Cayman Brac-May 24-31, 2014
I am always amazed how fast things go by and I know it is no different for anyone else. I set this trip up and had been planning it for around 2 years and now it is over but at least lots of good memories were made and new friends were made, what else could you ask for.
This trip started with friends in the Whalers dive club asking me to put together a trip for them and by time it was all said and done there were 56 people from 3 clubs including the Channel Islands Divers and the Santa Clarita dive clubs and most people wouldn’t believe it but it went exceptionally good.
Now there were a few problems but most everything was taken care of before we even left and that is the way to do things not to mention the excellent help I always have from Sausan Shalah at Maduro Dive. If it wasn’t for Sausan’ s help the past 20 or so years this trip would probably never have ended up as good as it did.
So you are probably wondering by now where did we stay and that was easy with Cayman Brac being as small as it is, we stayed at the Brac Beach resort. Brac Beach resort turned out to be an excellent choice not to mention we had about three quarters of it for our group and 3 dive boats that were almost entirely our group.
I have had some people tell me they don’t like going in a large group and I am guessing they think everyone must do the same thing together and if that was the case I wouldn’t like it myself. For me I just do my best to make sure everyone gets there and back safe and have fun while at the resort and what you would like to do is totally up to you although quite a few will hang out together especially when you are on the same dive boat all week. The nice thing about a group is there are many more friends you can make from your own area and these maybe people you would like to dive with again and if you forgot something like a number of people did there are plenty of people who you can find what you are looking for.
About half of the group flew in together and the other half all had different flights but by the end of the day most all were sitting out around the bar enjoying a cool drink and some good conversation wondering what the week would bring. One thing we all noticed quickly was how nice not only the resort was but how nice the weather was and if it all kept up it would be an excellent week at the Brac Beach resort.
Check-in went well with only 1 room change but the dive shop, Reef Divers could have used a bit more help on check-in day. I think the only girl in the dive shop got a bit overwhelmed with everyone asking questions and wanting something but then I would expect that to happen anytime a big group was coming in and if it was me I would have had a second person in the shop to help out. Once the first day stuff was done things were back to what I would think would have been normal and no problems after that.
Our group took up 3 boats and each day we went to different dive sites and by the end of the week we had all been to most all the same dive sites. The water was a nice 83 degrees and the visibility was 75’+ most all the time and we did have lots of turtle’s sightings, friendly groupers and more. I think some people probably won’t be liking SoCal diving as much after they get back! One thing I really like was the friendly groupers who probably were friendly because they were waiting for something like food. I also did see one seahorse after I was tracked down to take a picture of it as evidence. I have to thank Kathie for swimming like there was no tomorrow to show me the seahorse after Cindi spotted it. It was the only seahorse that we know anyone in the group seen. We also seen some tarpon on a dive close to the resort, some rays occasionally, an octopi or two and lots of reef fish. The diving was good but my feeling was it wasn’t as good as I have seen in Bonaire which I have been to twice and will be going back again this year in late October with another group.
The sites we visited where Airport Wall, End of Island, Preachers Barge, East Chute, Buccaneer, Radar Reef, Stingray Tower, Middle Chute and Tarpon Alley. We also did the wreck of the 356- the MV Capt. Keith Tibbett’s which was so good we opted to do it a second time. We also went over to Bloody Bay Wall one day and dived at Jackson’s Wall and Mixing Bowl-both excellent dives.
Every time we came back from a dive or got breakfast before the diving was where the real problems occurred. The food was so exceptional it would always mean I had to make choice on how much I shouldn’t eat. The food at the resort along with the staff was probably the best I have ever encountered and from the remarks I heard from most people in our group they thought the same. In fact quite a number said they would come back anytime I did another trip to the Brac Beach resort.
The resort was laid out well with plenty of time to eat and socialize in the dining room. If you wanted to cool off they had a beautiful pool and the bar was right next door to everything. The resort itself wrapped around the entire area and only had 2 floors making it the perfect size. It was very clean and well kept up and the staff always ready to help. They had a beautiful sandy beach out front with some trees and tables under the trees or you could just relax in one off the hammocks hanging out close to the water’s edge.
Most every night the resort had something to do outside near the bar like bingo, trivia, movie night and a BBQ with a good reggae band on Friday our last night. The one thing my wife and I REALLY would have like to see at the bar would have been some type of special drink we could get each night. Who care about the free drinks I wanted to try some specialty drinks and they didn’t really have anything or could suggest much. Come to think of it if they couldn’t really suggest a specialty drink how could they offer one each night as a special?
On Friday our last day most people set up a tour of the island. You could rent a vehicle or van and get a free guide to show you around. Someone recommended TJ and said he was well known on the island. Our group of 6 were lucky enough to get him to give us our tour and afterwards we all agreed we could see why he was well known.
We visited less traveled caves, found out a lot about the local plants, trees and flowers, saw some of the local brown boobies, went to the museum and had fun climbing the light tower which I am sure was a no no and finally had to tell TJ we had to get back to finish packing and have dinner. I think he could have kept us going several more hours if he had the chance.
So now it was Saturday morning and time to leave and go home. We aren’t just celebrating fun times together because one couple was on their honeymoon and about 6 others all had birthdays while on the trip. Group trips are about having fun together, meeting and making new friends and experiencing new things together and I think that is EXACTLY what happened…YEAH!!
See pictures from the trip here.
Trip report by Ken Kollwitz