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Dive Review of Southern Cross Club in
Cayman Islands/Little Cayman

May, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jim and Deborah Chambers, Georgia, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 2523
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
We dive mostly the Cayman Islands.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
100-foot max, must use dive computer  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
No photo shop, but the boat crews are very helpful to photographers and
take good care of photo equipment.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
Deborah and I recently returned from our 6th trip to Little Cayman and the
Southern Cross Club. The damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 has been
completely repaired or rebuilt better than before. The reefs were fine too,
with virtually no signs of damage. In fact, the diving was the best we've
ever had, and that's saying a lot.

If you like a lot of shopping, casinos, and night life on a dive vacation,
Little Cayman is definitely not for you. There are only about 150 permanent
residents on the island, which is located about 90 miles ENE of Grand
Cayman, and there's nothing remotely like a traffic jam. The only way to
get to Little Cayman is on a Cayman Air Express Dehavilland Twin Otter from
Grand Cayman, about a 40-minute flight into a grass airstrip. The island is
a bird sanctuary, the coral reefs are strictly protected, and there are
probably more iguanas than people. How many ways can you spell L-A-I-D
B-A-C-K? That's Little Cayman. There are six small resorts, each different,
and each one has its own disciples who return time after time.
It's nothing real fancy, consisting of a main building (office, dining
room, and bar) and duplex cottages along the powdery white sandy beach.
Rooms are clean and comfortable and nicely furnished, and the AC works very
well. Everything faces South Hole Sound, a very wide shallow lagoon with a
barrier reef that breaks the waves and provides a nice setting for
snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. There are all kinds of marine life in
the lagoon, including some huge, voracious tarpon that cluster around the
fishing dock (deep-sea). There are no TVs or telephones in the room, but
there are ample 110-120 volt outlets, and the electrical supply is 24/7 and
very stable. The Southern Cross Club added wi-fi in 2005, so I was able to
email photos each day to our families and friends. 
Meals are served in the main building. You won't lose any weight here!
Breakfast is a buffet with fruit, bread, cereals, and meats and eggs cooked
to order. Lunch is also a buffet, with fruit, salads, hot meat dishes, cold
cuts for sandwiches, and desserts. At lunch, they give you a choice of two
meat entrees for dinner, and they also accommodate vegetarians.  Dinner is
at 7:00. Meats were absolutely first class. We had some of the finest
steaks and seafood that we've ever had anywhere. We were usually too
stuffed for dessert, but we ate it anyway, since desserts were so yummy.

The Southern Cross staff is absolutely the best we've ever seen. They were
clearly dedicated to seeing that we enjoyed our stay. Peter Hillenbrand,
the owner of Southern Cross, has assembled a really great staff. The
managers, Chris and Cate Ferreira, are absolutely first rate and really
make you feel welcome.

Casual is the word here! When we arrived, I took off my shoes and went
barefoot the next two weeks. You don't need to bring many clothes, and if
you run out, they have a washing machine to do your laundry.

None of the above would matter one whit if the diving wasn't good. The
diving is - in a word - superb. Little Cayman has long been our favorite
place in the Caribbean. Bloody Bay Wall is justifiably ranked as the finest
wall dive in this hemisphere, but Deborah and I really love the shallow
dives, where we can get an hour or more bottom time while photographing the
parade of fish and critters. No cattle boats here. The most divers we had
on the boat was ten, and it's a big boat. SCC has two dive boats, and if
the number of divers is more than about 8-10, they take the second boat out
too.  There were virtually no currents. 

I took my housed D200 and Deborah took her Sony video camera. Each boat
carries a big cooler filled with fresh water to keep the cameras safe, and
if necessary, they carry additional coolers. We had three divemasters:
Steve, Mark, and Henri. We've dived with them before, and they're just
super. Deborah and I usually do our own dive, but Steve would come find us
whenever he saw something he knew we would want to photograph. Steve must
have "macro eyes," because he found more tiny or camouflaged
critters than I would have believed possible, including pipefish, numerous
kinds of shrimp and crabs, pipehorse, juvenile scorpionfish, arrow
blennies, tiny juvenile flame scallops, pikeblennies, sailfin blennies, and
a superb little juvenile yellow tail damsel. On one dive, Henri found a
magnificent tiny purple spotted sea goddess. The best part was that Deborah
and I were gradually learning to find our own critters by watching the
divemasters and seeing what kind of habitat the little critters live in. On
every dive we saw an endless parade of snapper, grunts, tangs,
squirrelfish, butterflyfish, angelfish, grouper, stingrays and spotted
eagle rays, lobsters, nurse sharks, turtles, and so many other fish.

We dived mostly on the north side of the island, where the walls are most
dramatic. Travel time was about 25 minutes for most sites. The walls were
awesome, but we spent much of our time on top in the shallow coral gardens
like Mixing Bowl. We first dived Bloody Bay wall in 1989, and it still
blows me away - it's that dramatic.

SCC is valet service for divers. You show them how you want your gear
set-up, and they have it ready to go each morning, including a good rinsing
after the dive. Nitrox is available, although it's a bit pricey - $14/tank
- since only one of the Little Cayman resorts makes nitrox and the others
buy it from them.

So the diving was incredibly good. Little Cayman has something for
everyone: smashing walls for the deep diver or wonderful shallow reefs to
maximize bottom time, and an endless parade of fish and critters.

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Other dive reports on Southern Cross Club

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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