Dive Operator’s “Green Shorts Challenge” keeps guests coming back for more East End diving year after year
Ocean Frontiers staffers in company teal green swim shorts are a familiar fixture on Grand Cayman’s remote East End, manning the dive shop at the Compass Point Resort or driving the dive boats and guiding dives. Those signature Ocean Frontiers green shorts have become a “hot ticket” item and status symbol among the company’s die-hard customers. Guests can win their own pair of green shorts if they dive all 55 dive sites at East End first – it’s called the “Green Shorts Challenge”.
“My goal in starting the challenge was to get my customers interested in the diversity of diving on this side of the island because I thought some of them weren’t seeing it,” says Steve Broadbelt, co-owner of Ocean Frontiers. “This is a motivation for them and it’s working.”
“I have completed the Green Shorts Challenge – as a matter of fact, I’ve completed the 55 dives twice and am well on my way to the third,” says Cecilia Sharp, who with her husband, has been diving with Ocean Frontiers since 2007. “We basically eat, sleep and dive for our stays at Compass Point Resort – which may last from one to three weeks. Rolling out of bed and walking to the boat is the best way to start any day on Grand Cayman.”
When a customer signs on for the Green Shorts Challenge, their dive history is recalled from Ocean Frontiers’ customized reservations system. The customer gets a printout of past dives to determine the dive sites they’ve visited and which dive sites they still need to dive. The customer then receives a challenge punch card with the dive sites listed, and every time they complete a new dive their card gets punched.
Once the challenge is met and all 55 dive sites have been visited, there is a celebration at the Ocean Frontiers dock complete with champagne and cake. The customer then receives his or her own pair of personalized teal shorts, a gold medal with the ‘Challenge’ crest cast into it hanging from a teal green ribbon, and a bronze plaque with their name on the dive dock at Compass Point Resort. The guest then becomes a part of Ocean Frontiers’ dive history and they proudly wear their green shorts at Compass Point Resort.
“It is an elite crowd!” says Divemaster Brittainy Slade. “The Green Shorts challenge is exciting for the guests, it gives them an end goal, something to aspire to!”
Slade says Ocean Frontiers staffers also get excited when a challenge is about to be completed and the activity on the dive boats is upbeat. “We all work hard and pray to the weather gods so guests can complete those last sites – we like cake and champagne too! And the celebrations are fun for everyone.”
Steve Broadbelt estimates that it takes about five visits to the island for a guest to complete the Green Shorts Challenge. Customers are signing up and returning to Grand Cayman, often twice a year, to dive those East End sites. More than 100 divers have completed the challenge since the Ocean Frontiers launched it two years ago.
“Even if they have been coming to Cayman for 10 years, we take them somewhere they’ve never been and we go out of our way to show them something they’ve never seen before,” he says. “Every day, every dive and every diver is unique and our goal is to know our divers and deliver the unexpected. Even seasoned divers are not beyond a ‘wow’ during one of our dives!”
Its this kind of attention to the customer’s dive experience that has made Ocean Frontiers a top dive operator. The company ranked highest in the Cayman Islands in the “Best Dive Operator” category of Scuba Diving’s 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards. Founded in 1996, Ocean Frontiers is also one of Cayman’s most conservation-minded dive operations. Turning customers green, not only means awarding them a pair of green shorts, it also means making them aware of Cayman’s marine environment. Dive masters not only show guests the vibrant reefs and marine life of East End, they are also good stewards who educate visitors about conservation.
“Working for Ocean Frontiers requires putting in that extra effort to provide the green shorts service that we are known for,” says divemaster Becca Nutsch. “Sometimes this means working a bit harder, but it definitely pays off, especially when you see customers come back time and time again.”
“We were drawn to Ocean Frontiers by the great reviews of the operation and the quiet side of the island,” says Cecelia Sharp. “The staff at Ocean Frontiers is like family to us and we are spoiled by their Green Shorts service. No request is denied. They anticipate our needs and strive to make every diver happy and safe on the boat and in the water.”
Steve Broadbelt says the Green Shorts Challenge has been a great incentive program for the company and almost 50% of Ocean Frontiers divers are now return guests. Alumni help spread the word about this exciting dive challenge at East End. New customers also see what’s going on in the dive boats and they want to sign up too.
“It’s working,” he says. “They are buying those tickets and coming back.”
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.
The Compass Point Dive Resort, which received the Green Globe Certification award in 2010 for sustainable tourism, is the epitome of laidback luxury. It 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 +1 (345) 640 7500
LinkedIn: Ocean Frontiers
The life of a Great White Shark
The great white shark, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias, embodies the apex predator of the ocean. This majestic creature’s life is a testament to survival, adaptability, and the intricate balance of the marine ecosystem.
Born in the waters off coastal regions, a great white shark begins its life as a pup within the safety of nurseries, typically found in warm, shallow waters. The pups, measuring around 5 feet in length at birth, are immediately equipped with an innate instinct for survival.
As they grow, great whites embark on a journey, venturing into deeper and cooler waters, often covering vast distances across the ocean. These apex predators are perfectly adapted hunters, relying on their impressive senses to detect prey. Their acute sense of smell, aided by specialized sensory organs known as ampullae of Lorenzini, helps detect the faintest traces of blood in the water from several miles away.
Feeding primarily on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals, great whites are known for their powerful jaws lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Their hunting techniques often involve stealth, utilizing their streamlined bodies to approach prey from below and striking with incredible speed and force.
Despite their fearsome reputation, great whites play a crucial role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. As top predators, they help regulate the population of prey species, preventing overpopulation that could disrupt the balance of the food chain.
Reproduction among great white sharks is a slow and careful process. Females reach sexual maturity between 12 and 18 years of age, while males mature earlier, around 9 to 10 years old. Mating occurs through complex courtship rituals, with females giving birth to a small number of live pups after a gestation period of about 12 to 18 months.
However, the life of a great white shark is not without challenges. Human activities, including overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, pose significant threats to their population. Additionally, despite their formidable presence, great whites are vulnerable and face dangers from entanglement in fishing gear and accidental bycatch.
Despite these challenges, great white sharks continue to inspire awe and fascination among scientists and nature enthusiasts. Their presence in the ocean serves as a reminder of the delicate balance and interconnectedness of marine life, emphasizing the need for conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures for future generations to admire and study.
Want to learn more about sharks? Visit The Shark Trust website: www.sharktrust.org
Book Review: Sea Mammals
This is a book packed with information about some of the most iconic and charismatic marine species. I have a particular soft spot for the pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, due to some incredible diving encounters over the years. So these were the pages I first turned to.
Once picked up this book is hard to put down. Polar Bears, Narwhal, Sea Otters, manatees, whales and dolphins adorn the pages with beautiful photographs and illustrations. Each turn of the page lures you in to discover more about a species you love, one you want to learn more about, some you have never heard of and even includes the details of fascinating animals that are sadly now extinct.
I think what I love most about this book is how it is organised. Rather than simply lump the animals into taxonomic groupings, they are put into chapters that tell you a story about them. Whether it is the story of their evolution, how they were discovered, their biology, behaviour or need for conservation. Once you have decided on an animal to delve deeper into, each species has its own story, as well as key information about size, diet, distribution, habitat and conservation status.
There is plenty to enjoy in this delightful book. Plenty to learn too. As the cold dark nights draw in, I can see myself delving into this book time and time again. This is a perfect gift for anyone that loves the ocean and its inhabitants. Or just treat yourself.
What the publisher says:
From the gregarious sea otter and playful dolphins to the sociable narwhal and iconic polar bear, sea mammals are a large, diverse, and increasingly precious group. In this book, Annalisa Berta, a leading expert on sea mammals and their evolution, presents an engaging and richly illustrated introduction to past and present species of these remarkable creatures, from the blue whale and the northern fur seal to the extinct giant sperm whale, aquatic sloth, and walking sea cow.
The book features more than 50 individual species profiles, themed chapters, stunning photographs, and specially commissioned paleo-illustrations of extinct species. It presents detailed accounts of these mammals’ evolutionary path, anatomy, behavior, habitats, and conservation. And because these are key species that complete many food chains and have the widest influence of all sea life, the book also offers insights into a broad variety of marine worlds today and in the future.
About the Author:
Annalisa Berta is professor emerita of biology at San Diego State University. A specialist in the anatomy and evolutionary biology of marine mammals, especially baleen whales, she formally described a skeleton of the early pinniped Enaliarctos. She is the author of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals and the editor of the award-winning Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide.
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Published: 26th September, 2023
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