Summer is in full swing and Red Sail Sports is geared up with a variety of watersports adventures for families who want to spend quality time together above and below the crystal clear waters of the Cayman Islands. Famous for its world-class dive sites, perfect weather conditions, impressive safety record and beautiful Seven Mile Beach, Cayman is the perfect place to bring the whole family on vacation, both divers and non-divers. This safe, English-speaking, British Territory is just an hour’s flight from Miami, and it offers top-notch hotels, resorts and condos. In no time, visitors are on the beach soaking up the sun or checking out dive gear for their first dive.
“We feel like we are back in our happy place, and we can’t wait to get down to the beach,” says regular visitor Julie Franken of Jacksonville FL. “From the minute we step off the plane and walk into the terminal, we have to pinch ourselves to believe that we are back and it that has already been a year.”
Franken is part of an extended family of 12 from Jacksonville, FL that vacations in Cayman every July, and they just enjoyed their 10th trip to the island. Matriarch Molly Johnson, her children and grandchildren gather at two family condos at Morritt’s Tortuga Club on Grand Cayman’s East End. Watersports activities with Red Sail Sports / Tortuga Divers are central to their plans because the family includes 6 certified divers and 6 non-divers who love spending time in the water.
“It has not occurred to us to go anywhere else because it’s just so perfect there. You can go and do anything you want to do, everything Cayman has to offer,” says Franken. “I just think East End is perfect for us – the beauty, the constant breeze, the sunrise, the stars at night – it’s almost as if you can touch the sky!”
“Making sure the whole family has a great time on Grand Cayman is a priority for Red Sail Sports and Tortuga Divers, it always has been,” said Rod McDowall Operations Manager. Red Sail Sports, the parent company for Tortuga Divers based at Morritt’s Tortuga Club, has been offering first-rate dive services for 25 years. A number of scuba experiences are available for the whole family, whether they are certified to dive or not.
During the past 10 years, several members of the Johnson family have completed their Open Water certification in Cayman. A couple of the kids took the plunge this summer; 18-year-old Mary Franken enrolled in a Learn to Dive Resort Course and her cousin, 8-year-old sister Elena Rankin became a “bubble maker”. As a resort student, Mary learned the basics of scuba in the swimming pool, got comfortable with the gear and then enjoyed two guided shallow dives in the sea with an instructor. Elena also learned scuba basics in the pool and made a short dive in the shallow end with a dive instructor. Mary Franken is so excited about diving she plans to become a certified diver before next summer.
“These experiences are the perfect way to introduce kids to scuba and help them learn about the sea,” says McDowall. “Mary and Elena could be our future divers and the next generation of environmentalists.” He adds that Red Sail Sports also offers the SASY (Supplied Air Surface for Youth) program that allows kids to gear up and blow bubbles while swimming around on the surface of the pool, but just watching the action below.
Red Sail Sports operates dive and watersports shops across Grand Cayman, from Seven Mile Beach to East End to North Side, so no matter where guests stay on the island Red Sail Sports has their watersports needs covered. Families can enjoy glass-bottom boat trips to the Stingray Sandbar, Catamaran snorkel trips, sunset sails and dinner sails, and all the beach sports that include windsurfing, kayaking and more. A Waverunner Safari allows groups to take wave runners to snorkel spots on the reef or into the mangroves together. Cayman’s reefs are so diverse that each stop offers plenty of colourful and unique sights. A safari through the mangroves offers a close-up look at the ecosystem that keeps the water clean, protects the shoreline of the island and provides a nursery for young fish.
Julie Franken says they spend every day on “Cayman time”, whether they are diving and snorkelling Stingray City, exploring the Wreck of the Kittiwake, swimming at Smith Cove, or just hanging out together and relaxing on the beach. “We love sitting and watching the view of the ocean and the sound of the wind,” she says, “but a week is never enough. We are always talking about what we will do next year when we come back.”
“The Johnson family is a living example that ‘the family that plays together stays together,’” said Rod McDowall. “Red Sail Sports is here to make sure they make the most of their time together, so they go home with new memories to add to their long list of happy times in the Cayman Islands.”