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Dive Review of Reef Divers and Dive Tiara/La Esperanza in
Cayman Islands/Cayman Brac

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by David Prichard & Lily Mak, TX, USA
Report Number 2019
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean & Gulf, Atlantic coast, South Pacific,
Micronesia, Maldives, Hawaii, Australia/PNG, Catalina Island, Revillagigedo
Islands,inland lakes, springs and wherever its wet.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
86   to 87    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive your own profile but be considerate of other divers by not staying
down too long.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Reef Divers' boat had a camera table and seperate rinse tank for cameras in
protected area.  Dive Tiara didn't have a table, so cameras had to be
stowed under bench on lifevest.  Both operations handled cameras carefully
in and out of the water.  Tricky entering water from shore dives due to
sharp volcanic rock (very little sand), but many dive sites had stairs or
trenches cut out to deep water.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
We wanted to try out a mixture of boat and shore diving and were happy with
both.  Both dive operations are next-door neighbors to each other on the
western end of the island, so their trips were mostly centered on the
northwest shore which is usually calm all of the time.  The southern shore
has nice walls, but can be choppy when the wind is up.  Both Reef Divers
and Dive Tiara offer two-tank trips over to Little Cayman's Bloody Bay Wall
at least once a week, so you can get the best of both islands.  We dived
"a la carte," meaning we choose each day, depending upon our
mood, to either shore dive all day or catch a few boat dives in the morning
and then shore dive.  We checked with each operation to see where they were
planning to dive that day and then chose the one that best fit our plans. 
Both operators provided good service for divers.  Reef Divers had the
better boat and pampered the guests more, but Dive Tiara's crew was more
personable and fun.  Reef Divers keep us supplied with tanks and weights,
plus threw in a dive-flag float, for our shore dives during the week.  Most
dive sites are accessable from the shore, but a lot easier to get to by
boat.  We first dove the M/V Keith Tibbetts, the former Russian/Cuban
patrol vessel, from the shore, but it was about 200 yards out for an
energetic swim both ways.  We dove it again by boat and it was much easier.
 Diver propulsion vehicles would be excellent here for shore dives although
we didn't see any at either dive operation.  Lots of great wide-angle photo
opportunities along the walls, the nice Tibbetts wreck and even the new
(but not completed) Lost City of Atlantis sculpture garden at Radar Reef. 
Lots of turtles, eagle rays, large sting rays and a few nurse sharks can be
found to blend in with a good assortment of the usual fish found in a
healthy reef system.  Besides scenic vistas, there is a lot of macro life
for photo subjects, so you need to be prepared for both with your lenses. 
We found that you can have a great time diving from the northern shore. 
All sites are marked with mooring buoys and the dive operators have
directions to the popular dive areas.  Greenhouse Reef (named because you
park near a house that is green) and Bert Brothers Reef (named after a band
of brothers whose first names all ended in "bert" like Robert,
Norbert, etc.) were our two favorites.  Bloody Bay Wall was well worth the
short ride over to Little Cayman, but Brac seems to have more to offer more
both below the waves and topside.  You don't go to Brac for the nightlife,
but it does have lots of hiking trails and caves to explore.  The big
resorts appear to be comfortable and clean when we were walking around
them, but we stayed on the north shore at La Esperanza in a three-bedroom
house that was delightful as a "home away from home."  The
owners, Bussy and Velma, stocked our full kitchen with goodies and even
brought over a huge slab of mahi mahi to cook on our gas grill (plus a key
lime pie).  Bussy also has a restaurant and bar on the shore that's famous
for its jerk chicken.  Brac may not be an exciting place like Grand Cayman,
but its definitely got the better diving.
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