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Dive Review of Ocean Frontiers/Compass Point in
Cayman Islands/East End, Grand Cayman

Ocean Frontiers/Compass Point, Jan, 2006,

by Sandy Falen, KS, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 27 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 2499.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Topside, Grand Cayman shows much evidence of severe damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 (the old Cayman Diving Lodge is a shattered wreck). But the wall diving, for which East End has always been famous, remains stunning. The drop-offs, crevices, plunging vertical walls, and outstanding vis are reasons enough to come to East End. But I was equally impressed with the first-class service provided by Ocean Frontiers. From reservation to diving to checkout (sob, sob), it was a first-rate operation.

I stayed in their on-site, 2BR/2BA, Compass Point condo -- easily the nicest accommodation I've ever enjoyed on a dive vacation. It was practically new when Ivan struck, and shows no evidence of what had been primarily cosmetic damage in the ground-floor units. The condo has a full, well-appointed kitchen (microwave, dishwasher, smooth-top range -- the works), stacking washer/dryer, whirlpool tubs, CD/DVD player, 3 Sony TVs, including a closed-circuit channel playing U/W video. Best of all, there is a large lanai overlooking the water, accessed from both the living room and the master BR. The 2BR unit is quite a bit larger than the 1BR, and worth splurging for, even with only 2 people. There is a lovely stretch of beach (but little shade for the hammock), and a very nice pool and deck area.

Boats were roomy, and I liked the on-board Nitrox service, with a crewmember analyzing both of your tanks before the boat left the dock. This was valet diving: equipment was picked up at your room before your first dive, was set up and waiting for you on the boat each morning, and then rinsed and put up to dry each evening in a locked storage area. The staff was friendly and competent, and incredibly well organized. This is a professional, well-run operation -- probably the best I've ever dived with. Briefings were thorough (including drawings of each site) but not excessively long. DM's are happy to let you dive your own profile, and I never felt restricted. I was surprised to have seen few pelagics, although I understood there had been numerous shark sightings in the previous week -- we just weren't as lucky.

East End is about a 40-minute drive from the airport, and an entire world away from Georgetown's traffic, tourists, and cruise ships. Grocery, beer, and wine shopping can be done near the airport, but stores are closed on Sunday. There is virtually no shopping in East End, but there are a handful of excellent restaurants within reasonable distance. The Lighthouse at Breakers, while expensive, was outstanding (killer filet mignon), and made for a memorable special-occasion dinner. Grab some fish & chips for lunch at Vivene's kitchen (and it is, literally, her home's kitchen!); it's just down the road and within walking distance. Vivene is a Cayman legend, and one bite of her perfectly cooked fish will tell you why. Take a drive to the north side and have a meal or two at Over The Edge (aptly named given its proximity to the sea) -- the grilled tuna and wahoo was positively moan-worthy. There is no on-site restaurant at Compass Point, but it's easy to prepare breakfast or quick lunches in the condo.

Your Cingular phone will work on Grand Cayman, but save it for emergencies (like getting a Pina Colada recipe), as the roaming fees will come back to haunt.

As for Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach.... I made one afternoon journey there, and it will be my last time. Traffic jams and hoards of "cruise shippies" are not my idea of a dive vacation, and I found the turtle farm to be a depressing rip-off. East End was tranquil and friendly, with top-notch diving, outstanding, professional service, and beautiful accommodations. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Most of Caribbean, Costa Rica, Fiji
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 77-79°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive your own profile.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 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 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Rinse tank on boat.
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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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