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Grand Cayman

April 22nd-23rd, 2001

Cruising

We had a day's sailing before our next port of call, so we made the most of it: exploring the ship, sunbathing on deck, drinking in the bars, and eating eating eating. :-)  The ship has an all-night pizza bar that's great for that late-night snacking. :-)

We also hit the casinos (now open as we were beyond the three-mile limit).   I won $140 on the slot machines!!  Not bad for a $20 investment...

When we reached Grand Cayman, most of the rest of the group headed to Seven-Mile beach to see what fun could be had there.  I'd signed up for a shore excursion around the island and would meet up with everyone later that evening.

I had to leave the ship fairly early to meet the bus, so I grabbed an early breakfast and headed out.

Hell & Environs

Our first stop was in Hell.

There's an ancient coral formation (formed several hundred million years ago, if our guide was right) that has eroded away as Grand Cayman was pushed up out of the ocean.  It looks like a barren moonscape.  The locals called it "Hell", and so sure enough, the local area is now officially called "Hell".  There's also a little post office where they stamp your postcards "From Hell", so you can literally say you've been to Hell and Back!

No Littering in Hell! Hell! Removal of Hell Rocks is Prohibited on Pain of Pain! Another Shot of Hell (actually an ancient coral formation) Send Postcards from Hell

Sea Turtle Farm

Grand Cayman is also host to a number of sea turtles, and we went to a Sea Turtle Farm where they raise various species.  The turtles ranged in size from a dinner plate to ENORMOUS: some of them looked like they could crush a small Volkswagen!  There was one pond where they let hold the younger turtles, which (naturally) objected to such treatment and flapped their little fins at us in fury!

Adult sea turtle gives us a once-over Baby sea turtles! Help me!

Stingray City

The final stop on my little tour was actually right on the edge of Grand Cayman's large bay (basically a big shallow sand bar).  There we had the opportunity to swim in the water with large stingrays!  Everyone was given some snorkel gear and into the water we went!

The water was incredibly blue, warm, and absolutely swarming with stingrays, some of which were at least as big as I was.  Several people couldn't handle the close proximity and practically jumped out of the water!

I found it amazing: the stingrays were quite soft to the touch on the underside, and like a rough leather on top.  They seemed quite used to people and kept  rubbing against us, looking for food.  One of our guides held a stingray out of the water briefly: because they are still passing water over their gills, they spit at you!

The water was  a little choppy, so it was hard to take pictures: I was very pleased that I got any decent shots at all!

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Back to the Ship

I couldn't stay in the water forever, of course: the ship was leaving at 2:00pm and I had to get back to the dock.  It sounded like everyone else had had a good time on the beaches.  Time for a little dinner!

 

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2001  William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002