7 nights
Duration
Nov
Month
18 People
Max Group Size

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.

Trip Leaders and Instructors

Emma Farrell is a British freediving instructor, and the author of the book One breath: A Reflection on Freediving. She was head of instruction at the UK’s DeeperBlue freediving club from 2004  and she now runs her own freediving training company, GoFreediving, which teaches the SSI freediving program. In 2007, she was stated to be one of only ten freediving instructor trainers in the world.

She has dived on the BBC2 television series Britain’s Secret Seas, and taught Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to freedive for UK Channel 4’s River Cottage. She has also taught actors Terence Stamp and Jack Osbourne to freedive as well. In May 2012 she featured as the freediving expert and teacher for UK Channel 4’s Hidden Talent  show.

 

With nearly three decades of taking photo underwater, Gill McDonald is a veritable veteran who is inspiring a new generation of underwater shooters. As the result of years of experience and a strong desire to share her exciting underwater adventures, she has created her own tailor-made underwater photography courses, even obtaining an adult teaching qualification to give herself the best grounding to teach people who are keen to learn.

 

 

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.

Guests laughing in the sunset

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.

Marine Life Guidemarine life guide wakatobi

Cayman Islands snorkel venture itenerary

Day 1 - Arrive in George Town

Upon arrival into George Town International Airport (GCM), a member of the Aggressor Crew will meet you and transfer you to the boat. (Please note this transfer is not included and will cost about $20 dollars). You may board after 3pm.
Cayman Aggressor V
Upon arrival at the Aggressor V, you will meet your tour leaders and check int your cabin, before the groups safety and general briefing about the tour will run day-to-day.
Generally speaking though:
There will be 3 – 4 snorkel sessions a day. Some of these will be freediving specific, some will be photography specific, but all guests are welcome to simply snorkel if they so choose with one of the local snorkel guides.
In the interest of safety, everyone will be required to participate in the initial theory and in-water session “introduction to freediving”   The group will be split into smaller groups of 4 so that everyone can get the support and instruction they deserve.
The Day-to-Day:
Each morning from 6am a continental breakfast will be available for the earlier risers, followed by a hot breakfast from 7.30am. After the meal the group will prepared for a snorkel/instruction session. Each in water session will last for 60 – 90 minutes. There will be a tender boat nearby for safety and you can call it over and exit the water if you so choose.
After this session, everyone returns to the boat for a hot beverage and snack (freshly baked cookies/ muffins for example), and a relax for about an hour before the second in-water session of the day.
Afterwards, a hot lunch will be served, which usually includes a soup followed by main course. This is sometimes buffet, and other times plated and served.
After lunch return to the water for another snorkel session (the boat will move between sites in between snorkel sessions). Upon returning to the boat, you will be met with a hot drink and an afternoon snack.
The last snorkel session of the day may be in the late afternoon, or perhaps in the evening, for a dusk- night snorkel where the nocturnal reef creatures emerge and life on the reef is completely different to the daytime. Waterproof flashlights can be rented onboard.
After a warm shower, dinner will be served. This is a three course meal, and is plated and served at the tables.
Beverages including sodas, beer and wines are included in the tour price.
There is tea and coffee and snacks available all day.
The meals are decided by the chef a day in advance and listed on the notice board, If there is something you do not eat, please let the chef know in advance.
Most dietary requirements can be met, with sufficient notice.
The boat has a TV and DVD player in the lounge area as well as a small library of fish ID books.There are also TVs in each cabin if you prefer some quiet time.
The hot tub is usually open all day, and most the in-water sessions are optional so you can sunbath, hot-tub or rest as you please.
Couple sitting in hot tub on Cayman Aggressor V

Day 2-6 - Snorkeling and Freediving from the Aggressor V and returning to shore

After one or two early snorkel sessions the boat makes its way back to the dock in George Town, arriving after lunch.
Guests can disembark and walk around town.
At 17.30 everyone meets onboard for a farewell celebration with the crew before heading to a local restaurant for a final group meal (drinks not included).

Day 7 - Disembarkation from the Aggressor V, tour ends

After an early continental breakfast, we all disembark the boat at 8am.

Photography and Freediving Lessons

The following topics will be covered by Gill- Photo Pro, and Emma- Freediving Instructor,

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.

Cow fish swimming right up to the camera with snorkeler behind

Here are some areas that Gill will be focusing on during the week.

1. Essential photography principles and the exposure triangle
2. Essential underwater photography
3. Camera settings and optimising for shallow water use
4. How light behaves underwater and how to exploit it
5. Manual white balance, how to set it, how and when to use it
6. Observing marine behaviour to maximise potential
7. Using ‘magic filters’
8. Using underwater strobe light
9. Subject matter, wide-angle, macro etc.
10. Post-processing to make your pictures really punch

Natural Surface Light – Near or on the surface the light is extraordinary. 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 and beautiful wide-angle panoramas are always possible with the right approach.

Macro – With a good understanding of your camera and where and how a particular subject is living, we can maximize our time with the subject and approach it in a useful way. A lot of underwater photography is about observing behavior.

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.

Half-Halfs – Not always possible as the topography of the reef is critical, but this can be a really rewarding technique.

Spinning, panning and advanced techniques – Some wonderful effects can be achieved right there near the surface using sponges, moving fish and more. These are more advanced techniques for really upping your photography and creating exciting, different pictures to be proud of.

Freediving instruction outline – 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.

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.

Cayman Aggressor V

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.Cayman Aggressor V Cabin Deluxe Stateroom

Cayman Aggressor V Cabin
Deluxe Cabin

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 seven, plus two from Snorkel Venture make sure that all guests’ needs are met.

Vessel Guide

On this page you will find our tour dates, a contact form and details of payment schedule including deposit and final balance. If you have any further questions please complete the form and we will reply within 24hrs.

Make an enquiry or Book this Tour

    Select your preferred dates of travel (if any)

    Tour Dates

    30 Oct – 6th November 2021

    How to book your place

    Initial deposit to secure your booking $400 per person

    12 Months before departure interim payment of $600 per person

    6 Months before departure interim payment of $1000 per person

    Balance due 3 months before departure

    Includes:

    Airport transfers
    7 Nights accommodation and full board (all meals, snacks )
    Complimentary soft drinks, juice, local wine and beer
    Services of freediving instructor, photography expert and snorkel guides
    Excludes:

    International flights (booked 11 months prior to travel)
    Port Fees – 95 USD per person
    Snorkel Equipment Rental
    Travel Insurance
    Gratuities and Sundries

    Click Here to Book this Tour

    Orange sea sponge in coral reef
    Cow fish swimming right up to the camera with snorkeler behind
    Cayman Aggressor V
    Snorkel venture guest looking at his camera
    Cayman Aggressor V Cabin
    Guests watching dolphins below the boat
    Schooling fish swimming over reef with snorkelers above
    Colorful sponges covering the reef
    Couple sitting in hot tub on Cayman Aggressor V
    Guests laughing in the sunset