Cayman Brac/Little Cayman, 2003

Just got back from the Brac - great trip! Diving was wonderful. Dove mostly on the North side as south side was too choppy. Two trips to Little Cayman where diving was even better. Found people on the whole island to be friendly, honest and helpful. Here's how we did it along with some tips:

1. While the 2 dive operators (Divi Tiara and Brac Reef) seemed OK we opted to avoid the cattle boats and charter a small private boat and divemaster. The total cost was not much different (4 guys splitting the cost) and the convenience was much better. As an example, Brac Reef never made it to Little Cayman that week because they said the seas were too rough for their big boats yet we went twice.

2. The divemaster we used was a native named Bernard (Bunny) Watson. He was terrific. He is now a fireman but was formerly a divemaster at one of the resorts (family man now!) and is a certified instructor for both PADI and NAUI. He took us places and showed us things we would never have found on our own. Plus he's a very nice guy. He said he can usually arrange his job schedule to get days off to work with divers. If you want to contact him you can do so via email - cybbline@candw.ky or by phone at (345) 917-1558 / (345)948-0254.

3. The boat owner/captain was a guy named Shelby Scott. He was OK and a good boatsman but we had some confusion after a few days when he tried to increase the price he had quoted to us. I don't think he's dishonest but rather he didn't really figure his costs right i.e. he's not much a businessman. If you use him, I would strongly suggest spelling out (in writing) what's to be included i.e. how many tanks/dives, how many trips to Little Cayman etc. are included in the price and then having him sign and fax back to you. Nina at Cayman Breakers (see below) can help with this if you stay there. Also, he doesn't have lights so any night dives would be from shore or via another operator.

4. We stayed at the Cayman Breakers condos. Nina and Robert (managers) were wonderful and the condo was immaculate. There's a pool (which we never got to use cuz we were diving all day every day) and a rinse tank. Rates were reasonable Nina is a great source of info (she and Robert are also divers).

5. If you don't stay at a resort, you'll need to rent a car. We used B & S car rental and can't say enough about how friendly Nola and her sons were. Prices were good and they treat you like a buddy the moment you meet them. As an example, Nola took us to our condo and showed us around and even asked who we were using for boat and divemaster to make sure we were using someone good. Nice folks!

6. Be prepared. Things like food are a little expensive and everything is priced both in CI (Cayman Island) dollars and U.S. dollars which is a fixed 25% higher. As to eating out, besides the resorts (which are very expensive) there are only 2 restaurants. Aunt Sha's which is a great, funky native place with good food (especially seafood) at reasonable prices - and Captain's Table which is a little pricey for dinners but offers a little variety and is good for lunches (had my first Ostrich burger!)

I realize I haven't said much specifically about the diving but suffice it to say it was great. I've been to Cozumel, Aruba, Grand Turk and other places and I'd rank this right up there. Saw only one shark (a reef shark) and only a few eels but saw lots of turtles and other fish life - even saw a few juvenile spotted drums which are a little rare to see. We did one night dive which was was a shore dive at Radar Reef and was lots of fun. Saw octopus, rays, squid, etc. etc.. Little Cayman was great and even more pristine. Saw eagle rays, played with garden eels and huge groupers. Definitely go over there. Hope this helps anyone thinking of going to the Brac. Happy Diving!

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