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Dive Review of Ocean Frontiers/Morritt's Grand in
Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman, East End

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Randy and Carol Thompson, FL, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 4077
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Maui, Big Island (Hawaii), Turks&Caicos, Bahamas, St. Maarten, St.
Kitts, Jamaica, Cozumel, Florida (Keys, central, southeast), Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, St. Lucia, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limits  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Dedicated camera table and holding tank on board each boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
We have been to Grand Cayman's East End twice before for dive vacations,
each 2 weeks at a time. The diving was nothing short of spectacular. This
trip, however, the diving was merely OK. The corals are still stellar and
mostly in excellent shape. The big difference on this trip is that  the
large pelagics we have seen on other visits were mysteriously absent. On
our first two trips, in 2000 and 2003 respectively, we saw nice sized reef
sharks on almost each and every first dive of the day. We saw our first and
only hammerhead here back in 2003. You could pretty much expect to see
spotted eagle rays several times during a week of diving. Turtles were
fairly common, as well, but we only saw 3 during our 2 weeks of diving.

This time, the only shark we saw was on our very first dive of the trip, a
baby nurse shark grabbing a nap. The reef sharks are virtually gone, and we
saw no eagle rays until our very last day, and then on a snorkel at Rum
Point. The only macros we saw were two nudibranchs, both on the same dive.
Even the expected glut of spotted drums in their various stages of maturity
had dwindled down to a few. I did find one, however, that was just a
hatchling, about 1/2" long, which was exciting. We only saw one adult
the whole trip, with the other 8 or so for the two weeks being juveniles to
adolescents. We used to see them so frequently that it became old hat. No

So what on earth has happened? Is this still the result of Ivan, some 4
years ago? Possibly. I am tempted to attribute the scarcity of sharks to
another anomaly that left us mystified, the complete absence of sea itch
(for which I was intensely grateful, BTW! That scourge has plagued me at
this time of year on all our previous Caribbean dive trips.) That is a
ready, abundant food source for predators, so its absence may have
contributed. Additionally, perhaps it is due to the Shark Awareness (and
consequent possible feeding) dives having been discontinued. No idea
definitively of the cause of these dramatic differences, but the bottom
line is that the diving was good, but sadly, nowhere near what we have
experienced previously. Because of this, we may well scratch Grand Cayman
off our list of places to which to return, unless I can determine that the
variety of critters that we enjoyed on earlier trips is back.

Current necessitated some drift diving, also uncommon for GCM. From our
experience, it appears that Ocean Frontiers just isn't accustomed to doing
drift diving. We had to surface due to a regulator problem my husband was
having about 15 minutes before the rest of the group, and were left adrift
in the current until the entire party surfaced. Not good. Ask before you
jump in what their policy is on pick-up during drift dives so you know what
to expect. My husband's brand new regulator malfunctioned with a free-flow
that spent his tank prematurely, obliging him to hold it above the water
after surfacing so as not to drain the tank down to zero, while holding his
camera with his other hand. Not easy for 15 minutes in pitching, rolling
seas, while trying not to become separated from your buddy. When I asked
later why we were not picked up, the captain told us it's "not
safe" to bring the boat near other divers down to pick up early

Funny, but they do it all the time in Cozumel, where drift diving is the
norm. We've been there 7 times, and they pick you up where you surface,
when you surface. That's why it never occurred to us that we might not be
picked up for a long time. We had removed our snorkels, as we never use
them when diving from a boat. Ocean Frontiers obviously doesn't have the
experience to deal with drift dives appropriately for divers who have to
surface earlier than the rest of the group. The captain was close enough to
see us easily, and I kept raising both hands, palms-up so he could see that
I was making a questioning gesture, but he left us tossing about on the
surface until the whole group was ready. (As it wasn't a dire emergency, we
did not make the distress signal. We never figured we should have to.)
Then, when the others surfaced, he drove close to the newly-surfaced
divers, leaving us out there tossing around even longer, while we waited
for the rest of the group to board. Obviously, the whole experience was
completely mishandled in our purview, but when we questioned the captain
about it, we were told that was their normal procedure. Live and learn.
We've been diving for 17 years, and this has never once been considered SOP
in our extensive experience.

Normally, Ocean Frontiers is a top-notch operation, but we felt this
particular policy to be surprisingly amateurish at best and not safe, at
worst. I was incredibly fatigued from the ordeal, as it required a lot of
stamina which never should have been unnecessary. Other than that, they
still check your bottom time and depth when you get back on the boat, and
allow you to dive your own profile if you have a computer. The dive
instructor who led the dive was able to quickly repair my husband's faulty
reg right on the boat, which was a plus. All in all, a good dive vacation,
but not a stellar one.
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Other dive reports on Ocean Frontiers

All Cayman Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Cayman Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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