"" Writer's Wanderings: Remembering The Cayman Diving Lodge

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Remembering The Cayman Diving Lodge

It wasn't long after we were certified as scuba divers that we took our first dive trip. Unfortunately I didn't date my pictures but the year was 1998 because earlier that year was when we became official divers. One of the things that was stressed in our dive course was that we should always take care of our own equipment. We arrived at the Cayman Diving Lodge, East End, and the first thing they told us was to set our rental equipment out at our door so they could take it down to the boat in the morning. What we didn't realize was that they would set it up for us. They took care of it for our whole stay.

Our dives were spectacular. The dive lodge was a bit rustic. We returned for several years in a row. We enjoyed the room at the front with a view but sometimes there was a sewer smell in the shower. We solved it by putting something over the drain when we didn't use it. 

Meals were included and were excellent. There was no TV in the rooms but there was a common area where we ate that had a TV at the bar. More often than not though we would sit and watch dive video from our day's dives on the TV. 

The Diving Lodge dogs were a favorite part of everyone's day. Upon our return from diving, they would greet us at the dock. There was a story that one of the dogs went out with the divers one morning and then decided he'd had enough. He jumped in the water and started swimming toward shore. When it was discovered he was gone, everyone thought he was lost at sea. Late that afternoon he showed up in time to greet the divers on their return from the afternoon dives.

One of my favorite non-diving memories was laying on the dock one clear warm night. We were just enjoying the relaxing slight breeze and the sparkling stars. Suddenly on of those stars streaked across the sky. We both blinked and looked at each other. Did we really see what we thought we saw? We continued to watch and were rewarded with several sightings of shooting stars. Now I realize we were there during the Perseids Meteor Shower. 

In 2001, we had planned a dive trip for our anniversary in September. Our first grandchild was due in late October or early November. We felt safe in following through with our plans. After all, first babies always came late. Right? Wrong. He decided to come early.  On the day of our anniversary, we came in from our morning dive to find the office girl running down to the boat, shouting our names. There was an email and a picture (all this before cell phones and Facetime). Postscript: That grandchild has been diving with us since he turned 11.

Unfortunately the Diving Lodge was destroyed when Hurricane Ivan devastated the Cayman Islands in 2004. We sadly passed the ruins as we headed to a new dive operation--Ocean Frontiers. While there was a great effort to try to rebuild, the Diving Lodge could never recover and eventually the property went up for sale. The three large palm trees still stand there marking the spot where so many enjoyed terrific diving experiences and the fellowship of fellow divers. Many divers fondly remember the Diving Lodge and occasionally great dive stories are shared.

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