Undercurrent


Conch Club Divers picked us up every morning and took us in their van a few blocks down the road to the their boat. Ann, Tim, and Dave were the team of dive masters there–the best we’d come across in 20 years. They knew the area well and were quite professional while providing a fun and interesting experience. There were a greater number of fish in the water there than we’d seen on Caribbean dives in a long, long time.
Paradise Villas were great. A lovely oceanfront location. The unit had a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and sofa. The shady back porch looked out onto the ocean. No beach, but a little pool. Meals were purchased at the Hungry Iguana restaurant, just down the boardwalk. Always large enough portions to bring home for lunch the next day. Little Cayman is a laid back vacation, just what we wanted.

Carol Keller, Kansas, February, 2010

Conch Club Divers/Paradise Villas, Mar 2010 (Rpt #5419) by Michael Hynan

WI, US. Dive Experience: 101-250. Visibility: 80 to 150 Feet. Water: 78 to 79 F. Seas: choppy, no currents.

Comments:

 

We made our ninth visit to Little Cayman, staying again at Paradise Villas and diving with Conch Club Divers. Our 2001 stay at Paradise Villas convinced us that vacationing with the resort operators, Marc and Sabine, was a guaranteed wonderful experience. Although we have had thoughts of other dive destinations, we have joined the group of people who are in a ‘rut’ (a wonderful 9 year rut) about coming to Paradise Villas.

We enjoy cooking in occasionally, and we made good use of the hot plates and grills Paradise Villas offers. The frozen meats from the local grocery store have been of consistent good quality over the years. To minimize costs, we appreciated being able to order from both the lunch and dinner menus when we ate our evening meals at the Hungry Iguana. Other staff, Emma, Patrick, and Michelle, were also helpful in meeting all of our needs. We made eight, two tank trips with Conch Club divers, a top-notch operation. One of the dive masters picked us up in a van for the trip to the pier at Little Cayman Beach resort to get on the Conch Club boat, Sea-Esta. It is a 42 ft. Newton with head, camera table, water, snacks, etc. We were always the first dive boat to leave in the morning, giving us the pick of the best spots. Conch Club divers took us to Nancy’s Cup of Tea-twice, Mixing Bowl-twice, Ringer Wall, Mike’s Mount, Marilyn’s Cut, Great Wall West-twice, Great Wall East, Eagle Ray Roundup, Coconut Walk, Lea Lea’s Lookout, Bus Stop, and a new site N. of McCoy’s that is potentially named Hatfield’s. Owner Bill runs a well-organized, fun operation that includes talented dive masters and excellent briefings accompanied by drawings of the sites.

Tim and Ann seem to have been with Conch Club divers forever. Tim gets a gleam in his eye when it is time to catch a lion fish, and Ann is the mistress of finding small creatures underwater. All dive masters are very helpful. For example, when my wife’s air pressure gauge seemed to malfunction, Dave quickly attached another one to her regulator. When ready to enter the water, you simply bring your fins and mask to the stern. Once ready, a dive master brings your BC and tank to you. Conch Club divers serves people staying at Paradise Villas, the Conch Club, the Club, and other locations not affiliated with the other dive resorts. We highly recommend Conch Club divers.

 

Conch Club Divers/Paradise Villas, Mar 2010 (Rpt #5426) by JohnCA, US.

Dive Experience: 251-500. Visibility: 70 to 100 Feet. Water: 79 to 81 F. Seas: calm, choppy.

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We go on a diving excursion every year with an informal group of ten or so family and friends — most very experienced divers with advanced certifications — and have been all around the Caribbean. We have to say that this year’s two-week trip to Little Cayman, the Paradise Villas and Conch Club Divers was absolutely fantastic. The pace is relaxed, and the diving, service, and accommodations were superb. We will return.

 

The diving: some of the best we have encountered. We dove with Conch Club Divers on the good ship Sea-Esta. The crew — Bill (who owns the CCD operation), Ann and Tim — were expert, knowledgeable, efficiently helpful, accommodating and a delight to dive with. Bill is a skillful boat handler and all are outstanding dive masters/guides. Ann delights in finding the smallest of interesting critters among the coral and sponges, and Tim in his pre-dive briefings regaled us with (apocryphal) tales of Blackbeard the Pirate and the Cuban Navy. (Yes, he somehow managed to connect the two.) We were free to follow them under water or explore on our own, sticking to the agreed-upon dive profile. The diving itself was excellent, with the Bloody Bay wall, wonderful sponges and coral formations teeming with colorful small reef fish, lots of arches and swim-throughs, and abundant sea life, especially turtles (lots), cow fish, hogfish, file fish, trigger fish, angels, hordes of smaller reef fish, lobsters, crabs, and the rarer nurse and reef sharks, moray eels, and eagle rays. The Paradise Villas was an ideal place for us to stay. The villas are right on the water, and are charming with what we call Caribbean Rustic Elegance”. The staff — Marc, Sabine, and Michelle are wonderful people and took very good care of us without being all over us. The service from Patrick and Emma at the Hungry Iguana restaurant was great and the food is not fancy but quite good; the curry lovers among us said that the curry served on “Curry Night” is among the best they have ever had. This is not a place to go if you want to rub elbows with hordes of tourists, shop ’till you drop, and boogie until dawn. But if like us, you want a relaxed and gracious experience with wonderful people right on top of fabulous dive sites, we highly recommend the Paradise Villas and Conch Club Divers.

 

Conch Club Divers/Paradise Villas, May 2010 (Rpt #5628) by Sandra K FalenKS, US. Dive Experience: Over 1000. Visibility:100 to 120 Feet. Water: 80 to 81 F.

Seas: Calm

Comments:

 

For Caribbean diving, it’s hard to top Little Cayman. It had been nine years since my previous visit, and I shouldn’t have waited that long to return. Paradise Villas (PV) is flat out terrific, and a great value. Every cottage is beachfront, with spacious verandas front and back, and compact bedroom, living, and dining areas. The kitchen facilities made it easy to do breakfast on our own, as well as a post-dive Happy Hour while reviewing that day’s photos over a cold beer or rum punch (we stocked up at the nearby grocery and liquor store). Lunch and dinners at the Hungry Iguana, on site, were decent and reasonably priced (don’t miss the mango sorbet). PV is well-managed by a friendly staff, the property is clean and inviting, and I was even able to check email from my room, with the free WiFi. The staff at Conch Club Divers (CCD) is experienced, safety-conscious, and a lot of fun, and I give them a 5-star rating. They know the territory, care deeply about the island and its waters, and they run an efficient operation. They picked us at PV at around 7:30am for the short ride to the Little Cayman Beach Resort, where CCD’s boat is docked. If you’re a Nitrox diver, you’ll analyze and label your tanks at the shop here each day. There are roomy rinse tanks, a large gear storage area, and a camera rinse tank. Morning dives consist of a 2-tank trip, with surface interval spent on the boat. After returning to the dock, the CCD staff cheerfully motored us back to PV in time for lunch. My friends and I also opted for a single-tank afternoon dive, and the CCD van usually picked us up at around 1:30. Diving on LC provides for outstanding photographic opportunities, with the sheer and stunning Bloody Bay Wall as a backdrop. I was pleased to see that the corals are still pretty healthy, and so, too, is the fish population.

We saw an amazing number of large lobsters and groupers, and there were turtles sighted on nearly every dive. Other sightings included seahorses, flounders, burrfish, scrawled filefish, barracuda, stingrays, nursesharks, and an amazing array of juvenile fish — I lost count of the canary yellow, baby blue tangs and the tiny, schooling baby surgeon fish darting about the reef. Oddly, I didn’t see a single eagle ray — although they were spotted by other divers on the boat that week. The turtles and groupers are clearly accustomed to divers, which allows for some amazing, close-up “Kodak moments”. I had a porcupinefish pose lazily right in front of my camera, and a dazzling reef squid mating display which made for some spectacular video. As for the dreaded and unwelcome lionfish – yes, they are in Cayman waters. I was happy to find that the dive crew has taken a simple approach to dealing with them: trap and kill whenever possible. We probably sighted (and subsequently dispatched) at least two on every dive. After seeing how lionfish can decimate the tropical reef fish population in the Bahamas, I’m convinced that killing them is necessary, and it appears that this approach is helping to keep them in check in LC. While Little Cayman diving may be the priciest in the Caribbean, it’s also arguably the best. I won’t wait nine years to return.