WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Our school programmes teach young people about various aspects of coral reefs and their inhabitants. For example, our high school marine ecology camp is an academically oriented programme to enrich the student's educational experience in conservation and marine ecology. Fun activities include diving, snorkeling, hiking, biking, sea kayaking, boat building, community service activities, and residing at the Little Cayman Research Centre.
Our college programmes are intended for students looking for research field experience. Students with previous biology field experience and scuba certification will be given priority. However, there are shallow reef data collection objectives; historically, a few highly motivated, non-certified, non-majors have collected useful data and have been successful members of the overall research team.
Our Dive With a Researcher (DWAR) programmes are an opportunity for advanced scuba divers to join a scientist and assist in field research while learning about the major conservation concerns of today. Previous attendees have included doctors, physicists, engineers and ordinary divers. Underwater photographers are especially welcome as team members typically gather a great deal of photographic data.
Our special training programmes vary in scope and may include specialized training and/or workshops on a variety of marine and coral reef related topics for teachers, scientists and other professionals.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED?
Qualifications vary for each CCMI field programme. Please see the appropriate Web page for the field programme in which you will participate. Participants who plan to dive need to be scuba-certified.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND DISABILITIES?
Anyone with a medical condition or disability will require a doctor's note stating that they are capable of participating in the programme.
The LCRC would like for everyone to have an opportunity to participate in our programmes. However, since we are working and living on a remote island, we may not have all the resources available to provide for certain disabilities. For example, a wheelchair ramp has been incorporated into the main building of the Little Cayman Research Centre. However, the facility is not entirely accessible.
Please contact the Little Cayman Research Centre Station Manager (Contact Us) if you are interested in one of our programmes and we will determine if participation is possible.
ARE THERE OTHER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS?
(a) Forms and waivers
All required registration forms and waivers must be completed and mailed to us (see specific individual course requirements).
(b) DAN Insurance
All divers must have DAN insurance. We recommend the Preferred plan for international divers. Cayman Islands residents, however, cannot obtain the Preferred plan so we recommend they obtain the Travellers EMS Prepared Diver Programme.
CAN I GET COLLEGE CREDIT?
Academic undergraduate and graduate credit may be earned through our participating universities. Academic credit is generally transferable and can be arranged through the credit-granting institution (e.g. Kean University or Rutgers University).
ARE THERE ADDITIONAL COSTS?
Tuition, fees, housing, food and excursions are included in the cost of our programmes. Travel (airfare, etc.), major medical insurance and all personal expenses are not included in this fee. Diving gear is not included but is available for rent at the Little Cayman Research Centre.
HOW DO I GET TO LITTLE CAYMAN?
Many U.S. and international carriers fly to Grand Cayman while Cayman Airways operates several short-hop flights between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman daily. Please see the Cayman Airways web site for details.
WHEN DO I NEED TO ARRIVE?
Programme participants are responsible for purchasing and reserving their own flights to and from Little Cayman. You will arrive from your departure city into Grand Cayman on the day that your programme begins and depart from Little Cayman on the last day of the programme.
Make airline reservations between your home and Grand Cayman, and between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman arriving no later than 5:30 p.m. on the first day of the programme. Arrange for return flights with a Grand Cayman departure any time after noon on the last day of the programme.
DO I NEED A VALID PASSPORT?
Yes. This is an international flight and you will be required to show your passport upon departure and arrival.
WHAT IS IT LIKE ON LITTLE CAYMAN?
Little Cayman is a remote island with few services. It is one of the least-developed islands in the Caribbean, harboring reef systems of remarkable biological diversity, including over 350 species of fish, 37 species of coral, plus shallow lagoon, wall, and deep ocean (several thousand metres) habitats that are all within swimming distance of each other and the Little Cayman Research Centre.
With stunning reef walls, shallow reef structures, and large populations of mega-fauna, including spotted eagle rays, one of the last spawning aggregations of the Nassau grouper, hawksbill and green turtles, plus a healthy shark population, Little Cayman is consistently ranked one of the top three diving destinations in the Caribbean.
With a human population of less than 150 permanent residents, there is little to no anthropogenic impact on the reef system. This, combined with the distance of the island from continental influences, makes Little Cayman ideal for educational and research initiatives in tropical marine science. For details, please see Little Cayman.
WHAT IS THE HOUSING LIKE?
The Little Cayman Research Centre is a field education and research station. It has labs, a classroom, and dormitory-style or private-room living accommodations to support researchers and students. Participants will stay at the LCRC dorm facility. Dorms are well-ventilated with fans and situated to benefit from the local Caribbean breeze. Rooms will be shared with one or more participants to a maximum of six. Individuals will participate in the daily maintenance of their living quarters. For details, please see Little Cayman Research Centre.
WHAT WILL WE EAT?
All food arrives on the island by barge prior to your stay. If you have specific dietary requirements, this information must be passed on to your supervisor or directly to the Little Cayman Research Centre Station Manager (Contact Us) at least two weeks prior to your arrival. Meals are designed to be healthy and hearty, with a variety of local cuisine. Meals are taken in the dining pavilion overlooking the ocean.
CAN I BUY FOOD AND GOODS ON LITTLE CAYMAN?
There is one small general store on Little Cayman. Food is extremely expensive. If there is something that you like to have every day, we recommend that you bring it with you. There are a few small gift shops on the island.
CAN I MAKE PHONE CALLS?
The Little Cayman Research Centre plans to provide free access to Internet telephony services via Skype. Phone quality is high but requires a headset and a broadband Internet connection. We recommend anyone you must be in contact with over the course of the trip purchase a headset for about $20 and download Skype's application (see http://www.skype.com). Regular phone calls to and from the Cayman Islands are expensive. The best way to make a phone call from Little Cayman is to purchase a phone card at the airport in Grand Cayman or use a credit card. Foreign phone cards do not work in the Caymans. Some cell phone services work in Cayman with partner companies.
Applications, general questions or information about our education, DWAR, or research programmes
Specific questions about booking the Little Cayman Research Centre and logistical issues for the LCRC station manager
All other general correspondence or requests for further information:
Central Caribbean Marine Institute
P.O. Box 1461
Princeton, NJ 08542
Phone: (609) 933-4559
CCMI (Grand Cayman)
Central Caribbean Marine Institute
P.O. Box 10152
Grand Cayman KY1-1002
Phone: (345) 525-5283
CCMI (Little Cayman)
Central Caribbean Marine Institute
Little Cayman Research Centre
North Coast Road
P.O. Box 37
Little Cayman KY3-2501
Phone: (345) 948-1094
Little Cayman is remote, with only one small grocery store. Everything is very expensive. Don't forget the essential things that you use on a daily basis because a supply boat only comes weekly. Give us any special dietary needs in advance. Local businesses accept credit and debit cards and US dollars, but there are no ATMs on Little Cayman.
We recommend you bring along the following gear:
• Mask, fins, snorkel (We do not provide them on the island.)
• 2 (or more) disposable underwater cameras
• Regular camera or digital camera
• Water shoes - Teva water sandals or dive booties for use in/out of the water
• T-shirts that you can wear in the water
• Wide brim hat
• Sunglasses and extras
• Sunscreen, 45 SPF (You will be spending all day in the sun.)
• Swimming suit
• Bug spray
• Beach towel
• Mesh bag or backpack to carry snorkel gear in
• Water bottle (re-useable)
• Rain jacket
• Field notebook and pencils (cheap mechanical pencils)
• Wetsuit (not required, but 2mm suit recommended for divers enrolled in winter courses)
• Scuba divers - Certification card, BC (buoyancy compensator), and regulator, otherwise you may rent them on Little Cayman. DO NOT BRING WEIGHTS. There is no charge for tanks, air fills or weight belts borrowed from the Little Cayman Research Centre.
• Recommended - Paul Humann Coral Reef Guidebooks (Reef Fish, Reef Corals and Reef Creatures). These books are available for purchase at the Little Cayman Research Centre. (also available on Amazon.com)
DO NOT BRING
If you are in elementary or high school, we ask that you kindly refrain from bringing any of the following:
• MP3 players or iPods
• Any small electronics
Scuba rental is $30 a day. This includes your BC and Regulator. We supply tanks, weights and weight belts as part of your programme fee. We do not rent masks, snorkels, fins or wetsuits.