• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

CBBR Review

Discussion in 'Greater Antilles' started by Doctorfish, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    1,503
    972
    113
    My wife and i were at Brac Beach Resort Aug 3-10 for the first time in over 20 years. We do annually go to GC and LC for comparison.
    Resort
    The Brac Beach Resort is quite beautiful with updated rooms dining room and pool area. The rooms are spacious, clean, well air conditioned and have mini fridges, coffee makers, safes etc. TV reception OK 11 stations. The rooms are at a diagonal to the shore line and every room has a patio with a pool and ocean view.
    The lobby area is spacious and cool. There is a little sundry shop there as well as a small library.

    The pool is absolutely magnificent, comparable to the best resorts on GC. Much nicer than the pool areas at either LCBR or Cobalt. We were blown away by the pool area. There are tennis courts and a beach volleyball area for anyone interested.
    The bar is next to the pool, well shaded with big ceiling fans, and the bar staff knew everyone's names and drink preferences after one day. Very impressive.

    The indoor dining area is a little smaller than LCBR but adequate. The resort was near full the week we were there and there were enough tables for everyone and short lines for the buffet. The food was plentiful and generally pretty good for a buffet, there was always a meat, poultry and fish option at dinner, several interesting salad selections and cakes for desert. There was ice cream with assorted toppings 3 times during the week as well, as I recall. The highlight of the week was the Friday night poolside BBQ with jerk chicken, jerk fish, steaks, ribs etc as well as live music. IMO, much better than the karaoke night at LCBR on Fridays.

    The only minor food disappointment was breakfast. The buffet was monotonous with the same choices of scrambled eggs, potatoes bacon and sausages every single day. Unlike LCBR, the breakfast menu did not change day to day nor was there the option of bagels, lox and cream cheese which was historically available at LCBR. There was a short order cook making omelets, waffles and eggs to order but he was overwhelmed. Cliff of Divi short order breakfast fame is still on island.

    Diving
    The shop is well organized and efficient, we did not need any rental gear so can't comment on quality. There is not camera shop on site so advantage here to LCBR.

    Unlike LCBR, the nitrox fills were already on the boat so all the customers had to do was analyze tanks on the ride out to the reef. Much better than the system at LCBR. Never had a low fill of low O2 tank in a week. There were an adequate number of short tanks for those who wanted them. Don't know if 100s were available, didn't see anyone using big tanks. The dive op does allow for rebreather divers and apparently has appropriate supplies. There were no rebreather divers on our boat so I don't know how they manage the dive time differential.

    The boats are Newton 46 or 42s in good condition and well equipped. Lot's of fresh water, snacks and fruit on board as well as a cooler and a head. There is a dedicated camera table but no camera dip. Our boat had 14 divers plus crew and never felt crowded. Several people had gear malfunctions during the week and the staff seemed to have spare computers, regs on board for this eventuality.
    Dive profiles were 100 feet for 50 minutes, 60 feet for 60 and another 60 for 60 in the afternoon. Some divers spent a little longer underwater and I never heard the DMs complain. All dives were guided but you certainly could go your own way or head away from the group as long as the DM was aware. There was no pressure to dive with the group and I never did. No solo diving. My impression was that the quality of the divers was very good which makes sense given that this is a dedicated dive resort. I did not see any reef bashing or fish abuse.

    The reefs are in good condition, IMO, better condition than LC or GC, there was healthy staghorn and elkhorn coral in several of the sites we dived as well as an abundant fish population. The wall start deeper than LC or GC, generally 50-55 feet and the fish, apart from the groupers do not seem as tame with divers as Grand or LC, so for an underwater photographer, it required a little more effort.

    Our DMs for the week were Nick, Tommy and Steve and they all did a great job. Valet diving all the way.
    I should comment that boat departure times varied all week and I was never quite sure exactly when I needed to be at the dock. The afternoon dive usually left the pier at 1.15 or earlier so lunch was a bit rushed. I also got the impression that afternoon dives were at the nearest sites to the resort rather than the best sites on island, We did several afternoon dives on the windward side of the island with waves, surge and poor vis when the other side would have been flat calm. The trip over to LC was OK but by the time we got there, desirable sites like Randy's and Mixing Bowl were taken. Also, after lunch at LCBR, we motored back to the Brac to do our third dive rather than enjoying another dive at Bloody Bay or Jackson's. Did not make sense to me.

    We did not venture off resort as it was way too hot for a walk or bike ride. There were bikes, kayaks and paddle board available for guests.

    Overall we enjoyed the week but my wife and I both feel our overall preference is
    LCBR < Brac Beach < Cobalt, but for diving alone we would go LC < Grand < Brac. This is highly subjective but it is our opinion after having been on all three islands.
    All three resorts are excellent and offer good value for money and they all have a different, interesting vibe.
     
    Redfoot, tkaelin, BrackaFish and 3 others like this.
  2. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,696
    2,654
    113
    Thanks for the great trip report! I am a little confused by your rating system since you are using "less than" signs kind of in reverse. Are you saying that your overall preference is LCBR or vice versa?

    "...overall preference is LCBR < Brac Beach < Cobalt, but for diving alone we would go LC < Grand < Brac…"
     
  3. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    1,503
    972
    113
    Sorry, I like LCBR better than Brac Beach Resort , Cobalt third; but all are good.
     
    KathyV and AdivingBel like this.
  4. morecowbells

    morecowbells Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St. Louis burbs
    891
    519
    93
    Thanks for the great trip report! Did you manage to do any shore diving in Brac?
     
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,728
    4,805
    113
    Thank you for one of the best concise yet complete, very practical 'the stuff I'd want to know researching a trip' dive trip reports I have ever seen. Wow.

    Richard.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  6. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    1,503
    972
    113
    We did not have time to shore dive as we were doing 3 tanks per day with reef divers.
    We did see what looked like easy entry points near some of our boat dive sites.
    Someone else will have to do the shore dive report.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  7. Fathom044

    Fathom044 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Houston
    207
    73
    28
    I have shore dived both Brac and Little. Will do a week in Little in October. Shore access is MUCH easier on Brac.
     
    drrich2 and KathyV like this.
  8. divezonescuba

    divezonescuba ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, Texas
    1,238
    310
    83
    Our next trip to cb is 2-9 May. The shore diving is so good, I don’t plan on doing any boat dives at all myself.

    Last trip I did the normal 2 tank morning boat dive with the Brac Shack every day. It seriously cut into my diving enjoyment doing the same dives from the boat when you have to follow the boat schedule. If you don’t go on the boat you can do 4-5 a day. On the boat more like a total of 3, 2 boat dives and one afternoon or night shore dive.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  9. morecowbells

    morecowbells Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St. Louis burbs
    891
    519
    93
    We will be in Cayman Brac in Oct. (our first visit to the island) We plan on both shore and boat diving. Someone told me that the shore dives involve a long swim out. The shore dives in Bonaire and Curacao seem to involve minimal distance swimming out, the shore dives in St. Croix such as Cane Bay were more taxing. Do you have any input on the ease of shore diving in CB? Thanks in advance for any intel:wink:
     
    KathyV likes this.
  10. divezonescuba

    divezonescuba ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, Texas
    1,238
    310
    83
    The north wall is a somewhat long swim out in general if you go from the shore. It is best done from Scott’s dock which minimizes the swim. This is the best single recreational dive that I have ever done (Dahab Egypt Blue Hole Arch technical dive, being the best ever). We swim a little out from the end of the dock, descend near the wall, do a wall dive, swim back thru a swim thru, go past the Kissimme wreck, and then finish on the reef. Wall, wreck, reef dive all in one. The wall is like 3000 feet in comparison to 140 feet in Bonaire. That’s just one variation. I could do different versions of it all week long and still not see everything that’s out there. The underwater topography alone is simply stunning in comparison to Bonaire.

    Most other dives are reef dives which are all close by to the shore. One exception is the Atlantis dive which is sort of diagonal from radar reef. That makes it somewhat of a longer dive since the statues are on the sand flat.

    Another really outstanding dive is handcuff reef if you turn left off of the inshore reef.

    Try to get a copy of the out of print Cayman Brac adventurers guide.
     
    KathyV, Redfoot and morecowbells like this.

Share This Page