Ranked Tops in the Cayman Islands by Scuba Diving Readers in the 2014 Top 100 Gold List Awards
Ocean Frontiers, dive operator at the Compass Point Resort on Grand Cayman’s remote East End, was rated one of the world’s Best Dive Operations, and tops in Cayman, by Scuba Diving readers in the 2014 Top 100 Gold List Awards. The Cayman Islands were rated No. 1 for Best Overall Destination in the Caribbean and Atlantic. The magazine polls its readers every year and asks thousands of subscribers to rate their dive experiences in a variety of categories.
“We’re excited and honored by this recognition because it comes from experienced divers who know first-hand the excellent diving we offer,” says owner Steve Broadbelt. “They are telling us that we do a good job – this makes me very proud of our dive staff because they work very hard.”
Broadbelt shared the good news during a staff meeting in early January, and it added extra cheer to the morning dive boats. Dive industry jobs demand long hours and hard work for historically minimal pay, so people who do this for a living usually love what they do. The recognition counts.
“I think it’s great!” says Ocean Frontiers divemaster Becca Nutsch. “We work hard to go the extra mile when it comes to customers and diving, and that is what people recognize and remember. It definitely pays off when you see customers come back time and time again. Which I would say is one of the best parts about the job.”
Founded in 1996, Ocean Frontiers is one of Cayman’s top dive operations known for being conservation-minded and for having a friendly and knowledgeable dive staff. Customers experience “Green Shorts Service” referring to the staff’s company uniforms. The service can be described as personalized valet diving because it ensures customers a hassle-free dive vacation. From the first day of diving until their diving is done, a customer can hand their dive gear to a divemaster who then takes care of everything. Staffers also record a customer’s dive depths and times, as well as the sites visited, and log them into the company computer system. A guest can request a printout of all their dives at the end of their stay.
Green Shorts Service also means outstanding service underwater. Ocean Frontiers divemasters fully appreciate Cayman’s underwater environment and understand the need to protect it, so their job involves not only showing guests the vibrant reefs and marine life, but also educating them about how fragile the environment is. Some staff members have taken marine biology courses to improve their understanding of reef ecology, and it’s not unusual for one of them to pull out a magnifying glass during a dive to show guests small reef critters.
“All of our dive staff are ‘fish geeks’, using ‘fish’ in the broadest term – as that would include any marine life under the sea,” says Broadbelt. “They know that on a specific dive site, and sometimes at certain times of day, they can show you something rare, something you have never seen before.”
“Showing guests the best sites on Grand Cayman such as Pat’s Wall and Jack McKenny’s Wall, where we frequently have shark interaction, is an incredible experience − especially if they have never seen sharks before,” says Lois Hatcher Ocean Frontiers photo pro. “Being recognized by the readers gives everyone here a little more pride in what we are doing.”
“It’s well deserved,” says renowned underwater photographer Alex Mustard a frequent Ocean Frontiers guest. Mustard has been hosting his photography workshops at Compass Point for more than a decade and praises the dive staff for their skill at finding good photography subjects, and this is only one of the things that keep him coming back.
“As an underwater photographer I often have some pretty unusual requests about when and where I want to dive. Maybe I want to leave early and dive a specific reef to have the light where I want it. Maybe I want to be in the water at sunset for fish behavior, or diving at close to midnight for coral spawning,” he says. “I dive with Ocean Frontiers because not only are they happy to accommodate these requests for my groups, they are as excited about them as we are.”
This Green Shorts Service paid off on a night dive when Mustard captured a unique long-exposure photograph called “Night Moves”. It earned him the prestigious European Wildlife Photographer of the year for 2013 Award – the first time an underwater photograph has won the international competition.
Steve Broadbelt understands that although the quality of Cayman diving is consistently good, it is customer service and a personal touch that builds a loyal following and creates excitement for the sport. With this in mind the Ocean Frontiers “Green Shorts Challenge” was launched inviting guests to visit every dive site at East End to fully appreciate its diversity. When a guest meets the challenge – usually over several dive trips – a celebration is held at the Ocean Frontiers dock to mark the achievement. The winner is presented with his, or her, own pair of green shorts, signature dive staff wear, officially making them a member of the Ocean Frontiers team.
About Ocean Frontiers and Compass Point Dive Resort
Ocean Frontiers Dive Shop is located at Compass Point Dive Resort on the remote East End of Grand Cayman. Founded in 1996 with one dive boat and a dream to introduce divers to the wonders of East End diving, the company has grown into one of Cayman’s premier dive operations with a reputation for catering to small groups and having the island’s friendliest staff. Ocean Frontiers is also recognized as one of the most conservation-minded dive operators in the Cayman Islands with a long history of promoting ocean protection through its company programs, and an unwavering support for outside environmental projects. The winner of Project AWARE’s Environmental Achievement Award in 2004 and 2010, Ocean Frontiers has again been recognized in 2012. The company also received the PADI Green Star Dive Center accreditation in 2012 for demonstrating a dedication to conservation, the first dive operator in the Cayman Islands to receive this distinction.
In 2013 the Compass Point Dive Resort received its Green Globe re-certification for sustainable tourism and the resort also received the new biennial CEPTS Environmental Stewardship Award, bestowed by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) at its annual Stingray Awards. The epitome of laidback luxury, the resort features 28 luxurious one, two and three bedroom oceanfront, ocean view and poolside condominiums, each with its own private patio or balcony and all beautifully decorated with stylish island décor, and fully equipped with all of the comforts of home. Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar and Grill is now open for business at the resort.
For more information:
Call Toll Free: 1 800-348-6096, Grand Cayman call (345) 640 7500