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Dive Review of Red Barron/Marriot Resort in
Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman

Red Barron/Marriot Resort, Apr, 2003,

by Paul Jacobsen, CA, USA . Report 575.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 80 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 6
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions The normal restrictions are 100ft max, back on the boat with 500 psi. However, if you have a computer and are a descent diver theyd let you go to the recreational limits.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Being a six pack only a small bucket is provided for a camera rinse. The first day there was no water in the bucket for my housing. The next day I was last back on the boat and two other camera where in the bucket leaving no room for my video housing.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments If youre looking for a Resort, the Marriot this is not it. The rooms and hotel have problems. The rooms are in the process of being renovated. Our room was renovated, but the Air Conditioning froze us out. Even with it turned off for two nights we needed extra blankets. Maintenance fixed the A/C so that we didnt freeze but even with it off and the outside temperatures at 90+ degrees we never had to turn it on. The room was always cold. There was condensation that made the carpet wet around the A/C and the drapes had mold. The week before we arrived 30 of the staff had been laid off. The remaining employees were showing the strain. Wed also heard that the hotel has gone into receivership. Dont expect much of a beach either, depending on tide levels there may not be one. (If you want a nice beach and resort hotel stay at the Westin.) The Marriotts pool area was adequate but over run with kids, and closed during several evenings for private groups. Two nights there was no water after 11 PM. Breakfast was too expensive. After the first couple of mornings, we opted to walk about 5 minutes south. Located in a strip mall Tortuga Tims an economical place to eat breakfast and lunch with good basic food.

I dived with Red Barons ($75 per 2 tank boat dive, a savings of about $25 from the Marriotts dive OP, Red Sail Sports. Theres no advantage to using the hotels dive op since you still have to get in a van to be taken to a dive boat). Red Barons runs 2 clean and very fast six-packs. They start earlier in the morning than other ops, so you get to the dive sites before the other operators. Nick (owner) was always right on time to pick me up from the Marriott. This was my first trip to Grand Cayman and I had worried about dive restriction that I had heard about. Not a problem with Red Baron, after my first dive, and they had a chance to see how I dived, they let me pretty much do what I wanted. The normal restrictions are 100ft max, back on the boat with 500 psi. However, if you have a computer and are a descent diver theyd let you go to the recreational limits. The first dive is a guided dive, the 2nd dive you buddy up, but since I was doing video I was allowed to go off on my own. I would just check to see when the DM would want me back, usually 50 60 minutes.

My only two complaints about Red Barons are; being a six pack only a small bucket is provided for a camera rinse. The 2nd complaint is that even though they store your gear and have it set up on the boat the next day, the only rinse your gear gets at the end of the day is a hose on the dock if at all. The gear is stored in a locked box on the dock or in the forward hold on the boat, which gets toasty in the hot Cayman sun. If youre particular about your gear you might think about taking them back to your hotel.

Other than those two minor complaints, Red Barons is great to deal with and I would dive with them again. I contacted Nick via his website (www.redbarondivers.com) before the trip. Nick emailed me immediately and answered my questions about the current conditions. He was very flexible to work with. My "first dive day" I decided to cancel because of sinus and ear clearing problems. Nick gave me the name of a good local diving ENT. The Doc was well equipped to check my ear clearing and said I was good to go. The next day I was diving with no clearing problems. No hassles or worries from Nick for missing my first day.

My first dive with Red Barrons, we had 9 on board (6 divers, 1 young diver, 1 for hire videographer, and the DM/Captain Patrick). It was a dance getting everyone into the water. Two of the divers had just finished their resort cert and this was their first OW dive. The guided dive was short, but the Patrick quickly picked up on my ability and mid way through the dive he pointed me through a swim through at 95ft while he took the rest of the group around. I was the last in the water and waited to be the last out and still got back on the boat with tons of air. The boat moved with a 45 min SI. The 2nd dive I asked to go without a buddy, which was no problem. I kept my dive to 60 minutes since I was the last back.

The other days the boat had 5 or 6 divers, and they were more skilled divers than my first days experience. But Id end up doing the second dive by myself, and was always the last back, but no worries as long as I was back in 60 minutes. Also Patrick (DM) always did a good dive briefing.

I was pleased with the diving; I had lower expectations being Grand Cayman. During the dives we saw turtles, Spotted Eagle Rays, Green Moray Eel, lobster, decorator crabs, and the Caribbeans usual cast of characters. If you had time to pick around there was interesting macro life to find too. The walls and reefs had good coral life that seems to not be to impacted.

I choose Grand Cayman for my wife, a non-diver. This worked out well, I could do 2 dives in the morning and be back in for time for lunch while she could do other activities while I was diving.
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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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