Below the Surface of the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Island’s tropical environment allows for several aquatic explorations. Not many places in the world offer so many options for visiting our gilled friends. My choice for my third day during my visit was the Atlantis Submarine. The Atlantis sub has been in operation for several years in the Caymans and has provided visitors with a window into the deep.
My outing began much in the same manner as the outing with the Jolly Roger. Again there was a group meeting at the pier, and again anticipation was high and clearly painted across the faces of all those present. On the shore, we were given the 411 on the other Atlantis Subs in Florida and in Bermuda. Upon digesting our new knowledge, we stepped onboard the Atlantis double-decker ferry.
It was necessary to take the premier voyage in order to reach greater depths where the Atlantis sub resided. As we all waited breathlessly staring out into the blue, a battalion of bubbles begin to congregate off to the right of the ferry. Suddenly, a small four-inch periscope emerged from the water. While we watched in awe, the grey top of the submarine emerged.
“It’s time for your entrance” boomed the ferry’s loudspeakers. A look of confusion washed over us all until a tiny portal opened on top of the sub. A waving hand appeared first, soon followed by a gentleman fully clothed in a white sailor’s outfit.
“Welcome to the Atlantis Submarine,” he bellowed and beckoned for the 15 of us to form a straight line, and instructed us to turn backwards and slowly descend into the darkened ladder of his newly opened portal.
Though we were all a little nervous, we managed to slide into the darkness without injury. My eyes adjusted to the dim light of the submarine, which came from a series two-foot clear portal windows set every four-feet apart.
As I pushed up against the sub window, I could see schools of brightly colored fish swimming in formation about 10 meters from the sub. As people crowded around the portals, the white garbed sailor announced this view was only the beginning.
My view to the front of the cabin revealed a huge glass orb set in the front of the sub. This portal provided ample viewing area for the captain to pilot our travels. During this time. I learned our travels would allow us to peer into the depths of the trench that separates the Caymans from Jamaica.
As we dove to a depth of thousand feet, a marvelous underwater world revealed itself. To the right, I saw stingrays gliding effortlessly through the water like eagles soaring the sky. To the left, I saw a vessel sunk by the government, which is destined to become a new coral reef and take its place as part of the environment. At this moment there were already scores of fish thriving near it.
“Notice the plants sticking up from the sand”, said the announcer. “Now take a closer look at those…plants. See something funny?” Indeed I did. The ferns sticking out of the ocean bottom disappeared whenever a fish swam close. Here I bore witness to Mother Nature’s wit, so cleverly disguising creatures to protect themselves.
Observing the majestic Giant Sea Turtle swimming carefree through the blue-green sea instantly imparted a sense of our earth’s infinite beauty into me. After spending an hour growing akin to the depths one begins to take stock of what’s important, and the value of spending more time communing with nature.
Written by Neftalie Williams