Passenger Pick of the Month
Eden Rock Diving Center
The Cayman Islands provide some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling. Passenger Picks customers tell us that Eden Rock Diving Center is a great place to begin a Cayman diving or snorkeling experience. If the beauty of Eden Rock and The Devil’s Grotto, with their coral reefs, caves and curtains of silverfish and tarpons sounds appealing, consider one of Eden Rock Dive Center’s guided snorkeling or one or two tank dive tours.
One of the best Cayman activities that all ages and stages can enjoy is to learn how to dive! We decided to catch up with Stuart Freeman of Eden Rock to ask him about his passion for diving and why Eden Rock has been so popular for years!
PP: Stuart, can you tell us a little history of Eden Rock? Where did the name come from?
SF: It is reputed to have been named after the Turtling Schooner Eden which was wrecked during a Northwester in the last part of the 1800s. Small parts of the wreck are still found.
PP: Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto, hasreputed to be the second and third best shore dive in the world! Stewart can you tell us why and some history behind this famous dive spot?
SF: The dive spot was found during the early days of the birth of diving in the Cayman Islands. It amazed the early divers that such a great dive site should be found so close to shore on the normally sheltered side of the island offering clear calm water only a short swim from shore.
PP: My husband and I learned how to dive later in life, and one of the most thrilling experiences in my dive life was to experience the Silver Sides at Devil's Grotto! What kind of fish are they? Are they in Cayman all year long? Why do they hang out in the caverns?
SF: Those are the Atlantic silverside, also known as spearing in the United States. Silversides are found in the shallow waters of Cayman in caves, tunnels and under overhangs. There are more in the summer months and can be found in the shallows close to beaches. The local fishermen used to catch them for bait with casting nets. They are a common subject of scientific research because of their sensitivity to environmental changes. The Atlantic silverside’s defense is to hide in dark crevices. They are also quick swimmers and their coloration of silver and a little white makes it confusing to the Tarpon predators to determine the direction the fish are heading. The silverside's strongest form of defense is the strength-in-numbers strategy, where fish will school in large numbers to diminish their chances of being the one picked off by a predator.
PP: I went on line to find photos of the famous "silver curtain" at Devils Grotto my favorite was several shots Ellen's Cuyalerts has taken but Cathy Church has photographed also. Why is this one of the most photographed site in the world?
SF: The moving curtain of Silversides is a fantastic subject for photographers. The Silversides constantly moving as large Tarpon and divers swim through the school of fish, many photos have been published in diving magazines around the world.
PP: When we were in the caverns why were these huge fish hanging out there? They were huge!
SF: The Tarpon hunt the Silversides.
PP: Can folks take a guided Dive through the caverns with Eden Rock?
SF: Yes one of our most popular programs is the 2 tank guided dive with one of our instructor guides, the guide’s make sure you see the best parts of the reefs.
PP: My snorkelers love Eden Rock for many come every year to see the best selection of all kinds of tropical fish. Why do they hang out at Eden Rock? Also can they rent equipment to snorkel or dive with you?
SF: Tourists love to hang out at the shop and enjoy the easy entry into calm clear water, besides the tropical fish, coral and sponges they can watch the divers below exploring the caves. Some of them take the plunge and do a Discover Scuba course and dive, which takes about 3 hours.
PP: How long has your dive operation been in existence? What is your dive max?
SF: Magreta and I opened Eden Rock Diving Center in March 1983. The max numbers depends on the type of program we are doing for guided dives 6 divers, Discover Scuba 4 students.
PP: Can folks take a Padi course on line and do their open water with you once they are on the island?
SF: Yes the PADI E-learning course is very popular after doing the theory on line students can complete their practical and open water dives in 3 days. We also offer referral dive for students who have complete everything with an instructor at home and just need the 4 open water dives.
PP: If folks have a whole week to spend can they get certified through you?
SF: Yes we offer the PADI Open Water course and Advanced Open Water course.
PP: Do you have a recreational diver’s class so folks could taste what diving is like?
SF: Yes the Discover Scuba Course and dive takes 3 hours and allows the beginner to enjoy a dive, they then can do repeat dives during their vacation.
Take the plunge and discover the beauty of Eden’s Rock and The Devil’s Grotto. Start at Eden Rock Diving Center and make memories that will last a lifetime and keep you coming back toenjoy the beauty of the Cayman Islands.