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2 weeks in GC- use one dive op or multi ops?

Discussion in 'Cayman Islands' started by Saboteur, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. Saboteur

    Saboteur Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Hi all. I'm planning on going to GC next month for 2 weeks and will likely do 8 days of diving (maybe more). Any advantages to doing all with one operator or moving around to a few shops (besides the cost advantage)? I'll probably do 2 days diving with a day off in between for other activities.
  2. EastEndDiver

    EastEndDiver Captain

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Long Island NY
    Besides the cost advantage there is location West side,North wall,East side,South side most dive ops who operate on the west side ( 7 Mile Beach etc.) will do the North wall when weather permits but it is prohibitive for then to go to the East end if you want to dive East pick an operator on that end.

    There are many good dive ops on island they are all pretty much the same so when you ask which one is best you are going to get a long list and there really is no best all are good except for one or two.
  3. howswedeofme

    howswedeofme Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Michigan
    We like to do a dive op that leaves from the West Bay dock (or farther north if you're going with Dive Tech and they can leave right from their property) to hit the West Bay and/or North Wall sites as much as possible because those are our favorites. I'd also recommend doing at least the Wednesday 3-tank dive with Ocean Frontiers on the East End if you have a car. The East End sites offer some different topography and a better chance of seeing reef sharks, if you'd like to see those.
  4. diversteve

    diversteve always tired

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    What they said with a little fine tuning. Some of the shops with boats in the North Sound also might go east at times, it depends on demand and schedule. Many need the boat back for Stingray City or the Kittiwake also so that limits how far they'll travel on a 2-tank. In addition a few offer 2-3 tank extended trips that often go farther east - and include lunch.

    Additionally some shops keep a boat near Georgetown - that may go south or as far north as West Bay

    The best thing to do is probably call a few shops and find out their site plans and see if those are dives you want to do. Tortuga or Ocean Frontiers regularly dive east side sites like Babylon but the gas/time make that prohibitive for the west side shops unless they do a 3-tank extended trip - often with lunch included.

    www.idivecayman.com has videos of most of the popular sites.

    Don't forget to shore dive if you can work out a buddy - CITA likes you to have one. A good day of diving is start at Cobalt Coast, go out to the North Wall (Reef Divers might be able to drop you off) then move west and dive Turtle Reef followed by Lighthouse Point. The Kittiwake is also close by and most shops have a fixed appt.. so find who does when you want to dive it - if you do.

    Reef Divers is on-site at Cobalt, SunDivers at Turtle Reef. You can reach Ollin there thru Macabuca's website - there' a page on it. Divetech is at Cobalt Coast - conditions permitting they'll dive Ghost Mountain about 10misn by boat from their dock - worth the drive up.

    I'd personally avoid downtown, the dives there are tired due to the cruise port and last year a container ship collapsed one of the Eden Rock caverns. It's really only good when the Silversides are in and you just missed it. Some days up to 4-5 cruise ships are in town so if you're driving thru, they're looking the other way b4 stepping off the curb in front of you...

    Suset House is worth a look one afternoon also, easy entry shore dive, the Mermaid stature, the Church photo school/gallery/store and My Bar has a view and good food. It's one of few places where finding a buddy is easy since they don't afternoon boat dive from the resort.
  5. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    I assume you will be staying in West Bay 7MB area. I personally would use the same op for most or all of my dives. All the west bay operators go north by preference if the weather allows.
    Benefits of using same op would be price and familiarity. Wall to Wall sometimes does a 3 tanker out to east end as does DNS. Don't know about the others.

    It is worth going out to east end one day on a 3 tanker or driving and Diving with Ocean Frontiers. It's about a 45 minute drive from West Bay 7MB area.

    Agree with doing some shore diving and I would add a night dive or 2. Turtle Reef and Cobalt are my favorites.
  6. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @Saboteur

    You didn't say where you are staying, that may make a difference in recommendations. Assuming you are going in September, it is reasonably likely you will will be able to get out to the North wall. +1 on @diversteve suggestion for Ghost Mountain, one of, if not my favorite dive off Grand Cayman, absolutely stunning.

    I have stayed at Cobalt Coast twice and used Divetech while they were the operator there. Divetech is now at Lighthouse Point and the Holiday Inn Resort. They offer AM and PM boats and shore diving at Lighthouse Point. My favorite shore dive at Turtle Reef is close to Lighthouse Point. There is also good shore diving off Cobalt Coast. Reef Divers there offer only AM boats. There are many, many good operators serving SMB and West Bay, I happen to be fond of Wall to Wall, everyone has their favorites.

    My last 2 visits to Grand Cayman have been to the East End, staying at Compass Point and diving with Ocean Frontiers. This is a pretty long drive from SMB or West Bay and probably not viable for more than a day or two. Ocean Frontiers may be the best land-based operator I have used. They are able to access North, East, and South dive sites depending on conditions. Dives at the "Corner" sites are the only place where I have regularly seen Reef Sharks. OF offers AM and PM boats. Though I really love the North wall, the East End is my favorite.

    Good diving, Craig
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  7. KathyV

    KathyV Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    I have a related question, when you contract with a GC dive op for a series of dives, do they usually provide gear storage facilities?

    We tend to arrange dives a la carte when on GC. We may do some shore dives at various locations. Then arrange some boat dives and plan to meet the boat at the West Bay Marina, or drive out to the dive op on the East End.

    So we are always transporting our gear to different locations and that is fine for what we are doing. But when we plan a heavy schedule of diving like the OP is planning, we tend to look for diver-dedicated resorts that have on-site rinse tanks and gear storage facilities for the heavy wet stuff and wetsuits. Of course we take cameras, computers, etc, with us.

    I am sure that the dedicated dive resorts on GC like Sunset House, Cobalt Coast, Lighthouse point, and Compass Point, all probably offer gear storage - but what is available for someone staying in a hotel or condo away from the dive op?

    That would be a factor (for me anyway) in making a decision to primarily dive with one op.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  8. Saboteur

    Saboteur Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Thanks for the tips. We are planning on staying on SMB as my wife is a non diver. I think that gives her lots of options for beach walking, site seeing etc. Based on your feedback perhaps best to choose an op on the northwest side? We weren't planning on renting a car but it may be worthwhile to do so to do a day excursion on the east side to sneak in a third dive.
  9. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Portland, OR
    If you are staying on 7MB, I would encourage you to consider Grand Cayman Scuba Diving with Cayman U Divers for a good number of your boat dives. Brad Nelson will get you out to the North Wall (weather permitting) - + 1 for Ghost Mountain and also for Princess Penny's Pinnacle on the North Wall and he will get you to all of the best west side wall dives like Orange Canyon, Trinity Caves and Round Rock East and West.. I also strongly agree with @scubadada -- if you are going to be there for 2 weeks and have a rental car, then I would also mix in a day or two diving out on the East End with Scuba Diving Trips on the East End of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands - and as others have mentioned, there is some outstanding shore diving on the West and NW ends of the island.
  10. Saboteur

    Saboteur Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Based on recommendations by Trailboss and DoctorFish I'm starting off with Cayman U for a couple of days. I may end up doing the whole 8 days with them and get my BSc.... bachelors in scuba.

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