The third annual Scuba Shack Grand Cayman Pirate’s Weekend trip began on Nov. 6, 2014. Led by staff instructor Peter Katz, the group arrived at Cobalt Coast Resort and was warmly greeted by our host Arie Barendrecht and his staff. After checking in and a brief orientation to the resort, the group signed in at Dive Tech the onsite dive shop where we were given a briefing on their facilities (lockers, rinse tanks, etc.) as well as their shore diving locations (Cobalt Coast and Light House Point). Our long day of travel ended with a relaxing dinner seaside at Cobalt Coast’s restaurant.
Friday morning, after a pleasant buffet breakfast, we were transported to West Bay dock by Dive Tech for our two tank morning boat dives. Trinity Caves, a Cayman classic, and Victoria’s Secret were the dive sites selected that morning. The diving was typical Cayman, excellent visibility, no current, wall dive first; followed by an easy going shallow 50-60 foot reef dive. Highlights of the dives included seeing eagle rays and turtles. Bottom times were limited to 60 minutes (if you could manage your air well enough) with a 60 minute surface interval.
Transportation back to the resort was provided by Dive Tech. After a quick shower and change into dry clothes, we were off to Georgetown for lunch and a preliminary scouting expedition for the evening’s Pirates Week kickoff. Negotiating the nine passenger van we had rented for the weekend was an adventure unto itself, especially trying to get through the round-abouts on the “wrong” side of the road. Fortunately, neither people nor animals were harmed during our excursions. We had lunch in Paradise, a local watering hole right on Hog Sty Bay in Georgetown, where some of us decided to linger over local brews while others chose to shop. It was a quick trip back to Cobalt Coast for a change into our pirate garb, much to the delight of other guests staying at the resort and then, off to dinner at the Lobster Pot.
Dinner was served on the outside deck overlooking the harbor providing us with a superb view of the fireworks display. Afterward, we joined the throng in the streets of Georgetown for an evening of music and pirates.
Saturday dawned somewhat rainy, putting in question whether or not the pirate invasion and parade would be cancelled. Fortunately, the rain cleared prior to our two tank morning dives (Big Tunnels and the Doc Poulson). A quick trip back to the resort for lunch and dry clothes then back into Georgetown for the Pirate invasion. This year, following a cannonade of the port and the landing of the pirate ship, the pirates prevailed over the red coat defenders. Immediately following the invasion, the parade commenced. Perhaps not on the scale of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, but what it lacked in size it made up in enthusiasm.
After an afternoon standing in the sun watching the festivities, it was time to kick back and relax with an adult beverage and the soothing sound of waves lapping on the beach. Our intrepid revelers set off for the Tiki Beach Bar on Seven Mile Beach. We were afforded a lovely table by the beach overlooking the sun setting on the water where we could relive the day’s adventures. The evening was topped off with an incredible meal al fresco at the Calypso Grill in Morgan’s Harbor.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip occurred on Sunday. Our two tank morning boat dives took place on the north side of the island. We boarded our boat right at the Cobalt Coast pier for a short five minute ride to our first site, Ocean Point Ledge. A nice wall dive followed by an hour surface interval and then a mini-wall, Spanish Bay for another hour dive. It was a very short ride back to the pier for a quick lunch and then the fabled “treasure hunt dive”. Dive Tech has been sponsoring this shore for a number of years as a fund raiser for a local children’s welfare agency. It is open to the public for divers and snorkelers for a $25 fee, all of which is donated to the charity. Various businesses supply prizes that correspond to numbers on metal discs that are hidden in the waters of the dive site. This year we were fortunate enough to be able to use the pier right in front of Cobalt Coast as our point of entry. In past years we’ve used Dive Tech’s second location at Light House Point as the site of the treasure hunt. There were 82 divers and snorkelers participating in this event and although the objective was to find a coin, the dive was quite enjoyable. Our group quickly found the “treasure” coins and then spent over an hour exploring the mini-wall out in front of the resort. We were rewarded with a juvenile spotted drum, purple tipped anemone, lobsters, eels, and lettuce slugs. Immediately following the dive, prizes were awarded poolside at Cobalt Coast.
Our last night found us dining under the stars at The Wharf. We had a terrific meal complete with entertainment provided by the local tarpon that hang out in the water adjacent to our table. Alas, our trip was over and we all set off on Monday back to our homes with the vow to return for next year’s Pirates Weekend, only we will add another day – too many dive sites, too many restaurants, not enough time.