Published: September 12th 2007September 4th 2007 Cayman Islands
Tour guide swimming back to boat.
The dots in the water are stingrays.
Lolol I guess this is how we had to end the trip, a little hard wind and rain to get the blood pumping. The tickets we got for the trip have changeable dates and locations (somewhat) so the Cayman Islands werent even on our original itinerary..... but as the trip started to draw to an end, we cut a day here or there in Europe to save money and added the Cayman Islands to round the trip out... nothing like a little sun and relaxation to bring us home relaxed and refreshed.
As we looked at adding the Caribbean and juggled which island to hit we narrowed it down to a few and took a stab at the Caymans. No sooner had we booked the trip than good'ol Hurricane Dean showed up shaking its mean stick at the Caribbean in general. We watched the news intently hoping it would miss the Caymans and luckily it went south and no major damage was sustained....... whew! Wait a minute, what was that..... another hurricane???? Enter Hurricane Felix.... this could get interesting!
Because of flight schedules etc. we actually headed to the Caymans via Philadelphia where we spent our
first night in the states since April. It was nice to be stateside and to understand everything that happened on T.V. w/out watching CNN repeat itself 24 hours a day (Every hotel in the world has cnn in english, if nothing else they have cnn). We lounged around our hotel and tried to stay on top of the weather so we didnt head out there and get blown away.
When we left the storm was still a day or two out and gaining strength, but if the colorful maps and fancy diagrams flashed over the news held out the storm would pass us to the south. It turns out that Felix did stay south of the Caymans, a few days into our trip it did however give us a good amount of rain as a passing thumb in the eye. The island
The Caymans were awesome, the perfect way to round out a trip...... my only regret is that the weather could have been more cooperative (but hey its low/hurricane season, what did I expect huh?). We ran into the usual tropical 20-30 minute downpours and then a little extra courtesy of Felix.
While on the island
we visited "stingray city" as the locals call it (we lucked up and did this one on the day w/the best weather). Legend has it that fisherman used to use the location to clean their catches and would toss the guts etc. into the water near a shallow sandbar....... stingrays would then eat the leftovers and now frequent the area daily to get free food from the tourists who have now replaced the fishermen. After the whole "crocodile hunter incident" I was a little sketchy on swimming with them but if your there, ya gotta do it. Before stopping at stingray city we visited two snorkel spots, at one of them a stingray swam right up to the boat but it didnt have a tail/stinger, the guide recognized it by name (as he knew many other of them) and this harmless stingray gave the group a good introduction to being around them in the water...... about 15 minutes into that dive two other stingrays showed up with tails and they made you a little nervous no matter how much the guides said they were used to humans here and havent stabbed anyone in as long as they can remember.
Stingray city was a sandbar in shallow water and in the middle you could actually just stand up and about 15-20 stingrays swam all around you and into you searching for food. It was funny to see peoples reactions to them as some were kinda pushy and the larger ones (about 4 feet across) could push you pretty hard. Once again they assured us that there was no chance of getting lanced...... but told us that if your gonna feed them, hold the squid in your hand and keep your thumb tucked into your fist so they dont get a hold of it...... I tried to feed'em but a fish darted over and snatched the squid out of my hand... Oh well.
The next day we decided to rent a scooter, the day before had been nice and the hurricane passed well to the south of us by then. We rode for about an hour and a half to the other side of the island and rum point where there was a beachside area setup w/restaurants and shopping etc., it was going fine until clouds built up and the rain started falling... here we are 1 1/2 hours from
our hotel in on and off again rain and the clouds are getting darker. We decided to make a run for it and luckily the restaurant staff gave us trash bags to use as raincoats because we got rained on somethin aweful almost the whole way there. At one point we had to pull over at a gas station it was coming down so hard, at that point we needed gas too but of course the station wasnt selling gas for some reason (gotta love islanders) and didnt seem too concerned about it. The rain lightened and off we went, we found a station with about a fifth of a tank left and continued on our merry wet way, until we made it back to the hotel partially drenched, despite the raincoats.
The following day we still had the bike and went to another corner of the island where the sun kept acting like it was gonna come out and stay out. It came through in fits and let you know that on full blast, the sun must bring awesome colors out of the water...... it looked nice in low light, I can only imagine with the sun beaming
down to the bottom of the shallow water.
While there we also visited a sea turtle farm raising endangered turtles, and just messed around in general..... a nice relaxing end to a nice long vacation...... I guess its........ back to.......... Los Angeles........
There are more photos below