Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the SURGE to Cayman Brac

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ROXANNE

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Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the SURGE to Cayman Brac

Well, we are getting closer ScubaBoard SURGE 2017 to Cayman Brac!!!!!
I thought we could touch base on some of the great ideas that everyone has
on preparing, packing, travel, and dive-related tips.
For some this is old hat, so share your knowledge.

I’ll get things started… Here are some of my tips.

Anytime you are traveling outside of your normal area, it's good to check
CDC Destinations/Travelers Health Info

FYI if you're interested -
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism website


PACKING AND TRAVEL TIPS

DON'T FORGET These Items when Packing!
Airline tickets/info for going and return flights
Bay Adventures Travel Vouchers for the Resort and Diving Reservations.
Passports (I also make a copy of it and put it in my carry on)
Driver’s License or if you don’t have one, some other form of picture ID.
Diving Certification Cards (I also make a copy of it and put it in my carry on)
Here's a link to the Waiver for Diving Reef Divers Cayman Brac. The Medical Statement form is ONLY for those who are receiving certification from Reef Divers.
DAN and Health Insurance Cards
Credit Cards
or ATM Cards (call you card company, let them know when and where you’ll traveling)
(FYI Some CC companies charge an extra fee for transactions when out of the country)
ATM's are very hard to come by in Cayman Brac.
You can charge your drinks, tips, gift shop, and any excursions through the resort to your room.

The American dollar is widely accepted, just know the exchange rate if prices are listed in the Cayman dollar.
The Cayman Islands Dollar & the U.S. Dollar: At the time of this writing, CI$1 = US$1.22.
The Cayman Islands Dollar & the Canadian Dollar: At the time of this writing, CI$1 = C$1.19.
The rate between the CI$ and the US$ is permanently fixed as part of an international banking agreement, the ratios between the CI$ and other currencies fluctuate, based on frequently changing financial and political factors. Visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for current rates for those traveling other than from the US.
Small Bills (1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s go a long way) (Some of the restaurants or shops don't accept credit cards or $100 bills if you plan on venturing out on the island.)
Prescription Medication (keep it in the prescription bottle with your name on it)
And always bring a few days extra in case you have travel delays along the way.
Over the counter medications and first aid items that you may need.
Please keep in mind, we are on a very small island and many items are not readily available.
Especially allergy medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction.
I have a med pack for traveling with items such as band-aids, sports wraps, Benadryl, Imodium, Advil, bug bite cream, etc.
FYI Did you know that if you put hand soap on a bite right away and don't scratch it, many times it will alleviate the itch and swelling.
Sunscreen (Try to use products if possible for the coral reefs health)
I found this wonderful line of reef safe products Stream2Sea | EcoConscious & Biodegradable Sunscreen.
Sunglasses and an extra cheap pair for the boat (polarized are better for gazing into the water)
Hats
Bug spray
(If the bugs find you tasty. Near sunset and sunrise are the worst time for mosquitoes and no-see-ums.) Here are a few products Cactus Juice, www.reefsafesuncare.com.
Water All the water at the resort is safe. You can bring flavor packets or liquids to flavor your water for variety. I like to bring flavor packs for my coffee too! I do strongly suggest drinking only bottled or can drinks when outside the resort and wiping any moisture from the tops to avoid having any health issues.
You should always be conscious of what you are eating and drinking when you are outside of your normal routine and country.
Personal flashlight
, You may want to bring a small personal flashlight.
Woolite or those all-in-one washer sheets if you plan on washing the funk off your clothes or dive wear in the sink/tub. Especially great when you're staying longer than a week. Don't forget some close pins too. They help when hanging items up for drying and to keep them from blowing off the balconies.

The guest rooms
are equipped with
  • Patios or Balconies.
  • Individually controlled air conditioning, as well as an overhead ceiling fan
  • Tiled or carpeted floors
  • Color cable television
  • Radio/alarm clock
  • IDD telephone
  • Hairdryers
  • Irons & ironing board
  • Coffee centers
  • Room service
  • Drying lines and laundry services available to all guests.
  • Free Wifi.
Electricity -- Electricity on the Cayman Islands is 110-volt AC (60 cycles), so adapters or transformers are not required for U.S. and Canadian appliances.

Good thing to start packing early, in case anything needs to be repaired before you go.
I like to be organized (can’t you tell) so I have a travel checklist on file that I printout. Here's my list if you like or use this as a jumping-off point for making your own list. View attachment 124688
That way, I don’t have to think too much about remembering what I need. The list includes everything that might be needed. If something's on the list that doesn't apply to this trip, I just cross it off. I also include things to do like stopping the mail, newspaper, contacting your cell provider if you want service there, and calling the credit card companies to inform them that I will be going out of the country so they don't cut you off in mid-trip.

CARRY ON ANY ITEMS THAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE.
Check with your Airline for specific rules as to what's accepted, size and weight limits for luggage and procedure for checking in, as these seem to be changing constantly.

For anything in question or in liquid form, check with your airline.
Carry on -
IDs, Credit Cards, Cash, etc.
Prescription Medication
Glasses/Contacts
Jewelry/watches

Any Cameras/Electronics/housings
Rechargeable batteries in individual cases or bags
Your Regulators
Dive Computers
Dive lights (take batteries out or for rechargeable lights, put in locked mode.)


Making the most of the luggage weight restrictions and packing
(Don't forget, Men and Women are allowed to have a personal item purse/backpack/briefcase/man purse in addition to their carry on. Make the most of it!)

I have a large purse that I use just for flying. The personal item is not weighed, so it's great for a few heavier items. Just make sure the items you put in your personal item can be carried on and not needed to be placed in checked luggage. ( Again always check with your airline.)
Think about lightweight items when packing. Inexpensive t-shirts (like Hanes or fruit of the loom) are very lightweight, come in multiple colors, are great for shore diving cover-ups and can be left behind if you shop too much in town. Lightweight dresses, shorts, and tops are great for the ladies. Think khakis or other lightweight fabrics over jeans.
Shoes can weigh a lot also. Even tho it's a pain at the airport, I'll wear my tennis shoes as they weigh the most. (You will want your tennis shoes to protect your feet if you go to the caves or other island excursions)
And if taking a light jacket, it goes on the plane with me as well. (Many of the airports and sometimes the planes can be very cold.)
A personal travel hand scale is an invaluable tool so you don't have surprises when getting to the airport on your flights.
Put your name, address, and phone number in all your bags including your carry on and personal item in case they become lost or separated from you.
Put some of each person's items in each checked bag. That way if one of the bags gets lost, you still have some of your things.
If a solo traveler, try to fit in at least 1 extra of your undergarments in your carry on. Outerwear is easier to purchase if your bags arrive late or are lost, but trying to find undergarments for purchase can be more difficult.

Travel from Airport to Hotel
Round trip airport transfers are included in your package to and from the airport to Cayman Brac Beach Resort. You should find the details in your travel vouchers from Bay Adventures.

Weather Forecast to help you decide what to pack
On land, daily lows/highs around 76°F to 84°F throughout the month of January.

Any new info to this post will be in Green!
 
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ROXANNE

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Diving Tips
For those of you planning on participating in the Underwater Photo Contest or planning on sharing photos with other, don't forget a thumb drive. They come in real handy! IJS

Here's a few links you might be interested in.

Reef Divers Cayman Brac
Dive Sites
Fish ID

Diving Schedule
8:30 a.m. for a 2-Tank Morning Boat Dive
2:00 p.m. for a 1-Tank Afternoon Boat Dive
7:30 p.m. for a 1-Tank Night Boat Dive, on selected evenings each week.


Camera care - A lightweight cooler bag is a great way to carry those bigger underwater cameras and the smaller ones too! They give the camera some protection and are easy to fold up for packing, light weight and rinse out easily. I have also found the little neoprene draw strings bags with clips are great for protecting your Go Pros on the poles or trays.

Hair care - I use Scuba Do Rags to keep my hair under control. If I don't keep my hair braided and covered like that, It would just be shredded. I also like to put some biodegradable condition in it while dry before covering it. I use Stream2Sea | EcoConscious & Biodegradable Sunscreen leave in conditioner. Some kind of covering is great for gals with shorter hair and guys to keep their heads from getting sunburned too. Unless your bald, it very hard to put sunscreen on your scalp.

Skin or Wetsuits? Warm tropical weather are the norm, but you can get some cooler up swells from deeper waters and this is their winter. Water temperature are around 78° F/25° C, with visibility usually /100-150 feet/30-45 meters. Most travelers to Cayman Brac have been comfortable in a diving in a skin to 3 ml wetsuit, but others have felt cold and needed to wear a 5 ml. So if you're one of those divers that are on the cold side, you might want to bring your 5 ml. wet suit.
Water Visibility varies based on the site, but is generally very good, ranging from 80 to 120 feet.

Other tips
Tanks are yoke so bring a DIN adapter if diving DIN.

The resort Does NOT offer 100cf tanks.

The resort only provides laundry service for your clothes. Wetsuits and such would be rinsed in the rinse tanks or the shower of your room.


There is shore diving around the island, but not at our resort.

This is a good time to get your gear serviced! If it's new or has been services, you might want to get in a pool session/dive in and make sure it works.

Get yourself hydrated before the trip and stay hydrated, but don't over do it. Drinking smaller amounts of water through out the day is better than just guzzling a glass or 2.

We like to use baby shampoo for mask defog.

My feet get blisters and take a beating while diving multiple days, so I wear the thin trouser socks. It also helps your feet slip into your wet suit!

A water proof bag for the boat and a pelican box or other waterproof case for shore diving come in handy for keeping things dry.

Found this article and thought it might have some helpful tips for your ears and diving. :D
Ear Clearing 101

Some asked about their Save a Dive Kit (Spare Parts) We have a full service dive shops available from our hosts. You'll find they really go out of their way to be helpful there. I would just bring some basics for the boat, O rings, mask strap, tie wraps and elastic bungee etc. I would also include a spare battery for your computer. You may not find your type batteries there so I prefer to have one handy.

Please keep in mind, we are on a very small island
and many items are not readily available.


Please post If you have any questions
or would like to add your own travel, packing or diving tips.
I can't wait to see you all soon!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Any new info to this post will be in Green!
 
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Jax

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put of copy of your passport, with name, address, and contact numbers both stateside and abroad, in EACH of your pieces of luggage.
 

Jax

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When will we get the Bay Adventures Travel vouchers?
Or better yet
What are they?

It's a piece of paper made by Bay Adventures, that attests that you paid for the trip and that Bay Adventures will pay the company for your transportation to your destination.

It's a common practice in travel to insure you are traveling with a reputable business, and don't have to carry cash. When Bay Adventures sends you your travel package, the vouchers will be in it. Make sure you inventory the package throroughly, because sometimes people can make mistakes.
 

Jax

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Could we perhaps start a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)???

1. Does the resort have DIN or yoke valves?

2. Does the resort offer 100cf tanks and do we have to reserve them?

3. I saw they have laundry service - but do they have facilities? I like to put my wetsuit through the wash . . .

4. Is there shore diving?
 

Newdiv

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2. Does the resort offer 100cf tanks and do we have to reserve them?

I called and asked Al at Bay Adventures, he said they do not have 100 cf tanks.
 

Jax

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I called and asked Al at Bay Adventures, he said they do not have 100 cf tanks.

Well, carp . . . . wonder if they will let me take a stage . . . .
 

Newdiv

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Well, carp . . . . wonder if they will let me take a stage . . . .

I did not ask that, above my experience.....but Al would probably be your fastest answer. He was very quick to get back to me on the 100 cf question.
 
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