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Dive Review of Brac Reef Beach Resort in
Cayman Islands/Cayman Brac

Brac Reef Beach Resort, Aug, 2004,

by Craig Blackman, AZ, United States . Report 1305.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Okinawa, Kerama Islands, Guam, Baja California, Roatan, Florida Keys - (Since 1978)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 85 to 89 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 90 to 125 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dive masters briefed profiles for computer and non-computer divers, with a max time no longer than 50". Pushed for divers to do second dive within 45". When I asked for more time they said I didn't need it.
Result was in 19 dives I had less than 1000 psi, twice.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments One small table on boats for cameras. Luckily there was only one other diver with a full setup. Otherwise table was too small. I asked about a vessel to keep the camera immersed between dives and was told I could bring something to put under the table. I used the trash bin from my room.

Average number of creatures to photograph. Lots of small turtles, both green and loggerhead. At least two sleeping nurse sharks. Golden morays. Quite a number of Lettuce sea slugs and file clams. Russian warship didn't have a lot of sea life despite being down about 10 years. Must be because the hull of the ship is aluminum.

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 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The resort was all inclusive. We didn't get the night dives with our week but other divers said it was in their package. Why?

Food was on the lines of a quality restaurant on the island. Deserts were excellent. Food was self service and varied from French to English. Can't say any English cusine is great. One night we dined at a local restaurant. The food was about the same as the dive resort. Cost about $60 for a diet coke, shimp cocktail, and pasta marinara.

The rooms were Motel 6 ordinary and but they all had a view of the pool. Some rooms have outdoor balconies and patios. See if you can get one of those. The rooms were clean and tidy.

I was told they do everything for you. Yet we all had to marshall our bags to and from the resort and then to the rooms. Cocoview, considered rustic, delivers your bag to and from your room door. We had 11 people leaving on a 0500 plane. Only one cab was ordered. So we carefully stacked all our bags, got most people in the cab (van), and then stacked bags on everyones laps. We just got everything in. You may have figured out by now that the resort pays for a local taxi and does not have its own transportation.

I was told the resort and the dive operation are separate businesses. The dive operation was two morning dives and one evening dive. You are always helped leaving the water and your equipment is immediately moved to a fresh tank. I usually release a little air from the tank as I loosen the rig and before putting it on a new tank. Their policy was just a direct move. You dive one boat so after diving you take your skin, divemask, and computer off the boat. Your gear does sit in the sun all day and at night the boat is moved to another mooring so you do not have access at night to any gear left on the boat.

The charge for a night dive site is $60 and was all of a three minute ride to the dive site. The dive operation has done nothing to make shore diving more accessable. This could be done but I guess the $60 is more important. Tanks are locked up at night so if you do want to shore dive make sure to ask about and then put your night tank outside. Also, this will mean taking your equipment off of the boat. Mesh bags are provided to allow the dunking and movement of your equipment.

Two dive masters are on every boat. They are knowledgable and friendly. On every dive one dive master will lead a tour for those that want it. Dive briefings are done at the site rather than before leaving the dock. This was a problem for some people that are prone to seasickness. Each time the divemaster redraws the site while you wait. I would rather that they had laminated drawings of all the sites and we could have spent that time either in the water. Laminations would have allowed people to talk about the site on the way and after the dive. I suggested this but again was not taken seriously.

Nitrox 32 is available for $125 in a week or $6 a bottle.

We missed the first day of diving due to weather. The resort discounted our night dives to $20. The same price I have paid normally at other resorts. One of our divers was sick and missed another day. Weather forced us to leave a day later. Although, this diver missed the first day and the third day the dive operation still charged him for the extra day at the end of the dive.

A dive profile was briefed for computer and non-computer divers. Everyone was expected back on the boat in those times usually 45 to 50 minutes. On many sites you have the opportunity to finish the dive in 25 feet or less. But because of the arbitrary time limitations you have to cut your dive short. Now that your first dive was shortened they want you back in the water in 45 minutes. I had just finished a Nitrox course and even with Nitrox they recommend a minimum of 60 minutes between dives. When I asked for more them the divemasters said I didn't need it and then pressed everyone to get back in the water.

Take another $10 for each diver if the weather is nice since they will ask for agreement from everyone to go around the island. If they stop at the cliffs at the end of the island and tell you how special a dive it is ask to go somewhere else. The entire dive is hard pan and is about equal to a dive in the Gulf from San Carlos, Mexico. Not exactly the reason I flew all the way to the Caymans. Clearly posted in the dive shop is the recommendation to tip the dive staff $100 for a week.

Cayman Airlines lost one couples bags for three days. The rest of us got our bags on arrival.

Rent a car rather than a scooter. Price is only about $6-8 more.

I go to dive resorts to dive. Although, everyone was nice, particularly the resort staff, and the food was quite good, I doubt I will dive there again. The reef is close enough that they could setup for some very nice shore diving. They could even allow you a drop off for a second dive in the afternoon. Finally, I think they should just allow the computer divers to come back after 60 minutes with a 60 minute break between dives. Even the cattle cars in Cozumel will give you 60 minutes between dives if you ask. The artificial limits set on computer divers is not conducive to my getting the best diving for my dive dollar.
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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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