I recently discovered a new and awesome snorkel site. Its right in George Town and to boot is accessible from a great place to have a meal and/or drink on a hot day.
The snorkel spot is the “Wreck of the Cali”. The story of this wreck is that the boat was not designed for the large diesel engine. With the vibration, it sprang a leak and the water got to the 30,000 bags of rice, which “bloated” and essentially sank the boat in the 1940’s. It now lays about 300ft from shore in very calm water which is +-30 feet deep. Although there is generally little current and its an easy swim, i’d recommend that you don’t go there alone. Its just a bit too far out if you get into any kind of trouble. From Rackhams restaurant is probably the best place to go see it. After a nice cold Caybrew, you swim out and can get to the wreck within 5-7 minutes of swimming. There is a marker (a white buoy) so its quite easy to find.
The great thing about this snorkel is right close to the restaurant, there is tons to see if you dont feel like doing the short swim to the wreck.
Plenty of small colorful fish.
Here is a school of Blue Tangs – there must of been 100 or so of them. Always one of my favorite sights.
Two colorful Angels. Also love to see these
A stingray passing by. No touching though … this is not Stingray City.
And of course the Tarpons. All around George Town harbor, there are many of these harmless, yet quite large fish. Some of them easily 4ft long. But they are harmless to humans and never get too close.
Ok now for the wreck. I was initially expecting something rather small. WRONG. This was a very large ship as you shall see. There is an enormous amount of wreckage to see; one could easily spend 15-20 minutes looking at the wreck and possibly not see all of it. Its a bit scattered around, likely due to the hurricanes since the time of sinking. Of course plenty of fish swimming around to see also. I can imagine lots of divers would also enjoy this site to get a closer look.
I think this is the engine. Its difficult to get a sense of the size, but the length was probably 7-8 ft long – so not a small diesel engine.
Some other large engine part.
Here is a link detailing this wreck and the location (Note: the Google Maps location in that link shows the wreck closer to shore than it really is.) I recommend you ask at Rackhams restaurant for them to point out the location to you if you are not sure. If you are looking for a different type of snorkel (aka not coral) and have some time one afternoon in George Town, this should be on your to-do list in Cayman.