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Dive Review of Ocean Frontiers/Royal Reef Resort in
Cayman Islands

May, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Bradley Bowen, UT, USA
Report Number 620
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
All over the pacific, carribean and California.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
0   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Only a small camera table for underwater photographers, and on some dives
it was filled to the limit.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
May 3 to May 10, 2003

Number of Dives: 343. Our third trip to Grand Cayman, and second trip with
Ocean Frontiers.  Consistent, outstanding service.  We will be diving with
Ocean Frontiers again.  Be sure to book and pay for all dives you plan to
do in advance as this operator often does not have any open spaces on its
dive boats.  We did four dives per day on 32% Nitrox, paying for all dives
in advance, and never encountered any problems.  Other divers were not able
to dive as often as they had hoped.  Crew is great at accommodating
experienced divers entering the water first and exiting last who want an
hour of bottom time, but you should alert them of your desire at the time
of booking and discretely remind both crew members when you board the boat.
 Absent such a request, dive times are typically no more than 45 minutes on
the first dive and 35 minutes on the second dive.

Dont be shy about telling the crew what you want to see.  They will dive
the South East end of the island every dive if weather permits because the
sites are much closer to their dock and these are the dive sites where you
will see Carribean Reef Sharks and Spotted Eagle Rays, as well as great
walls with swim throughs.  Shallow sites are a bit hammered, but are still
a lot of fun to dive because many of the sites consist of tunnels and caves
with huge schools of glassy sweepers and other bait fish, with Tarpon,
grouper and parrot fish lurking about.  If the weather is bad, they dive
the North East end of the island, which has great walls and where you are
more likely to see turtles.  Wall dives are comparable to Little Cayman,
but with fewer huge barrel sponges. Never saw any Pelagics at Little
Cayman.   Had bad weather the first three days and dove the North side.  No
pelagics, but wonderful walls, pinnacles and turtles. Weather improved the
middle of the weeks and we spent the next three days on the South side.
Reef Sharks on half of the South side dives, both this trip and our trip
two years ago. Had nine Spotted Eagle Rays on one dive with a large female
Carribean Reef Shark following three of the rays.  Had glimpses of Spotted
Eagle Rays on several other dives. 

We knew from our prior trip that Ocean Frontiers night dive spots are not
good. The staff was great at providing us with a map and instructions on
locating the Babylon dive site from shore.  We left a strobe on the shore
about fifteen feet up the bank.  The dive site is about four blocks from
the shore and takes around 15 minutes or so to swim to at a leisurely pace.
Dont use the air in your tank swimming out until you are at a depth of
around 20 feet, or you wont have any air left to dive the pinnacle, which
is just to your left as you come out onto the wall.  We discovered that the
cut through the reef out onto the wall was several hundred feet down the
shore from where we had entered the dive site.  Having a strobe high on the
shore is critical to navigating back to the shore entry point as it is
impossible to distinguish between the street lights at night. The swell,
even on a calm night, makes the strobe difficult to see above the water, so
place it high on the shore.  We found this site safe and fun to dive on a
calm night with these precautions and careful attention to navigation.

Although our group of four experienced divers on Nitrox and computers was
allowed to dive its  own profiles with no interference, we suspect that
Ocean Frontiers persuaded one of its former dive masters to come along to
do the first dive of the afternoon on a deep tunnel with an entrance at
110' on the wall.  This diver said he didnt have a buddy and asked to join
our group.  He stayed deep the entire time, looking for the entrance to the
tunnel, which was tough to find due to the thick coral growth.  At the end
of the dive he discretely pushed on the back of my wifes tank as she was
swimming against the current returning to the boat.  During the surface
interval, we learned that this diver had formerly worked for Ocean
Frontiers as a dive master for several years.  When we suited up for the
second dive he made excuses not to go.  Just one example of the courtesy
and professionalism we have encountered diving with Ocean Frontiers.

Although Stingray City may seem a little cliche for experienced divers, we
decided to do the trip with Ocean Frontiers and found it much better than
our prior experiences. In addition to the stingrays, we got numerous
closeup photos of several Chain Morays and Goldentail Morays.  The twelve
foot Green Moray is like a puppy dog that followed us around, and allowed
everyone in the group to pet and hold it as it slipped through their
arms.  An event I wouldnt have believed if I hadnt been present.

Ocean Frontiers does not encourage tipping and changes the boat crews
around so that it is difficult to keep track of who you should tip.  Of all
the live aboards and dive operators with whom weve dove, none were more
deserving of a tip than the people at Ocean Frontiers.  We kept track of
all the people we dove with and left tips for each of them in about a dozen
of the small envelopes that Ocean Frontiers provided upon request. 
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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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