Swim out over a coral garden in less than 20 feet of water, than get the dizzies as the edge of the reef drops off in a sheer, vertical cliff down more than 1,000 feet. That’s Bloody Bay Wall, a sponge-and-coral encrusted underwater masterpiece where the visibility is often in the 100 foot-plus range. Of the several wall dives here, a perennial favorite is Marilyn’s Cut, a large crevice-chimney-cave complex adorned with barrel, tube, and rope sponges that is also the hangout of a longtime resident – a camera-friendly Nassau grouper known as Ben.
The light-tackle fishing here is the best in the Caymans. Bonefish, in the shallow flats at South Hole Sound were the first attraction, but it wasn’t long before fly-fishermen discovered, in the middle of a mangrove swamp, a brackish 15-acre pond filled with small tarpon. Today those tarpon have grown (some in the 25-pound range), while even larger ones cruise the flats. The always challenging permit (that’s the name of the fish, not the license) also haunts the flats, giving anglers here a rare chance for a light tackle “grand slam” of bonefish, tarpon, and permit.
Cayman Brac, just 6 miles from Little Cayman, is not cast from the same geographical mold as its sister islands. A limestone bluff (brac in Gaelic) dominates the eastern end of the isle, and the lighthouse there provides the best panoramic view in the Caymans. Diving here doesn’t quite match that of Little Cayman, but the wall dives and the snorkeling along the north coast are superb. And both snorkelers and scuba divers can explore the M/V Capt. Keith Tibbetts, a 330-foot naval frigate, deliberately sunk in shallow water just offshore in 1996.