Published: April 16th 2011April 16th 2011
Carl and I really enjoyed our stay at the Ramada Grand Caymanian. The staff were really friendly and we were away from the tourist hordes, but we had to hike 2 kms to the Seven Mile Beach or 5 km into town. We tried a repeat of Friday night on the Saturday but didn’t find the regulars until late in the evening. We had dinner at Coconut Joe’s, then stopped by the Palms to find a slightly older crowd dancing away, then we walked 5km up the beach to the real party spot – Calico Jack’s. We had about an hour to watch the mosh pit before everything closed up because Cayman Rules require a midnight shut down on Saturday (so everyone makes it to church on Sunday morning). We took it easy on Sunday and relaxed at the resort, had a walk down the beach and rested up for scuba diving on Monday. The next day we started our PADI Open Water Diver’s Certification with Jenny from Diver’s Down. I think we impressed her with our test scores. She ran through all the required skills in the pool with us that morning and we were completing our shallow dives at
the Cali Wreck in the afternoon.
On Tuesday, we completed our deeper dive at the Trinity Caves (famous from the movie The Firm) and Victoria Secret reef. By noon we had our certification but our ears hadn’t quite equalized. We were going to relax a bit but realized our time was getting shorter and we still had more to see so we rented bikes and headed up to the West Bay. We stopped at the Turtle Farm to see the breeding grounds for the release of turtles to the environment and for commercial enterprises. We also took a trip to Hell and back, then bikes around the top of the island and back to the hotel. We had a big day planned for Wednesday. First, we went snorkeling with a group to the world famous Stingray City. We got to feed, touch, play with and even dance with large stingrays. We have a great video of this activity as the photos don’t do it justice. That afternoon, we went for our first scuba dive as certified divers. In January, the Cayman government sunk a ship off the west shore – the Kittiwake. It’s located about 60 feet down, the
ship is 250 feet from bow to stern and almost vertical in the water. Diving through and around the ship brought back memories of scenes from the Titanic movie. It was an epic experience.
We rented a car the following day to go see the rest of the island. But first we went for a run around the golf course in the early morning and even caught the sun rise. We drove to The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens and the Mastic Trail. The former contained some of the unique plants and animals from the Cayman Islands including the Blue Iguana. The latter contained the old growth forests of the interior of the island, similar to what the first explorers would have experienced. We stopped for lunch at Rum Point, visited the east side beaches, the Pedro St James, and the Monument for the Wreck of the Ten Sails. I managed another snorkeling trip to the Smith Barcadere shoreline before we headed back.
There are more photos below