THE SOUTH SOUND SHUFFLE
2009-02-08 @ 14:20:30
Grand Cayman unfortunately isn’t beautiful tropical weather 24/7, 365 days a year. Every now and again we have to pack up shop for a while and batten down the hatches when a hurricane decides to swing our way. Also we occasionally have cold fronts that swing down this way from the states which usually produce big swells coming from the north to the North West which makes it difficult to impossible to get our boats on the dock.
In the event of a ‘nor’wester’, it’s not the end of the world. We still get to go diving! Yey! We do ‘The South Sound Shuffle’. We can’t get our boats docked on the west. But we can get them docked on the south. At a public dock called Red Bay.
This is what we do for the shuffle;
We arrive at work at 7a.m. Bright and breezy. We then bring the tank truck down from the top car park and load it with tanks, dive crew gear, drinking water, oranges and a kayak to get out to the moored boat which will be either in south sound or red bay sheltered from the swells of the nor’wester. Then it’s all hands on deck (everyone in or on the tank truck), off to Red Bay to drop the captain off to pick the boat up and then everyone carries the required amount of tanks down the dock. 2 at a time.
Once everything is at the end of Red Bay dock it’s back to sunset to wait for the guests. We do a roll call; get everyone’s equipment on the tank truck then everybody loads up in our brand new silver van. Then it’s a 10 minute drive back to Red Bay. We let the captain know we are on the way so he can get ready to dock the boat so it’s ready when we get there.
Guests and gear load up on the boat then it’s out for the morning dives on the south side. Famous for dives like Chinese Gardens and Bullwinkle’s reef which is known for its stag and elk horn coral. We also have excellent chances of seeing eagle rays and sleeping nurse sharks. There are a lot of amazing swim through’s to keep up busy as well.
When the boat gets back, we take the guests back to Sunset with their gear. One member of staff drives the tank truck with the gear; the other takes the guests back in the silver bus. Whoever is left over takes the empties back to the end of the dock and waits for the tank truck to get back to load the empties and pick everyone (the staff and maybe a Divemaster candidate or two) back up.
On these days, most of the operators on the west and the north run off the one jetty. Most days it works out pretty well and almost everyone helps each other out. We all try and help each other out by making room on the dock for other people. Trying not to hog the dock with the boats and helping each other with the carrying of the tanks up and down the jetty. It can get hectic on some days with everyone operating down there but like I say, we all do our best to help each other out. There’s a good camaraderie between a lot of the operators.
Once we all get back, we put everything away and keep our fingers crossed that it lies down for the following day so we can get our boat in our own dock. Then it’s lunch time!
We hope this paints a picture for you of what we do when we have to go south.