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Dive Review of Sunset House in
Cayman Islands

Sunset House, Jan, 2004,

by Greg Yarnik, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 1262.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, Anguilla. Virgin Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions depth limits on walls; bottom time limits for non-computer divers
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Prospective photographers are well supported on boats with camera-only baths and segregated dry storage shelving for camera gear. In addition, renowned photographer Cathy Church has her gallery, store and classroom on site at Sunset House. A terrific resource! On several occasions, divers were accompanied by Ms. Church's intern who snapped "action" photos of guests as they navigated dive sites. Photos were downloaded onto disks for those who wished to purchase them, however, there was no pressure to do so.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We took advantage of Cayman Airways' newly-instituted Wed/Sat-only non-stops from O'Hare to Grand Cayman to visit Sunset House for a 6-day dive package. Although the resort decor and dive boat fleet(definitely aging with a few air emission problems)could use a face-lift and some sprucing up, the overall experience was positive mainly because of the professional, attentive, and friendly dive/resort staff. Oceanfront room was comfy with air conditioning/fridge/necessary amenities; a room safe was available for nominal daily charge. On-site Sea Harvest restaurant and My Bar provided better-than-decent food/drinks; bar was especially busy with both locals/guests for the gorgeous sunsets each day. Dive operation is headed by Women's Dive Hall-of-Famer Erika-Leigh Haley and it's a very good one. Aside from the aging boat fleet, staff personnel were among the best, most knowledgeable, and experienced we've encountered. On-site shop is full service, offering all types of rental(or purchase) gear for both the beginner and techie. Tanks are always available for shore dives although the rocky, ironshore entry area can get dicey in the chop/surge often present. Boats depart each a.m. for 2-tank dives to sites all around the south, east and north shores, with local weather/current conditions dictating the day's site. No "cattle calls" here, boats generally transported only 6-8 divers with a crew of 2-3. Pre-dive briefings(complete with multi-colored grease pencil/board sketches of the reef and dive site)were among the best we've had. Divemasters(esp. Dustin/Rob/Jonesy) were attentive without being overbearing, always helped point out resident critters, and allowed divers to dive their own profiles if they so chose. My wife, who had been rehabbing knee surgery stateside, received much-appreciated extra assistance entering/exiting the water. Depth limits on wall dives and bottom times for non-computer divers were strongly enforced. Otherwise, it was the standard, "back-on-the-boat-with-not < 500 psi" mantra. Sea conditions can be variable in January; we happened to pick a good week with low chop/surge, evidently just missing a bad one when conditions were barely diveable. Viz ranged from 80-100' all week and reefs were in fair to very good condition depending on the site(esp. good were Kent's Caves, Governor's Reef, and Gary's Wall). The usual small-medium sized reef species predominated with occasional rays/turtles/barracudas observed. Stingray City trip was OK to do once just to say you did, but was otherwise a bit schmaltzy. The only detracting factor of the trip was the daily arrival of 3-5 cruise ships which would moor just outside Georgetown Harbor within spitting distance(or so it seemed)of our room and proceeded to disgorge thousands of tourists/shoppers into town each day. That seems to be a necessary evil these days that we may have to just grin and bear. All in all, Sunset House earns our praise and recommendation for a terrific dive and hotel staff, better-than-average facilities and amenities, and good diving overall.
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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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