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Trip Report - Cobalt Coast/DiveTech May 11-18, 2013

Discussion in 'Cayman Islands' started by BettyfromToronto, May 22, 2013.

  1. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    I booked this trip last October. We had wanted to go to Little Cayman Beach Resort because of the wonderful reviews here on SB but the special on their website was sold out and the price jumped to about $2500 per person; a little too rich for us. So we decided to try Cobalt Coast on Grand Cayman.

    Left home on Saturday at 7am and it was 5C but luckily no rain. Flight was 4hr direct and totally uneventful except for the screaming kid in front of us. Amazingly there was no line at immigration and we were through in 5 minutes. Thought we'd have to wait for our dive bags but had them in about another 5-10 minutes. What an amazing start to our vacation.

    But of course that is where it stopped. We got outside looking for our ride. No one was standing there with our name like we were told. After about 10 minutes Michael from Red Sail asked if he could help. He told us our van had just left. Our plane was on time and we were out front in about 10 minutes. We ended up waiting for 30 minutes for him to return. Kudos to Michael for helping out someone else's customer. Seems the driver didn't even know about us.


    Cobalt Coast

    Finally reached CC after a pretty 20 minute drive but had to wait another 10 minutes to get checked in by Ari the owner. He didn’t seem real friendly and no apologies for the mix up. We booked a one bedroom suite located on the second floor (Room 19) and it was really spacious. Got settled in our room and then went down for lunch. Good selection and huge portions. We were so stuffed we didn't finish everything. The resort is small; only about 22 rooms so I loved that everyone diving really got to know one another. There are people at CC that are not diving and others who are staying at other places but came to dive almost every day. On the last two days they had to add the second boat as we had 13 + 8 divers.

    Diving with DiveTech:

    Being from Canada we are allowed to lock our dive bags so we used them on the lockers we picked out by the dive shop. I believe if you don’t have one they give you one. Also if you don’t have a wet bag to carry all your stuff onto the boat; they give you one for the week.

    Due to weather we could not get on the boats at the Cobalt Coast pier. I thought this would be a problem but actually it wasn’t that bad except for one day when my BCD didn’t make it back. It seems the equipment was all put into one truck (and I confirmed it was there before getting in the van) but then the staff moved everything from one truck to another and my BCD was missed. It was eventually found. When I made the comment about “why this is why I don’t like vanning” to Emma the dive shop manager while waiting; her response was “I cannot control the weather”. I told her I agreed but did say that “she is responsible for her customers gear though”. No reply to that.

    They have 2 dive boats and we were on the larger boat called the Atatude. It is smaller than we are use to in Cozumel but it was nice and just a bit crowded with 16 divers + 3 DMs. Also no head which I thought I specifically asked about. On the first day the Captain pointed out all the safety items on the boat and was happy to point out that they had a trauma kit; not just a first-aid kit. We all laughed as we had two ER doctors on board so we felt covered.

    Also I wasn’t use to the ride to the dive site only being 5-10 minutes. Not time to relax and get your gear set-up though they don’t rush you as they still have to draw the dive for the briefing. They drawings they do are well done and the briefings are very detailed. They want everyone to dive with a computer and if you don’t have one they give you one. You don’t get to dive your profile as everyone has a 60 minute rule...surface to surface including a 5 minute safety stop. This was fine for me on the deep dives but I hate coming up with lots of air on the shallower dives. We even tried to be first in and near last out but one DM called us on that.

    The diving was nice since there was no current but the coral and fish cannot compare to Cozumel. The crew was fun and I enjoyed the time spent with them. There are 3 on a boat. All are instructors and one is the Captain for the day and they take turns playing the role of DM. Either as the lead guide or the one following from the back. I think they were all great and would love to dive with them again. Really enjoyed Jeni and Jo who wore a pink cowboy hat for her briefing on “Texas Hole”.

    The weather co-operated and we were able to dive the North Wall as few times. While on the dive site called “Main Street” we were hoping to see hammerhead sharks going in/out of Stingray City; but no luck. Actually there was nothing large except for the odd turtle. A manta ray was seen the week before but no luck for us – manta or even eagle ray.

    Shore diving was included but the waves were quite big at CC. I went in on day 3 with another couple and got beat up pretty bad trying to get in and out on the ladder. Lots of bruises to prove it. Hubby thought we were crazy for going in. Day 4 the 3 of us went to Lighthouse Point where the waves were better. Both are great shore dives. Much better than SCC in Cozumel but hubby finally joined us at LHP on day 5 but thought yes there was a nice reef but not as much fish as SCC. Can’t please everyone.

    Airport home

    I was forewarned here on SB that the airport is crazy on Saturday afternoons and CC wanted us ready to leave at 10:30am for a 1:40pm flight. When we arrived the security line was really long but there were only 8 people in the Air Canada line. Great! Not so. The couple already at the counter took another 14 minutes to be processed and then someone just came in and went to the front of the line. Probably first class or had priority boarding. She had 6 large suitcases and was another 10 minutes. After 35 minutes we still had not moved. It took 45 minutes to get to the counter and then it was only 2-3 minutes to drop off our dive bags being checked in and get our boarding passes. By then the security line was small and we did that plus immigration in only 10-15 minutes. Right inside the gate area were our friends holding us two seats. Wonderful. There were two planes boarding at the same time so there were free seats closer to the gates but we stayed put. Our friend’s flight was an hour after us but they were early as the rental car had to be back by 12noon or they would be charged another day. Thank goodness the rain stopped to board the plane on the tarmac. We left on time and were home in 4 hours (love the direct flights from Toronto) and then only 10 minutes through immigration.

    Summary:

    We liked CC but would we do it again? Probably not. It was nice and we enjoyed ourselves; however the price was 2.5x more than Scuba Club Cozumel and we didn’t feel it was worth it. The room was a suite so we enjoyed that. The food is good at SCC but was amazing at CC. The diving is mixed. CC gets it for no current and being able to do easier photography but SCC has it for beautiful reefs & lots of marine life.

    Feel free to ask me anything either here or in a PM

    Betty

    P.S. I'd like to add a note that above I said the owner Ari didn't seem too friendly when we arrived however I would like to mention that he did become quite friendly and interesting to talk to. He also brought a sparkler in my key lime pie one night as hubby & I were celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. He came out and had everyone join in "for he's the jolly good fellow" while he played his harmonica. Nice touch
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  2. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Jersey
    5,814
    2,846
    113
    Great report. We had an almost identical time. And we won't return either! I'd like to add that we ate at some of the most expensive restaurants on ANY dive trip. CC is definitely not worth the extra $.
     
    robint likes this.
  3. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    more photos
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Lopez116

    Lopez116 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Orange County, CA
    767
    204
    43
    Thanks for the detailed report. I love me some Cayman, but go for strictly the shore diving. I prefer shore diving over boat diving both for the "on my own schedule" aspect and the cost.

    I've never been to Cozumel, but of you're saying the reefs are that much better, you've got my attention. I understand shore diving in Coz is pretty much not worth it, true?

    Does the lower cost of hotel/food/diving in Coz make up for the savings of shore diving on GC??
     
  5. beaverdivers

    beaverdivers ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    2,820
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    Thank You for your trip report.

    It make me want to go diving!
     
  6. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    6,016
    1,761
    113
    Thnx for the great report. It does remind me why I enjoy living in the Keys
     
  7. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,538
    1,146
    113
    Great report, Betty. You gave the same opinions we have heard from local friends who have been to Grand Cayman. They have told us to go to Little Cayman or Brac for the type of experience we would like..

    Lopez - As far as the opinions about Scuba Club cozumel... yes, diving in Cozumel is fabulous, fishlife fabulous, and prices much cheaper. Scuba Club is small and not fancy, more like a Bed & Breakfast with dive op on site. Perfect for us, but not for everyone. I have been to Cozumel 8 times, stayed at 5 diff places and now that I have found SCC I will not stay anywhere else. It meets my needs perfectly. Shore diving Cozumel is good but not colorful, just rubble with tons of fish. You can see my shore diving video here: https://vimeo.com/album/81331/video/11565537 If you dive to see fish, then it works. Me and my husband do this dive at least once a day, we love watching fish.

    robin
     
    tridacna likes this.
  8. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Jersey
    5,814
    2,846
    113
    CCV in Roatan and SCC in Cozumel are IMO the best value in the Caribbean. We came away from CC very disappointed. Diving was good but the van service and the on-site shore dive was a turn-off. I thought that the rooms were meh at best especially for the inflated prices that they charge. Staff attitude was also standoffish. If I go back, I'll do Little Cayman instead.
     
  9. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    Lopez116: We spoke to a couple at the airport who stayed at Comfort Suites (?) on 7 mile beach and said it was really good including breakfast. They rented a car and did shore diving and snorkelling all over the island and loved it. They tried hard to keep the costs down.

    Also like Robin; we love SCC too. Been 4x already; am booked for Nov as well as we are retiring there next year. I loved the shore dives in GC for the beautiful walls nearby but hubby preferred the rubble at SCC as he felt there was more sea life.

    Like I said I am glad we went but we won't be back.

    Betty
     
  10. Lopez116

    Lopez116 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Orange County, CA
    767
    204
    43
    The last time we went to GC, we stayed at Treasure Island. Granted, not the nicest hotel in the world, but had everything we needed. The hotel + airfare (from California) was 1,700 total for 7 nights. We shore dove every day and ate relatively inexpensively. GC on the cheap can definitely be done.

    I'm interested in seeing Coz primarily because it has such a strong following on this board.
     

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