Red Sail Sports’ Passport to Paradise

by Walt Stearns

For great diving and other watersports, Grand Cayman has it all. With outstanding luxury resorts that provide a strong emphasis on service and watersports, it’s easy to say Grand Cayman is king of the hill. But before indulging in the world of the big blue and the pleasures of upscale accommodations, fine dining, tennis, golf or anything else you might desire, you will want to see red first. Red Sail Sports, that is.

Red Sail Sports is certainly one of the most extensive watersports operations on Grand Cayman. How extensive? Besides having additional locations on the Big Island of Hawaii, Aruba and Eleuthera in the Islands of The Bahamas, Red Sail offers just about everything related to water oriented activities: snorkeling, scuba instruction, services and excursions (including picnic/snorkel trips and sunset cruises), windsurfer, Hobie Cat and waverunner rentals, even parasailing and offshore gamefishing.

Red Sail Sports is quite serious about scuba diving. With a fully trained dive staff of more than four dozen, its dive boat fleet (nine in all) is the largest on Grand Cayman and works both the West and North Walls. Each vessel, ranging from 35 to 65 feet in length, was constructed specifically for diving. One of the most impressive West Wall boats is the recently acquired 51 foot, jet drive flattop built by Rob Shirley Custom Boats. Designed to handle 24 divers comfortably (a word that hardly begins to describe it), the West Wave should have been called the Nimitz (as in aircraft carrier) for its monstrous deck space and wide boarding ladders.

Red Sail’s menu of scuba certification courses is no small potatoes, either. Classes range from open water and advanced to a broad selection of specialty courses. Red Sail Sports is also one of the few facilities in the world sanctioned by the Handicapped Scuba Association.

Essentially, Red Sail Sports is in the business of making dive vacations happen. To prove this point, from September 1 through December 15, Red Sail Sports, in conjunction with Grand Cayman’s luxurious Hyatt Regency and Westin Casaurina Resort, has put together a special affair where guests can live the ‘Life of Riley’ for as little as $435 per person for a minimum stay of four days/three nights. Appropriately, this high style, low cost affair is called the ‘I Did It All’ fall special.

When it comes to the quality of accommodations at the Hyatt Regency or the Westin, think sumptuous. In addition to the stunning architecture and lush landscaping, each room is appointed with the highest quality furnishings. At the Hyatt, for example, each room has its own balcony with a view. Furthermore, personal services are abundant. If you want to schedule a massage after a hard day of fun in the sun, simply pick up the phone. Just about anything you could desire; beauty salon, exercise club, shops, pro golf shop, exquisite restaurants; is on the premises. For those preferring a condo atmosphere, accommodations can be provided at the Villas of the Galleon.

Close and convenient, Red Sail Sports operates from facilities on the main grounds and beachfront of the Hyatt Regency, and beachside at the Westin and Rum Point.

From the Seven Mile Beach Hyatt and Westin locations, daily morning two tank trips set out at 9:00 for Grand Cayman’s prime West Wall dive sites such as Orange Canyon, Big Tunnel, Little Tunnels and Trinity. Single tank trips follow at 2:00 pm on either of the two 45 foot flattops, Reef Spirit and Coral Spirit, or the new 51 foot West Wave. Escorted by a Red Sail divemaster, divers customarily descend to a maximum depth of 100 feet for a bottom time of 20 minutes. Following a brief rest and appropriate surface interval, the second dive is on one of West Wall’s numerous mid-reef sites, such as Spanish Anchor and Cemetery Reef, or a wreck site such as the Oro Verde or Doc Polson, which lie in the 50 foot range. Most afternoon and night dives are conducted on these same nearby shallow sites.

For excursions to the North Wall, Red Sail Sports’ 42 foot Newton Dive Special, North Wave, and custom 43 foot, wide beam inverted-V hull, Ocean Spirit, set out from the canal next to the Hyatt’s main hotel grounds. Similar to the two beach facility/launch point locations, the boat pier is only a short distance from both the North Wall and Stingray City.

Two tank morning dive trips (departing around 8:15) include a guided vertical descent on one of several wall sites, with a second dive on either the crest of another drop-off or a mid reef site. Divers frequently encounter anything from groups of Eagle Rays cruising the drop-off to medium and large groupers stalking prey in the wall’s ragged contours.

Trips depart at 1:30 pm from the same dock for a one tank dive in the celebrated shallows of Stingray City. This world-class undersea phenomenon is the only known site in the world where divers can routinely interact with exceptionally tame, large Southern Stingrays that congregate around the boats in mobs of a dozen or more.

Red Sail’s third and fourth North Wall boats include the 35 foot, 12 passenger, V-hull, Sea Spirit (more commonly used for custom private charters), and a 38 foot Delta, Rum Point Diver, docked at Rum Point.

Sharing the same dock as the Ocean Spirit and Sea Spirit, are Red Sail’s two mammoth 62 foot plus sailing catamarans, Spirit of Ppalu and Spirit of Cayman. Sporting a sleek racing profile and 2,700 square feet of sail, both boats offer a range of snorkel/picnic trips to Stingray City and sunset/dinner cruises for up to 49 guests comfortably. Of course, one of the most important trademarks of Red Sail Sports is its courteous, considerate and safety conscious staff.

In addition to great accommodations at a world-class resort and two full days of diving (which alone can add up to a $96 a day savings per person), and a T-shirt, guests also receive an ‘I Did It All’ Passport. During the September 1 to December 15 event, the passport offers a wide variety of discounts for meals, watersport activities, boutiques, vacation videos, car rentals and more. The discounts are valid during the diver’s package stay and can be used as often as desired.

Next to each coupon page in the passport is an entry/exit stamp site. When each represented establishment is patronized, a one time stamp and signature from the manager is added. The participant with the most stamped pages will receive a complimentary return trip to Grand Cayman (airfare provided by American Airlines) with three nights’ accommodations at the Hyatt Regency, followed by three nights at the Westin, free diving with Red Sail Sports, as well as free meals at several of the participating restaurants along Seven Mile Beach. If there should be a tie, contestants’ passports will be placed in a random drawing.

Between the elaborate accommodations and distinguished service from Red Sail Sports, as well as other vacation perks, wouldn’t it be nice to ‘do it all?’

For reservations or more information, contact Red Sail Sports at (800) 255-6425.