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Dive Review of Brac Scuba Shack/Carib Sands/Brac Beach Village in
Cayman Islands/Cayman Brac

Brac Scuba Shack/Carib Sands/Brac Beach Village: "Great Place for a Relaxed Dive Vacation", Oct, 2015,

by Ken New, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8557.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Our first trip to Brac and it won't be the last!

The Good: Scuba Shack is one of the best operations we've dived with. Small: two owners, two dive masters (both of whom are marine biologists); boat takes a max. of 10 but we were usually 3 (just us) to 5, only one day with 7. They meet you on the first dive day at the pier of the resort, & from then on handle all your gear except wetsuits, and there is a rinse tank and a locked drying locker on the pier to hang those. Two dives in the AM beginning at 8:40; afternoon dive requires a minimum of 3, night dives a min. of 4. They cross to Bloody Bay on Little Cayman, weather permitting, for a min. of 5 divers and a small surcharge. Even in Oct., they found a day we could go.

Dive sites: they always had a plan but adjusted easily for weather and diver requests. The first day they suggested a drift dive (which we photographers aren't too keen on); all it took was a wrinkle of a nose from one of us & the plan was immediately re-arranged. Most sites are 5-10 minutes from the pier; longest ride to a site was around 20 minutes (not counting 45 min. to Bloody Bay). A wide variety of sites: walls, coral mounds in sand, swim-throughs, canyons & chutes. Almost no current. Visibility at 50-80 feet was poor for what they usually have, due to the rainy season; there were times we thought the viz was pretty good but the dive masters were disappointed. There are moorings for all sites.

Dives: boat is comfortable and set up well for diving. Carry fins to a bench at the rear, they bring your BC to you & help put it on; stand up & take one stride into the water. Exit by handing up fins & climbing a nice stable ladder; sit on the bench again & they remove your BC. One dive master stays on the boat, the other leads the dive. If you have a buddy you don't have to follow the leader, but as usual we did so as to see what they pointed out. Never felt rushed. The "tour" usually lasts about 30 minutes & ends under the boat; the leader surfaces to help with returning divers & the rest can stay as long as their computers allow. The moorings were always in interesting places with lots to see, so those of us with good air management could poke around to our hearts' content -- I loved that! Water (and a personal bottle to take home with us) and a wide variety of packaged snacks on board.

We did not see overwhelming numbers of fish, but lots of variety. Most fish were much larger than we are accustomed to for each species -- especially the Angelfish and Grouper, they were huge! Also pretty unconcerned with us; Groupers frequently followed us around even though we were assured they aren't fed. Saw more Yellow-headed Jawfish out free-swimming than ever before. Several Eagle Rays, a Tarpon hangout. The wreck of the Tibbits, the only dive-able Russian ship in North America, is a highlight. Another cool thing is that the 2 dive masters have permission from the gov't for a coral nursery & we dove to see it.

We were so impressed with the dive operation! Very professional and organized without ever feeling rushed or too controlled. It was wonderful to have marine biologists as our dive masters; we learned a lot. Everyone was super-friendly; easy trips with lots of fun talk & joking around.

Accommodations: Carib Sands & Brac Beach Village are two parts of one resort, all condos; 1-3 BR. Two pools, a laundry, & a bar/restaurant on site. Lots of locals at the bar, friendly to talk with. Food was good enough that we never felt the need to venture out, though there are a few independent restaurants on the island. Condos are well-kept & furnished, but be prepared to buy more paper goods after the first couple of days.

The (very little) bad: no rinse bucket on board for cameras. Staff did rinse cameras with a hose after each dive, but still I'd prefer a bucket.

Taxis on the island are ridiculously expensive & they charge per person. Rent a car -- that is very reasonable.

In all, one of the most pleasant, relaxing dive weeks we've had in a long time, with plenty underwater to bring us back!
Websites Brac Scuba Shack   Carib Sands/Brac Beach Village

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Most of the Caribbean, Galapagos, Hawaii, S. Pacific
Closest Airport Charles Kirkconnell Int'l Getting There Fly to Grand Cayman, 45 min. hop to Brac. They may be starting direct flights soon.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Watch your gauges, start safety stop at 750. Note: I get cold & so used the 3mm; many people dove in swimsuits/rashguard.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments As stated above, no rinse bucket on board is a drawback, even though staff rinses cameras with a hose after each dive. There is a dedicated camera table in the wheelhouse, well protected; I had no qualms about changing my dry-mount lenses there.
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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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