Fathom Wall is also a favourite for its magnitude of colourful sponges. “Red, orange, emerald blue… every type of sponge you can imagine you will see at Three Fathom Wall,” says Washington.
It is important to note that Bloody Bay Wall is located in a marine park and is therefore protected. It is prohibited for divers to touch or take anything from the park. Furthermore, marine park laws prohibit divers from wearing gloves while diving in all of Cayman’s waters.
Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Wall is a truly spectacular diving destination every diver should experience at least once in a lifetime. The abundance of marine life is truly breathtaking, and the vibrant colours of the corals are mesmerising. The accessibility, shallow depth and warm, clear waters are the cherry on top.