Grand Cayman, Paradise Lost? -- 6/99

 

Alright folks! Here it is, another Cayman Islands Trip Report. Well don't sign off yet, even if you've read the other reports posted on Ocean Photos.

After visiting the Caymans frequently for years, I guess I could claim the dubious honor of being something of an expert on the islands. Now, after watching how the years have worn on this Caribbean destination for many, I (in my own mind) declare Grand Cayman, "Paradise Lost!".

The influences of the real world have caught up with the large island resulting in "big city" style traffic, shops and resort development. Lost is the charm so many early-comers to the island sought to enjoy.

  This is not to say I won't be back to Cayman, just that my expectations have radically changed. I still have many dear friends to see, the diving is now typically good Caribbean style rather than unspoiled, delightful walls and it is a great jumping off point for other destinations. (Chris and I continued on from Cayman to Cuba, but that's another story!)

From previous reports you know I stayed at Indies Suites (still do) but they've given up the dive operation which was IMHO the best feature the resort offered. In it's place, a contract with Red Sail Sports, yes, the dive operation at the Hyatt!

If you like large, very well supervised groups in a very structured environment (and there is nothing wrong with that) Indies Sports Desk will book you and you will be well taken care of. However, if you seek smaller groups in a more free to explore atmosphere, you'd better look elsewhere.

Following the advice of a good friend, I began diving with a relative newcomer to the Cayman dive game, Diver's Down. Small boats, hence small groups (eight people max) diving both the North and West sides they offer the diving freedom I seek when in the water. Uncomfortable with venturing own your own? No problem, there's a divemaster on each boat, more than willing to show you the sights.

After the disappointment of losing Indies Divers, there's not enough praise I can bestow upon these saviors of my dive holiday!
 

Photo & Logo Courtesy of Divers Down

I ventured this time to Grand Cayman with my 18 year daughter and one of her girl friends, sort of a last family hurrah before she heads off to College. We enjoyed Rum Point, Sting Ray City and shore dives at The Turtle Farm (now very well served with equipment and shore access by DiveTech) and Eden Rock.

Sting Ray City, of course! One of the many caverns
at Eden Rock
Just a sample of the many
exotic critters to be found at
The Turtle Farml

We met friends there and our group of seven ex-pats and my local friends had a blast. Indeed a holiday getaway is what you make of it. While I will miss the old Grand Cayman, there is still much to offer. The changes the island has undergone only serves to whet my appetite for new destinations and after all, if Cayman is a necessity there is always Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

 

Click here to follow Chris and I to Cuba for the International Catamaran Speed Boat Races!

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1999 John Petrak