Some 80 divers took part in a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation on Women’s Dive Day on Saturday when, between them, they dived a distance of more than 60 miles.
The goal was to cover at least 58 miles, the equivalent of the length of Grand Cayman’s coastline, said Jo Mikutowicz, owner of Divetech, which organised the event.
Through donations and the sale of raffle tickets, the divers raised $2,500 for the Breast Cancer Foundation.
As well as being a fundraiser for the foundation, the event was also an opportunity to celebrate Cayman’s female dive instructors.
“The outpouring of support from all the other dive operators on island was incredible,” Mikutowicz said. “They supported their female instructors taking part in the event and helped supply tanks which is very generous.”
A torrential downpour in the morning didn’t deter the divers, who strapped their air tanks to their backs and headed down the dock into the water at Lighthouse Point in West Bay.
Divers followed a quarter-mile-long bright pink line (pink being the signature colour of Divetech) that had been strung from the dock, along the hard pan to the mini wall, past the underwater statue of the Guardian of the Reef, as far as the coral tree nursery, and then back to the dock.
Most of the divers who took part did at least one loop, with many doing several to bring the total mileage up to 58. After that number was reached, some of the divers returned to the water for victory laps, bringing the total to more than 60 miles.
“The overall vibe was great, for an industry currently digging our way out of a gigantic hole, everyone was happy, positive and optimistic about the future of the Cayman diving industry,” Mikutowicz said. “We will not let this year stop us.”
Among those who supported the fundraiser were Ocean Frontiers, Reef Divers, Red Sail, Aggressor, Off the Wall Divers, Sea Horse Divers, Tortuga Divers, Eco Divers, Cayman Diving, Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Department of Environment.
“We also had a lot of other sponsors who generously donated raffle prizes,” Mikutowicz said. “These sponsors are also struggling through a hard time at the moment, so to give vouchers for us to raffle in support of the Cayman Breast Cancer Foundation when … it is a struggle to keep their own doors open, shows the unity and true integrity of the people who live here.”
The annual PADI Women’s Dive Day was launched in 2015 and is celebrated worldwide on the third Saturday of July. Over the past five years, nearly 4,000 events have taken place, in which divers came together for a variety of reasons, including protecting ocean health and fundraising for charitable causes.