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Dive Review of Sunset House in
Cayman Islands

January, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Greg Yarnik, IL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 1262
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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

sunny, windy  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
depth limits on walls; bottom time limits for non-computer divers  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
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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Other dive reports on Sunset House

All Cayman Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Cayman Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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