Well we’re 55 days out now and everything has changed. We got notice this past Saturday that Aggressor (our live-aboard boat company taking us to Socorro) has cancelled our scheduled sailing. Apparently this is the first time its ever been known to happen, on any of their boats worldwide. We are just that unlucky it seems. So here is the situation we’ve found ourselves in: my vacation was granted months ago for January 2nd to the 26th and if I don’t go somewhere I’ll have wasted my precious vacation days sitting at home in Edmonton (read: -30 to -40 degrees). We’re committed to being in Playa Del Carmen on the 13th and then on to Cozumel on the 15th, so we can’t stray too far away from the Caribbean region or our costs will quickly go out of control. We’ve already paid Aggressor in full for the Socorro trip, as well as booked flights from Edmonton to Cabo and Cabo to Cancun. We can’t secure spaces on an alternate dive trip until Aggressor refunds us our money and at less than 2 months away those spaces are disappearing quickly, while the cost of flying there is increasing. That’s the gist of the logistical side. Then there’s the other side to this mess…the emotional one. We’ve been planning, researching, saving and preparing for Socorro for 6 months already. We’ve been buying gear specifically suited to the conditions there and for the confines of live-aboard diving. We’ve been working our tails off saving up all our pennies. We’ve been counting down the days and getting more and more excited for the possibilities and adventures that awaited us. In short…we’re bummed out. We had our hearts set on Socorro.
But. Things happen. Life goes on. Socorro will stay on our bucket list of places to dive and maybe we’ll have another shot at it later. Whether or not we ever sign up with Aggressor again though…well we’re reserving judgment. This has certainly left a bad taste in our mouths but we’re hopeful that they’ll make things right and get our refund processed ASAP. Sure wouldn’t hurt to get some kind of discount on future sailings either. We’ll see.
Now the big question is…where are we going?!? We are going to Cayman Brac! To the best of our knowledge, the best diving in the Caribbean is found in Bonaire, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands. We couldn’t find flights to Bonaire, Turks and Caicos would have eaten up more of the Aggressor refund than we were comfortable with so….Caymans it is! The Brac is one of the smaller islands east of Grand Cayman. It has a resident population of about 1400 people and is much less touristy. Its main attractions are scuba diving and rock climbing (in fact, the climbing on “the Bluff” is world famous…my sister Robin should check it out!). The Brac is known for its incredible wall dives, 100ft+ visibility and the only dive-able Russian warship in the Western Hemisphere (the MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts). One of the instructors from Oceansports ran a trip there last year and we’re going with their high recommendation of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort for our stay. We’ll be getting into Grand Cayman on the 3rd and then taking a little island hopper over to the Brac that afternoon. We’ll be staying 9 nights before leaving for an extra day diving cenotes in Playa Del Carmen. Our package will include 2 tank morning dives for 8 of our 9 days and a 1 tank afternoon dive on 6 or 7 of those days as well. We’re sure to do some night diving as well. Of course this plan is all based on Aggressor getting us back our $$$ fast and being able to secure our new booking and flights just as quickly. Cross your fingers for us!!
I don’t know too much yet about Cayman Brac or its dive sites but you can be sure my mission now is to find out as much as I can. Here are a few pictures to tide you all over for now