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LITTLE CAYMAN BEACH RESORT, Little Cayman island.
The CAYMAN ISLANDS, British West Indies, Caribbean.
Call us for price updates. Cayman prices do change (all the time) with exciting specials.
& BRAC REEF BEACH RESORT, Cayman Brac island.
We are always alert for the best pricing & most favorable seasonal specials for you,
& we WILL price protect you, all seasons. CALL 952-953-4124.
LITTLE CAYMAN BEACH RESORT, Little Cayman island.
The CAYMAN ISLANDS, British West Indies, Caribbean.
Call us for price updates. Cayman prices do change (all the time) with exciting specials.
Let's start this review with a wonderfully simple fact: of the many dozens of tropical resorts that line the beaches of the Cayman Islands, two luxury Caribbean resorts have consistently ranked at the top of diver magazine reader polls, & travel professional surveys over & over again. They are Little Cayman Beach Resort & Brac Reef Beach Resort. These are bona fide 4+ star resorts, beautiful luxury lodging on beaches that are balm to city-weary souls; & they are just plain good bets for dive travelers looking for top value. These resorts are a little more expensive than some of their island competitors, but Godiva chocolates cost more than a supermarket nougat bar, for a lot of the same reasons. We feel solid about recommending these places with enthusiasm for dive vacations or snorkeling vacations, as you wish.
There must be something special about this Little Cayman island, this off-the-beaten-path destination -- if dive magazine editors & world-renowned photographers are talking about it so consistently. Granted there are such abundant swells of hot air billowing from many of the diving magazines nowadays, you'd almost think their editors need truth serum, or at least PR puffery regulators. But when respected industry figures like Philippe Cousteau & ace photographer David Doubilet sing the praises of Little Cayman Island, year after year, one needs to do more than arch an eyebrow. These gents say that scuba vistas here off Little Cayman Island, & Cayman Brac too, are among the finest diving experiences available among all luxury Caribbean resorts. The fact is that they are correct.
There is so much hype in the scuba diving world that it's often hard to separate the skates from the skate scat. But the fact that hundreds of experienced divers each year hardly can wait to return to Little Cayman, & Cayman Brac, must mean something pretty special is going on out there.
It is actually. It's a little thing called enjoyment. Pure unadulterated diving joy. With no annoying touristy crowds to boot. A recent survey taken by the editors of Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine, a respected journal of scuba matters worldwide & the last objectively balanced magazine in a dive profession peppered with puff-piece periodicals, states that readers voted Little Cayman Beach Resort the best wall diving destination in the Caribbean (thanks to the Bloody Bay Wall!). Those same readers also voted Little Cayman Beach Resort the second best reef diving in the Caribbean. Rodale's readers further ranked Little Cayman as one of the Caribbean's top 5 destinations for underwater photos & advanced diving thrills. Remember, these isles welcome non-divers to enjoy world-class snorkeling vacations, as well as dive trips. No regulator bias here, gang! Snorkeling is just as cool in the Cayman Islands as scuba diving, so hang loose, mon. Few luxury Caribbean resorts can ever hope to match the topside amenities & sheer adventure spectrum available in these waters.
(The following text has been edited by
U.S. Dive Travel & appears courtesy of
Little Cayman Beach Resort & Brac Reef Beach Resort, Cayman Islands.)
GEOGRAPHIC DETAILS about LITTLE CAYMAN ISLAND:
Little Cayman Island is 87 miles northeast of Grand Cayman, five miles west of Cayman Brac, 480 miles from Miami & 90 miles south of Havana. The island itself is 10 miles long & 1 mile wide. There are daily flights from Miami & other major cities to Grand Cayman. Once on Grand Cayman, it is just a short hop to Little Cayman. Island Air, the inter island air carrier offers three round trip flights a day.
FLYING TO LITTLE CAYMAN is EASY.
Soon we will be greeting you at the Little Cayman Airport. Before you land on our island, you'll clear customs in Grand Cayman. After clearing customs, you'll check-in at the Island Air Ticket Counter for your flight to Little Cayman. The airport on Little Cayman consists of one grass runway & a very small airport facility with a single staff person. You will be met by resort staff & transferred to the resort. Island Air does have a weight limit of 55 pounds per person & excess charges currently run about $0.55 per pound. The atmosphere on Little Cayman is very informal so it helps to pack lightly. On occasion, luggage can be delayed & you may wish to include a few personal items in a small carry-on.
LITTLE CAYMAN BEACH RESORT AMENITIES
Little Cayman Beach Resort's service & amenities are outstanding. Our 28 pool view rooms are spacious, air conditioned & tastefully decorated. Each features a balcony or patio, color TV, ceiling fan & private bath. For the ultimate in guest creature comfort available in luxury Caribbean resorts, we have 12 luxury ocean front rooms complete with wet bar, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, private balcony or patio. Guests can choose to dine in the Bird of Paradise Restaurant or outdoors in an alfresco setting on our screened patio. Breakfast is served from 7:00 to 8:30. Lunch from 12:30 to 1:30 & dinner 6:30 to 8:00. The Beach Nuts Bar is the gathering place for guests before & after meals. The bar opens at 11:30 & closes at 11:00 p.m.
The Beach Nuts Bar offers cool drinks which can be enjoyed at the bar or pool side. & as the sun begins to set, you'll enjoy a wide variety of gourmet specialties, delicious fresh seafood & sumptuous island favorites in our air-conditioned Bird of Paradise Restaurant or dine alfresco among the swaying palms on our screened patio. The resort has everything you need to make your stay special. In Mermaids & the dive shop store, you'll discover everything from postcards to dive gear. We also have a 1,500 square foot conference center, game room, fully-equipped fitness center, lighted tennis courts, jacuzzi & a health & beauty center scheduled to open in the summer of 1998.
Little Cayman boasts the third largest bird sanctuary in the Caribbean & we encourage guests to tour by bicycle, or arrange for a guided tour to see all the sites on Little Cayman. Visit the new museum, birdlife observatory, the old cemetery, Baptist Church & much more. Scuba vacations can be more than bubbling down under, you know. These Cayman dive resorts offer more than meets the eye on day one. Read on.
All guest rooms are now smoke-free -- 100%. Guests may smoke on the patios & in the bar area.
LITTLE CAYMAN DIVING DATA:
Reef Divers, the resort's resort-owned & managed dive center, has everything you need. A fleet of modern, custom designed dive boats, a complete inventory of tanks & scuba gear, along with a staff of seasoned guides & professional instructors. Add an additional margin of safety using Nitrox for your next dive. Reef Divers offers certification for Nitrox diving. Plus to be sure you capture every exiting moment of every dive, Reef Photo & Video Center has a selection of underwater video & photography equipment for rent, plus on-site E6 processing.
Reef Divers is home to three custom designed super dive boats built
by Newton boats, Inc., Slidell Louisiana. They are powered by twin caterpillar
300 hp 3116 diesel engines & are 42 feet long & 16 feet wide with
a cruising speed of 25 mph. They feature over 500 square feet of
floor & deck space, dual ladders, stand up showers, padded camera
table. Praised by divers for the ease of entering & exiting the water,
they are also favored for their many safety features.
DIVE SHOP PROTOCOLS
After checking in you'll be asked to complete a history form & to return it to the dive shop. Don't forget your C card. You won't be able to enjoy any Cayman diving without it. Our boardwalks lead from your room to all points of interest, including the pier for a look at the dive boats you will be using. The boats depart each morning at 8:30 a.m. & again at 2:30 p.m. Water temperature ranges from 76-78 degrees F. in winter to 76-86 degrees F in summer. Divers are encouraged to place their gear in a bag outside their door the first morning. The dive staff will pick it up & take it to the boat. The first time, divers are asked to set up their gear. After that the dive staff will take care of everything, including packing up your gear & rinsing it after the day's diving.
REEF DIVERS (Dive Shop) FACT SHEET
DESCRIPTION of Little Cayman diving procedures:
Reef Divers, Ltd. sets a "new standard" on Little Cayman for world-class facilities,
diver-friendly services & safety standards. Reef Divers features a fully equipped dive shop & 3 custom-designed "super" dive boats. Reef Divers is a member (#17102) of the PADI Gold Palm 5 Star Resort & the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association (CIWOA).
Reef Divers is the in-house dive operation at the Little Cayman Beach Resort. Reef Divers' boats depart from the Resort's dive dock each day at 8:30 a.m. for a 2-Tank Morning Boat Dive,
at 2:00 p.m. for a 1-Tank Afternoon Boat Dive & at 7:30 p.m. for a 1-Tank Night Boat Dive, on selected evenings each week.
DIVE CENTER GEAR:
Reef Divers offers guided Little Cayman diving boat tours; snorkeling trips; complete PADI & AUI instructional programs (including one-day resort courses, 4-day full certifications, advanced training & Nitrox certification); a air-conditioned classroom; 220 aluminum 80 cu. ft. & 63 cu. ft. SCUBA tanks, as well as 15 complete sets of Sherwood rental equipment; & an equipment repair service. The Dive Center sells a complete selection of SCUBA diving equipment, accessories & Reef Divers & Little Cayman Beach Resort logo dive sportswear. Nitrox Certification & diving will be available mid-1997. The Reef Divers' dive center provides fresh water rinsing tanks; fresh water showers; a dive gear storage area; & restrooms. Reef Divers uses two new Mako 30 cfm, electric-powered, air-cooled dive compressors, complete with state-of-the-art filtration system & plenty of air storage capacity. As well as a Nitrox Technologies Membrane system for Nitrox fills. Few Cayman diving resorts can offer these world-class services.
DAILY DIVING HIGHLIGHTS:
REEF DIVERS BOATS:
Reef Divers guests enjoy the advantage of three custom-designed "Newton 42" dive boats – Reef FantaSeas, Island Sister & Cayman Sister. Custom designed for diving at Little Cayman, these dive boats were built by Newton Boats, Inc., Slidell, Louisiana. Fabricated to American Bureau of Shipping specifications, they are powered by twin Caterpillar 300 hp 3116 diesel engines. These Newton dive boats are a Little Cayman diving dream -- 42 feet long & 16 feet wide with a cruising speed of 20 mph!
The dive vessels Island Sister, Cayman Sister & Reef Fanta Seas provide:
DIVING SERVICES HIGHLIGHTED:
Divers don't have to lug their gear every day from their rooms. Upon checking in at the dive shop, divers receive a Reef Divers bag. They put their gear in the bag, place it outside their door the first morning, & the dive staff will take it to the boat. The scuba diver sets up his/her gear the first time. After that Reef Divers changes their tanks after every dive. At day's end, we take care of rinsing BCs, Regulators & weight belts on the boat.
Here are the main reasons why our dive shop service is world-class on Little Cayman island:
BLOODY BAY WALL MARINE PARK's
MOST POPULAR DIVE SITES on LITTLE CAYMAN ISLAND:
Cascades:This is the first & most northern Little Cayman diving site in the Jackson Point area. Once you've entered the water & started down you will understand the meaning of Cascades. This is the area where it all cascades down to "La La Land". You will find turtles, sharks, Eagle & Sting Rays on this far out site, as well as conch. The coral heads in this area look like small mountain ranges. Makes for great wide angle photos.
Paul's Anchors:This Little Cayman diving site is known for its majestic, gently sloping drop-off. You will find in & around the rubble Sand Tile Fish, octopus & Yellow Headed Jaw Fish. There are many anchors located on this site. One of interest is about 10_ tall with a large rope ring at the top. Makes for a great photo backdrop. This site is also known for its abundance of sea life, turtles, sharks & Green Morays, not to forget the Spotted Eagle Rays.
Nancy's Cup of Tea (a/k/a Magic Roundabout):This Little Cayman diving site is named after Nancy Sefton, author of Caribbean Reef Invertebrates. From this site you can visit Mike's Mount to the south & Paul's Anchors to the north. The wall reef & inner reef abound with marine life. The main point of interest is an outcropping from the wall. There are several species of Black Coral to be found in & around this outcropping. Eagle Rays, Sting Rays & sharks, as well as turtles, are among some of the large critters to be seen here. A Bat Fish has been seen at this site, as well. Yellow Headed Jaw Fish & Sand Tile Fish will be found among the rubble, along with conch.
Mike's Mount:There's a lot to be found, starting with this Little Cayman diving dive site. As you move in a northerly direction out towards the Cascades site, you can take a look at some history. The first thing to be found is a small cannon on this site. Moving on north, there are many anchors to be seen. You will have to look for these artifacts, for they have been transformed to look like their surroundings. There are tunnels through the wall (to "La La Land") as well as a cannon in the shallows. We've seen sharks, turtles, Spotted Eagle Rays, Sting Rays, eels, etc. There are friendly Queen Trigger & French Angels, as well as Grouper.
The Meadows:This Little Cayman diving site affords both deep & shallow diving, for scuba diver or snorkeler. You can take the dropoff to "La La Land" or cruise through many canyons & sand flats. You will find friendly French Angels & Queen Triggers. In among the rubble areas you will find Jaw Fish, Sand Tile Fish & many other small dwellers of the reef. You may also find sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, Sting Rays & turtles swimming here. There are some great tunnels that open onto the wall. Makes for a great backdrop for pictures of your friends with wide angle or standard lens. Great video, too!
Eagle Ray Roundup:This Little Cayman diving site is a large sandy area typical of Jackson Bay. Occasionally we find more than one or two Eagle Rays, here. The area is surrounded by large coral head formations & bordered by the wall reef. You will find large Parrot Fish munching on the sand, as well as Sting Rays & Hog Snapper. There are also friendly French Angels & Grouper, here.
Jackson's Reef & Wall:This Little Cayman diving site abounds with marine life. During the day you will find some very friendly French Angels that will be more than willing to have their pictures taken. Eagle Rays, Sting Rays, Yellow Sting Rays & Moray Eels (both Green & Black & White), are frequently seen here. In & around the rubble area, you will find many small fish such as Yellow Headed jaw Fish, Sand Tile Fish, Sand Divers & a variety of juveniles. For the night diver there are a lot of night dwellers to be seen -- Octopus, Basket Starfish & Orange Ball Anemones to name a few.
Cumber's Caves:The main feature of this Little Cayman diving site are the four tunnels that go through the wall reef. They all start at about 45 to 50 feet & exist on the outside of the wall at about 100 feet. There is an anchor at the entrance of one. In the sandy area you will find Garden Eels, conch, as well as Eagle Rays & Southern Sting Rays. Along the base of the mini-wall you will find among the rubble many smaller fish like the Yellow Headed Jaw Fish. This area is also a great night dive, & affords a photographic range from wide angle to macro, as well as video.
Bus Stop:This Little Cayman diving site gets its name from the remains of a school bus on the shore. You will find a large sand wash inside the wall reef that runs through the wall & dumps into "La La Land" This chute opened up in December, 1989 during a northwester. You will note the dead zone from where the sand originally was -- about 20_ or so. Along the wall east of the mooring point there is a large Barrel Sponge which has a large hole in the side. Makes for interesting photos.
Sarah's Set:This Little Cayman diving site affords both deep & shallow diving. You can take the dropoff to "La La Land" or cruise through many canyons & sand flats. You will find friendly French Angels & Queen Triggers. In among the rubble areas you will find Jaw Fish, Sand Tile Fish & many other small dwellers on the reef. You may also find sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, Sting Rays & turtles swimming here from time to time. There are some great tunnels that open onto the wall. Makes for great backdrop pictures of your friends with wide angle or standard lens. Great for video, too!
Blacktip Boulevard:This Little Cayman diving site is named for the number of sightings of Blacktip Sharks. The mooring is set at the inner edge of the wall reef. The reef itself is a gentle slope to the dropoff. There are many sand grooves to explore in this area. In the sand you will find Yellow Headed Jaw Fish, along with Sand Tile Fish & many other small fish. In the sand area you will find Garden Eels, Southern Sting Rays, conch & Eagle Rays.
Mixing Bowl (3 Fathom Wall):The name "Mixing Bowl" comes from the local divers, so named because this is where Jackson's Bay & Bloody Bay share a common border. The site is also known as "3 Fathom Wall" (6 feet/fathom x 3 = 18 feet). Also known as Bloody, Jackson & Ball's Bay. There is much to be seen here, & you will notice a great difference between both areas: Jackson's with its gentle sloping to the wall & Bloody Bay's vertical drop into dark depths below. Sharks, Eagle Rays & Turtles are commonly found cruising the Wall in both bays, along with Queen Angels, French Angels & Gray Angels. On the Bloody Bay side, you'll find Sailfin Blennys & large schools of Stoplight Parrot Fish, Scorpion Fish & many others. Great for video, both macro & wide angle still photography, standard & closeup, wide angle (20mm & 15mm) & macro. On the Jackson's side you will find Yellow Headed Jaw Fish, Sand Tile Fish, Southern Sting Rays, turtles & more Little Cayman diving delights.
Marilyn's Cut:Marilyn's Cut is made up of a modern day Danforth anchor. This Little Cayman diving site is within easy distance of both Mixing Bowl to the east, & Donna's Delight to the west. The shallows are a very gentle slope to the dropoff which starts at an average depth of 25 feet. On the wall you will find a variety of sponge & corals. The east cut has Black Coral on both sides & a very large Barrel Sponge on the west side. The shallows abound with a variety of fish -- some small, some large. Pot holes abound with many juveniles.
Donna's Delight:Donna's Delight is very much like Marilyn's Cut. One thing that seems to be abundant on this site are Flamingo Tongue shells. Nurse Sharks are frequently seen along these sites. You may find Flying Gurnards in the shallow areas, too. Sailfin Blenny are common, but you really need a trained eye to find them. They are only about 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" long. They dance above their burrows & fleet back into them when approached.
The Chimney (Randy's Gazebo):The chimney & archway are the greatest points of interest, here. The chimney entrance starts at about 75¢ & exits vertically at about 40 feet on the top of the wall. The arch is east of the mooring, approximately 10 feet, opening on the blue water side at about 75 feet. This makes for a great backdrop for photos of divers coming through from open water. In the shallows, as with most of the sites, you will find an array of juveniles. Sharks & rays are seen cruising to these Little Cayman diving areas as well. The wall offers great views as well as wide angle & standard lenses. The top of the wall offers the same as well as good macro opp's.
Great Wall:There are two words to describe this site -- FULLY AWESOME. In the shallows you will find many large coral heads abundant with small reef fish. You may find cleaning stations here, as well. Scorpion Fish are found frequently around their base structure. You will also find the Sailfin Blennys in the shallows (hard bottom area with algae growth) dancing above their burrows. The wall is almost vertical. It will leave you in awe when you find your way off the wall & turn around to look back. Black Coral is abundant in this area & makes a great backdrop for photos. You may see Eagle Rays and/or sharks cruising the wall. Big game fish have been seen at times. There are also many different types of sponges in an array of colors.
Lea Lea's Lookout:Lobsters, Spider Crabs, Scorpion Fish, Jaw Fish & Sailfin Blennys are among some of the critters that can be seen, along with turtles, sharks, Eagle Rays, Green Morays & Black & White Morays. Sailfin Blennys live in holes on the hard bottom. Jaw Fish live in holes among the rubble & sand. Both of these critters dance vertically above their dens in this Little Cayman diving classic.
Coconut Walk:Coconut Walk is the island name for Coconut Grove. The main point of interest on this site is a large stand of Pillar Coral. It is one of the few hard corals, here. Polyps are extended from it to feed during daylight hours. This coral is very slow growing & is extremely delicate, so please -- DO NOT TOUCH! There are many tunnels through the outcroppings with sand & rubble shoots. You will find large Barrel Sponges at depths of 60 feet +. They are best photographed with a wide angle lens & someone alongside or above to give non-diving people an idea of how large these sponges can be. The shallows in this area afford the same array of marine life that is found along Bloody Bay & Jackson's Bay.
Barracuda Bight:This is the next to last site in Bloody Bay. We have in this area fingers or outcroppings from the wall. You will find in the shallows the Sailfin Blennys & many juveniles & small fish. There are many crevices & overhangs to explore, here. Lobster & Spider Crabs are found here, quite often along with Nurse Sharks, Green Moray & Black & White Moray Eels.
Joy's Joy:This is the last dive site in the Bloody Bay area, another Little Cayman diving classic. The area is much the same as Barracuda Bight with its many outcropping fingers. From the mini-wall or ridge, starting at about 25 feet, there is a gradual sloping to the dropoff. There are lots of nooks & crannies to explore. You may find lobsters (Spiny, Rock & Slipper) hiding in this area, along with octopus & Flamingo Scallops. You may also sight Eagle Rays & sharks cruising this area.
FACT SHEET for LITTLE CAYMAN BEACH RESORT:
OPENED: June 10, 1993.
DESCRIPTION: Deluxe beachfront resort. Premier choice in Cayman dive resorts.
The Little Cayman Beach Resort is situated on a private beach on the south shore, bordered by the South Hole Sound, just 1/4 mile from the Edward Bodden Airport. Little Cayman, 11 miles long & 1 mile wide, the smallest of the three Cayman Islands, in the British West Indies, is located about 90 miles northeast of Grand Cayman & 5 miles west of Cayman Brac. The Cayman Islands are 170 miles northeast of Jamaica & 480 miles south of Miami.
STAFF: 25 workers total.
The resort offers 40 guest rooms divided into 2, two-story "treetop height" buildings, surrounded by lush tropical foliage & landscaped gardens. The Resort design & architecture reflect the quaintness & charm of the tropical Caribbean style, with the building exterior finished in a warm peach color tone with white gingerbread trim.
BAR: Beach Nuts Bar is a poolside bar overlooking the beach, specializing in refreshing, tropical drinks.
MEETING & BANQUET FACILITIES:
The Grouper Room Building offers 1,270 square feet of space with its own kitchen & restrooms. It accommodates 54 in a classroom setting, 70 auditorium & 40 for private dining parties. Full audio-visual equipment is available for rental.
The Little Cayman Beach Resort offers its business guests the most extensive
business support services on Little Cayman, which include the following:
Secretarial services. · Photocopying.
IDD Telephone & Fax. · Word Processing.
Manager's Rum Punch Party – Monday 6:00 to 6:30 pm.
Karaoke at the Beach Nuts Bar – Friday 8:30 to 10:30 pm.
SPECIAL GUEST SERVICES
Massage, Health & Beauty Spa
BACKGROUND INFO on the ISLAND & TOURS AVAILABLE:
The Cayman Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba, from which they are separated at the closest point by about 150 miles. The three islands are an outcropping of the Cayman Ridge, a submarine mountain range that extends west from the Sierra Maestra mountain range in Cuba. Grand Cayman is the largest of the islands with 121 square miles. By contrast Little Cayman, the smallest of the three islands, is only one mile by ten. The total land area of the three islands is 162 square miles, or approximately that of Austin, Texas. All three islands are low lying & are composed of limestone & consolidated coral. The highest point on Little Cayman is only 40 feet in elevation. While tales of pirates abound, most likely Little Cayman saw few visitors until recent times. That lack of human habitation allowed the reefs & walls to grow & flourish. Scuba diving vacations & snorkeling vacations are the lifeblood of these Cayman dive resorts.
Today, we glory in the magnificent underwater world that time created. The harsh conditions that keep the islands isolated are also the conditions we seek to protect for the sake of the marine & bird life. Freshwater comes to us free only when it rains & the resort has built cisterns to collect it. Unfortunately, it is not enough to provide for all the guests, so they have built a reverse osmosis plant to produce the additional fresh water needed.
The resort wisely asks all guests to conserve where possible. Washing
soap can pollute our waters so we ask guests if they wish to use fresh
towels, to place their used towels in the bath tub. For those that guests
intend to use again, we request that they hang them on the towel rack.
Trash should be disposed of in containers provided. When guests leave
their rooms, we encourage them to turn off the lights & turn up the
air conditioner. The pristine environment everyone comes to see will be
preserved for future generations of divers & naturalists.
REEF PHOTO & VIDEO CENTER FACT SHEET:
OPENED: June 10, 1993.
Reef Photo & Video Center is the only full-service, professional underwater photo & video center on Little Cayman. Reef Photo & Video Center offers daily E-6 processing, photo coaching, custom underwater videos, equipment, film, & battery sales, still & video camera rentals, repairs, & a complete instructional program. Reef Photo & Video Center's services are available to all divers on Little Cayman, regardless which dive shop, hotel, condominium or other accommodation the diver has chosen.
Reef Photo & Video Center is the in-house underwater photo & video center located at the Little Cayman Beach Resort.
Resident Photo Pro, Darren Rice, joined Reef Photo with many years of experience in dive resort underwater photo & video operations. Originally from London, Darren served in the British Royal Navy as a diver & has since traveled extensively around the world working as a photo pro & commercial diver. Darren's last five years were in Australia working on the Great Barrier Reef. He is fully trained in all aspects of the business including camera repair.
REEF PHOTO & VIDEO CENTER, MORE DETAILS:
Reef Photo & Video Center, the only Official Nikonos Photo Center on Little Cayman, rents a variety of underwater photo & video equipment, including Nikonos V camera systems, Nikkon 15mm, 20mm, 28mm, & 35mm lenses, macro tubes, close-up kits, strobes & accessories. Reef Photo currently uses light & motion stingray housings with TR910 hi8 cameras. Reef Photo & Video Center produces custom underwater VHS videos. The videos will include all divers on the boat & are offered for sale at the showing later the same day. Custom private videos are also available. Stock videos of Little Cayman's best dive sites can be added to any custom video. All videos, including duplicates, are finished productions including titles & music & are reproduced in VHS NTSC format. Reef Photo & Video Center offers underwater photo & video courses, ranging from basic to advanced. Instruction is tailored to accommodate the skill level of the student. Reef Photo & Video Center offers underwater photo equipment repairs, on a limited basis, depending upon availability of spare parts.
BRAC REEF BEACH RESORT
on Cayman Brac
Call us for price updates (frequent "Sudden Specials") -- 952-953-4124.
Cayman Brac is 86 miles northeast of Grand Cayman, five miles east of Little Cayman, 480 miles from Miami, 90 miles south of Havana & 175 miles northeast of Jamaica. There are daily flights from the U.S. to Grand Cayman with direct jet service to Cayman Brac. Commuter service is also available from Grand Cayman with daily flights to Cayman Brac. Contact us now for more information & reservations.
FLYING TO CAYMAN BRAC
Soon our associates will be greeting you at the Resort. Before you land on our island, you'll clear customs in either Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac, depending on your air itinerary. Upon arrival in Cayman Brac, claim your luggage & exit the airport. Immediately outside the door, vans will be waiting to take you to our Resort. The transfer service is licensed via government contract & only they are able to transfer guests.
Cayman Airways does have a weight limit of 70 pounds per person for checked luggage. Excess charges currently run $35 for the next 70 lbs. The atmosphere at the Brac is very informal so it helps to pack lightly. On occasion, luggage can be delayed & you may wish to include a few personal items in a small carry-on.
DIVING TIPS to KEEP in MIND
After checking in you'll be asked to complete a history form & return it to the dive shop. Don't forget your "C" card. You won't be able to dive without it. Our boardwalks leads to all points of interest, including the pier for a look at the dive boats you will be using. The boats depart each morning at 8:30 a.m. & again at 2:00 p.m. Water temperature ranges from 78° in the winter to 86° in the summer. Divers are encouraged to place their gear in a bag outside their door the first morning. The dive staff will pick it up & take it to the boat. The first time, divers are asked to set up their gear. After that the dive staff will take care of everything, including packing up your gear & rinsing it after the day's diving.
Guests can choose to dine in the Coral Gardens Restaurant or alfresco on the screened porch. Breakfast is served from 7:00 to 9:00. Lunch from 12:30 to 1:30 & dinner 6:30 to 8:00. The Channel Lounge is the gathering place for guests before & after meals. The bar opens at 11:00 a.m. & closes at 11:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday closing at midnight on Friday & Saturday.
A valid Passport & return or ongoing airline ticket is required for all visitors. Currently, U.S., British & Canadian citizens can use a Birth Certificate with a raised seal & photo ID as proof of citizenship. A $12.50 departure tax is paid when you check in for your return flight home.
BRAC REEF BEACH RESORT AMENITIES
When you not in the thrall of daily scuba adventures, there's a lot to do at the Brac Reef Beach Resort. For starters, there's diving & snorkeling just offshore. Bonefishing in the shallows. Deep sea fishing. Hiking. Biking. Tennis. Basketball. & volleyball. Take a dip in the freshwater pool. Unwind in the steaming hot jacuzzi. Take in the breathtaking view from atop of the island's fully-functioning lighthouse. Explore the island's historical museum or the bat caves tucked in the limestone bluffs at the Brac's eastern end.
The bluffs are a nature preserve, home for more than 150 species of birds & an awesome variety of wild flowers & exotic plant life. This isle is ideal for casual bird watching, be sure to leave some time for a walk along our many nature trails. With so much to do, it's easy to work up a big appetite on Cayman Brac, & the expert chef is ready to please with an exciting menu of gourmet specialties, delicious fresh seafood & sumptuous island favorites. Dine in our casual, air conditioned Coral Garden Restaurant, alfresco on our screened porch or enjoy your meal outside on the patio among the swaying palms & tropical breezes, bathed in a technicolor sunset.
THE DIVING IS GREAT on CAYMAN BRAC as well !
It's also home for the 330 foot long "Capt. Keith Tibbetts" - the only divable Russian warship in the western hemisphere. It sits upright & completely intact in crystal clear waters just off shore. So what are we waiting for, amigos del mar! Let's get wet, & quickly!
Reef Divers is located on premise & offers everything important to divers. A fleet of modern, custom designed dive boats, a complete inventory of tanks & scuba gear, along with a staff of seasoned guides & professional instructors. Add an additional margin of safety using Nitrox for your next dive. Reef Divers offers certification for Nitrox diving & many other courses. Plus to be sure you capture every exciting moment of every dive, Reef Photo & Video Center has a selection of underwater video & photography equipment for rent, plus on-site E6 processing.
The Dive Boats: Twin Sister, Little Sister & Big Sister
Custom-designed for diving, these super dive boats were built by Newton Boats, Inc., Slidell, Louisiana. They are powered by twin Caterpillar 300 hp 3116 diesel engines & are 42 feet long & 16 feet wide with a cruising speed of 25 mph. They feature over 500 square feet of floor & deck space, dual ladders, stand up showers, padded camera table. Praised by divers for the ease of entering & exiting the water, they are also favored for their many safety features. Remember, when space allows, non-divers also enjoy these vessels to enhance their snorkeling vacations.
FACT SHEET for BRAC REEF BEACH RESORT:
DESCRIPTION: Deluxe beach front resort.
LOCATION: The Brac Reef Beach Resort is situated on a private beach on the south shore, West End, just 1 mile from the Gerrard Smith International Airport. Cayman Brac, 12 miles long & 2 mile wide, the middle sister of the three Cayman Islands, in the British West Indies, is located about 86 miles northeast of Grand Cayman & 5 miles east of Little Cayman. The Cayman Islands are 170 miles northeast of Jamaica & 480 miles south of Miami.
STAFF: 25 workers total.
ACCOMMODATIONS: 40 Deluxe Pool View rooms divided into 2, two-story "treetop height" buildings, surrounded by lush tropical foliage & landscaped gardens. The Resort design & architecture reflect the quaintness & charm of the tropical Caribbean style, with the building exterior finished in a warm peach color tone. Each Guest Room is furnished with:
RESTAURANT: The Coral Gardens Restaurant offers dining in a casual atmosphere, both indoors in air-conditioned comfort or outdoors in an alfresco setting. Buffet-style meals.
BAR: The Channel Lounge is a poolside bar overlooking the beach, specializing in refreshing, tropical drinks.
MEETING & BANQUET FACILITIES: The Governor's Room offers 1,000 square feet of space for accommodating up to 60 persons classroom style. Full audio-visual equipment is available for rental.
BUSINESS CENTER: The Brac Reef Beach Resort offers its business guests the most extensive business support services on Cayman Brac, which include the following:
CAYMAN BRAC SIDE-TOURS
Cayman Brac is the middle sister of the three Cayman Islands. It is a coral island surrounded by reef with a population of about 1200 residents. It has changed very little since it was discovered in 1503 by Christopher Columbus. Despite its history of pirate adventure & hidden treasure, it remains a peaceful quiet hideaway not only for divers & snorkelers, but also for sports fishermen, bird watchers & just relaxing. Cayman Brac is recognized for the unspoiled natural beauty of its spectacular marine environment. Much of its coral reef has been protected for future generations to enjoy by its designation as a marine park by the Cayman Marine Conservation Laws. Snorkeling off the white sandy beaches or ironshore is excellent.
World-class bonefishing is found both inside & outside the reef. Light tackle spinning & fly fishing the shallow flats for bone, tarpon & permit is second to none. Beyond the reef the waters abound year round with big game fish -- marlin, tuna & wahoo.
Most of the island's interior is highlighted by the bluff, a distinctive limestone cliff that juts up to 140 feet at the Brac's eastern end. The bluff supports a nature preserve boasting more than 150 species of birds & abundant flora & fauna, including the rare green parrot, iguanas, snow egrets & a variety of tropical plans & flowers, are all to be seen & photographed at leisure. Visit the bluff & its many caves. Listen to pirate tales of Blackbeard, Anne Bonny & buried treasure. See where Brackers have sought refuge from storm & flood. Experience the breathtaking view from the lighthouse overlooking the sea below. Tour the local museum for an interesting glimpse of the past.
Brac Reef Beach Resort provides a Caribbean retreat away from the pressures of modem life while catering to the comfort of guests. On the beautiful southwest shore of Cayman Brac, the resort is like a little bit of paradise nestled among the palms, seagrape trees & lush tropical landscaping. In sharp contrast to this serene delicate scene is the Island's eastern side with its spectacular 140 foot limestone bluff rising majestically & forcefully from the sea. The Brac lies in the middle of the sea, the exposed tip of an underwater mountain. These islands differ from many others in the Caribbean in that they are limestone rather than volcanic in composition. Cayman Brac has a history of Scotch influence & takes its name from the Gaelic word "Brac", which translates to "bluff'. All along the walls of Brac's enormous cliff are the petrified remains of eons of marine life -- fossilized corals & sea creatures immortalized forever in this monument to nature.
Cayman Brac is truly unique in its structure, as well as its population -- a mixture of settlers from throughout the Caribbean, Europe & Africa. These friendly, warm "Brackers" as they are called, welcome visitors to their island with open arms. The pleasant, uncomplicated lifestyle of the Brac surely must have some influence on the amicable attitude of the locals & has definitely been responsible for infusing some harried visitors with a healthy dose of mellow relaxation. Unlike its more developed sister, Grand Cayman, the Brac has managed to remain relatively unspoiled, although modem enough to provide the comforts of home. The people of the island have always been linked to the sea, with many of the men leaving home to sail & the rest remaining to build ships.
A strong economy provides financial resources for the island, so roads are good & jet travel to Cayman Brac has been facilitated by the addition of a modem airport capable of accommodating Cayman Airways' 737s, as well as Island Air's twin-engined fleet of Twin Otters, Navajos, etc. But, beyond these modern conveniences, Cayman Brac retains the distinct charm of the Caribbean of many years ago. Gingerbread details on pastel colored houses are the creations of local carpenters trained as woodcraft artists for shipbuilding. The quiet of the streets is broken only by friendly greetings & welcomes for visiting tourists. On the bluffs cattle are tended & locals utilize the land for vegetable crops. Hikers will find unlimited areas to explore. The natural vegetation of the island includes many tropical plants & fruit trees - mango & papayas, as well as beautiful wild orchids.
CLASSIC DIVE SITES on CAYMAN BRAC:
Russian Frigate 356 - MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts:Sunk in September, 1996, this 330 foot vessel is an amazing dive. The bow sits in 110 feet of water, with the stern in 65 feet. The radar tower starts in about 15 feet so this is an excellent dive for snorkelers as well as divers. Over 100 species of marine life have been documented in the short time she has been down. The wreck has been made diver friendly & portions of it are penetrable.
Tarpon Reef:This medium depth spur & groove area along the Brac's south side is home to several dozen Tarpon that spend their days clustered in groups among the tunnels & crevices. These shimmering, silvery fish, some reaching up to five feet in length, will remain fairly calm & still when approached slowly, providing great photographic opportunities. Another inspiring photo subject is a nearby stand of Pillar Coral, rising along a knoll looking somewhat like a tall cactus towering over the seascape. Tarpon Reef features several of these formations as well as Elkhorn Corals, Star Corals & abundant soft corals. The sand gullies between the large ridges of Tarpon Reef reach a depth of about 50 feet while the crests of the ridges may rise to within 20 feet of the surface. Visibility at this site tends to be quite variable. Nurse Sharks are sometimes seen in the undercuts, & along the tops of the ridges your find the usual assortment of colorful tropicals, an occasional Barracuda & a variety of Parrotfish
Wilderness Wall:One of several pristine wall sites along the Brac's south side. Wilderness Wall evokes a feeling of the mystical & primordial. This dramatically plunging drop-off is nearly virginal in its presentation, with an abundance of healthy corals, sponges & a wealth of marine life to captivate even the most jaded diver. Canyons & crevices cut through the wall all along the drop-off, some plunging far beyond the reach of earthly visitors. An immense pinnacle rises away from the wall to within 100 feet of the surface (forming a corridor along the reef for pelagics up from the abyss), while the wall itself begins at about 50 feet. Wilderness Wall attracts a large following of Nassau Groupers, stingrays, turtles, schooling Horse-Eye Jacks, Snappers & Angelfish. Delicate gorgonians hang along the sides of the crevices & promontories, accented by rope sponges, hard corals & large, bulbous tube sponges. The sponges in this area reach enormous proportions & come in brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange, purple & green.
Bert Brothers' Boulders:The Bert Brothers are a family of Brackers long involved in local dive operations. Their namesake is appropriately one of the most beautiful dive spots off the island. A medium depth reef at 40 feet, this north side site is dominated by tightly spaced spur & groove ridges that form mountains of coralheads between the intershore sands & the offshore wall. The tops of the ridges are graced with beautiful Elkhorn Corals, the narrow gullies between feature soft corals, tube sponges & hard corals. Swim-throughs & large undercuts provide hiding places for a large Green Moray Eel that has been in residence here from some time. The sponge-trimmed openings are also perfect framing for wide angle photography, with filtering sunlight pouring down through the gaping chasms to the sandy floor.
Greenhouse:Greenhouse is not just an ordinary medium depth dive site. Here, among the spur & groove formations, you're likely to find all sorts of creatures. Marine life at Greenhouse may include Sharptail Eels winding through crevices in the gullies looking for a meal, friendly Angelfish darting in & out of the soft corals & turtles cruising over the tops of the coral ridges. With its proximity to the Brac's shallow north shoreline, Greenhouse also has frequent visits from schooling Squid, hovering in groups of a dozen or more near the mooring or lining up in formation near the surface. Macro photographers will sometimes find Flamingo Tongues perched on the large purple seafans at 20 to 30 feet as well as Arrowcrabs, Longspined Sea Urchins & Bristleworms hiding among the cracks. The coral ridges are adorned with abundant hard & soft corals, Tube Sponges & Barrel Sponges.
East Chute/Cayman Mariner:East Chute, one of the Brac's most popular sites, features not only the exhilarating wall, but also a small wreck along the inshore sand area. East Chute begins at about 65 feet, marked by a large, sand-filled canyon spilling over the ledge into the abyss. The wall is decorated with Red Rope Sponges, Yellow Tube Sponges & large Barrel Sponges. A short distance inshore, in 55 feet on a sand bottom, the Cayman Mariner rests upright & intact, with a modest growth of soft corals & sponges along her exterior & inside the hull. Sunk in 1986, she now attracts exciting marine life such as turtles, Green Moray Eels & schooling Barracuda.
FOR MORE INFORMATION or RESERVATIONS:
Please feel free to contact:
John Hessburg, General Manager
Susan Hessburg, Operations Manager
U.S. DIVE TRAVEL Network
PMB 307 -- Suite # 116
15050 Cedar Avenue S.
St. Paul, MN, USA 55124-7046
Voice Mail: 952-953-4124
IMPORTANT REMINDER about PRICES & TARIFFS:
All dive package prices listed here are subject to possible change in this steadily evolving travel market. Lodging, side tour & diving prices are traditionally stable, as are live-aboard package prices; however air prices can fluctuate daily. Until air tickets are issued, all airlines reserve the right to change airfares without notice -- an industry standard per FAA rules. We at U.S. Dive Travel will price-protect you to the utmost of our professional ability; & that has been our pledge for one decade now. Our tropical vacation experts normally secure excellent wholesale discount air tickets for our clients who book early enough to secure limited seats in the best price categories. Remember please, the federal government has deregulated all U.S.-based airlines, so only they control their pricing -- not any travel professionals. Early is good when seeking the best air ticket rates.
Unless specifically noted, these above scuba diving packages are prices for only the live-aboard portion of your dive trip, in most cases reflecting double-occupancy rooms. On most live-aboards, there will be no triple-occupancy staterooms offered. International air tickets & commuter "island-hopper" seats are always extra above these land costs. Nominal service fees are also extra for air tickets & the dive vessel + side tour components. The baseline tariffs for all clients start at $35 per person for the land portion + $20 pp for the air tickets. Late-booking clients may receive slightly higher tariffs on the lodging + diving at many of our dive resorts.
The preferred payment mode for all of our live-aboards, dive resorts, side tours & air ticket specials is by e-check, ACH or wire transfer in U.S. dollars. All clients living outside the USA or Canada will need to pay for their dive vacations via direct wire transfer only. No personal checks or credit cards will be accepted for the live-aboard or land portion of any reservation. Thank you for your gracious understanding. Our service level is the highest & our prices the lowest in this industry, & thus we need to preserve a reasonable margin. For published-fare air ticket bookings, USDT always accepts Visa & Mastercard. For ultra-discount wholesale air tickets, USDT accepts only cashier's checks or wire transfers, please.
Remember, all tropical vacation clients to all foreign destinations will be asked by local officials overseas, upon departing the airport on your final day, to pay a nominal government departure tax, usually between USD $35 - $45 per client. USDT cannot collect this tax beforehand, so you simply pay it down there, in your host country. Be sure to stash away a little cash for this final moment at the airport, so you'll get your exit visa stamped quickly with no fuss; & away you go. Best of luck with your dive travel plans. We hope your scuba diving vacation is a safe & satisfying adventure. Blessings & best wishes with ALL your dive vacations.
Best fishes too!
John Hessburg & Susan Hessburg, Mgrs.
U.S. Dive Travel Network.
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