Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Grand Cayman dive operators

  1. #1
    TadPole
    Join Date
    04/16/2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2

    Grand Cayman dive operators

    I've read through the thread here, and saw reference to a few dive operations. Who do you like to use, and why? We'll have 5 in our diving party, and plan on doing a mix of shore and boat diving. Everyone in our group has done at least 100 dives, but we're lazy about gaining advanced cert. we'll probably all go nitrox this year also.

    Is it best to go with one dive shop for the duration, or to just choose one that's closest to where you'll be that day? Is it like Bonaire, where you can basically take tanks wherever you are, or would one have to do lots of driving to get tanks?

    I'm getting excited about the trip! July seems years away.

    peace,

    Tim Olson

  2. #2
    Grand Cayman isn't like Bonaire. Except the water is as clear or clearer. Boat dive profiles are very different, usually the first dive is deep off the wall - 80-100' or more followed by a shallow 2nd dive. The best diving IMO is off the North Wall or NW end. Trinity Caves, Big Tunnel, Hepps Wall, Orange Canyon and Bonnies Arch were among the best we did. The one we missed was Eagle Ray Pass. Aquarium was an interesting shallower 2nd dive (look for the cleaner shrimp). IMO the best shore dive is Turtle Reef. And Stingray City is worth diving - once. Some like the Sandbar snorkel instead but we liked the dive - much less crowded.

    Some things to know:

    Most of the dive operators on Grand Cayman are either boat-based only or adjacent to a shore dive location. By law they have to allow shore dive access but are allowed to control what you bring on-property since they own it to the waterline. Often this is because they've improved facilities, added ladders/walkways over the ironshore, restaurants, lodging etc.

    What makes Seven Mile Beach such a nice beach is that the reef is mostly too far out to swim to offshore. So you'll often see diveboats moored farther out but most places to shore dive are along the ironshore on the north and south ends of the West side of GC.

    So you rent tanks at most of the shore dive locations from the on-site operator. This includes: Sunset House, Eden Rock, Turtle Reef, Lighthouse Point, Cobalt Coast and several others. I can only think of a few operations that have both a diveshop and diveboat(s) - Sunset House, Divetech, Eden Rock, Don Fosters and Red Sail - Fosters and Red Sail have big boats and take lots of divers - Foster's has most of the cruise contracts and is downtown.

    Another issue you'll have is that most will not allow you to remove tanks from their property.

    The only place that I know of that rents tanks is the Divers Supply store in West Bay as they're not waterfront - so have no resort affiliation. I've read that Eden Rock downtown will also allow you to take tanks off-site. They also rent 100's. Contact them to verify it as we only dove there once.

    For boat diving, pick one of the six-pack operators. Most only take 6-8 max so you'll have input to where they go - weather permitting. Some to consider - no particular order or recommendation - Wall to Wall, Off the Wall, Neptune's Divers, Ambassador Divers, Indigo Divers. Most (all?) will pick you up along Seven Mile Beach.

    If you drive to the East End, dive with Ocean Frontiers - they're often recommended.

    And plan for a lot of congestion in Georgetown when the cruisers are in town - almost daily. We dove Eden Rock around 3PM when most were headed back to their ship - I wouldn't want to go there earlier as it's 100yds. from the cruise tender pier. And many of the cruisers don't look the opposite way before stepping off the curb - it's driving on the left there.

    Eden Rock was really tired looking, decades of cruisers haven't done it any good - the coral in some areas was ground down or missing (everybody wants a souvenir...) The Grotto swim throughs weren't bad...we saved ER for near the end of the week which was a mistake.

    Expect to pay more than you've budgeted for food also - it's really pricey there. Even in the stores if you plan to do some cooking. The flip side was that we found a deal on a beachfront condo to offset some of it. Andy's at the airport has the best deals on car rentals also - they have a website afaik. And you can walk across the parking lot to their office - it's a small airport.

    Actually pretty much everything on Grand Cayman is really pricey...

  3. #3
    Grouper
    Join Date
    10/15/2007
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    378
    We were there last year dove with Neptune's for 3 days and hit the East end of the island for one day for four dives with Ocean Frontiers. Neptune's was nice, they did a good job of briefing but nothing that memorable. They were really good about letting you dive your own profile once they knew you weren't a total spaz. We were torn between them and Dive Tech. Next time I may give Dive Tech a try. The day we spent at Ocean Frontiers was AWESOME. Flat calm ocean, which is rare. The boat, operation, DMs, briefing, safety measures and service were in the top three I've ever experienced. They were so great I'd definitely consider an entire week there but at a minimum would for sure do the 4 dive day again. Total class from beginning to end with them.

    We dove Devil's Grotto and Eden Rock shore dives. Eden Rock was OK, Devil's I thought was pretty cool.

    That's all I got for you other than, eat at Chicken Chicken. Cheap (comparatively) and super good!

  4. #4
    Long Tailed Thresher Shark
    Join Date
    07/22/2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,406
    Check these guys out. Their boat is much faster than the cattle boats, can go more places, travels with just a few divers on it, and they can hook you up with whatever equipment you need. The condos they use are not on seven mile beach, but are right on top of a great shore diving site. Tell Nat I sent you.

    Indepth Watersports - Grand Cayman Scuba Diving on a One-of-a-kind Converted Navy Seal RIB


  5. #5
    Grouper
    Join Date
    10/15/2007
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    378
    Lulu, we saw an RIB when we were at Ocean Frontiers, was a government boat, apparently the day or two before a boat dumped a bunch of drugs and guns overboard so this Govt RIB was around looking for info. Gave one of the DMs a ride on it, HOLY CRAP those things are fast with 4 200HP (might have been more) engines on the back. They FLEW down the coast!

    Would be a blast to dive from!

  6. #6
    Long Tailed Thresher Shark
    Join Date
    07/22/2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,406
    Quote Originally Posted by Byte Me View Post
    Lulu, we saw an RIB when we were at Ocean Frontiers, was a government boat, apparently the day or two before a boat dumped a bunch of drugs and guns overboard so this Govt RIB was around looking for info. Gave one of the DMs a ride on it, HOLY CRAP those things are fast with 4 200HP (might have been more) engines on the back. They FLEW down the coast!

    Would be a blast to dive from!
    Yeah, I think I would really like them. They can go to a far greater range of sites. And Nat is just a super guy. Raleigh boy of course. I was going to dive with them this winter, and may still, but the condos they have are 3br and I didn't have enough people to make that cost effective. They'd be perfect with the OP's 5.

    I've grown increasingly tired of cattle boats and look for 6 packs or close to it when they are available in a location.


  7. #7
    TadPole
    Join Date
    04/16/2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Lulubelle View Post
    Yeah, I think I would really like them. They can go to a far greater range of sites. And Nat is just a super guy. Raleigh boy of course. I was going to dive with them this winter, and may still, but the condos they have are 3br and I didn't have enough people to make that cost effective. They'd be perfect with the OP's 5.

    I've grown increasingly tired of cattle boats and look for 6 packs or close to it when they are available in a location.
    We couldn't agree with you more about the cattle boats vs 6 packs. In years past our group had 7 divers, which filled up a small boat completely. We were also able to negotiate rates that were a little bit better than normal. In this case, we are 5 divers and 2 non-divers, so it sounds like it might be better to go day-by-day if we wanted to do a mix of shore and boat dives. Unfortunate, because going with one dive operator let us kick around with a minimum of cash or credit cards. (and some of the places we have been one DEFINITELY wants to keep this to a minimum). there's also the worry about boat availability for the day and time we want.

    We are staying at Rum Point in privately owned villas. VRBO.com is a great website and, for the number of people we have, these villas look like a great deal. also when you're in a resort, the only place for everyone to get together at the same time is out in public. We really like having the relaxed feel of home where we can cook if we want to, hang out, and enjoy each others' company.

    sounds like the cruise ship horde is THE thing to watch out for. good to know! as much of a tourist as we all are, we like to try and get a feel for the place without the enormous crowds.

    Thanks everyone for the excellent advice. We can't wait!

    peace,

    Tim O

  8. #8
    Grouper
    Join Date
    10/15/2007
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    378
    Tim, don't forget that traffic coming toward SMB from Rum Point in the AM can be really crowded so could be tough to get to boats. We left from SMB headed toward the East End one AM around 7:00 and it was a parking lot coming the other direction, so take that into account.

    If you're staying up there Red Sail does diving and you've got Ocean Frontiers on the East end. We also got bit up pretty good by sand fleas when we ate at Kaibo Beach Bar. Didn't have that issue in the SMB area. Really loved our day up there though! And Kaibo has an awesome rare rum bar! Great stuff!

  9. #9
    Shark Founding Member
    Join Date
    07/13/2007
    Location
    Enid, Oklahoma (no longer living the desert life)
    Posts
    2,927
    Images
    46
    I love Grand Cayman, even though it can be a bit pricey. Chicken Chicken is the best!

    I didnt get any dives on my WEEK LONG trip there last year. Stupid tropical storms. 10 foot surf on SMB, no diving anywhere.

    Anyway, I have dove with Neptune in the past and was really happy with them.
    Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

  10. #10
    Grouper
    Join Date
    09/20/2007
    Location
    Panama City Beach, FL
    Age
    45
    Posts
    975
    Images
    12
    We're going down in May. I've read the place for seeing any sharks in Grand Cayman is "The Maze". I contacted "Indepth" about diving with them. I'll be going in on a cruise ship but will not be diving with the cruise boat op. I know I've gotta fit whatever we do inside the in-port time window. Any suggestions on other ops to go with close to cruise docks if "Indepth" doesn't work out. They are my first choice initially, even though their site info is kinda slim.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. need dive buddy for grand cayman 6/19-6/23/2010
    By scubagirlj in forum Womens Issues
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-01-2009, 16:57
  2. dive site suggestions for grand cayman
    By scubagirlj in forum Cayman Islands
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-07-2009, 18:33
  3. Dive Report- Grand Cayman Don Fosters -12/08
    By mselizann in forum Cayman Islands
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 02-10-2009, 06:20
  4. Grand Cayman HD Video Dive Report
    By marshallkarp in forum UW Video
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-19-2008, 19:37
  5. Jan 2008 Grand Cayman Drift Dive
    By ScubaVideos in forum Scuba Diving Tube Videos
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-12-2008, 10:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •