The Cayman Islands make for an ideal location to host our Snorkeling Photography & Shallow Freediving Workshop. Aside from the beautiful reefs and clear waters that surround the islands there are a number of protected bays and inlets to explore with varying depth levels - making it the perfect training area to develop your skills.
Throughout the week there will be a variety of workshops and in water practical sessions with the aim of giving you the skills to improve the images you take whilst snorkeling. On board you'll be accompanied by a photography expert (Gill McDonald) and freediving expert (Emma Farrell) who both bring along a wealth of experience and training know how. All this combined with plenty of time for free snorkeling over the reefs.
We'll be on board the Cayman Aggressor V Liveaboard which we have exclusively chartered for the purpose of this trip.
Is this trip right for me?
This trip is designed for snorkelers looking to improve their photography and freediving skills. However if you only want to focus on photography or freediving you are welcome to join and take advantage of the instruction which most appeals to you.
Whilst there are no formal requirements the trip would appeal most to experienced snorkelers with 25hrs + in water time and being of good health and fitness.
The maximum depth for the free diving sessions will be 8 meters so this is also not about achieving depth, generally training sessions will be geared towards exploring the 5 meter depth range and achieving a good body position for taking photos.
For more information about the weekly schedule visit Itinerary tab.
During your week in the Cayman Islands your time will be split between training sessions and free snorkeling sessions around the numerous coral gardens and reef walls of the 3 islands. The only mandatory session is for the freedivers on Day One for the Introduction to Free Diving with Emma, this involves some basic safety instruction. The remaining sessions can be attended on a flexible basis and in combination with free snorkeling sessions.
Choose to attend all the sessions or take it slower and soak up the atmosphere on board - the style of instruction is relaxed and is set at a level which means you can opt to be involved at a level that suits you. Workshops sessions will be posted on a board the evening before with a sign up system, allowing for flexibility with how you spend your time on board.
Your experts on board
Gill McDonald: Renowned underwater photography professional, educator and enthusiast. She will be available to help guests get the most out of their camera equipment, sharing her skills and her knowledge of a variety of equipment. She has experience guiding and teaching all levels of photographer from a casual holiday snapper and shoot to a serious enthusiast. Her work has been widely published, she regularly contributes to several magazines and is currently the resident photography specialist at a Cayman based resort, and her knowledge of the local marine life is fantastic.
Emma Farrell is a Freediving Instructor Trainer. Emma is one of the world's leading freediving instructors and author of the book One Breath: A Reflection on Freediving. She has been freediving since 2001 and instructs for RAID, SSI and AIDA. Her accolades are numerous and include competing on an international platform, training Olympians, writing courses, lecturing internationally and chairing the British Freediving Association, to name a few.
The Cayman Aggressor V is a spacious liveaboard is 120 feet in length and takes up to 18 guests + 2 tour leaders in her ten staterooms. Each room has a private bathroom, as well as individual temperature control. She cruises at 10 knots and has 110 Volt power on board.
The boat has a comfortable sundeck with hot-tub, lounge and deck chairs, as well as a shaded bar and grill. There is also a covered cocktail deck with comfy seating for those wishing for shaded comfortable relaxation. A complete camera preparation and editing room is available for guests to use. A comfortable and spacious salon on the lower deck is a fantastic place to relax and share stories of the days activities in the evenings, or read a book between snorkel sessions. The large air-conditioned dining room is on the upper deck and serves a variety of America foods, barbecues and local cuisine. Breakfasts are made to order, while lunches are served buffet style. Dinner is served seated and also includes a wide variety of food over several courses.
The salon is complete with an entertainment center where movies can be watched, and evening talks on marine life and snorkeling will be held.
The crew of 7 plus two from Snorkel Venture make sure that all guests' needs are met.
Upon arrival at the Grand Cayman Airport, a member of the Snorkel Venture team will greet you and transfer you to the boat.
Several daily opportunities to snorkel on a variety of sites.
Gill will be available to help with underwater photography skills and will be offering talks throughout the week on several different techniques and approaches. To start with, Gill will explain the principles of underwater photography and assist each guest with how their own equipment can be optimised to produce the best results in the water.
Gill will also share information on maximising the potential of underwater photography subjects found in these waters. Gill will describe a range of different techniques including wide-angle, people, reflections and macro and will also hold post-processing workshops so you can learn to give your pictures extra punch.
Here are some areas that Gill will be focusing on during the week.
Natural Surface Light - Near or on the surface the light is extraordinary. Photography is all about light and time, and here near where the sun’s rays first hit the water there are wonderful opportunities where the light dances and sparkles. Many reef fish are busily living just below the surface such as Sergeant Major damselfish, parrotfish and trigger fish and provide great subjects. Also the reef itself is a superb canvas to ‘paint’ photos on. By using the many features of today’s great waterproof cameras, beautiful images can be achieved right here at the surface.
Wide-Angle - Coral and many marine critters need sunlight to survive, and thrive where the sun is strongest near the top of the reef, so there is no shortage of subject matter just because one is not deeper underwater. Soft and hard corals, sponges and marine animals all live near the surface as well as further down, so beautiful wide-angle panoramas are always possible with the right approach.
Macro - It may seem that macro photography is out of reach of snorkelers. Don’t you need to spend a lot of time on one subject? Don’t you have to remain motionless for many minutes at a time to achieve rewarding macro shots underwater? Well, yes and no. Some tiny, supermacro subjects do require a very steady hand for a considerable length of time, and would not be possible to capture. However, this does not mean macro is ruled out. As long as we understand where and how a particular subject is living - a lot of underwater photography is about observing behaviour - we can maximise our time with the subject and approach it in a useful way. Macro is definitely achievable.
People - Of course we can have fun with people shots in the water, jumping into the water, half in and half out of the water, face in the water only off the end of a jetty plus many more.
Reflections & Boats - Some truly creative shots can be achieved by the use of reflections and/or boats and other items in the water, alongside the natural reef and marine life. For example kayaks, paddle-boards, dogs, even divers as they descend.
Half and halfs - Not always possible as the topography of the reef is critical, but where a coral reef reaches the surface, especially with the added bonus of facing the sunset, this can be a really rewarding technique.
Emma Farrell will be running snorkel skills and freediving sessions throughout the week. Guests will be split into smaller groups of 4 and will have the opportunity to learn in-water skills over sessions as below:
For the first session, the focus will be on correct weighting for freediving and for taking photos underwater and exploring the reefs. Emma will look at each individuals equalisation, body positioning, finning, duck diving and technique. Correct breathing both before and after the dive will be taught as well as techniques for relaxation in the water. The main focus for the first session is relaxation, safety, and discovering what each participant would like to work on improving throughout the week. All sessions will take place in shallow waters of up to 6 meters.
Everyone who is interested in learning more can have at least 2 additional sessions with Emma to work on achieving their goals as set out in the first session as above. In addition, throughout the week, Emma will offer masterclasses on equalisation, sinus massage, breathing and stretching and will also do a talk on free diving for interested parties.
On a typical day we offer up to 3 snorkel excursions a day, however, the the third excursion of the day may be substituted for a sunset or night snorkel when conditions and location allow.
A general day aboard the Cayman Aggressor V is scheduled as follows:
Light breakfast followed by a briefing and snorkel 1
Full breakfast, relaxation period, briefing and snorkel 2
Lunch, relaxation period, briefing and snorkel 3
Snack, relaxation, dinner
You can also take the opportunity to visit the islands and walk upon the beautiful beaches.
Twin Standard Cabin - 3895 USD per person
Twin/Double Deluxe Cabin - 4095 USD per person
Premium Cabin with Balcony - 4295 USD per person
The tour starts in Georgetown Grand Cayman (GCM). Guests should arrive between 11.30 and 18.00 on the Saturday of embarkation.
The tour ends in the same place a week later, with 8.00 disembarkation.
Many airlines fly into Grand Cayman including American, British Airways, Delta, Cayman Airlines, US Airways and more. No visas are required to travel to the Caymans for US and British citizens.
Please make sure you reconfirm your travel arrangements with us before many any reservations with airlines or hotels.
14th March - 21st March 2020 - Available
Enquiry for Snorkeling Photography & Shallow Freediving Workshop – Cayman Islands
US +1 (650) 484 5955
UK +44 117 369 0443
4.6 Paintworks, Bath Rd, Bristol, BS4 3EH