HELLO DAN! WHY DON'T YOU TELL OUR READERS WHERE IN THE WORLD YOU COME FROM?
My name is Dan Hollis, I am originally from Australia but have been living in the Cayman Islands for the last six years.
SO, WHY CAYMAN? GIVE US YOUR STORY!
People always ask, “why Cayman Islands?” My reply is always why not? The weather is perfect; it’s never cold, the people are so nice and friendly, it is surrounded by beautiful blue clear waters and everything is so close being on a small island.
WELL YOU CERTAINLY GOT THAT RIGHT! TELL US WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK HERE AND WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
I am a bartender at Royal Palms, which I love. I have always been working in bars either bartending or managing. It’s how I started traveling. I was flair bartending in Australia, Greece, Scotland and Canada.
I enjoy doing any water activities such as diving, surfing, or free diving. I have always lived near the water all over the world so I couldn’t imagine living far from the beach. I use to take pictures out of water a long time ago but only recently started taking underwater images.
YOU’RE KILLING IT WITH THE INSTAGRAM PHOTOS! I GUESS WE’VE BEEN STALKING YOU… WILL YOU TELL US YOUR SECRETS?
I shoot now with a Sony a7r iii but have shot with Olympus and GoPro. Underwater is different from shooting above, I shoot a fair bit into the sun where normally you have it behind you and on your subject. Also, with shooting underwater, the landscape and light is continuously changing. I might take a picture, then next point the camera up a few feet, and all the settings have changed because of the way the light reflects the water.
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO GET UNDERWATER IMAGES?
Choose something different than what everyone else does would be the biggest piece of advice. I recently started using Instagram to show my images under @danhlegend to get feedback and other people’s opinion. I have been getting continuously positive feedback. I dive, but have been getting back into my freediving lately. I have been freediving off and on for the last six years but stepping it up in the last year. Firstly, with proper freediving gear such as freediving fins, weight belts and just practice, practice, practice.
NAME YOUR TOP 3 PLACES TO GO ON ISLAND FOR SOME SUN AND DRINKS?
Number one would be Royal Palms. Even though I work there I spend a lot of my free time there. The view, staff and food and beverage are all amazing and it’s right on the beach. Second, would probably be Lobster Pot - again, great views, staff, food and beverage and especially on a Friday for their Lobster Burger. Third, would be Coccoloba for Taco Tuesday. You will most likely see a number of staff from Royal Palms there too!
WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE PEOPLE WHO ARE VISITING CAYMAN FOR LUNCH? GIVE US 3 BEST SPOTS, AND GO!
If I have any friends or family visiting I would definitely take them to Stingray City for the first stop. After that it would be Spotts Beach to see the turtles up close. Then, any of the dive spots on the island. It’s like another world down there. But if they are unable to dive, I would take them to Eden Rock because the water is always in great condition there so they can snorkel instead, and the staff are super nice as well!
BEST THING ABOUT CAYMAN IN YOUR OPINION?
The are so many things that make Cayman great it would be impossible to choose one. It’s that place you talk about growing up; finding a beautiful island in paradise surrounded by amazing turquoise sea and beautiful palm trees. There’s nothing better.