Franko’s Map of The Cayman Islands is my first and original Caribbean Islands map which I began to draw in 1999 but it wasn’t finished until January 3 2007! Fortunately in the mean while I produced my first Cayman Islands product about three years before the completion of this map. That first item was Franko’s Cayman Islands Reef Mini-Map and Reef Creatures Identification Guide. It is a 6”x9” map of Grand Cayman Caymna Brac and Little Cayman showing the names and locations of over 100 of the most notable scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the Cayman Islands as well as 100 or so species of the most common Caribbean coral reef creatures found in Cayman Islands waters. Over the years I had been working on the Cayman Islands map but the task proved to be extremely daunting. I took a rather rudimentary version of my Franko Maps and turned it into a mini-map/reef creatures ID instead. After something like 12000 or 15000 of these had sold and I am slightly know in the Cayman Islands dive shop community at last the whole detailed map is finished. Life technology and the whole world has changed since I started in 1999 and there is not an adequate answer for how the evolution of my life and this map delayed it’s finishing but at last it is finished! In the mean time I have fallen in love with the Cayman Islands. I’m still finding more and more out about them even as the first edition of Franko’s Map of The Cayman Islands is finished and I already want to do the next edition even before the first edition arrives. This is because subsequent editions always require a personal visit for more of what I call “research.” I MUST return to the Cayman Islands to dive hike explore visit Caymanian folks enjoy Caymanian cuisine and do Caymanian things in order to update and upgrade the map for the next edition. Although I think I know Grand Cayman fairly well – having toured every mile of it’s roads having dove it’s magnificent walls coral gardens and of course Stingray City as well as having flown a small aircraft all around the island while hanging out the window with a camera – I still need more Cayman Islands time to do the job. In August 2006 I went to Grand Cayman with my daughter to finish the “research” for the first edition of Franko’s Map of The Cayman Islands. People often ask if I need a “research assistant” to do my job. Well actually I do recruit a lot of help – usually local help – but in this case my college student daughter became my helper. In fact she took scuba lessons at Divetech on the north end of Grand Cayman’s west end at the Cobalt Coast Resort. Finally I have a dive buddy in my own family! And what a beautiful spot to learn to dive! We found out that Grand Cayman lives up to it’s name “GRAND” Cayman. Before you ask Yes of course we dove at Stingray City. You simply have to do the world’s best 12 ft. deep dive. Stingray City also has a resident old green moray eel who practically cuddled with us. I guess he was like a puppy thinking if he acts cute enough we’ll feed him. We stroked his extraordinary smooth skin but we kept our fingers well a way from the toothy end! He was virtually blind with cataracts and we didn’t think it was wise to give him a choice between fingers and squid. Of course I had read and heard about Stingray City before. The internet and books give you tons of information. In addition getting information from books the internet dive show brochures and dive magazines I relied on local folks for information for much of what I know about Grand Cayman and nearly all of what I know about Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Fortunately local folks love to talk about their paradise so the information on this Cayman Islands map was not that difficult to obtain. There is no substitute for local knowledge when it comes to good guidance on a Franko Map. From Gearge Town to Hell and from Seven Mile Beach to East End to Rum Point thank-you to anyone and everyone who talked to me made corrections on my map or fed me! Notable helpers were at Ocean Frontiers Red Sail Sports Divers Down Divetech Cobalt Cost Resort Eden Rock Dive Center Sunset House Don Foster’s Ivan at Hell Sport’s Supply Reef Check (in California) The Department of Tourism and THE Cayman expert himself Mr. Jim Dailey who also serves as a great distributor for Franko’s Map products in The Cayman Islands. Jim has resided in the Cayman Islands since 1959 and has seen every bit of the modern development and evolution of these wonderful Islands as they have become a jewel in the British West Indies. Further thanks go to Grand Cayman’s own resident artist/scientist Dr. Guy Harvey who’s underwater art is like no other and inspires me so-o-o much. Similar thanks to Grand Cayman’s Cathy Church who’s underwater photography is right up there with Guy Harvey’s work in inspiring me. Also Mr. Jean-Michel Cousteau who at New Orleans dive conference a few years ago took a look at my first prototype of this map and encouraged me by introducing me to a lot of Cayman Islands folks who led me on with fabulous information. Although I’ve put together a huge research project in the form of a Franko Map I always could use more time in the Cayman Islands. I will definitely be “required” to return again. The sooner the better! Most folks understand that every map is actually a continuous work in progress. It is never finished. The map maker finally just has to quit and call it “done.” That is the case with this years-long project of making a dive and guide map of the Cayman Islands. For example I could put more details into George Town if I had another few years. I could put a few more details about the dive sites if I had a few more years there too. I have an idea that this project has taken so much time that it will be years before it actually pays me but can I call this “work”? I love it! The hard part is that it is tough for yours truly the map maker (“cartographer” if you wish) to get enough time in any give place. However I have found that the Cayman Islands are a wonderful favorite world class destination with lots to see and do plus some of the world’s best scuba diving and snorkeling and more than that the people are the greatest. I love the Cayman Islands. I’m very proud to represent the Cayman Islands on a Franko Map.
Franko’s Map of The Cayman Islands Side 1 The front side of my map shows Grand Cayman as a separate map and the Sister Islands Little Cayman and Cayman Brac together as another map. Each island is mapped in a unique style that shows the beauty of the island and the surrounding Caribbean Sea. Every detail of the coast can be clearly seen along with a unique depiction of the bathymetry (underwater topography) so the viewer can visualize how the waters just beyond each island’s shore plunges into the deep. This view helps the viewer to see how unusual the Cayman Islands really are as they rise up from the deep to just above the surface. Map coloring shows you where it is green and covered by thick Cayman forest or where it is a swampy mangrove or where it is a city. All of the main roads as well as a few trails are shown as well so this is the perfect navigation map as you cruise around in your left-hand-drive rental car. This way of depicting islands on a map is new and unique (as are all Franko Maps) and the colors are truly beautiful just as they are in real life. This map will inspire you to visit and return to the Cayman Islands because it shows you how absolutely beautiful they are. However Franko’s Map of The Cayman Islands is not just a pretty picture but it is full of useful information as we. To start there are descriptions of and dive flags locating Grand Cayman’s most notable dive spots although the West End of Grand Cayman are detailed on side 2 of the map. There are over 150 dive sites shown just on Grand Cayman and then well over 50 more on each of the Sister Islands. Since the number one activity of visitors to the Cayman Islands is diving and snorkeling and since the underwater is so note worthy and magnificent this subject is destined to dominate the map. Many of the dive sites also include a few lines of accurate descriptions to represent what might be seen on the dive site. Of course dive spots like everything in nature is rather dynamic so on any dive you will definitely see things that I did not mention. Like other Franko Maps related to islands or coast areas I also had to depict the 100 or so species of the local coral reef creatures that you will most likely see on any given dive or snorkeling excursion. This is a way to add even more color what is probably the most colorful map ever made to begin with. To describe the Cayman Islands dive scene I have description summarizing each island – one for Grand Cayman one for Little Cayman and one for Cayman Brac. These descriptions are accurate generalizations. Of course the map is not a book so space for words is very limited so I had to abridge what I would like to have said. Here is what I wrote on the map itself to describe the dive scenes for each of the three islands:
GRAND CAYMAN DIVING The reefs and walls of Grand Canyon are absolutely amazing. An underwater photographer could spend a lifetime on over 250 named dive sites all around the island. Many of the dive sites feature drop-offs stunning walls and canyons. Access is easy as well with numerous shore accessible dives especailly along Seven Mile Beach but just as many that require boating in with one of the island’s expert dive operators. With all of the walls and towering formations loaded with colourful sponges intricate corals and a myriad of reef fishes invertebrates and pelagic species it is interesting that Grand Cayman’s most famous dive is Stingray City. This incredible dive takes place in no more than 12 feet of water in the top end of North Sound. For tons of cruiseship passengers novice snorkelers and families Sandbar also features a fleet of southern stingrays and is so shallow that visitors can stand on the sand and interact with the friendly stingrays. The reefs and walls all around Grand Cayman are excellent dive spots. Trinity Caves on the west side Princess Penny’s Pinnacle on the north side or Scuba Bowl on the east side are favorites but who is to say what is the best? The splendor of Grand Cayman diving is that any one of 250+ sites can be the best on a given dive. Night diving is excellent too. A favorite night dive is at the Divetech Reef right next to the Cayman Turtle Farm.
LITTLE CAYMAN DIVING The smaller of the Sister Islands Little Cayman’s only industry is it’s world-class diving. This is owed to the natural wonder of Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson Bight Wall. The dives on Little Cayman are spectacular dramatic fabulous and exotic. At the intersection of Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson Bight Wall is a favorite dive known as Mixing Bowl with a fish-filled sloping sandy flat leading to the drop-off. Shore diving at Cumber’s Caves west of Jackson Bay begins in just 18 feet of water and leads to the awesome wall. Other favorites include Marilyn’s Cut Joy’s Joy and Nancy’s Cup of Tea. Little Cayman has dozens of incredible dives as highlighted below. Snorkelers find Point ‘O Sand to be a great family picnic spot as well.
CAYMAN BRAC DIVING Cayman Brac’s north and south shores are equally renowned for world-class diving. Caribbean trade winds however make the north side the most inviting. Sand chutes lead to the spectacular wall drop-off at just 50 feet depth. The varied sponges and corals are colourful and full of reef creatures. The southern wall has beautiful spur-and-groove channels leading to the sheer drop-off. Cayman Brac also boasts one of the most popular and famous wreck dives in the Caribbean – the Soviet warship MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts which was scuttled in 1996 in 50 to 80 feet of water. Another favorite dive is Strawberry Sponge Wall which is full of its namestake sponges on the drop-off. The Lost City of Atlantis is a new underwater sculpture adjacent to Radar Reef at Stake Bay. Radar Reef is often regarded as the best shore dive with it’s excellent macro critters in the shallows. Next to East Chute Reef is the Cayman Mariner which is a special night dive where you will illuminate the big eyes of squirrelfish. The list of great dives around Cayman Brac is extensive and all are superb.
- Weight: 2.05 lb
- Width: 24 in
- Depth: 0.08 in
- Height: 18 in