Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cayman Islands - 12/2

This evening when we went to dinner we came back to the room and there was my favorite towel animal! Monkey! We had another great dinner and an early night since the next day we would be in Cayman around 7am and need to catch one of the first Tender boats to shore. Cayman is supposedly building docks since it is one of the most popular destinations for cruise ships, would be nice to just walk off the ship, but we had no problems with the tenders. We got in early and went up on deck, it had been raining, so everything was wet, but it was gorgeous!

There were 5 other boats in port! We grabbed a quick bite and met up with everyone and headed to the shore. We were to meet our van about a few blocks from the dock and found it right away, checked in for our excursion, but had about an hour to mess around before we left, so we shopped :) I had heard from friends, if you go to Cayman, you have to do Stingray Reef, so I researched it a little and found the best reviews about Captain Marvins. Boy did it live up to the reviews. It couldn't have gone better! We got on the van for a 15 minute ride to the boat. Have I mentioned they drive on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the vehicle in the Cayman's?? That's some scary stuff right there, especially since they drive like maniacs! We heard a little about the island from our driver and enjoyed the view, it is gorgeous. We got to this "subdivision" on a canal, beautiful homes all with big boats in the water. Got settled on board and headed out. Thru the canals and past some mango groves, beautiful multi-million dollar homes with landscaping and pools like you wouldn't believe!

We went about 20 minutes out to a reef where we could snorkel and dive for conch. They explained to us which ones were available to harvest, they couldn't have a hole in the back, the meat had already been retrieved from those, and if they were "hooked together" leave them alone, they were getting busy :) So they guys got about 10 conch and we snorkeled around. The water was amazing, not too cold, just right, and the fish and the reefs were gorgeous!

We got our dog treats out again and I brought a box of Cheerios from the breakfast buffet on the ship with me. The fish loved us!! I had a case for my phone to get underwater shots, but it wouldn't work, I was so mad! Hoping our friends underwater camera got some pics! There were a few stingrays, but they stayed close to the bottom. It was about 10 feet deep. I spotted a sea biscuit, but didn't have the energy to get it, so John did for me. :)You can't tell from the pic, but it's about 4 inches in diameter!

As we were heading back to the boat, about 20 yards away,  there was a stingray following me, kinda creepy, but really cool. I think he wanted some treats. :)
  As we were getting back on the boat and rinsing off, it started to rain :(. Now this boat was a 45 foot Taurus, named

Capt. Jimmy, and we had plenty of room to stay dry. It had a galley (kitchen) and a head (bathroom), and there were only 16 of us total on board. But about 2 minutes in, it started pouring and we were singing the Gilligan's Island theme song! It got pretty bad! One girl got sick, but it didn't bother any of us, we have been on the water most of our lives!  After getting back on board we headed to the sandbar where we could get out and play with stingrays! About a 10 minute ride to the reef, we backed in with a bunch of other boats and got a quick briefing about how to interact with the stingrays. Don't swim or kick, shuffle your feet, just hang out and they will come around. Casey, one of our guides brought his favorite ray over for us to hold and kiss. I was the chosen one in our group to hold it, of course I wanted to! 

 They were so cool! Then we could feed them, but once you had the shrimp smell on your hand, they wouldn't leave you alone. Someone must have rubbed their shrimpy hand on my back, because one ray loved me and kept sucking on my back! A hickey from a ray isn't too bad! LOL! We stayed there about 30 minutes, while we played, our other guide cleaned the conch and got it ready for lunch.

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