Flying Over the Edge of Oblivionby Kelly Sullivan '15 • April 16, 2014
Little Cayman is an island roughly 11 miles long and 1 mile wide, small and remote, and this lends itself to diving extremely well. If Grand Cayman is like a knitting needle sticking straight up from the bottom of the ocean, Little Cayman is more of a long hair extending from the ocean floor.
I had not been to Little Cayman since I was six years old and had never been diving there. But I’d heard stories of this beautiful, untouched reef, with a wall (a “dropoff,” for those familiar with Finding Nemo) that would make me pause in awe.
The reality of Little Cayman is even better.
The top of the wall is in 15 feet of water and covered in soft corals. Sea fans the size of car tires rise from the coral and gorgonians (long, polyp-covered tubes of soft coral) six feet tall reach toward the surface. It was like a vast underwater rainforest in miniature; you couldn’t see the floor due to the density of species. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
When my brother jumped in just after me, we buddied up and headed for the edge of the wall, a vast area of blue where the soft coral just stopped. When we got to the brink, I realized that no story, no photo could capture this. From 15 feet underwater it dropped 6,000 feet straight down. With no holes, no nooks or crannies, it seemed crafted by a master mason.
Floating there was like standing at the Grand Canyon but seeing only blue fading into black. Swimming over the edge felt like flying over the edge of oblivion.