Take a breather and go diving

At least three dive operations are open for business

Diving is self-isolating under the water by nature, which works well at times like these.
Diving is self-isolating under the water by nature, which works well at times like these.

The world feels a bit crazy right now, leaving people anxious and stressed.

Anything that brings a sense of normalcy can relax the mind and body, making it easier to cope with situations out of our control.

The Cayman Islands is known for its scuba diving, which opens up a world of incredible sights under the water. It combines the health benefits of swimming with a form of escapism.

While other dive shops close temporarily due to the coronavirus, at least three of them are grabbing the regulator by the hose and staying open. West Bay’s Divetech and Sun Divers at Macabuca, and Cayman Turtle Divers on West Bay Road have decided to keep operations going, giving residents a chance to get away from it all to commune with marine life.

Divetech, located at 571 North West Point Road, offers both shore and boat diving, as well as different levels of instruction.

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“We haven’t cut back on any of our services,” said owner Joanna Mikutowicz. “I am keeping the staff on full pay and we are open for business.”

Aware of the fact that not all divers will have their own equipment, Mikutowicz has turned to the Divers Alert Network for updated recommended sanitising procedures of rental items, particularly regulators.

Just outside the Lighthouse Point dive shop, there is now a dedicated bucket of fresh water to which steramine (a multi-purpose sanitiser that meets the public health criteria of the US Environmental Protection Agency) has been added. This will clean and sanitise the relevant parts of all scuba and snorkel equipment in one three-step process.

Step 1: Place the snorkel, mask and/or regulator second stage in the steramine solution.
Step 2: Leave for 30 seconds.
Step 3: Take it out and you are good to go.

Wetsuits and booties have a separate rinse tank.

Divetech has also implemented some special pricing to allow more people to get out on the water. There are 2-for-1 discounts, along with other sales that will be advertised on its website, www.divetech.com and its Facebook page. Boats are going out at half-capacity to ensure lots of space for everyone.

Cayman Turtle Divers
Cayman Turtle Divers, based at 1428 West Bay Road in Trafalgar Place, is another shop that is still carrying on as usual. Manager Alan Laidler said that the company had a good number of diving regulars on the island, so even though he expected the weekdays to be quiet, the boats still had bookings for the weekend.

“I have a bunch booked for Saturday,” he said, “and our groups are six people max, so we are keeping the numbers small.”

The company uses Simple Green to sanitise its equipment at the end of each day and has now added a step of disinfecting between dives.

Sun Divers
Offering shore diving from the Macabuca location on North West Point Road, Sun Divers is keeping operations open as well. It is a short walk from the dive shop to the entry-point ladder, which in turn allows access to some terrific sites nearby.

It too has upped its sanitising game, by regularly disinfecting gear and offering hand sanitiser in the shop.

Beyond these extra precautions being taken by all the dive companies, there is a lot to be said for simply breathing in fresh air and swimming in the sea. Mikutowicz says that being underwater is where she feels her calmest at the moment.

“Getting out on the ocean, in the sunlight, then taking a dive under the waves – it is very therapeutic,” she said. “It is a good place for people to be, where everything disappears.”

Laidler feels that maybe this step back from normal hectic life will give people who have never dived, the opportunity to learn.

“Many people usually don’t have the time,” he said. “[The great thing about diving] is that it is almost self-isolation [by design]. Even above the water, you are outside in an open-air environment.”

| For more information on Divetech, visit www.divetech.com or call 946-5658. For Cayman Turtle Divers, visit www.caymanturtledivers.com or call 938-0184; and Sun Divers is www.crackedconch.ky/sun-divers or call 949-6606.

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