Well, let me first say this trip was orginally slated for Sep of 08. However, due to Hurricane Gustav we (my wife and I) went to Grand Cayman instead.
Upon my return my LDS had scheduled a trip to the Little Cayman Beach Resort. Already scheduled to take a dive trip in Jan 09 and not desirous of going alone (AGAIN) I signed up for this land based resort.
The first thing I must tell you is that if you live on the West Coast it’s an extremely long travel day.
On American from SFO (San Francisco) to MIA, MIA to GCM. Once you get to Grand Cayman you have to take another airline to Little Cayman (Cayman Airlines)
Cayman Airways - the plane is extremely tiny; a Dehavilland 6 Twin Otter Turboprop, which seats 12 - 15 passengers, pray it’s not full.
There are some significan weight restrictions which will cost you both money and (probably)leaving a bag on GCM to come over on a later flight on another day.
The airstrip on Little Cayman is nothing more than that. Finally after twenty - five hours of travel time from start to finish I arrived.
The resort was closed for a few months last year due to the hurricane and the significant repairs to be done to the boats & dive dock. Concurrently they were scheduled to renovate the rooms.
The present accomodations are EXCELLENT, much more than what one would expect from a dive resort.
One exception - Little Cayman historically has been known to have paper thin walls in their rooms. That HASN"T changed and if you don’t want to hear or be heard you need to consider carefully.
The management team that run the place Jason & his wife Vickie (both from California) are OUTSTANDING. Any questions, concerns, desires and wishes that can be accomodated are w/no hesitations. Shout out to Jessica (front desk)
The food (Oh, my goodness!!!) the food. The pastry chef (Chubby from Jamaica) is worth taking the trip whether you like pastries of not) He made a chocolate pie w/toffee and pecans which was ABSOLUTELY too good to eat.
Breakfast was the only meal that didn’t wow me. The omelete guy needs to improve his disposition and attitude towards ALL the guests.
But dinner and supper were above and beyond. Awesome!!!! Shout out to the chefs, Donnette, Junior, mi amigos Alex y Kenny. Thank for taking good care of me.
Now on the the diving: Reef Divers.....
I arrived one day earlier than my group to get a feel of the place w/o the group since I travel alone most of the time. I wanted to know how I might be treated w/o the power of numbers and influence of group leader. And to see if there were any changes in attitudes and behavior.
For some people that’s not important, however, for me in this instance it was critical. Day one, I went out with Ronnie and Alex on Holiday Divers. What a joy it was to dive with what I considered to be two great dive guides.
Ronnie’s style is very attentive to his group. I watched him avert a major incident by being extremly watchful of all divers in the water with him. Alex, was the man for showing you the marine life. I didn’t think it could be better but it did.
Next day, my group arrives and whether you are w/a group of not you’re assigned to a boat for the week. I had to vacate the Holiday Diver for the Coral Sea. Our group counted in at 20 but usually only 17 - 18 dove at any one time.
Here we met Capt Sunny,Dottie and Sharon. First, they are sheer joy to be around as people, and even better as divers. Dottie and Sharon are really cool, but, I really loved diving with Sunny. Sometimes is just a style thing nothing more, and I just really enjoyed my time diving with her best.
Sunny has these cool fins with "Follow Me" written on the bottom that mde always think of the Adams Family. It was just too cool following her around. Our dive group adopted Sunny as one of our own. BIG SHOUT OUT TO SUNNY.
Some of the Dive Sites I dove are as follows:
Sarah’s Set, Great Wall West, Lea Lea’s, Black Hole, Windsock, Grundy’s Reef, Dynamite, Gay’s Reef, Richards Reef, Jackson Reef, Bus Stop, Joy’s Joy, the Tibbetts among others.
Nothing major just the regular Caribbean Reef Critters.
Ben (mgr) is a good guy who was there to answer and repond to any request or questions. Benny (Instructor) from Manchester did a custom DVD for me personally which was really excellent.
Annabelle runs the shop and handles the administrative side of the operation. She also maintains the products and merchandise.
Okay, so what’s my recommendation?
This is a resort for divers but a great number of people were there who didn’t dive, nor did they ever want to dive. That spoke volumes to me. Because they came just to read and relax. So go ahead and bring your non-diving spouse and children and have a lot of fun.
It’s bit of a hassel to get there, but it’s worth the trip. It might, however, be better to make that trip between Apr - Nov. The water was cold at times.
Would I do it again?
I’m a liveaboard guy and now I truly know why I am. I loved the three dives a day format and the valet diving but if I had my choice and traveling alone my answer is no.
If I am traveling with my liveaboard challenged dive friends Oh Yeah!! In a heart beat. It’s a wonderful resort and I have nothing but excellent things to say about it.
All the dive guides are instructors and they take really good care of you. And that’s what you want most of all. At the end of the day you want to return to your room w/o incident having had a great day of diving.
It was really worth the fuss and anyone who wants to have a safe and enjoyable dive vacation on land, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Little Cayman Beach Resort