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Dive Review of Various in
Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by James Heimer, TX, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 4096
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Tahiti, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hawaii, Mexico (both coasts), California,
Texas, Bahamas, BVI, Cayman Islands, USVI, Bonaire, Aruba, Australia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Shore diving; diving was not supervised  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Shore diving operations generally had separate camera rinse tanks of
varying sizes or hoses for rinsing cameras.  Tables were available for
setting up, storing cameras between dives.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
Grand Cayman Shore Diving 	
With the cost of a two tank boat dive in Grand Cayman north of $100,  my
wife and I have limited our diving on the Island to the shore facilities
for $25 per dive for both of us.  This year, we used the facilities at
three places with a dive shop on the premises to rent tanks and weights 
or anything else you might need to rent or buy.

My wife and I are both photographers, so we did our first dive at the
Sunset House, home to Kathy Church and her well equipped photo studio and
shop, as well as a very friendly dive shop and great Oceanside bar /
restaurant, Our Bar for between dive snacks and post dive cocktails. 
This is the site of the mermaid statue.  You gear up in the (sparse) shade
of some palm trees beside the restaurant, then make your way a few yards to
one of two ladders for entry.  There is a short swim across the hardpan to
the beginning of the finger reefs that extend toward the main wall and
really deep water, but you can comfortably dive between 40 and 60 feet,
visiting a very delapidated small wreck, as well as the statue, or just
explore the reef and the sandy areas in between the fingers.  The reef is
noticeably improved in the years since Hurricane Ivan, and we found a
profusion of soft corals and fish  french and queen angels, mutton, dog
and yellowtail snapper, the odd barracuda, and all of the usual tropicals. 
When you return, there is a good size rinse tank for gear, a shower, and 
as might be expected  a generous camera rinse tank.  All-in-all, it is a
very good place to make your first shore dive.

Eden Rock is just up the road from the Sunset House near the cruise ship
landing.  It has a well equipped dive shop, but more Spartan facilities. 
Gearing up is done on picnic tables alongside the shop, and if the sun is
high and the umbrellas are not up, you will be grilled as you put on your
stuff.  Again, it is a short walk to the ladder for entry and a somewhat
longer swim across the shoreside hardpan to one of two dive sites  Eden
Rock to the north and Devils Grotto to the south.  Both have scattered
clumps of coral rising from about 45 feet to near the surface, and these
coral islands are riddled with swim-throughs and nooks and crannies that
house fish and other sea creatures.  Large tarpon make there homes at both
sites, and we encountered and impressive green moray on one dive on Devils
Grotto.  There is  a rinse tank for gear, a hose to rinse off cameras, and
a shower.  You can walk next door to the Paradise Restaurant for lunch or
post dive libations.  Because it is near the cruise ship terminal, you will
sometimes have to share the gear area with snorkelers, but the few divers
from the cruise ships that frequent this location are not on the packages
(Bob Soto has that franchise), so they tend to be more experienced.

In our opinion the gold standard for shore diving is currently the Sun
Diver operation at the Cracked Conch Restaurant on the north end of West
Bay north of Seven Mile Beach.  Sun Divers has spruced up the small dive
shop and constructed a covered area with benches and a table for gearing
up.  It is also lighted for night diving.  The dive operation is located
below the Cracked Conch restaurant and alongside the outdoor Macabuca Bar,
through which one migrates after suiting up to get to the ladder entry to a
small inlet leading to the 60 foot mini wall and Turtle Reef.  You can go
left or right down the wall  left takes you to the Tarpon cave occupied
by a school of the appropriate fish, and right takes you along the wall to
small coral outcroppings.  The main wall is within swimming distance of the
more adventurous (and athletically inclined).  Aside from the tarpon, we
have seen multiple scorpion fish, peacock flounder, angelfish of all
varieties, white spotted filefish, large grazing schools of midnight
parrotfish, green, spotted, and golden-tail morays, turtles, lobster and
the usual tropicals, of course.  There is plenty of space to dry gear after
rinsing them off in the rinse tank and showering down.  The camera rinse
facilities are a little on the spare side, one moderately sized plastic bin
that will hold a single DSLR housing, but Sun Divers is working on this.

Dive Tech used to operate here, but they are building a resort about a mile
away.  They have a tent set up at the construction site for renting tanks
and weights, but their accommodations and pier are still under
construction.  Entrance is by a ladder on the side of a very narrow slot in
the rocks, which makes it impractical for anyone with a large camera rig,
but you are on an area that has rarely been visited by divers before, and
they have placed buoys and underwater lines to lead to the main wall.

There are other shore dive possibilities on Grand Cayman to keep one
occupied for a week of diving.  Unless you want to dive the main wall off
the north side of the island or some of the shallow wrecks off Seven Mile
Beach, save your CI dollars for food, drink, and gasoline  all of which
will come at a premium.

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