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Dive Review of Ocean Frontiers/Reef Resort in
Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman's East End

Ocean Frontiers/Reef Resort, Mar, 2005,

by Roger, Donna & Kate Soape, Texas, USA . Report 1623.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Little Cayman, Belize Atolls (all), Cozumel, Chinchorro Banks, Gulf of Mexico, Saba, Dominica, St. Vincent
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 77 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Cayman 100' max limit observed on day's first dive.
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 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Grand Cayman still suffers from more Hurricane Ivan (Sept 2004) damage than we expected. On the East End, where restaurants are not plentiful to begin with, about half are closed still undergoing major repairs. The people were great and industrious all over the island, getting back to their lives without complaining. Admirable; they will be up to full speed soon.

The Reef Resort is nice, clean and comfortable - a short drive or shuttle ride from Ocean Frontiers dock. It is on a pretty, broad beach. Rooms feature kitchens - especially nice for breakast (be sure to visit the grocery store on your way from the airport) as dive boats leave the dock about the same time the Reef's restaurant opens.

The Reef's staff members were friendly. The food was good there - especially casual lunches in the bar area, even if the service was a little more "laid back" than even island time should afford.

Featuring good food and good service were Cayman Kai Yacht Club and Portofinos - both easy drives from the Reef. Also living up to its great reputation was the Lobster Pot - in George Town. One might not have to rent a car but would miss out without one. (Besides, driving on the left will keep you young!)

The East End is quiet. It is far enough away from George Town's hustle, bustle and cruise ships. (At least six were in port at the same time one day. To watch is to see why the rest of the world often holds we Americans in less than the highest esteem). Yet the East End is close enough to town to make afternoon excursions for shopping or evening trips for dinner. A good combination for us.

Hurricane Ivan may have clobbered things topside but, underwater, things looked surprisingly unaffected. The south side - where we had to make a couple of early dives due to northerly winds - was hit hardest by the storm and we saw some damage there to sponges and corals. The north side is where you want to dive and the prevailing southerly wind flow in the summer probably makes summer a safer bet for diving it consistently. There, the walls are amazing. The sponges and corals appear pristine. Lots of very nice swim-throughs (although sometimes too many for us as we like to hang along the knife-edge of the wall and keep an eye towards the blue). Excellent overall fish life, too. Only one day in our whole week of diving did we even see another dive boat. On that day we found the Cayman Aggressor moored at one of the better northside sites. The Ocean Frontiers divemasters seemed surprised to encounter the liveaboard.

Ocean Frontiers does a seemless job with such a busy schedule. Every one of the staff always seemed cheerful and happy to help. Two boats leave the dock at 8:00 am each morning with 10 - 12 divers each for a two-tank dive. They then do it all over again at 1:00 pm. We prefer diving in the morning (although 19-year-old Kate may disagree) but found on our one afternoon dive that Ocean Frontiers seemed to rush things a little less than on our morning schedule.

One day our second dive was done as a drift dive - which seemed to be the great exception but was really great fun. All other dives were from moored sites. The day's first dive is guided, with the Cayman 100' depth restriction heeded - if not exactly strictly enforced. A boat's divers are split into two groups with a time-staggered start. For the second dives (which were consistently the best second dives we have done anywhere), divers were on their own (or guided if they so chose). The nature of the place and the diving seems to attract, on average, more experienced divers which was also a very nice treat.

We did not see as many turtles, eagle rays or sharks (other than nurse) as we had expected. Overall fish populations looked healthy, with good numbers of larger adults. Still, all in all, a very nice trip and an easy getaway for us in or near Houston (with direct flights daily).


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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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