Little Cayman, Pirates Point Resort
Grand Lido Braco, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
We won a trip to Jamaica, so we thought we
would extend it to Little Cayman for 5 days while we were in the area. This trip report is split up into three main
parts. The parts are in order below as
follows: Montego Bay, Little
Cayman, and Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
We couldn't get the flights to work out, so we had to stay one night in Montego
Bay, Jamaica. Our flight from Seattle was
roughly 11 hours. We arrived in Montego Bay at about 2:30 pm and caught a $7 taxi to
the Quality Inn. The Quality Inn ($100/night)
is in a good location on Gloucester Avenue about 4 minutes from the airport. Gloucester is the main strip in Montego Bay where
a lot of the hotels are located. The strip is
pretty safe day and night, and there are several restaurants and bars all along Gloucester
Ave. We checked in, unpacked, changed
clothes, and went exploring.
It took about 10 seconds before people were
hassling us to buy drugs, get our hair braided, see a craft shop, take a taxi ride, etc. The Montego Bay Resort Patrol sends out officers
in groups of three. People left us alone when
they were around, but it was very irritating when they weren't. We were expecting this, so we were able to joke
around with them a bit and move along.
We strolled all the way down into downtown Montego Bay. Montego Bay was very unimpressive. It was very dirty, and walls blocked most of the
beach access. We went to a craft market at
the South end of Gloucester. It consisted of
about 40 booths run by different people. Once
in the market, everyone hounded you to go to his or her shops. There were some OK woodcarvings of Rastafarians,
fish and whatnot, but that's about it. We
stopped at Margueritaville on the way back. It's
right on the water, and has a water slide and a water trampoline. It looked pretty fun, but we were a bit tired from
the flight. We had a drink and then cruised
back to the hotel for a swim.
After showers, we went to PJ's Jerk Pit for
dinner. It was basically a fenced in yard
with a thatched roof bar and a kitchen. The
jerk was pretty good. It came with rice and
veggies. We ordered Guinness with dinner. It was very cold and hit the spot. There was a DJ playing some pretty good (very
loud) reggae tunes. There weren't many people
there. It was two female tourists, about 10
locals, and us. After a while, a live reggae
band took over. They were OK. They played Bob Marley cover tunes for the most
part. We were offered weed, braids, and a
self-portrait while we were listening, but they were not pushy like the people on the
street. We listened for a while and then
decided to call it a night. PJ's was a good
place to go for some authentic Jamaican food, entertainment, and atmosphere. The meal and 7 beers cost about $35 total. Montego Bay as a whole is very disappointing. If youre looking to party it's probably
fun, but it's not tropical paradise. Go to
Negril, Jamaica if you are looking for tropical paradise in Jamaica.
We caught an Air Jamaica flight to
Grand Cayman at 12:05 pm ($220/ea). Our Island Air flight to Little Cayman
($154) at 2:30 was on the "big" plane. It
held 17 passengers, and was full. Island air
is very strict on their baggage limits. They
only guarantee that 55lbs/ea will get to Little Cayman on your flight. The rest is guaranteed in 24hrs. So if you plan
on diving that day or the next morning, make sure your dive gear gets on your flight. They charge $.50/lb over the 55lb limit and that
The flight was great. It was
clear and smooth, and we were able to get some good views of Grand Cayman and Little
Cayman. The runway at Little Cayman is dirt
and grass. The airport consists of 3 30'x30'
rooms. These rooms are divided between the
fire department, the airport, and the post office.
Gladys, the owner of Pirates Point Resort, picked us
up in an air-conditioned mini van. The resort
is about 1 minute from the airport. She drove
us right to our room.
Gladys told us that there was going to be a wine and cheese party at the neighbors
gazebo down the beach. She said we could walk
or she would give us a ride. We walked for a
while but decided to take her up on the ride offer after taking a look at the beach. The beach is very rocky and not extremely walker
friendly. There are spots where you can walk
in the sand, but its not a great swimming/snorkeling beach. It is very natural and beautiful though. We jumped in the back of Gladys bench lined
pick-up and cruised down the road.
Charlie and Heidi Beaumont (International Ventures Ltd) own the
gazebo. They are long time guests at
Pirates Point, so they decided to build their own place. It is a great little place right on the beach. The gazebo is right down by the water, and is enclosed by
screens to keep the mosquitoes away. Several
of the guests showed up, and we
had plenty of wine, beer and cheese. After about 15 minutes it started to rain
sideways. I guess gravity makes the rain go
sideways at the equator. We were all ready
soaking wet so we decided to drink more. It
didnt help dry us out. We all got to
know each other while partying in the gazebo. It
was a good way to start the stay at Pirates Point.
The rain stopped and we headed back to the resort for dinner. Gladys is a horrible driver. She forgot how to turn on the lights, and she
swerves quite a bit. It makes riding in the
back of the pick up quite entertaining. Then
it was dinner, a nightcap, and back to the room for the night.
There isnt much to do on Little
Cayman but dive. There are about 50-100
people who live on the island. There are
about 4 small dive resorts, one larger one, and one restaurant. We used the resort bikes to ride around the
entire island one afternoon. There is a large
booby pond, which is a bird sanctuary. The
birds aren't too exciting, but Im not real big on birds. On a scale from one to ten where 10 is an eagle
snatching up a 30 lb salmon, and 1 is a crow eating a fry at Dicks drive-in, I give
the booby pond a solid 6. We did see a huge
iguana. They are very common on Little
Cayman. We stopped at the only restaurant to
check it out, and also looked at the other resorts. Below are pitures from our bike
tour of Little Cayman.
Hungry Iguana restaurant
are very simple, roomy, and clean. The water
pressure and temperature was great. The bed
was comfortable and the air conditioning worked well.
All of the rooms have ceiling fans, and the oceanfront rooms dont have air
conditioning. There are no TVs, clocks, or
The resort has a summer camp feel to it. There
are several small cabins consisting of 2 or 3 rooms.
There are 10 rooms total. The
main house contains a dining room, office, kitchen, and a bar. The bar has no air conditioning and gets a bit
are trees everywhere, and the ground is sand covered with leaves. The workers are constantly working to keep things
neat and clean. The resort has a very simple
and rugged feel to it. Cans of bug spray are
all over the resort, so you can leave that at home. There
is a pool and a hot tub, which are fairly nice. They
provide lounge chairs and floatation devices for the pool area. There are many bikes, which you can borrow to
explore the island. There are two sand-bottom
gazebos that provide hammocks for guest to lounge in.
The resort, in particular the bar, is decorated with artistic donations from
the guests. Pirates Point runs a
contest every year. The best creation made
from items found on site wins a free week at the resort.
We unpacked, and went to the bar for a drink and a late lunch.
Way the Resort Works
If you are on the diver package, you get 3 meals, two boat dives (including tanks
and weights), and unlimited drinks (booze too) every day.
Its all included, and a 15% tip is worked into your bill. The bar is self-serve, and is stalked with soda,
juices, Red Stripes, Stingrays (Cayman beer: a decent microbrew style ale, a little
sweet), red and white wine, and a bunch of different booze.
Night shore dives are available at a cost of $65/ea if 3 divers are
interested. The ringing of the bell outside
the main house signals breakfast, lunch, dinner, and diving. The bench-lined pickup is loaded with you and
your equipment at about 9:30. A short ride
brings you to a dock where the dive boat picks you up.
The daily routine was as
Get up for breakfast at about 8:30 am
Leave for diving at 9:30 am
First dive at about 10am
Surface interval for one hour
Second dive at about 12 pm
Return to the resort for lunch at about 2:30 pm
Do what you like from 3 pm to 7:30 pm
Night dives were at 6:30 pm if at least 3 people are interested
View from the dock
The food is very good, and you are welcome to as
many helpings as you want. You wont go
hungry at Pirates Point. Breakfast is
served in the main dining room buffet style and consists of things like waffles, blueberry
pancakes, fruit, bagels, muffins, ham, eggs, eggs benedict, cereals, juice, and coffee. Lunch is served outside, after dinner, at about
2:30 pm. Lunch was made from the previous
nights leftovers (quesadillas, jambalaya, etc.).
There was usually a couple of different salads, fruit, and a desert cookie
as well. It was always very good. Its amazing how resourceful they are with
their leftovers. They served key lime bars
one day. They were great. Dinner is served in the main dining room. Dinners were great and were accompanied by wine. The food was served buffet style with the workers
clearing plates, serving drinks, and desserts. She
prepared things like a great rice/sausage/prawn dish, roast beef, fajitas, enchiladas,
various potato and veggie dishes, Yorkshire pudding, Mahi Mahi, homemade ice creams,
crème brule, and strawberry shortcake.
The weather in Little Cayman was overcast with sun breaks for the most part. There were a few days of sun, but every day was
very comfortable. We were thankful that we
chose an air conditioned room.
Each of the staff members does a
little bit of everything. They are the cooks,
the dive guides, the boat captains, etc. They
are all very laid back, and will go out of their way to help you with anything. You do as little or as much as you want when
staying at Pirates Point.
The Yellow Rose III is an
unbelievable dive boat. Its 42
long and 16 wide. Its designed
for diving. The back end of the boat runs right into the
water, so all you have to do is walk off the back. There
are two fin ladders, which make re-entry as easy as can be.
It is half sheltered, and half open which makes it easy to get away from the sun or
the rain. Fiberglass benches are built into
the side of the boat. There are tank holders
along each side, with bungee straps to hold the tanks in place. There are compartments below the benches to store
equipment as well. There were never more than
12 people on the boat. Ive never had
more room to maneuver on a dive boat. The
staff brings plenty of snacks for between dives. There
are plenty of chips, fruit, juice, pop, etc.
We dove 5 times, including one night dive during our short stay. Visibility was 80-150, and the water
temperature was a comfortable 85 degrees.
Night dives are guided shore dives, and they
cost $65/ea. The dive master will drive you
out to the site completely suited up. You
have to act fast when you get there because the mosquitoes are brutal on the North side of
the island at night. We did a 100 yard
surface swim, out to a mooring and descended from there.
Just because its a shore dive doesnt mean its any less
exciting. It was one of our favorite dives.
Stop, Jackson Bay
The dive starts at a sandy bottom at 60 ft. There
we entered a swim through that exits on to a sheer wall at 110. Its a great sensation to exit through a swim
through into blue open water. The wall was
covered with typical Little Cayman coral. There
were a ton of fans and chimney sponges. We
continued along the wall for a while gradually ascending to 45 were we turned back
towards the boat and continued to dive along the top of the wall. There were more fish on the plateau than there
were on the wall. We saw several huge
grouper, triggers, puffers, cowfish, angels, tangs, parrotfish etc. As with all of the dives, the reef is very
pristine, and the fish are very used to people hanging around.
Shear Reef, Bloody Bay
This dive is about as simple as it gets. Its
a shear wall (hence the name). We dove down
to about 70, followed the wall for a while, gradually ascending to the plateau at
about 40 and continued the dive back to the boat along the plateau. The coral was great, and we saw many of the
typical Little Cayman fish. A special treat
was a grouper stopped at a cleaning station along the wall.
We sat there and snapped about 5 pictures.
At the end of the dive we saw a large nurse shark swimming along the
This was one of my favorite dives. The
wall was more interesting than the others. There
were a lot of nooks and crannies to look into. The
other walls were a little more shear. I like
the variety of terrain that was available on this dive.
The usual coral and fish life was present. We also saw a very large turtle cruising the wall,
and a stingray in the sandy shallows. There
is a swim through that will take you from the Sandy plateau to the wall. Its a little small, but not a problem.
This dive is another shear wall. We
dove down to 61, followed the wall for a while, gradually ascending to the plateau
at about 40 and continued the dive back to the boat along the plateau. The coral was great, and we saw many of the
typical Little Cayman fish. I promptly used
my entire roll of film when things started getting even better. There was a gigantic red parrotfish looking for
food along the plateau. It must have weighed
about 50lbs. We followed it
around for a while, and then we ran across two turtles.
One was eating something on the bottom.
We watched it for a couple of minutes.
Another one was just sitting on the bottom. We
watched it for a while and then continued along the plateau. I guess the turtle decided it wanted to stay with
us because we were swimming along, and the turtle started swimming between us. We were no more than 3 feet away from it. We watched it as it ascended to the surface for a
breath of air. It was an amazing experience.
Cumbers Caves (Night Dive)
Due to the high probability of sea wasps, I decided to leave the camera on shore
for this dive. Bad mistake: we saw some
really amazing stuff on this dive. Loc was
our guide for this dive, and we followed him through a maze of reefs. I had no idea where I was by the end of the dive. We swam out to a buoy approximately 100 yards off
shore. We descended at twilight. We immediately spotted an Eagle Ray cruising the
sand bottom. Twilight turned into darkness as
we followed Loc through the water. We saw 3
gigantic lobsters. One was scurrying across
the sand bottom between the reefs. We also
spotted several eel, a turtle, squid, and firefly tubeworms. The reef is incredible at night. We swam back to shore very quickly to avoid sea
wasps. There were several squid along the way
that shimmered in our dive lights. We also
encountered a pair of mating octopus
J, but as Loc
instructed, we did not stop swimming until we reached the shore.
Underwater Photo Gallery
We had a great time at Pirates Point. Its a bit spendy, but the food is great, the
rooms are clean and comfortable, the dive operation is the best Ive seen, the diving
is very good, and the staff creates a friendly laid back atmosphere. We probably wont go back again soon, just
because its so far away and there are a ton of places we havent seen yet. If I were ever on Little Cayman again, I would
probably stay at Pirates Point again. It
sounds like Southern Cross Club is the only operation that is close to Pirates Point in
terms of providing a quality, personalized dive vacation.
One of the staff members picked us up at
our room for the 10:30am flight to Montego Bay for the free portion of our trip. More on that when I find the time.
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