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Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

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Springfield,IL
posts: 97
reviews: 12
Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

I am seeking some help in locating a dive operator who will be able to accomodate my 11 y.o. daughter to do her OW certification dives and set us both up with some diving after she is done. She has just completed her pool and classroom sessions and we are going to be on island staying at VOG from March 25th to April 2nd. Does anyone have any knowledge of an operator who can accommodate us? We have our own gear so that is not an issue. 50 cu tanks would be a plus for her but she can get by with the 63 cu if necessary. Any help would be appreciated. I just don't know where to start because I know there are so many good dive operators on the island. Thanks!!

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,507
reviews: 41
1. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

Where on the island are you staying? There are so many good ops that you will be truly spoiled for choice so go with who is convenient for you. We used Red Sail Sports for ourselves, our kids (everyone is DM's or MD's all though RSS). We also had many of their friends take courses with RSS. We were based by the Hyatt so it made good sense and their reputation is great, however, while everyone will give you names, there is absolutely no best. It is a very highly competitive and regulated business and the bar is set very high across the boards. With regard to tank size you may not get the smaller tank (my daughter was a real lightweight) and we wanted them too, but they are not easy to come by on an island. I would definitely recommend that call and make arrangements for her cert before you go. Nowadays most people do the e-learning, referrals are becoming rare. You will want to make sure they have a DM set aside for her so best them know beforehand so they can set up the staff rosters accordingly. When you say where you are based, we can happily chime in with different ops, if you have one in-house, go with them. Almost all the ops will do pick up/drop off, they all do the same basic dive profiles (2 tank deep 100ft / 80ft for your jr. diver followed by a shallow 50ft buddy team dive). You picked a truly wonderful place for your child to cert -- happy diving to you!!!

Edited: 8:23 am, February 01, 2013
Springfield,IL
posts: 97
reviews: 12
2. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

We are staying at Villas of the Galleon. She will just need her 4 Open Water Certification dives. All other learning is complete. I do not want to take her on the typical 2 tank boat dive because the first dive is too deep for her. Thanks.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
posts: 3,014
reviews: 1
3. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

I dove with my son a fair amount on GC when he was 11. Like Retrip said all of the dive ops are very good. We always dove with Ocean Frontiers on the East End as that is where we stay and I can't recommend them enough. Although they are not very convenient to where you are staying. We did lots of 2 tank boat dives when my son was 11. On the first dive which is a wall dive we jus stayed up on top of the wall and followed the bubbles it is very easy to do. As he got better and his buoyancy improved we would go a little deeper. He is actually a better diver than me now at 15 as his buoyancy control is excellent and he uses no air. Although all kids are different and only you can decide how deep to take your daughter we started diving the walls with the group to about 100ft when my son was probably around 12 after about 30 or so dives in GC.

B.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,553
reviews: 69
4. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

waterboy, diveops tend to know what the limitations are for these junior divers, and will put together plans accordingly. Friends of ours took their son down and he did the Junior OWC dives with Divetech and they dove with them the rest of the week, even doing the Kittiwake. They made sure that dives were shallow enough not to exceed the Junior OW requirements.

I agree with others that there are many excellent dive ops on Cayman, and I have experience with only a few. Most will pick you up from the Villas of the Galleon, too.

Suggest you get in touch with the different dive ops soon and tell them what you are looking for, and see how willing they are to accommodate you and whether they will pick you up.

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,507
reviews: 41
5. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

The dive ops will not let your junior diver go too deep. As a jr diver she is allowed to go with a DM/Instructor to 80 feet. They will keep her at that. You are allowed to go to 100ft with a DM (unless you are one). The buddy dives are kept at 50ft. This is completely within the safety limitations of all the scuba certification agencies. I guarantee you that working DMs on the island are completely and totally aware of what is and is not allowed (much more than any diver with a recreational certification). With regard to how easy diving is -- go to stay-focused.org and see what those kids do despite the limitations they have. Every move they make is completely monitored and the guys and gals in the water with them are Red Sail, Divers Down, etc. Not only are they well aware of the limitations on junior divers, they are well aware of limitations on jr divers who are handicapped, etc. You will be very pleasantly surprised by the level of expertise -- not like diving Mexico etc. Trust these people, they really know what they are doing!!!

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
posts: 3,014
reviews: 1
6. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

The PADI depths are all recommendations they are not regulations or hard and fast rules. The important thing is that each and every dive the skills of the diver are assessed and appropriate dive plans are made in regards to depth, bottom time etc. As i said my son just turned 15 and he has done probably 30+ dives in the last 4 years that were around 100 feet deep. He is an excellent diver and as his parent and dive buddy I felt there was no danger. I have seen many OW and AOW divers that I felt should never even get in the water in the first place but that is a whole different discussion :)

B,

Springfield,IL
posts: 97
reviews: 12
7. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

Thanks for the replies. I am aware that the depth limits are just guidelines. I am only OW certified but have been diving for 10 years and regulary been at 80, 90, or 100 feet deep. I just want her first experience with diving to stay less than 50 feet or so. She is excited and can't wait. She has done very well in the pool and classroom. I will email some dive ops for more info. Thanks again!

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,507
reviews: 41
8. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

I think Booya hit the nail. In some places we have been I have been not been happy with the equipment, in particular air. When my kids first started many years ago, 12 was the the age and my son certified. A very very good friend who was a DM/Instructor looked at my daughter's size and said that while PADI had dropped the age to 10, he was not a fan. We waited for her to grow abit. He actually was an instructor in GC who could have happily gotten our money, but his advice to wait was worth all the money we could have paid a local shop to say she was age appropriate. He worried about the bubbles in growing muscle etc. It is because of him that we actually started going back to GC for all additional certs for us and for our kids. That truly is the kind of feedback. He wasn't about saying our kid had great snorkel skills, comfort in the water, etc. He actually looked at dive science in growing tissue and gave up a lucrative gig. For me it doesn't get any better!

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
posts: 3,014
reviews: 1
9. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

I have a younger son who wants to get certified but I am going to wait a bit. At the same age as my older son he is bigger, stronger and more physically talented but he does not have the mental maturity that my oldest son had at that age. Diving with your kids is wonderful but it is also stressful as a parent as you (or at least I do) feel like you constantly have to watch them underwater. I think also young kids have different issues diving than adults. Their ears don't clear as easy as their ear canals are smaller. I think they get sea-sick easier on boats. My kids also get cold much easier because they have very little body fat. My oldest dives in the Caribbean in a full 5mm and hood.

B.

BVI
posts: 9
reviews: 6
10. Re: Diving with my 11 year old daughter....

Lobster Pot Dive Center has a really cool shore dive very close to the dive shop and they have ladders that go down into the shallow water from their dock so you can get in and out easily. I beleive they use the reef for dive training because it's so easy to get to, the swim to the reef from the shore is a very gentle slope down so it's ideal if you have problems equalizing and because it's fairly shallow - no deeper than 40ft, which is the depth limit for 10 and 11 year olds.

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