Thursday, July 28, 2011


The first couple times we visited Grand Cayman, my husband and I stayed at a lovely dive hotel and dove with DiveTech--one of Cayman's best dive operators. Hey, I'm wearing that exact same t-shirt while I sit here and type. It's my favorite jammie top. 
Michael loves to dive on this side of the island because this is where he learned how to free dive! DiveTech is about the only dive op that teaches free diving in North America. Crazy. It's so popular in Europe and Asia, too. There was a huge write up about free diving in SKIN DIVER magazine when Michael was still gelling in my brain. I tore it out and added it to the collage on my bulletin board. I decided Michael's awesome breathe-hold skills would keep him alive when Isadore hit in TAKEN BY STORM. I researched free diving, but needed more hands on experience to write it. My husband and I took a free dive certification class from DiveTech. My husband was great. I was horrible, but I learned tons and got to watch the instructor dive effortlessly holding his breathe--just like Michael does.

Here's the hotel. It was badly damaged in a big hurricane that hit Cayman after our visit, but it is fine now.

We ate breakfast and dinner here. It was lovely, but there were mosquitos at night!

This is the entry to a great shore diving spot along a mini-wall. This is where we did our free diving class.

We swam out of this little coral cove and spent the day diving with no tanks! I did love the breathing. I get migraines, and I continue to use the deep breathing techniques to keep calm and increase the 02 to my brain. It helps. The Kirkus reviewer was shocked that I put such a dangerous activity in a novel for teens. She thought we should have included a warning to kids not to try diving a hundred feet underwater holding your breath. That's YA for you. Explicit incest and rape scenes are the norm. But free diving? Oh, no! All your readers will try it and drown.

Me at the free diving site.

The dock at the resort. 

Our dive boats waiting to whisk us away for the morning.

Another Cayman sunset. That's me enjoying it. 
This area of Cayman isn't ritzy condos and ocean front high-rise luxury hotels. It's chickens, rusted cars in the front yard, laundry hanging on the line, and shacks. There was a restaurant run by a local woman that we drove by a lot. We wanted to try it, but our meals were included with our hotel stay. Those humbler Cayman neighborhoods, the tiny tin roof stores and restaurants inspired Aunty Jazz.

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