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Manta Divers May 2007-- Cayman Brac

         Greetings!  Well, our intrepid group has returned from the island paradise of Cayman Brac.  Our trip included round trip airfare, accommodations at Brac Reef Resort, three wonderful meals a day and of course, visits to some of the most beautiful and pristine reefs in the Caribbean.

            Our group consisted of eight divers, four soon to be certified divers, and a pair of 07grp_400explorers/snorkelers/spa patrons.  Aimee Grundberg, and Ryan, Matt and Zack Koenes completed their four open water checkout dives while on the trip, and Pete Grundberg earned his advanced open water rating.  As returning guests to the Brac Reef Beach resort and Reef Divers, we were treated to our choice of dive sites.  They were nice enough to grant my request for the best divemaster they have, Vicki.  She was paired with the equally capable Phil and on a couple of dives, the dive operation manager, Jason. Being a repeat visitor has its perks!

            As I have shared in previous reports on trips to Cayman Brac, Reef Divers is an extremely well run bigsis_400_01dive operation.  Reef Divers boats are comfortable and well equipped.   Your equipment is taken by staff the day you arrive and you never touch it again (except when you are in the water).  They set up your gear for you, change out your tanks between dives, and when you are ready to step off the boat, you just go to the seats at the bow with your mask and fins and the dive staff brings your gear to you.  They even rinse it off at the end of the day. Reef Divers is committed to safety as well and offers divers the use of a dive computer for the week, if they don’t have one.  If you hate to dive as part of a “school,” Reef Divers and Cayman Brac is your cup of sea!  The dive briefings are so thorough and the reefs surrounding the Brac are so easy to navigate, even a relatively new diver and his buddy could guide themselves. (If you are interested in hearing a Reef Divers dive briefing, go to “www.youtube.com” and search for Cayman Brac. There are a few on there!)  Divers are, of course, always offered the option to be guided during the dive by the divemaster, who will point out lots of “good stuff.”

            We all have our favorite creatures, but one of our newer divers, Lisa, wanted to see a turtle.  I toldturtle_400 her that the Caymans, at least in part due to their famous turtle farm, are the spot to encounter turtles.  She was not disappointed. I found one little fella chomping away at some algae so I thought I’d snap a few pictures of him.  I could not believe how tolerant he was of the intrusion of my camera.  I must have taken 10 photos of him.  Our night dive was terrific.  Another of our divers, Tina, said she just wanted to see an octopus.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes into the dive, we were signaled to come over by our friend, Park, a videographer.  He had a small octopus in his lights.  This guy was really active!  He changed color and shape over and over, and in spite of us hovering (at respectful distance) by him, he was clearly in no hurry to hide.  I especially enjoyed our trip to Little Cayman to dive a couple of sites in the famous Bloody Bay Marine Park.  At a site called Marilyn’s Cut, octo_400we slipped through a crack in the surface of the reef and swam through a long tunnel and exited to the wall at 87 ft.  The group, of course wanted to dive the Brac’s famous MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts, a 330ft. long sunken Russian frigate.  This wreck has been cleaned of hazards and has a couple of areas that can be penetrated safely.  Rays and flounders are frequent denizens of the sand surrounding the Tibbetts.  Many of the sites we visited were also suitable for snorkeling, but one could bike or drive a short distance from the resort for great snorkeling that could be reached from shore.

            Topside, we visited the famous bat caves. Some of these caves served as shelter for islanders during hurricanes. It is hard to imagine waiting out a hurricane with your entire village in one of these low ceiling dwellings.  Inside the caves, there are interesting formations.  The bats share the caves with the brown footed boobies (birds).  Apparently this is an attraction for bird watchers.

 If you weren’t interested in an afternoon dive, you could enjoy any of the assorted treatments tibbetts_400_01available at the resort’s spa.  I enjoyed a great massage on my nondiving afternoon.  If you are looking for gifts or souvenirs, there is a little shopping in town.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with snatching up one of the hammocks and taking a snooze in the sea breeze.

Cayman Brac has something for everyone and a good time was had by all!! Can't wait to go BRAC!

Don’t miss another Manta Divers trip!

Curacao January 12-19, 2008   $1851 per diver, $1574 per nondiver
Price includes:
Round trip air from Chicago to Curacao
7 nights accommodations at the Habitat w/4 persons per 2 bedroom lanai. (The rooms are completely separate, with shared covered patio area with refrig, stove and sitting area.)
6 days 2 tank boat dives
6 days of unlimited shore diving
Full breakfast daily
Free shuttle service to and from downtown

A non-refundable $100 deposit (cash or check) is due when you sign up and the balance is due on October 5, 2007.  If you pay with cash or check, there is a 3% discount.

Grand Turk  March 22-29, 2008  $2219 per diver, $1870 nondiver
Price Includes:
Round trip air from Chicago to Grand Turk
7 nights at the Osprey Hotel, (double occupancy) courtyard room w/balcony*
6 days 2 tank boat dives
6 days unlimited shore diving
Wi Fi available by the pool
*upgrade to deluxe room (king bed, TV, Refrig., microwave and coffee maker) for $209 extra,
 $255 for a standard suite (2 queen beds, TV, kitchen w/microwave, toaster and coffeemaker—These rooms are booking fast and are offered subject to availability.
**Optional Whale Watching excursion $65

A non-refundable $100 deposit (cash or check) is due when you sign up and the balance is due on January 5, 2008.  If you pay with cash or check, there is a 3% discount!

At this writing, I have only 7 spots available for Curacao, and 8 spots for Grand Turk, so don’t wait too long to sign up!!  Remember that these trips present a great setting for open water certification dives, Advanced open water dives or specialty certification dives.

Don’t forget that Aqualung is offering FREE octos with the purchase of a Aqualung regulator, a FREE air Source with a BCD purchase, but only through July 31, 2007.


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