Dive Travel: Grand Cayman

As you know we love traveling and are always looking for new places to run group trips.  We are excited to announce that we will be headed to a new destination, Grand Cayman! Grand Cayman is an amazing place for divers and non-divers with its oh-so-accessible dive sites to its seven mile beach to its beautiful botanical gardens.

cayman_mapAbout Grand Cayman:

The Cayman Islands lie in the far Western Caribbean, closer to the equator than most people think. While the real beauty of Grand Cayman lies beneath the water, there is still plenty to see on land. Grand Cayman, the most cosmopolitan of the three Cayman Islands, blends rich local tradition with international attractions to create a truly unique atmosphere. From stunning 7 Mile Beach to George Town, the islands’ capitol, Grand Cayman offers something for everyone. Dive, snorkel, or simply splash in the warm, crystal clear waters that are the islands’ hallmark. Whether you are looking for the adventure of a lifetime or just a few days of respite, Grand Cayman is the quintessential “place to be”. During the time we will be vacationing there, air temperatures will range from 72 – 86 and water temperatures range from 78-82 degrees.  Grand Cayman offers more than your typical sun, sand and sea island vacation. Not only does Grand Cayman offer dream –like diving but it also is home to many other non-diving activities. With unique heritage sites, one of a kind cultural events and some of the world’s best diving, Cayman offers an experience, like no other. Some of Grand Cayman’s most unique attractions include, Stingray City, Pedro St. James, the Botanical Gardens, and Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park. Year round events like the famed Pirates Week, allow entire families to enjoy interactive activities in an idyllic island setting.

sunset-houseSunset House Resort:

Step out of your room, feel the sunshine on your face, catch a breath of fragrant tropical breeze, gaze into the alluring blue water and you’ll have found the beginning of why guests love Sunset House. Everything you have dreamed for a Caribbean Dive Vacation is here! From the exotic palm trees to an amazing house reef; from 5 custom dive boats, to a famous underwater photographer; from amazing Caribbean concoctions, to spicy Indian dishes; they all await you! And combined with warm Caymanian hospitality, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to visit this West Indian oasis, or why you haven’t come back sooner.

img_6591_1Set on a coastal road about 3/4 miles (1.2km) south of George Town, this is a well-recommended hotel whose rooms are divided among a quintet of two-story pink-sided outbuildings. Accommodations are simple, no-nonsense, and comfortable. This place is favored by divers and snorkelers, who appreciate the jagged, mostly rock shoreline (site of excellent snorkeling possibilities) and the extensive diving programs.

Two good reasons for staying here are direct access to the hotel’s much-praised restaurant, SeaHarvest, and its sprawling bar, My Bar, which is especially busy every Friday night. About 80% of the guests staying at the hotel here are scuba enthusiasts; and about 80% of the clients at the hotel’s bar and restaurant are full-time island residents.

Diving & Marine Life:

The Cayman Islands 250 dive sites (soon to be 365) are sure to leave even the most seasoned divers awestruck; with deep dramatic walls adorned with sponges and corals, shallow reefs of fish and small invertebrates, and an assortment of famous wrecks, all in perfect 80 degree water. Visibility often exceeds 100 feet revealing some of the world’s most diverse aquatic life. Grand Cayman is also home to the world’s best 12 foot dive, the legendary Stingray City. With an abundance of experienced, highly professional Sunset Divers instructors, numerous snorkel and dive sites accessible by boat or straight from shore, Grand Cayman is the ideal setting to explore the underwater realm. Whether you choose to snorkel or dive from our legendary reef just off shore, or seek a more thrill filled wreck dive, or an amazing wall dive, Grand Cayman and Sunset Divers has a dive site for every type of diver.

ShoredivingShore Diving:

Sunset House has something on Grand Cayman that most dive operators don’t. That something is our very own – on the property – don’t have to go anywhere but here – world class – shore diving. Unlimited shore diving is included in all dive packages. When you get back from the morning two tank dive – have a quick lunch – and you can just jump right back into the Caribbean waters. Afternoon dives, night dives what ever you want! The dive shop has a dive site map and the dive staff would be happy to brief you on the highlights of the dive so you don’t miss them.

Once you’re in the water you will immediately see why it is one of the best around. For starters the water is a little over 80 degrees all year long. The giant stride into the ocean is just about 20 yards from the pool and bar…where you land in 12 feet of Caribbean water. There you can do some buoyancy checks, make sure everything is working and then away you go. We have resident turtles and eels and even a Manta has been seen on occasion. The dive shop has a site map for you to look at before diving and guided dives are offered for anyone that would like a little moral support on the first dive. The sites major landmarks, or watermarks should we say are the Wreck of the Nicholson and Amphitrite, a 9 foot tall bronze mermaid waiting to greet you…both in 50 FSW.

nightdiveNight Diving:

What a dilema this is! On one hand we have one of the best shore dives on the island day or night. As a guest of Sunset House you have 24/7 access during your stay. On the other hand you could sign up for a night boat dive. Anytime six or more divers want to go night diving we will get a boat ready and take you to any of the numerous dive site just minutes from our dock. If you want to do a night dive from shore just come on in and sign out a tank before the dive shop closes. Put that tank in your locker until your ready to go night diving. If you would like to do a boat night dive you can come on into the dive shop anytime and put your name on the Night Dive sign up sheet. We need 6 people to go but you will be amazed at how many people come out of the woodwork when there is a night dive announced. Most of the time divers request a dive on the wreck of the Balboa. This is a wreck just minutes from the dock and located in the Harbour. Either way night diving in the clear warm water of the Caribbean is as good as it gets! Remember night dives are not included in any packages so make sure you sign up at the dive shop as soon as you check in – to reserve your spot!

mermaidpicsThe Mermaid: Amphitrite Video

Amphitrite has been overseeing Sunset Reef for seven years now. She has graced the cover of Skin Diver Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine, Scuba Diving Magazine and numerous others.

At the time, General Manager Keith Sahm purchased the mermaid from Simon Morris, a famed sculptor from Canada, to ease the pressure off the resort’s famous and delicate reef. Amphitrite is actually a 9 foot tall bronze mermaid and was carefully put underwater at the edge of Sunset Reef. Today she sits in 55′ and keeps an ever present watch over our reef. She is a favorite for photo enthusiasts (she is the only creature that seems to stay still for photographers) and makes for great group photos. But be careful, take a long look at her. There are all kinds of growth on her in particular, through her hair! The longer she is down there, the more her beauty comes out!

To find the mermaid just jump in at the ladder and swim straight out until the reef drops from 30 FSW to 50 FSW into the sand. Hang a right and keep the reef on your right side and you will swim smack dab into her domain. Less than 10 minutes from shore you can visit and photograph the most famous mermaid underwater.

carib_mapFlights:

Many airlines fly to Grand Cayman including American Airlines, United, US Airways and Delta. Newly released is a direct flight by JetBlue to Grand Cayman from Boston which travels on Saturdays. At the moment you can only book through December, so keep looking for price updates on flights. Most flights will average from $400 to $650 for a round-trip ticket.

boys on boat

Group Leader:

Shaun Maguire will be your group leader. Shaun in an experience PADI Instructor and has been running trips for 5 years now. He is there to help you with anything you might need while on vacation so you don’t have to worry about anything but having fun in the sun!

For more information:

Undersea Divers Grand Cayman Trip: January 18th -25th, 2014 Click HERE for trip details

Sunset House Website: http://www.sunsethouse.com/