Staying on the east end of Grand Cayman works well for us. The diving is nice and the crowds are missing. The wife likes to read in the shade on the beach with a nice breeze. The west end has little breeze, is much hotter and the roads are crowded. The east has a nice breeze all day.
Diving with Ocean Frontiers sets the bar for customer service. Setup your gear the first time and for the rest of your time, never touch it again unless you dive elsewhere. They break it down, rinse it, hang it. On your next scheduled dive, its on the boat, setup and ready when you arrive. Just add the weights and you are ready to go. If you ever need it, just let them know and they bring it to your car and load it in the trunk for heading west to the silver sides.
The Ocean Frontiers boat diving is also nicely arranged. If you want to go with a guide on a ‘tour’, one is offered. If you want to go elsewhere with your buddy just let them know. You are then responsible for yourself and finding the boat’s mooring – go wherever you want. The only time limits are your air supply and your nitrogen loading. Once the ‘tour’ is complete (if you take it), the dive guide shows you the boat and leaves you to stay as long as your air and N2 loading permit. I found most people on the boat headed up after 50-60 minutes. No one complained at all when I stayed down for 70-80 minutes. I found that after most people were in the boat, a considerable number of fish would appear. Likely they were in the area when we started jumping in and left with all the activity.
I find the walls on the east end to be so beautiful to dive but I find no reasonable way to photograph the feeling. The top at 40-50 ft, the bottom dropping vertically far beyond sight, cruising along at 90-100 ft. I thought it might be like an eagle gliding along the face of Teton’s. I find very few mountain photographs that give you the feel of being there, just as with the walls at Cayman.
I did two shore dives with Eden Rock and they were quite pleasant to work with. I hired a private guide for seeing/photoing the silver sides and tarpon. Wanting to go out early, have no one stir the bottom and no one to get in my way or me be in theirs. My first guide was Chris and he was perfect. Fine with an 80 min dive at 40-50 ft, great at suggestions for how to arrange shots in advance, good as a model for diver/fish shots. Went back for more and had someone else guide me as Chris had left for vacation. They were pleasant enough but insisted it was to be a 60 min dive since she needed to be back to lead scheduled dives later. But still satisfactory. One downside to Eden Rock is the lack of fresh water. They have NO drinking water except what is for sale in bottles. They do have water + tanks for rinsing gear and you are on your own for that service buts its easy enough as its all outside and lots of space.
Did the morning stingray snorkel with Ocean Frontier but it was not early enough for sunrise lighting with stingrays. I was hoping for over/under shots with sunrise and rays. We arrived too late for that lighting and too late to avoid wave chop for good o/u shots. But still fun. The wave action was too high for good video as even with 10 lbs of weight I could not stay stable enough but it was adequate for stills in natural lighting.
Diving the silver sides was the highlight of the trip. The first dive I focused on flash related shots mostly then the second dive went for more natural lighting and also some video work with natural lighting.
Pictures and a bit of video at the link below. I will be adding photos over time so check back over the next week or two for more pics. Comments welcomed.
Edited by diver dave1, 22 July 2013 - 07:28 PM.