Scuba diving allows the adventurous to explore places that few people will ever see. The allure of the deep is powerful and those who seek the thrills offered by diving are eager to answer the call. The ocean provides a look at new landscapes and new creatures, unlike anything that can be experienced above the surface. Little Cayman Island offers some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world. The island was formed by volcanic action as rock shot straight up from the ocean floor millions of years ago. The island is surrounded by a coral reef that grew on this volcanic rock long ago. A diver venturing out over the edge of the reef is met with an abyss that plunges an incredible 6,000 feet almost straight down. The vast blue emptiness can send a chill down a person's spine as they slip over the wall and descend to the depths below. But there is another way to travel from the shallows to the deep. The coral and rock around this island has a number of tunnels that lead down into the rock and curve out toward the open ocean. Cave diving and exploring tunnels is a way to take the thrills to a new level as divers squeeze through dark and narrow caverns and passageways that lead out over the wall. It is not for the faint of heart. Advanced divers undergo serious training and preparation for diving such as this. They have practiced under controlled conditions so that they will be able to react proper;y f they encounter trouble. In the middle of a tunnel, there will be no going to the surface, even if their air supply fails. They will need to rely on their skills and their partner's ability to solve their problem until they can exit the tunnels and make their way carefully back to the boat. These divers will explore a part of the earth that has only been seen by a few hundred people. The huge sponges that have made their home here have been growing and filtering the ocean for food for over 500 years. Some have been here since before the island saw its first human settlement in the 1700s when a fishing village began. These sponges are actually animals, although their stationary existence might have us confuse them with plants. The tunnels are also home to corals, lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and strange and wonderful fish. Scuba diving on its own is a unique adventure, but exploring hidden passages and seeing creatures within is an experience that is unforgettable.
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