I remember the first time I dove in Cayman Brac. Mike and I wanted to take our boys, 21 and 14yrs., on a diving trip over their Easter break, and found a good deal on a condo rental and dive packages on the Brac. Our previous dive trips with the boys were to Guanaja, Honduras, where we stayed literally in shacks perched on the hill. While that was a wonderful adventure, and the boys sure didn’t mind the rustic conditions, Mike and I were looking for something a little more civilized and easier to get to.
|Cayman Brac, the dive pier. This is where the magic starts!|
Upon our arrival at the airport, the resort staff met us and delivered us to the front desk for check in. Our condo was clean and spacious, a restaurant, the Captain’s Table was next door, and there was a bar right next to the pool. We tossed our bags in our rooms and trotted over to the dive shop to sign papers and find out what the schedule was going to be like. After the usual formalities, we were each given a mesh bag and instructed to put our dive gear in it for pick up in the morning. What? I am not going to be lugging my gear over the hot sand like a tropical Quasimoto? The next morning, when we boarded the boat, there were our bags. We all set up our gear and settled in for a ride out the reef.
The boat captain pulled up to the mooring and crew deftly attached the vessel to it. Next the divemaster, Vicki, briefed the dive. I had never heard such a thorough briefing, with details on sight name, profile, time, critters to look for, a whiteboard map of the sight, pointers on entries and exits, and boat procedures. I know now that this is exactly the way a dive briefing should be done, but clearly, not all shops follow that formula. The completeness of the briefing made the dive that more enjoyable and relaxed.
The dives were incredible with 100ft+ visibility and spectacular underwater panoramas. As with all the Cayman Islands, the Brac is known for its wall diving and the ability to take advantage of the clear water that allow dives to 100ft with enough light for photos and plenty of things to see. I was glad, though, that they eased us into the deeper dives as the week progressed to allow us to reacquaint ourselves with our gear and work out any anxieties we had. Vicki did a great job guiding us and pointing out many interesting fish and marine creatures.
|Dylan demonstrating good buoyancy skills|
Also, Dylan was growing his first beard which in picture look like a mustache
Back on the boat after our inaugural dive, we were told to have a snack and some water while the crew changed out our tanks. That’s right, we never touched our gear again the whole week, except when actually diving. In fact, I never had to carry my gear at all, except to board the boat post dive. When it was time to dive, we walked to the bow, sat on the bench, donned our fins and a crew member brought us our BC’s. We slipped them on, did one more pre-dive check, and made a giant stride into the blue.
During the week, we saw tangs, grunts, angelfish, flying gurnards, assorted rays, reef sharks and many others. Every dive was just as magical, and Jason, our other divemaster for the week, was equally caring and professional. As with all the dive trips we have taken with our kids over the years, it was a wonderful week of shared experiences and quality time as a family, away from the hubbub of daily life.
|Boomer just cruising along!|
Yes, I often look back nostalgically on that first trip to Cayman Brac, remembering it as one of my favorite spots from early in my diving career. This week we return to the Brac, as shop owners, trip leaders, and dive instructors, to see if the magic is still here. Stay tuned.
As always, like this blog on Facebook, share it with a friend and leave a comment! Until next time, Cheers! NOTE: Hello everyone, this is Dylan. I do the posting for the blogs but don't really chime in much. For this one, I wanted to say that while I have dove all over the Caribbean and in some parts of Asia, Cayman Brac remains my favorite place to visit and dive. Vicki and the rest of the staff have always been awesome to dive with and I often mention them when talking about great dive operations. Also, I should state that I have been blessed with a lot of great diving experiences due to the love and support of my parents. I am very grateful to them for that. Happy Easter everyone! Mom and Dad, I hope you have a grand time in Cayman Brac!