Rough seas and 15 to 20 knot winds will likely continue in Cayman through the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service, forcing tourism operators to adapt their plans as the high season gets under way.
Water-sports operators said Monday that most trips to the North Sound have been canceled as the northeast winds make for choppy waves and strong currents at the reef and at Stingray City. Dive operators say they are sticking to the south and west of Grand Cayman where the currents and visibility are less affected by the northeast winds.
“On the west side, it’s a bit bumpy, but we are still diving,” said Sergio Coni, operations manager with Don Foster’s. He said the company canceled tours to the North Sound, but were still diving and teaching this week.
Captain Marvin’s, which relies on popular Stingray City sandbar tours for much of its daily business, has not been able to get boats into the North Sound for several days.
Melinda Ebanks, with Captain Marvin’s, said one boat went out Sunday and a couple of more went out Monday.
She said the high winds and choppy waters were still a factor Monday, but the tide level has dropped, making it easier to get boats to the sandbar.
“Other days we’ve had no choice but to say no,” Ms. Ebanks said.
She said the tours in this windy weather are not making other stops for snorkeling, but instead are going to Starfish Point.
“The weather’s doing us bad,” she said. “It’s rough, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Steve Broadbelt, with Ocean Frontiers, said his boats were going out Monday but were sticking to the south side, by the Blow Holes and Half Moon Bay. He said they had about 15 to 20 sites open Monday, but another 30, especially around the east and Northeast Point, were too rough.
Off West Bay, Divetech’s Steve Ilsley said shore diving is closed off Lighthouse Point. But, he said, “apart from that we can always find somewhere to dive.”
He said they were running boat trips off Seven Mile Beach, away from the wind and waves on the north.
Post-season tropical depression
A tropical depression off the east coast of Nicaragua combined with a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico to generate the dry, windy conditions in the Cayman Islands, according to Gilbert Miller with Cayman’s National Weather Service.
He said the storm is about 550 miles southeast of Grand Cayman and is not expected to threaten the Cayman Islands.
“Most of our models show this going west over Nicaragua, but it’s kind of up in the air at the moment,” he said.
The cool air and high winds “will be with us for at least the next four days,” Mr. Miller said.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami forecasts the system will move to the west, crossing over Central America by the end of the weekend. The U.S. forecasters say the depression could develop into a tropical storm and possibly a Category 1 hurricane by Thursday before it makes landfall in Nicaragua or Costa Rica.