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Dive Review of Reef Divers/Brac Reef Beach Resort in
Cayman Islands/Cayman Brac

Reef Divers/Brac Reef Beach Resort, Feb, 2005,

by James Filipczak, MD, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 1566.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Virginia, Florida, Bahamas (several land-based and live-aboards), Grand Turk, Salt Caye, Saba, Dominica, Bonaire, Grand and Little Cayman, Roatan, Utila, Costa Rica, Belize (Ambergris and atolls), Chinchorro, Quintana Roo, Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 75 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 110 feet maximum, 3-minute hang at 15', return with 500 lbs. air. With that, computer divers were pretty free to plan and execute their dives; those on tables were well scrutinized by the divemasters.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Reef Divers' boat staff were cameraq helpful during water entry/exit. They have no fresh water rinse aboard, but dry space is available; separate rinse tanks await on shore. They have a good photo pro and are helpful with your digital and slide needs.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Five months post-Ivan, the Brac, Reef Divers, and Brac Beach Reef Resort appear nearly recovered. Replacement of the resort's pier is in process and roof shingling is nearly complete. Otherwise, the resort looks pretty healthy. We hit a week of sparce bookings, with fewer than 25 guests at Brac Beach, only 8 or so on scuba. Most of the remaining guests were sun-bathing elders who, over dinner or drinks, enjoyed the big-fish tales related by divers. Coupled with accommodations in Room #121 (farthest from the bar and karaoke, but blessed with a small patio), our stay was as restful as divers could want. We did encounter a couple of days with 65-70 degree air temperature and strong winds. Reef Divers' two 46' Newton boats were a real plus for dive-site travel. Whether just from false older-diver memories or Ivan's actual near-shore effects we perceived corals as less than vibrant, small critters nearly absent, and a profusion of both sand and alge coverage. Both reef and nurse sharks nosed around on several dives and smaller turtles appeared pretty regularly. The only dolphins we encountered were in the underwater sculpture on Radar Reef. Our dives revealed stonefish, green moray and viper eels, schooling barracuda, flying gurnards, large groupers, lobster, and assorted reef fish. Even juvenile spotted drum, porkupine fish, octopus, squid, and eagle ray made their appearance. Little Cayman's Bloody Bay and Jackson Bay sites were flooded with 8-9 boats from LC and the Brac (fortunately no live-aboards). Reef Divers' and Divi boats never encountered each other on Brac sites, possibly due to a slow tourist week. Reef Divers supplemented their low Brac Reef diver census with several divers each day from nearby condos. Reef Diver staff staff acknowledged worse than a near-miss by Ivan. Their 4 boats all shuttled to Grand Cayman, anticipating a major hit on the Brac. Unfortunately, all four ended up in heaps or parking lots when GC was submerged by the hurricane as it veered south. Two are still undergoing repairs. Even now, GC appears a disaster area from the air and ground; locals say the Camanian government banned television coverage of Ivan's aftermath for fear of tourism repercussions. We met several GC residents who were living in Brac condos, reporting over 75% of residential units on GC damaged by the hurricane. Two dive groups arrived on the Brac as we were departing and noted they had to reschedule to the Brac after losing accommodations on GC. All-in-all, a really interesting trip.
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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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