Grand Cayman Trip Report (Warning Very Long, but detailed)

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Scubatooth

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Just a heads up this is a fairly long report, and it covers my whole trip from diving to food and hotel were we stayed.

Grand Cayman trip report from 8/9-16th 2003 (Warning Very Long)

Well it finally had come after a long hot summer working Texas I finally got a chance to relax and have someone else take care of me instead of the other way around. Well the night before I went on vacation I met up with Mike Kane of GUE who was in Dallas to teach a DIR-F class, and from the thirty minutes of presentation and then the time spent at Razoo’s talk make me want to sign up for the class next time he comes to Dallas, because he it such a all around great guy, instructor, and has a great enthusiasm for diving and making people diving even better. (Mike if you have copies of any pictures or videos from DIR-F Dallas let me know because I would like to see them)

Before I get to the trip report let me say in advance that I wish I was able to do a little bit more on this trip then I got to. For example I would have loved to dove with Neptune Divers and Caymancase from this board, along with Drew Sailbum because I here some much from on the board, it would have been good to put a face with the name. I will say one thing that next time I come down, which hopefully will be in a year (maybe for sport divers submersion trip in late 04) I will get to meet up with you. It just was in the cards this time, and im sorry.

Saturday (8/9/03):
Well on Saturday morning we got early (4 a.m. to be exact) to drive to DFW for the first leg of our journey. On the flight to Miami it was a little bumpy because of going through some storms over the panhandle and central Florida. Once we landed at MIA we only had about 30 minutes till our next flight so we had to move quickly from terminal B to E and made it with about 10 minutes to spare but the airport at Miami is currently under renovation and is a bit of a mess to get through. Well after all recent reports of luggage getting lost and other items our flights to Cayman were very smooth and unremarkable except for the landing was a little rough because of the need for a grease the numbers landing then put the plain in full reverse so that it does run off the end of the runway and into the water (ala Cozumel style and all of luggage made it, and the surprising thing was that the bags with scuba gear didn’t get searched but the ones with clothes did (go figure). The Airport also is like Cozumel in that it is a single runway that once you land; you have to taxi back up to get to the terminal. Once we got out of the airport and checked into the hotel we decided to rest as in it had been a long day and we hadn’t gotten much sleep the previous nights. Before we went out to dinner we checked out the hotel and then went out to dinner (see report below)

In Grand Cayman we stayed at the Westin Courisiana about half way up on Seven Mile Beach, which is an excellent hotel for divers and non-divers alike. We choose the Westin because of my mom who likes the facilities offered on Westin properties and that we got a very good deal on our stay. There were only a couple of minor things but a call down to the front desk and it was taken care of.

Sunday (8/10/03):
To day started out as a lazy day because we didn’t get up and about till about noon. For the afternoon we spent it out on the beach getting some sun and snorkeling. I personally went for a walk south along the beach till I got south of the Hyatt complex by about 5 minutes (basically from the Westin if you look south I walked as far south as you can see beach before it disappears around the bend, which is about a mile and change. Once I got back to the hotel I got my fins and mask and went out to explore the area north of the hotel. What I found was that at one time there must have been a pretty good reef there but because of the amount of sand from the beach and erosion over the years has buried it. If you go about 150 yards out from the hotel the reef comes back up and there are a good number fish and corals (brain mostly) starting up. After about 200 yards the water gets to about 20 feet and you can see a lot but not up close. After I went out swimming on the reef I laid out to work on my tan. Once I started to get a little bit of color it was about dinnertime so I went in and got ready to go out for the night.

Diving Day #1: Monday (8/11/03)
Now for the east side Grand Cayman diving report. We dove with Ocean Frontiers for 3 days while we were on GC. Our mornings began at about 6 am so that we could be out front of the hotel by 7 am for the shuttle to the east side. We usually got to OF around 8 am and the boat normally departed the dock around 8:30 am, diving from around 9- 11:45 and back at the dock around noon, then finally back to the hotel around 1:15.

All I have to say about Ocean Frontiers is that they are absolutely top notch; I could see why they have won so many awards. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about them at all everyone from there reservations people (Isabelle, and Jennifer), the desk staff (Jennifer) to the crews (mentioned below) on the boat are very professional, and would recommend them to anybody (and all levels from OW and higher). Before we even got to the operation to dive they impressed me by Frazier calling us at our hotel confirm we would be diving the next day, night before we were scheduled to dive (Now that service). Hey Mike. if you reading this I gave Frazier a hard time for you, and he says he will take a care of you next time you come down.

In the morning we were picked up by Claire in one of the shuttle vans, OF is the only operation that I know that picks ups its customers from the west end and SMB, yet another plus (one thing I didn’t here was the willy call over the radio that is mentioned on there website by Jennifer). One our first day of diving we were about the ocean hawk which is a v-hull cabin cruiser that supports 12 divers plus 3 crew. Even though the boat was full it wasn’t very crowded except for when everybody was gearing up to get in. The crew for our first day were Chris (Zippy, he got his nickname from a British couple who said that he looked like a British kids cartoon character Zippy the pinhead, apparently the character was bald and had a zipper for a mouth and he looked like him), rob, and matt (boat driver) from OF are wonderful and very informative, this is some of the best diving I have done to date, and already cant wait to come back to explore more of the east end of grand Cayman. Chris is from England (south of London), rob and matt are both from Canada (Vancouver area)

General Conditions: Seas 2-3’ and Sunny strong wind out of the west.
Dive #1 Julies Wall: on the north side dive 60-100 for 30mins (40mins computer divers)
Julies wall is named after a former long time employee of morritts Tortuga divers who found the site and got to name it. This wall begins at about 60 feet, were we dropped in there was a canyon that cut down to our max depth of the dive. Right out off the bat as soon as we made the turn out of the canyon there was a good amount of black coral which in this patch had a rust color look in it, but was still very beautiful. While getting a good look at the black coral noticed next to it a brain coral that looked like it was either being over run by the black coral or it was dieing (couldn’t tell very well). There are lots of coral and barrel sponges in this wall, which made for some very good diving. After time on the wall we ascended to the top of the reef were we found all of the wildlife had been because was hadn’t seen any on the wall. Im not very good at fish identification but I saw a lot of juveniles with half purple and orange bodies, but I do know there were a lot of grunts on this wall. Man I should have brought a camera I could have easily burned a 36 roll or memory card in a hurry. Overall was a good dive.

My Profile:
Max depth 105’ 41 minutes
Nitrox 30.8 mix
Temp 86 degs from surface down (Microphrene is more then enough insulation, a 3 mm would be overkill)
Notes: 12lbs weight was a little over weighted but manageable. This was run as a multi level dive 15 mins @ 105’-90’, 20 mins @ 50-60, 1 minute deep stop @50, 2 minutes @ 30, then a 3 min hang at 15 feet.


Dive #2 Little bluff reef 30-60 for 40 (50 for computer divers)
Little Bluff reef is named after the small bluff that is onshore directly parallel from the site. At this site there are three distinctive fingers in this site that are carved in to the reef not like the others on the site that slope in these fingers are like mini walls. This reef was really alive with a lot of different fish from grunts to angels, and long with a wide variety of coral (finger corals to brain coral) and a lot of sea fans. On this reef some of the brain corals looked like they were being overrun by black corals or were dieing because there were pieces of them missing/decayed with a with white and black edge to the missing/decayed /ing pieces.

Lots of mini fish and coral but it looks like either part of the reef is dieing or was suffering from coral disease because a lot of the brain coral was dead or dieing. This site was a very good site to end a first day of diving in Grand Cayman.

My Profile:
Max depth 50’ 51 minutes, nitrox 31.2
Water Temp: Same as previous
Notes: Again a multi-level but turned out to more or less a square profile) 35 mins @ 45’ – 50’, 11 mins @ 25-30, 5 mins @ 18 Feet. A little bit over surge on SS but not bad but some people had a little trouble, was like watching a trapeze act

Rant Warning
<Rant>
OK I don’t know what it is about people and especially those with cameras who cant stay off the dang reef. I had to stop counting the number of times I saw people hit the bottom of the reef or just crawl over or through it to take a picture. There were more then one photographer doing this, they just didn’t have any buoyancy control at all. One last thing if I see another diver with split fins roto-tilling the bottom I’m going to go nuts, its just sick to see how much stuff the drag up from the bottom. The most surprising piece was the two ladies that rode over with us in the shuttle who were recently OW certified who I thought were going to crash into the reef didn’t and the ones that I thought would stay off the reef just tore it up (man I would love to know who those peoples instructors were because I would give them a earful).
</Rant>

Diving Day #2 Tuesday (8/12/03)
General Conditions: calmer then yesterday waves around a foot maybe 2’ Winds out of the SW.

Again today we were on Ocean Frontier’s Ocean Hawk, but today the crew was Delwin, and Brian (he had a family from England onboard who was completing there open water check out). Today the boat wasn’t as full as we only had 9 or 10 divers, but I didn’t see anybody on the boat that we dove with yesterday. Today there were two couples, and the family doing their open water checkout.

Dive #1 Site Mcclurrins Wall: 100’ Max 30 min (40 for computer divers).
This site was named for the house that is direct onshore from the site. Were the mooring ball was for this site is directly over the wall, and if you were drop off directly off the back of the boat you might end up in several hundred or thousand feet of water. After dropping in I descended to top of the reef were the coral heads begin at about 60 feet from there we followed a cut in the coral formation to our planned max depth. Once we got to depth we followed the wall and saw a lot of corals sea fans and sponges of all types. Just at the end of our time on the wall we saw a giant lobster that must have been at least 24” long. Once we ascended to the top of the reef there was a wide expanse of smaller corals that had lots of fish swimming through. I was in aw at the wide variety of formations corals and fans, the camera we got for today was well worth it and cant wait to see what they look like (Its time to get a camera for underwater because there was so much I saw but it would be great to share it with others).

My Profile:
Max depth 100’ 41 minutes, nitrox 31.5
Water Temp: 86 degrees
Notes: dropped 2 lbs from belt and buoyancy was just right at the final part of the Safety stop. 15 mins @95-100, 20 mins on top of the reef at 60-40’ SS 1 min @ 30, 2min @ 20, 3 mins @ 15

Dive #2 Site: Fish Tanks: 60’ max 40 mins (45-50 for computer divers)
Moving back towards the protected channel we OF is based we stopped at a reef that was teeming with life, this particular reef got its name because of the wide variety of fish it that inhabit this area. The site is a gently sloping area running from about 30 – 60+ feet till it reaches the wall. The reefs that are in the area are just a bunch of fingers and bowl areas were the coral, fans and sponges. The fish were very active in this area and seemed to follow us including a juvenile barracuda who was very inquisitive and came almost into range were I could touch him. On this dive the other people on the boat were taking photos of the reef, this couple really impressed me when they hovered right over the sandy bottom to take a couple of there photos and they didn’t kick up the bottom at all. The other couple was doing a reef survey for the reef organization. Finally was the family they were finishing up the last requirements for open water cert. My ascent this time as for my buddy was rather slow because both of us were dealing with some sinus squeeze that was being very hard to clear so we took our time ascending to the hang lines so not to blowout a sinus. Once back on the boat there was a round of congratulations to the family who completed their cert and were very happy to be done, they also commented they were ready for some more diving. That ends yet another good day of diving. The more time I spend here on Cayman the more I want to stay here because this is paradise, and Im jealous of the people who come down here to live and work it must be great for you all.

My Profile:
Max depth 57’ 47 minutes, nitrox 32.4
Water Temp: Same as previous
Notes: ascent from this dive was slower because of a slight squeeze in sinus that was very slow to clear. 39 mins @ 57 –30’, ascent to 15’ 3 min, then 5 mins @15’

Wednesday 8/13/03: Yesterday my dad and I were having some problems equalizing so we took it easy today, weren’t planning on diving today anyways but this would a good time to tour the island. Well the day first started off heading north to the turtle farm but once we got there we discovered that the cruise ships were in and it seemed like all of the passengers were there so we by passed the turtle farm (maybe we will make it back there before we leave this coming Saturday) and headed to HELL, but unfortunately without a handbag. It was crowded with cruise ship passengers but we managed and I got a few nice pictures of the rock formation. After the photos we went inside to the gift shop were I got a couple of postcards and sent one of them to my co-workers back in Texas, then I also got a “To Hell and back” t-shirt and was checked out by the devil and when finished was told to get the “hell” out. From there we went back down SMB (seven mile beach) to catch the road toward the east side. Once we got on the road to the east side we made a stop at the blowholes to watch them in action. For the about 30 minutes we were there the holes were semi active as it was the slack tide when we were there, but still managed to get some really good pictures. From there we headed across the island to rum point via the island cut across. Before we got there we found a little local gift shop were we found a couple of shirts that we liked. Once we got to Rum Point we found that it basically was a tourist type place with not a lot to do besides the onsite restaurant and red sail set up for various items. As there wasn’t much in the way of anything else and the water there didn’t have much of a reef or anything we headed back on the road back toward the cut across and stopping in a couple of spots to take photos of the scenery that appealed to us.

On our way back across the island cut across we went to the Queen Elisabeth II botanic gardens. Once inside the gardens there is a trail that you can follow that is about a mile (takes about 45 –60 minutes to complete). On the trail there are lots of items marked, while making our way to the iguana enclosure we came across one of the rare Cayman blue iguanas in the wild and it was big and a nice blue. While on the trail I was able to see and take photos of a wide variety of native plants and animals to the Cayman islands, it is truly a great experience, so if you rent a car or get a tour with the gardens as a stop it would be highly recommended (Bring water as the area is out in the open and the heat will take a bit out of you, FWIW).

After we left QE II Botanic we continued on the island cut through following the road south along the coast from breakers all the way to south sound were we came up to Georgetown from the south. Once we found some parking we walked north along the coast road (don’t remember the name of it), the good thing was that when we got there the cruise ships were leaving so that we didn’t have to deal with all of the traffic from them. We first went into the black beards rum company to take a look at what they had and to try samples of the cakes, etc try to figure out which ones we are going to bring home along with some bottles of rum. From there we continued north to the jewelry shops near the national museum, while my mom was looking as jewelry I stayed out side and watched them bring the deep explorer sub up to its trailer were its stored at night next to the older decommissioned sub that is on display. While looking at the current sub to see its set up, from the looks of it is a rebreather set (1 ata I think) of some sorts, but the interesting part is that the gas supply is 4 K-bottles strapped to the side of the sub. After they were done we saw a Tortuga Rum company shop and thought we would go in to compare them to black beards but when we got to the door found that they were closed because of a family emergency (every shop because the company is family rum) so that item was scratched and we come back to them later in the week. On our way back to the car we passed the hard rock café were is stopped in to so that I could get my requisite guitar pin (I do this in every city that I visit, or try to, its sort of a collection thing, and so far I have almost a dozen and a half) which in this case was a sailboat guitar, also as this year is the 500 anniversary of the finding of the Cayman island they had a anniversary pin that I picked up. After getting my pins we headed back to get the car and get some dinner (see report below).
 

Scubatooth

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Also today since we had a car to do its tours we had our adventures of driving on the left side of the road and having to do turn signals. On several occasions we would go to use the turn signal and would activate the windshield wipers, its just one of those things that you cant help but laugh at your self for when you do that. Also the drivers on the Grand Cayman at times remind me of the drivers in London, because if you want to get anywhere you have to be aggressive, if not you wont get anywhere.


8/14/03: Diving Day #3:
General Conditions: smooth seas and clear skies, light west wind

General Notes: We again for the third day on OF’s Ocean Hawk, and the crew today was Delwin, Zippy (chris), and Rob joined us to film the dives, since the day was so good and the seas were the calmest of any of the days we have been on Grand Cayman

Dive #1 (Split Rock): 100‘ for 30 mins(40 for computer divers)
Dive Notes: This site got its name because the reef is split into distinct pieces with a rather large gap in between the two halves by a canyon. The wall begins at about 50’ and goes down to about 6000’ or so. The life on this particular wall isn’t as much as the others but the corals on this wall are much more with fan shaped corals and the a lot of corals that look like a old fashion candlestick holder, and a little bit of black coral in the first part of the reef, along with a lot of sea fans that were a deep rich purple and several feet high and across. After our 15 minutes on the wall we ascended to the top were explored the sloping reef toward shore. Unlike the wall the top had a lot of activity on it. The first thing that I saw was a single puffer fish that was pointed out to us by Rob. The puffer didn’t inflate while I watched him, but he looked like he would have been a cantaloupe sized when inflated. Also saw a couple of angelfish that were playing a game of tag along the reef that was interesting to watch. Overall a interesting site, just wish there were more fish or that we would get to see a hammerhead or a manta ray.

My Profile:
Max depth 102’ 40 minutes, nitrox 32.6
Water Temp: 88
Notes:

Dive #2 (Snapper Hole): 60’ for 40 mins (50 for computer divers)
Dive Notes: This site truly lives up to its name as one of the best dive sites on Grand Cayman, because it had a lot of fish through’s out it, and swim thorough which I really love. The dive first started off on top of the reef at about 30 feet then you follow a crack/swim through to the main section of the reef, which is at about 50-60 feet. The first couple of cracks didn’t have much in them and then going into the fourth I got a very eerie feeling and a shiver down my back and then I saw the cause, it was the anchor from the wreck of the Ten Sails that Delwin told us about in the briefing top side. After seeing the Anchor I moved one to some of the other swim through’s and this is when I saw a lot of the bigger fish, there were tarpon, a couple of snappers, and several barracudas it was truly amazing. Then after going through couple more swim throughs caught up to the group that matt was leading, which lead us in to one that a lot of small fish that were just swarming around in this little nook of the mini cave, you could help to just stop and let them just swim around you. After a couple or more swim throughs and ledges with more tarpon and cuda we ascended to the top of the reef via another swim through. Once we got to the top of the reef to finish off our dive and about to begin our safety stops when Rob found a nurse shark sleeping in a crevasse in the reef, we slowly approached so not to startle it and managed to get real close when it turned to swim away from us then suddenly took did a 180 and swam quickly toward rob and the camera till it got about 2-3 feet from the camera then turned again and swam away from us rather quickly. After seeing the shark we all swam back towards the boat for our safety stops, and this was a great way/dive to end a vacation in paradise. Finally I wish I had brought a camera with me because this would have been great place to take a lot of pictures. Snapper Hole is definitely a must see site if you are a photographer, or not its just that good.

My Profile:
Max depth 62’ 50 minutes, nitrox 32.2
Water Temp: 86
Notes: major problems equalizing ears at start took about 5 minutes to get them to clear, and after that they were fine, but then had to take it real slow on the way up because of slight squeezes coming up.

Overall opinion of Ocean Frontiers:

They were very good to my dad and me for the days that we dove with them. They were the only east end operation that would pick us up from SMB. The office personal (Jennifer and Isabelle) who kept us informed about transportation, etc. The boat crews who gave very detailed briefings that kept us informed on conditions, currents, etc. I don’t have much to compare this to but these dives and this operator had my Cozumel dives beat for the wow factor, and hopefully next time I will get to dive more of the east end and some of the west end


As a result of this I completed dives 76-81 in Grand Cayman, and give a new vigor for more diving and capturing the areas I dive

Friday 8/15/03: Today was our last full day in Cayman and I slept in till about 11 and really didn’t do anything till about noon, but watch the news on the blackouts in the northeast. From there my parents wanted to do a little more shopping since when we came in to do so on Wednesday a lot of the shops were closing. While there I found several t-shirts that I liked that were related to diving and the islands, while I found shirts my mom found some tanzanite earrings (if you like to do jewelry shopping all of the good jewelers are in Georgetown in the area of the cruise ship terminal but back a couple of blocks). When we were in town I saw the Cayman aggressor that was docked in the cruise ship terminal, apparently letting its passengers do some shopping before the left the next day. We also got the chance to compare Black Beards rum cakes to Tortugas and I can say with out a doubt Tortugas are much better and you can smell the rum in them before you even bite into them, so we made the list of items to get at the airport. Well after working our way through the southern area of the shopping to the north were we found a couple of more t-shirt shops that had some shirts that I liked. From the shirts I have seen I have a top five list of the funniest shirts I saw in Grand Cayman.
1. Floggings will continue till moral improves
2. No Beepers, Cell phones, stress, or pressure (a arrow pointing down to a depth of 130’ ) Just a different type of pressure.
3. Pirates Daily log (and every other hour was drink rum)
4. Pilliging, Flogging ,Drinking, and Wenching … Just another day in paradise.
5. Got Rum (with a skull cross bones above it)

There were several other shirts that I saw and loved that didn’t get because they weren’t quite PC and since this is a family board I wont repeat them here, contact me privately and I will give you the list of non PC shirts.

Well after getting to the last shop for the day we caught a local bus back north to go get some dinner at Fidel Murphy’s which we had gone to on Wednesday. It had been so good that we went back, and on this night there was quite a crowd and there was a complementary buffet of rice, a stew, glazed chick and ribs, and meatballs, which was a very good appetizer for our dinner. After we had dinner we caught another bus back to the hotel. After we got back to the hotel the sun was setting so we went out to the beach to take pictures of the setting sun. From the thirty minutes we watched it was able to take about a 100 pictures, and I will have to wait till I get back before I can see if they came out well or to see if they will need to be run through photoshop. After taking the pictures I called it a night since tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Saturday 8/16/03: Well today we leave paradise to return to Dallas, which is kind of depressing because after this week of relaxing and diving with out the worries of a cell phone or people getting a hold of me to do things it felt nice, the only thing I missed was having a internet connection to keep track of things in the world and on the websites I visit on a daily basis, so I guess I will be spending a day catching up. Well at the airport we got our duty free items that we had built a list for which included some rum cakes and rum, which I know wont last because it is so good, so if anyone makes it down to Grand Cayman let me know because I will need some more of the cakes and local libations. The flight to Miami was uneventful and smooth but once we got off the plane the games began because we had to go through immigration and customs which was packed and we only had a little bit of time till our connecting flight to Dallas. We managed to get through immigration and customs relatively quickly, but then we had to collect our luggage and take it over to domestic TSA baggage check, which to me is a little stupid. Why couldn’t they just check it straight through to Dallas like they did on the way out to Grand Cayman , but then it’s the government if its to easy it must be changed to make it harder and more steps involved.

After rechecking the baggage we got to out gate with about a little time to spare before they boarded the final leg home. The final leg of the flight was on a Boeing 777 jumbo, which this was the first time that I had ridden on one of these and the aircraft is truly a nice aircraft with a lot of room, and the amenities like the personal video screens , etc are really great and useful so that you can watch what you want. Well we were scheduled to depart at 4:58 p.m. local time but once the plain was loaded they held the plane up because they were waiting on some of the passengers who were still caught in customs, so they delayed it us till 5:20, well it comes to 5:20 and they have all of the passengers but no push back crew for the plane, so we were delayed yet another little bit. After about 10 minutes of waiting the captain came over the PA systems and said that he was truly sorry for the delay and will do what ever he can to get us on our way. After that announcement he came back on to report that there was two ramp supervisors with walkie talkies getting a crew to push the plain back and again apologized for the delay from him and American management or lack therof (which only a triple 7 pilot could get away with because at American only the senior of the senior pilots get the opportunity to fly the most advanced aircraft and gem of the American fleet.) . Well about five minutes later we were finally hooked up for a push back and the pilot came across the PA system to the announce “ Well were off in a cloud of dust at the speed of a pack of wild sea turtle” yet again brought a roar of laughter from the aircraft (I just love a pilot who has a sense of humor about a bad situation.) So with being a more about a hour late departing we left Miami heading west to Dallas. I still cant get over how comfortable it was flying on the triple 7, I will have to remember this when I book my travel in the future to get a triple 7 as the aircraft for the flight. We got into Dallas at (were originally scheduled to be in at 7:05 pm). 8:20pm, but it was all worth it, but it was sad that I had to leave paradise.
 

Scubatooth

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Restaurant Review:

We didn’t eat at the hotel at all the whole time we were at the Westin, instead we choose to walk to a different place each night for dinner, and actually found some very nice places and board of fair (during the day we had a light breakfast of a bagel and juice, and I normally don’t eat lunch so skipping that didn’t bother me at all).

Saturday night: we went to bellia Capri (at the strand about ½ mile south of the Westin, just south of the Ritz condos that are going up) (find out what the name was an correct it), which is a good Italian place that next door to it is a very good Indian resteraunt (from what we heard, didn’t actually eat there). There I had the seafood cannelloni: stuffed with lobster, shrimp, and crab I think. For dessert they had a key lime pie that was fresh made (and with a good zing to it) and oh man was it good. high-mid price level ~15-20 US a plate.

Sunday: We found a nice little whole in the wall Irish pub called PDs about a mile south of the Westin just south of the roundabout. PD’s is your typical Irish pub atmosphere with a wide variety of food from fish and chips, sandwiches and burgers. I finally settled on Al ultimate burger, which is a ½ that includes cheese, bacon, Canadian bacon, sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers, a little bit unusual but it was excellent. While you are eating they have a trivia game that you play against players from all over the world, well while we played it was proven how much useless knowledge I know about too many subjects (i.e. typical question what commodity or future is the most traded in the United States, and the answers were 1. heating oil, 2. crude oil 3. Milk 4. Orange’s (for juice, etc). finally 5. Grains. Well I said milk because of how much of it used in so many products, and I was right (because on average the world consumes around a trillion gallons of milk a year, which I didn’t know but was interesting) Priced at about around CI $ 8 - 14 a plate

Monday: after the diving I had done I really had an appetite and the previous night we had past a place called lone stars (its located in between the Strand but before the Roundabout right before PD’s) because the person who started the place was originally from Texas. Well the menu reflected a true Texas style because there was everything available from BBQ to Tex-mex. Well on that night the special was fajitas (Beef and Chicken), which were excellent, but it was the first time that I had seen carrots included in the veggies on the steam platter. High- mid range prices (~ CI $ 12 – 18 per person per dish)

Tuesday: Again we ate at PD’s but this time had the chicken and chips which was really good, but also on this night they were having a trivia contest and surprised most of them when they saw a Texan had them beat on yet more useless knowledge, but it was surprising when two questions in a row were related to diving that most people didn’t get. (pricing mentioned already.)

Wednesday: After a day of touring the island we found yet another Irish pub about a mile and a quarter farther south from PD’s (just north of treasure island resort). We thought PD’s was good but Fidel Murphy’s tops PD’s by leaps and bounds. The pub got its name because the previous occupants were the Havana lounge and they liked it so they just added Murphy’s to the name, and the logo for the pub is a profile shot of Fidel Castro (hence part of the name) in a leprechaun hat smoking a cigar. The layout of the place is exactly like what you would expect a pub to look like in Ireland, and the way down to the furnishings (not booths or tables here but tables and couches and arm chairs to sit in). The staff there is very friendly and our server was originally from Ireland and is working down here, having this type of staff just adds to the atmosphere and ambience of the pub. Well for the food it was authentic as it could be, I had the roast beef dinner with vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes, it was very good and the potatoes were just like the ones I had when I went to Ireland about 5 years ago. Besides the roast beef, there chicken pie my parents had was very good and authentic. If you like Irish and English drinks/beer they have a full line on tap, and if you like a mudslide they have one of the best that I have had in a while (they don’t skimp on the liquor), and that’s coming from somebody who used to work in a bar on the weekends. They are located just north of the treasure island resort in queens court shopping complex, it’s a hard place to miss its facing the street. Priced at CI $ 8- 15 a plate

Thursday: Canton Restaurant Chinese, its sort of a weekly thing in out family that we get Chinese on Thursday nights, so we went to the Canton Chinese restaurant which was on the strand just a couple of blocks south of the Westin. Well the menu is full of items we normally see on the menu and there were a few items we hadn’t seen before so we decided to try them, they were honey garlic chicken, and beef with mushrooms and scallions in a brown sauce. These dishes were very good and I just wish they were done in the Dallas area because I would want to have those again. We also had soups to before dinner, and we got our usual of hot and sour soup for my dad(which is a great soup if you need help in getting your sinus’s clear) and I got wonton, which was made with chicken dumplings and chicken stock which was the first time I had seen this done, but it was very good to. If you like good canton style Chinese food this would be a place to go for dinner, and about mid priced for the Cayman islands (CI $10 –14 a dish)

Friday: Fidel Murphy’s Again because it was good on Wednesday and figured we would try it again. On this night we tried other things then what we had on Wednesday, so I got the shrimp and chips (aka fries in a steak cut), my dad got the Sheppard’s pie which he said was very good, and my mom got the chicken and mushroom pie, which was all good and like mentioned before is a place you should go for dinner if you like Irish pub food and fair. (pricing mentioned already.)

If you wondering why this sounds a little choppy from day to day is because I wrote this nightly so that it would be fresh and so I wouldn’t forget anything.
 

Scubatooth

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Even though I said it at the top I do wish I had gotten a chance to meet up with Drew and Casey because it would have been good put a face with a name and do some diving with either of you. Next time I will make sure I get a chance to meet up with you all


While on Cayman I heard a lot from people that they started planning this trip they were on there previous trip, and it seems to be true because im already working on making a return to the Cayman islands either on vacation or to participate in pirate week, or sport divers submersion in late fall, but this will be atleast 2004 before I will be able to get back, but for my next trip down here I have a few things I would like to do.

1. Dive the Following Sites especially (but many more).
· Grouper Grotto
· Wreck of the Oro Verde
· Devils Grotto

2. Meet the members of Scubaboard.com over dinner or a Drink
· Caymancase
· Drew Sailbum

3.See the turtle farm, w/o any crusie ship passengers

Also I’m now more determined then ever to get a underwater camera set up because the mind can remember a lot, but a picture is truly worth a 1000 words . Well im probably missing a few details but I think you all get the idea.

Feedback is more then welcome
 

Dee

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And I only have one thing to say....Could you give a few more deatils? :D :eek:ut:

What great coverage! I can't think of anything you didn't cover. I'm eargerly waiting for the photos.
 

TexasMike

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Cool report. And you didn't hit the same dive sites as I did. But now I know of others to go to.

That's one thing I've learned about GC. Lots of good dive sites, and it would take a long long LOOOONG time to visit them all.

Yet another reason to head back there, eh?

Good to hear that your dive op took good care of ya. Will make sure their name is added to my log as one to check with (if Dive-Tech is not available).

BTW; If interested, I know of a shop that is setting up a trip to Roatan next year for diving with wild dolphins. Let me know if you want the details.
 

Diver Lori

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Nice thorough post! Too bad you didn't get out the island a ways to try some of the local cuisine. Try that for your next trip.

Thanks for not ragging on the late passengers stuck in customs. Last month, I was one of them! Wasn't our fault...we were coming from Cayman Brac and they make you get off, run the gauntlet through Customs/Immigration with your luggage and then re-check it and board again....awful experience...needs to be streamlined for sure!
 

Scubatooth

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Mike- hmm may have to just do that , because rotan is one of the places on my list of places to visit and dive. PM me the shop name and price. One thing i will have to do is have my underwater camera set up by then so i can document it .

diver Lori- well we would have tried more different places but we only got a car one night, but i wouldnt mind trying more local cusine, because i love fresh fish and seafood, the only things i wont eat (with in reason) snails, anchovies and bait (aka sushi).

As for passengers running late getting through customs i have learned to live with it and go with the flow, but i really dont like customs (because of a incident in london where i had my back stripped completely down with 3 officers pointing mp5's (a swat type weapon aka mini machine gun) at me beacuse they thought a laptop with two batteries in it while being scanned looked like :boom: . Plus i have flown enough that i know all the tricks to getting items from the airlines when they mess up on there end.

Dan
 

caymancase

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Hey Dan,
Great trip report!! Hope we can meet up next time you're in my neck of the woods! Sooo many dive sites and soooo little time.... :)
Casey
 
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Scubatooth,

That was a great trip report! We will be in GC the first part of Oct. We haven't made dive reservations yet, so we might try Ocean Frontiers. It certainly would be convenient, as we are staying at Morritts Tortuga. We will be there for 2 weeks, so will have time to try almost everything (sort of).

We do plan to do some shore diving on off Seven Mile Beach, so we will try some of those restaurants you suggested.

We are going to leave enought room in our suitcases to bring stuff back, so if you want something let me know, and I will try to bring it back to you.

I checked my ticket and I have a 70 lb. limit. So that should help.

Anyway, thank again for the info.
 
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