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Old 06-27-2013, 08:16 AM   #16
mordecai
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This is all really good info, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Looks like I may give it a shot. I'll try to report back and let you all know how it went. I'm going in September.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:07 PM   #17
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A correction

I double checked their price list and I do not see a snorkel vest on the price list at Sunset. They don't run 'snorkel trips' so that may be the reason. And, they may have them but don't show 'em. I have found the dive shop to be very responsive to e-mailed questions . . . e-mail the hotel but begin msg by "please pass to dive shop"

Eden Rock dive center rents a snorkel vest for $6 and a snorkel set (vest, mask, snorkel and fins) $14 ( I THINK this price is US ... $1 US is only worth .80 to the Cayman dollar. Your $10 is $8 CI) Eden appears to be 100% cool with off site use as their rentals are for 24 hours ....

and a couple of editorial foot notes.

obviously unlike snorkeling at Castaway, or on a cattle boat snorkel excursion, there are no lifeguards that are going to tell you to wear a vest ... nor a stack of free ones. We're having to wear our big boy/girl pants here and be responsible for our own safety. You won't be signing a liability waiver because you are not paying anyone for a service. You are in the forest camping on your own. If you plan to do much 'on your own' snorkeling you can get a vest for around $35 and it will take up little room in your suitcase (nothing like a pair of fins)
http://www.diversdirect.com/scuba-di...-snorkel-vest/


Sunset House does not offer a 'day pass' and I've never seen them question anyone about anything. IMO this is because so few cruise people venture this far (almost a mile OMG) so there is no crowding issue at this time. I've even used the pool when on a cruise stop. Since I was the only person in the pool they cared not a bit. BTW there is an outside fresh water shower, rinse tanks for gear and restrooms (at the bar). In My Opinion, if you enjoy their hospitality the right thing to do is spend some money at the bar ... even if you don't drink, buy a soda and some food (the food is VERY GOOD and prices decent for Cayman). Don't carry in a bag lunch and eat at one of their tables ... very uncool.... snorkel here and eat down the road ... uncool.

IF YOU GO .... save some time to visit the Cathy Church studio. Cathy is one of the most renown underwater photographers in the world and operates her school out of Sunset House. She has a small shop under the hotel's gift shop and sells prints of her work. Even if you don't want to buy, you WANT to look!

Buy a small print and LIE - "I took this with a disposable waterproof camera . . . ."
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #18
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Capt- thank you. More great info. If I understand you correctly, we can stop at Eden, rent a set plus a vest, snorkel there, then carry our gear down the road to Sunset and enjoy snorkeling there as well?
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by g3pak View Post
Capt- thank you. More great info. If I understand you correctly, we can stop at Eden, rent a set plus a vest, snorkel there, then carry our gear down the road to Sunset and enjoy snorkeling there as well?
Yes you could . . . just remember to factor in time to return the gear on your return trip . . .
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:33 AM   #20
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Considering my wife may not be as confident in her abilities, do these places rent a "snorkel-friendly" life vest along with the gear?
In case anyone was still wondering, I emailed Sunset and asked them about vests. Their snorkel package (mask/snorkel/fins/vest) includes the vest and is $10 for the day. Not sure why they don't list it on their site, but it does come with the package.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:26 AM   #21
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Mordecai- sweet! Great info!

Capt. BJ- how much time would you allow to snorkel? If you would allow a couple of hours just at Sunset then I think we will go straight there and not worry about going to more than one place. My TA tells me we are crazy if we do not visit 7 mile beach so I would like to at least visit it for a few minutes before returning to the ship.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:34 AM   #22
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Seriously. Love. This. Thread.


Mordecai, when in September are y'all going? DH & I are planning on the 9/14 Western sans teenage sons for our 20th anniversary. We're fully in for trying our hand at rolling solo for GC snorkeling @ SH!
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #23
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Getting to Sunset House

Capt-
Any advice on how to gety to Sunset house from Pier? Is it walkable? Taxi? We have a 10yo DD so just wondering the best way to get there and back. Thanks for all the great info- think you have sold us on SH!
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:16 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by sweetpee_1993 View Post
Mordecai, when in September are y'all going? DH & I are planning on the 9/14 Western sans teenage sons for our 20th anniversary. We're fully in for trying our hand at rolling solo for GC snorkeling @ SH!
We're 2 weeks later on the 28th for the Western tour. This is our 10th anniversary trip but we decided to bring the kids along anyway.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:02 PM   #25
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Subscribed. Awesome advice for new travelers. We are going in October and can use all the tips we can get!!
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:16 PM   #26
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In case anyone was still wondering, I emailed Sunset and asked them about vests. Their snorkel package (mask/snorkel/fins/vest) includes the vest and is $10 for the day. Not sure why they don't list it on their site, but it does come with the package.

good to hear and I should have known they'd have this covered!

how much time would you allow to snorkel?

That's TOTALLY up to you. Most 'trips' are going to provide an hour or so total wet time and that's too much for many IME. Other folks will snorkel for hours on end. It really is up to your endurance level! On my recent trip to Sunset we dove approximately 2.5 to 3 hours a day - but that will vary by depth and was broken into 3 sessions. 45 min in the water is a pretty good workout for all but those who are very experienced and able to get around with minimum effort. On my last cruise visit we did a Discovery course at Sunset which took a good 3 hours and still had time for a couple of hours shopping. It is a big ocean, you are not going to 'see everything' in a couple of hours! I've got probably 50+ dives on the reef there and I see new things every time.

Any advice on how to get to Sunset house from Pier? Is it walkable?

less than 1 mile (.7 to .9 depending on which tender landing your ship is using), I usually walk it. During our recent stay we walked to town for dinner several times. Every taxi knows where Sunset House is tho, and there are plenty of taxi around. If you ask at the bar or front desk they'll usually call one for you for your return (give time for one to get there). In the afternoons it is not unusual for taxi drivers to be hanging around My Bar waiting for a call . . . If you do taxi, be ready for a 'gulp', NOTHING in Cayman is inexpensive . . . There IS bus service but I have never used it
http://www.caymanislands.ky/planatri...portation.aspx
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #27
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Captain thanks for all your help on this. I'm sure there will be more questions, but someone asked me if there are lockers available at Sunset? I sent an e-mail back to them but haven't heard and was wondering if you knew.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:48 PM   #28
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are lockers available at Sunset and what to do with our beach bag while we're in the water. Is there somewhere fairly close we can secure a beach bag???
No, not at Sunset usually. Sunset has lockers but those staying on site get one automatically – often there are none left but you can ask – never hurts but IME they are usually full up. BUT: when I do this a cruise ship visit I handle the ‘what to do with stuff’ one of two ways. Often someone we know decides to come with just for the food and location and not to get wet. They sit at the bar and watch the stuff. Heck, I’ve paid people to do this by inviting them for lunch if they’ll watch. OR, I take nothing of value that I can’t take in the water: money and credit card is waterproof as is the Key to the World / SeaPass card and my drivers’s lic. I put these in a small zip lock or a ‘beach bank’ and they go swimming with me. A bag with dry clothes and a towel, maybe some sun tan goop I just leave on the rocks – all the divers at Sunset when doing shore dives leave a bag with towels and often shoes etc on the sea wall near the entry point. I’ve never had or heard of a problem. It is that kind of a place. If this is a deal breaker for you, there ARE lockers at Eden Rock / Paradise Bar.

Camera ... oops, sorry I have a digital dive camera ... presuming you don't I recommend a disposable waterproof. Yes they use film but you can get the prints digitally at Walgreens or CVS, or scan them. This picture was taken with a $10 Target disposable waterproof, processed at CVS and scanned at home
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #29
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Thanks for the locker info, I'll pass it along.

Since we're talking about cameras, I picked up a Kodak Zx5 Waterproof digital video camera last year before our cruise. It's only waterproof to 10 feet but that's enough as long as you don't drop it in deep water It was $50 (refurbished) and works like a champ. Here's a video I took with it while para-sailing on Castaway Cay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1rQWVg2_f4

I'd recommend it for the cost/quality. It also takes still pictures that are pretty good.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:37 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
Thanks for the locker info, I'll pass it along.

Since we're talking about cameras, I picked up a Kodak Zx5 Waterproof digital video camera last year before our cruise. It's only waterproof to 10 feet but that's enough as long as you don't drop it in deep water It was $50 (refurbished) and works like a champ. Here's a video I took with it while para-sailing on Castaway Cay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1rQWVg2_f4

I'd recommend it for the cost/quality. It also takes still pictures that are pretty good.
Familiar with it - daughter has one. But we also have a SeaLife Mini good for 130 feet. Daughter is presently on an internship at CocoView on Roatan thru University of Alabama. 4 dives a day doing coral growth studies, fish counts, water quality measurements. It is tough summer semester but she's suffering thru. 2 get picked for this each year. We anxiously await more pictures each week.
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