Divers shaken in pool during quake

Joe Crane and Holly Simmonds

A dive instructor and his girlfriend who were underwater in a swimming pool during Tuesday’s earthquake have described their experience during the 7.7 magnitude quake.

Joe Crane, a British dive professional at Ocean Frontiers, and his girlfriend Holly Simmonds were practising dive skills at the bottom of the pool beside Eagle Ray’s restaurant when they felt the earth, or rather the water, move.

“We were doing skills under the water. It was just mass confusion. The first thing I noticed was my girlfriend was lifted up off the bottom of the pool and I grabbed her back. Then I was lifted off the ground. We looked up and the whole pool was swishing around like crazy,” he said.

The moment was caught on video and has since been circulating widely on social media.

Crane, 31, describing the experience to the Cayman Compass, said, “My first thought was that someone had pulled the plug, followed immediately by, there is no plug.”

He said he and Simmonds surfaced as water was still spilling out of the edges of the pool.

“Someone was filming, and one of the managers asked if we were OK. To be quite honest, like you can hear in the video, I found it quite funny. We didn’t feel like we were in an earthquake,” he said, adding that this was the first quake he had experienced. “We don’t get many earthquakes in the UK.”

Crane, who has been on island for four months, has been a diver since 2008 and became a dive professional in 2018. His girlfriend was visiting from the UK for 10 days.

Other divers in Cayman who were in the ocean when the earthquake hit have said it felt and sounded as though a large boat was passing very nearby. Some have described how the water’s clear visibility dropped to just a few feet. Snorkellors also said visibility was immediately affected.