Sunset House – July, 2010
Seventeen divers and one vacationer headed to Sunset House in Grand Cayman for a long July 4th holiday weekend. We were shore diving by late afternoon of our arrival day, working out the kinks before the next morning’s boat dives.
Sunset House is set up for divers. Their included full breakfast is filling and fast, and the dive shop and boats are a few steps from the rooms. Individual lockers, with provided lock and key, are handy. With all seventeen divers on one boat we were a bit cozy, but not overly crowded. Unlimited shore diving couldn’t be easier, and the pool was a popular place to lounge and get the salt off.
We ate the rest of our meals at the outdoor bar/restaurant. The speed of service depended on how many other people were also ordering. The food was good, portions generous and not terribly expensive, especially for Grand Cayman. A few of us never left the “compound” to hike into town to shop or try another restaurant. My favorites were the Cajun dolphin burgers, coconut shrimp, red conch chowder, and the red snapper. Yum! Once we realized there was a dessert menu, we had to try them all.
The boat diving was easy. Usually the diving is off the southwest of the island, but there were storms brewing while we were there, so they bused us across the island on two days where we had the opportunity to dive the North wall. At Eden Rock, the swim-throughs were fun, with thousands of silversides, tarpon, and large groupers; the lighting was fantastic for photos. At Pageant Beach Reef, a few of us were lucky enough to encounter a manta ray cruising by, and a school of 44 squid (yes, I counted them) hung around at the end of the dive before slowly moving off. Lion fish were not uncommon, along with a few lobsters, turtles, and eels.
Shore diving off the front of Sunset House is interesting. There’s plenty of room for setting up gear, and jumping off the break-wall is a piece of cake, although a bit intimidating-looking the first time. Once in the water, you can go to the left, to the right, or out to the wall. We usually went right, toward the underwater mermaid statue, the small wreck, and once, out to the wall. We didn’t have the time or air to actually go over the wall, but it was pretty cool looking with the late afternoon lighting. One afternoon we were informed the visibility wasn’t very good—only 15 feet, but we thought, “hey, that’s a good day around Pittsburgh”, and most of us went diving. It turned out to be a great dive, with at least 50 foot visibility. We saw several rainbow parrotfish close-up. When the water is rough and the main ladders look tough to climb, there’s an enclosed “swimming pool” to swim into with a more protected exit. The group did one dusk/night dive, but didn’t see very much. That was the only one we tried and I never saw anyone else night-diving during our stay.
Bill & I decided to spring for one of the ocean-view rooms this time, and were happy we did. Although we were more than satisfied with our “garden-view” room last year, there’s just something about getting up in the morning, opening the drapes, and looking out at the water. Although the rooms could use some updating, needed repairs, such as stopped shower faucets, were quickly repaired.
Grand Cayman is easy to get to, Sunset House is convenient, efficiently run, and reasonably priced, we saw some neat things, and most importantly, everyone had a good time.