The turquoise blue waters of the Western Caribbean Sea surrounding the Cayman Islands are amazingly clear and support a stunning range of marine life. Here in Cayman, where underwater visibility often exceeds fifty meters, the relatively warm water and the lack of pollution mean that the sea around Cayman supports some of the healthiest reef structures in the world. As part of your Grand Cayman family activities, you can know more about the exotic marine life in the Cayman Islands.
Since the sea area around Cayman is protected by strict government regulations, the several different marine habitats around Cayman have been preserved for generations and now thrive with vivid corals and amazing varieties of marine life. However, many tours in Grand Cayman help you explore the reef systems around the islands, which is also a perfect way to enjoy a stress-free holiday in the Cayman Islands.
Fresh cool water from the deep sea channels as well as canyons that lie close to the shore teems with nutrients and is continuously supplied via natural means to the reef systems that abound here. The water also abounds in plankton for the reef fish to constantly feed upon.
You can discover the reef systems around Cayman by diving into the deep waters yourself or along with a diving guide or instructor. Discover some of the hard species found around Cayman such as Star Corals, Brain Corals and Sea Fans. Also, you can view dozens of types of amazing sponges such as Giant Barrel Sponges and others. These reef systems are big tourist attractions in Grand Cayman because of their rarity and uncommonness.
Also charismatic is the fish life here. The most popular variety is the Southern Stingray which visitors to Stingray City encounter in large numbers. Today, these stingrays are the Cayman Island’s most popular attraction. Many people are under the impression that stingrays are dangerous, however, they are not harmful unless they are harassed or someone accidentally stands on them. Other species of stingrays are also found here which include the Yellow Stingray and the Electric Ray.
Snorkelers and divers will come across several other species of fish such as the Stoplight Parrotfish, which resemble parrots on land with their shimmering green, pink, as well as yellow colours. Their most important task is to keep the reefs free from algae. You can also encounter the Spanish Hogfish, which have brilliant gold and purple scales, and schoolmasters, which are large and bright yellow fish that belong to the snapper family.
Other larger marine species also visit the reefs around Cayman and these include silvery tarpon and the Nassau Groupers. Although this species was once common all over the Caribbean, they are much rarer these days.
Unfortunately, many reefs in the region are suffering from severe coral death. However the reefs of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are of a more resilient variety and juvenile corals have been reported growing in this area. You can also view fish called the Lionfish, which has invaded the area. At deeper diving sites, there is a good chance of viewing the Caribbean Reef Shark while the shallower sites are home to Nurse Sharks, which usually sleep in the nooks of the reefs.
On the sandy bottoms and the Cayman walls, there is a good chance of viewing spotted Eagle Rays at close quarters. In the shallower reefs, you can easily view fish such as colourful Wrasses, squirrelfish, Basslets, and Angelfish. Also found are coral shrimps that hide inside the Barrel Sponges and even large green Moray Eels, which are usually snuggled in holes in the reefs. Many divers and snorkelers can also see wild turtles. The islands also have a healthy population of Green Turtles.
The bottom line is that the Cayman Islands have a truly wonderful marine environment. While Cayman welcomes everyone to view its splendid marine habitats, it is fast becoming our responsibility that these habitations are duly preserved intact for the coming generations.