Divers spent 639 hours underwater and raised at least $10,000 for the Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation on Saturday in the annual Women’s Dive Day challenge.
Divetech in West Bay organised the event, which attracted more 130 participants locally as well as support and donations from the dive community overseas.
Joanna Mikutowicz, owner of Divetech, told the Cayman Compass that this year’s Women’s Dive Day was the most successful one yet for the dive operator.
“We had over 130 divers come and join in the event, and so many people from overseas call in donations because they can’t be here to join us this year, and so many wonderful raffle prizes,” she said.
In honour of the 2.3 million people diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, the goal of this year’s challenge was for divers cumulatively to spend 639 hours – the equivalent of 2.3 million seconds – in the water.
“Between everyone diving at the event, people diving elsewhere in Cayman and the Sister Islands, and dive groups that ‘joined’ in all the way from Hawaii to Nova Scotia to Florida, we exceeded our goal of 639 hours,” Mikutowicz said.
The divers in Cayman spent 396 hours in the water, which Mikutowicz said was impressive, considering the Cayman Islands is still closed to tourists. Participants diving in other locations “pushed us over our goal of 639 hours”, she added.
Mikutowicz said the total number of dive hours were still being tallied, with people who had dived at other sites locally or overseas sending in the bottom times logged on their dive computers.
On Saturday, divers started turning up as early as 7:30am to give themselves enough time to get in a dive or two in the morning. And divers were still emerging from the water late in the afternoon as raffle prizes were being handed out and celebratory drinks served.
“The outpouring of support for this event from the community, other dive operators and the hard work of the Divetech staff and volunteers made it successful,” Mikutowicz said, “and I am truly honoured that we can make such a large contribution to the Breast Cancer Foundation.”
Among the dive operators who donated tanks and other resources to the event were Off the Wall Divers, Ocean Frontiers and Red Sail.
The annual PADI Women’s Dive Day was launched in 2015 and is celebrated worldwide on the third Saturday of July.