Diving for gold

Cayman’s seafaring history and
underwater majesty are world famous, and Pirates Week celebrates them both with
an event that speaks to both divers and snorkelers.

The Underwater Treasure Hunt takes
place on Sunday, 14 November, starting at 1.30pm, and if previous years are anything
to go by, it’s going to be as colourful as the famous float parade onshore.
Over the years, Divetech staff have dressed up, and increasingly the participants
themselves have put on their best pirate clobber for the experience.

“We’ve had divers going in with
hooks on their hands and parrots on their shoulders. The staff has fun getting
dressed up, we all try and get there first in our pirate goody box to get the
best outfits,” laughed Emma Nicholsby, assistant dive operations manager at
Divetech, who host and sponsor the event in conjunction with Cobalt Coast Dive
Resort and donate tanks and time for the event.

The coins are strewn throughout the
area making it a brilliant experience whether you’re a fan of the deep blue or
prefer to snorkel. The event is one for all the family, with kids able to join
in as they gaze into the azure for glints of glimmering bounty.

“We hide the coins all over the
reef area at Cobalt Coast; when you come off the dock here it’s very shallow,
so even snorkelers can come along. You don’t have to be a big deep sea diver or
anything like that; it’s for all levels,” explained Ms Nicholsby.

 

Prize giving

Entrance fee is $20 and includes
tanks, weights, snorkel gear and snacks and soft beverages during the prize
giving ceremony that follows, which includes more than 80 prizes donated by
local businesses.

“Once everyone’s out the water
safely, Cobalt Coast puts on a nice buffet. The staff is dressed as pirates and
we do a big raffle. People keep the coins they’ve found, which are numbered,
and we pull them out of a hat for random prizes,” said the dive expert.

The event raises cash both for
Pirates Week and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s charity and community
service work.

“I’m really looking forward to this
year’s hunt; it’s a lot of fun and people getting dressed as pirates it’s
really cool. Last year we were inundated and got a lot more people than we were
expecting; we were carrying tanks back and forth all day trying to get everyone
in the water and raised over two thousand dollars for charity which was great,”
said Ms Nicholsby.

 

Locals and tourists

As with much of Cayman’s National
Festival, the Underwater Treasure Hunt consistently proves popular both with
locals and tourists who come specially for the occasion.

“It’s great both for the residents
getting involved and visitors do come down especially for the treasure hunt. We
had a group of people here last year and we took them to the Pirates’ Landing
[at George Town]. We joined in the festivities, watched the Governor get
captured and it was great. They got really into it, dressed up and were
partying every night dressed as pirates – they brought down really good
costumes.

No reservations are needed, just
come up for 1.30pm. Prize ceremony will be at 4pm. Call 946 5658 for more
information or go to www.divetech.com/Piratesweek.htm

CAYLIFEDivingforgoldSTORY

Searching for bounty underneath the high seas.
Photo: Submitted
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