5 Tips For Wall Diving For Beginner Scuba Divers – Grand Cayman

5 Tips for Wall Diving for Beginner Scuba Divers

In our video about Grand Cayman, one of the top ten tips for maximizing the experience is making the most out of wall diving. If you are approaching your first-ever wall dive, or just curious to learn about what makes wall diving so attractive to scuba divers, stay tuned for 5 tips for beginner wall divers.

What’s the appeal?

Dive sites such as the North Wall in Grand Cayman are bucket-list level experiences. There is also fantastic wall diving everywhere from British Columbia to Indonesia.  But what makes wall diving so attractive to scuba divers?

First off, the topography. Using the North Wall as an example, it goes down thousands of feet. The scale and scope is very humbling, and the canyons and crevices in the wall make it an even more interesting dive. Plus, you can see large, healthy coral formations that are fed by currents.

Another plus factor for wall diving is that the navigation is fairly easy. The depth is intimidating, but as long as you keep the wall on one side of you going one way, and on the other side coming back, that’s all there is to it.

So, now that you’re sold, how do you ensure safety and success?

Five factors to consider before you go wall diving

This is important with every dive, but especially with wall dives. Your depth affects your no-decompression limit and gas consumption. The reason you want to be especially aware of depth on wall dives is because it can become disorienting. Looking down to see blue water, which gradually fades to dark blue, and then to black, can cause you to lose your sense of depth. You could be keeping an eye on a topographical feature of the wall, but you could actually be at an angle, causing you to drop lower than you expect.

If you’ve got a huge wall at depth and the tidal action is moving water, you’re going to have to push one way or the other. As with any dive with current, always start your dive going into the current, meaning you have the current with you on your return.

This also applies to any dive, but wall dives especially. The first thing you should do is pick which parts you want to dive, drop down, swim into the current and then come up the wall and be shallower on the way back. This will help your decompression profile, gas consumption, and give you the help of the current coming back. It will also make the second half of the dive much easier than the first half as your energy starts to run out.

This is for a number of reasons:

  • So that you don’t damage the coral, or get caught in it!
  • To have the best sense of scale. If you come off of the wall and look at it as a whole picture you will really get the “wow” effect that makes scuba divers love this type of diving so much

Don’t be transfixed by just staring at the wall, because you might miss something! This could be anything from a pod of dolphins, to whales, to sharks. Always keep half an eye out on the “big blue”

Looking for other kinds of diving and dive sites? Be sure to check out our video on scuba diving the USS Kittiwake in Grand Cayman.

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Meet James Blackman

With a career in diving spanning twenty years, James has seen a thing or two in the dive industry. James grew up on the Southwest coast of Britain and learned to dive in the frigid waters of the English Channel. If your first dives were like being placed in a cocktail shaker full of cabbage soup and you come away with a love for the sport, then you know it’s going to be a life-long pursuit.

James spent his twenties in the British merchant marine which afforded him the opportunity to travel to and dive in far flung locales… 177 countries and counting. Between stints onboard a variety of vessels, James used his shore leaves to level up his scuba training… Rescue diver in Tanzania, DM in Indonesia, Instructor in Honduras, Tec Instructor in the French West Indies.

His last ship before moving to a shore-based life style was an expedition ship where he notched up some of his most impressive dives, including briefly holding the world record for most northerly scuba dive… 82 degrees north in the Russian arctic; diving the Amazon river; the Antarctic; and virgin reef systems in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Moving ashore in his early thirties, James took on the role of General Manager for a luxury dive operator in St Martin and never had a dull moment! Hollywood visited the island and called upon James’ underwater skills for on-set safety. When Cat-3 hurricane Gonzalo devastated the area, James switched hats to salvage and public safety diver to help with the recovery.

Scuba Diving has given so much to James in his life… and first on that list is his brilliant wife Karina whom he met whilst teaching her AOW class! Yes, that old cliché! James and Karina are also business partners and co-owners of two power-house scuba brands. Miami Technical Diving has become the premiere scuba training facility in South Florida. Tired of seeing other dive shops compete in a ‘race to the bottom,’ James decided his model for teaching scuba would focus on keeping the quality as high as possible; using the best gear possible; teaching beyond the minimum standards on a 1-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio. The fullness of the MTD training calendar shows that people – student divers – prefer to receive premium, quality tuition, as opposed to cheap and fast.

James is the personality and knowledge broker behind ‘Divers Ready!’ a super influential Scuba Diving YouTube channelwebsite and brand. In just a year, Divers Ready! has become the fastest growing You Tube channel in the Scuba Diving niche, with 1000s of new divers joining every month. Their weekly videos range from Mouthpiece Mondays – where James shares his insider knowledge and opinions about controversial topics in the dive industry – to practical ‘hints & tutorial’ style videos, all with one simple goal in mind – to make you a better diver!

James and Karina started small group luxury dive trips for the Divers Ready! audience.

James and Karina live in Miami, FL with their rambunctious dogs; Ziggy The Husky and Bonham the Mutt, and their Maine Coon cat Foxy, who remains unimpressed.