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Dive Review of Southern Cross Club in
Cayman Islands/Little Cayman

Southern Cross Club: "Southern Cross Club - again", May, 2016,

by Rickie Sterne/Chris Button, AR, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8905 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 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 April found us joining the large cohort of repeat guests at Southern Cross Club. While we cannot speak for other repeat guests, we know what brought us back. First, the best diving we have found in the Caribbean, accessed by a fine dive operation. Second, the spacious accommodations scattered along a narrow stretch of white sand beach with views to the ocean. Third, the delicious cuisine. Fourth, the gracious, considerate staff. The last three considerations are not listed in any particular order of importance; we enjoyed them all.
The dive operation at SCC is well organized with comfortable boats and a hardworking crew of skilled divemasters. The boats have covered areas and sunning areas. There is a head on the boat. Each diver's tanks are set up in dive stations, with the crew switching gear from tank to tank during surface intervals. Divemasters were happy to help older divers and those with joint problems in and out of the water. Plenty of iced water is available throughout the trip, and sliced oranges and granola bars were served during the surface interval. Towels are provided. The boat carries the three-volume set of Caribbean ID books, as well as a full complement of emergency equipment, including an AED. Dive briefings were thorough and offered an oversight of the topography as well as the likely denizens of each site. We thought the divemasters' skills had actually improved since our last visit to the resort six months ago. The divemasters we considered tops in November were still hard at work, and one divemaster who had been perfectly adequate in the fall had developed into true excellence by the spring. And the divemaster we considered weakest had left the resort to be replaced by a far sharper gentleman. Rickie groaned quietly when, asked what I hoped to see during our dives, I quickly said, "Nudibranchs!" In sixteen years of Caribbean diving, I had seen only a single species of sea slug: Elysia crispata. Tell the SCC dive guides you want nudis, and you will see nudis. To wit, we saw six species of opistobranchia other than lettuce leaf sea slugs. We also were shown three species of slender simnia snails, roughback shrimp, and nearly a dozen pipehorses. But not everything we saw was small. The walls are thickly covered with hard corals and less algae than we have seen elsewhere. The reeftops feature lovely gorgonians, with sandy patches in between the wall and the gorgonian gardens. We encountered groupers unafraid of divers, lots of jawfish and sand tilefish, many stingrays, and a good variety of tropical fish. Turtles showed up on most of our dives, and we saw one large loggerhead. We even spotted a species of hamlet we had never seen before. But the trip maker, as Rickie calls it, was a gift of a dive. Late one morning at Grundy's Gardens, we saw thirteen eaglerays in one sixty-six minute dive. First, a small squadron of four eaglerays swam over us. A few minutes later two singles sailed past. Then came a squadron of five. As the two of us, last in the water, were completing our safety stop, one more pair of eaglerays swam majestically beneath us. We also enjoyed diving with Hernan, the resort's barman. Hernan is an avid diver and very sharp-eyed. He always went on the afternoon dives and was on the boat in the morning when the group was small. We were pleased to find that the boat now departs at 1400 for afternoon dives, allowing time for a leisurely lunch before riding back out to the reef. We were plagued by brisk winds during much of stay on Little Cayman. There was no problem underwater, but getting back onto the boat was a bit challenging a couple of times, and several divers were seasick on the boat. All the island's dive operations were "blown off" Bloody Bay wall for several days. We, however, liked the variety offered by the spur and groove corals of the south end and the sloping walls of the Jackson Bight area.
Rickie took a morning off from diving to fish for tarpon with the resort's capable and amiable fishing guide. Rickie had a ball, and, yes, he did land a nice tarpon. Photos of Rickie proudly holding said fish are available on request.
Southern Cross Club's rooms, bungalows, and suites are all attractive and comfortable. Wherever you stay in the resort you will be able to see the ocean from your porch or veranda. Our bed was comfortable and very large. There was a lot of storage space in the double chest, the platform bed drawers, the bathroom, and the walk-in closet. Blackout curtains were hung in the bedroom while we were in residence. The shower had good water pressure and plenty of solar-heated, very hot water. The resort provides a full range of good quality toiletries and a hairdryer. There were a small fridge and a coffeemaker supplied with Illycafe in the living room. We used the drying rack on the veranda for swimsuits and hand laundry. The veranda itself was a lovely spot for relaxing on comfortable loungers. We planned veranda time every afternoon. The resort has a nice swimming pool and hot tub that was a great pleasure for us aging divers. Bicycles are available for the taking, and the largely level, virtually traffic-free island is a great place for casual cycling. There are also ocean kayaks and paddleboards on offer.
And then there are the meals! We returned to enjoy the meals almost as much as the diving. Breakfast and lunch are served as buffets. In the morning eggs and omelets are cooked to order, as are a variety of pancakes. A new Belgian wafflemaker has been added, and Rickie was quick to master its operation. Fresh fruits included berries as well as tropical selections. Each morning fresh-baked breads were available for toasting. There was also a selection of breakfast meats. And the coffee is quite good! At lunch the buffet offered soup and at least two salads as well as the entree. The chefs prepared alternative entrees for those of us who do not eat meat; the alternatives were delicious. Dinner was served in three courses. We chose to eat on the deck under the stars. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts varied each evening, but were always gourmet. The resort serves good wines at reasonable restaurant prices. A highlight for us was the weekly Indian buffet. For some reason, the staff of trained chefs at Southern Cross Club is Indian, and they showed off their native cuisine brilliantly. Do not expect to lose weight.
The staff at SCC all act as if they actually enjoy their jobs, and they obviously care that their guests are having a good holiday.
Southern Cross Club is a lovely, quiet resort that seems to cater to individuals and couples. While guests certainly do socialize with each other, the resort offers a privacy that can be difficult to find in dive resorts. To use an British expression, everything at SCC was "tip-top tickety-boo."
Websites Southern Cross Club   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving around the Caribbean, Sea of Cortez, GBR & Coral Sea, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, most areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport Philip Bodden Airfield Getting There apart from having to arise at 0300, we had good connections on American Airlines from Little Rock to Charlotte to Grand Cayman, and then on the Cayman Airways otter to Little Cayman. We are trying to decide whether getting up at 0300 is better than jet lag.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, surge, no currents
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Cayman Islands rules: max depth 100 feet on the first dive and 60-70 feet on the second dive. Dive time was more or less sixty minutes (often more).
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The resort does not really have facilities for photographers beyond a small rinse tank on the boat and a hose on the dock. Boat crew handled our camera very carefully, and the dive guides were very skillful at pointing out the tiny macro subjects I love. Other divers placed their dry bags right next to cameras. We booked a veranda suite partly to have the large table in the living room as a work space for the camera.
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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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