Edit Blog Post
Published: January 26th 2020
STING RAY CITY IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
No matter how many times we visit we are still fascinated by these lovable creatures.
Over the course of 10 days and 2331 nautical miles we got to see a lot of this corner of the Western Caribbean. After our sail-away from Miami we enjoyed a lovely sea day…which is just right for settling in and unpacking and getting to know the Regent Explorer. Lots was going on with lectures and cooking classes and sports competitions and trivia. We took our Virtuoso group on a galley tour which we always find interesting. It is a true feat for the kitchen crew on a floating structure far at sea to be able to offer 700 passengers exquisite cuisine day after day and night after night. Each of the six restaurants have their own galley staffed with professionals. Our tour was of the Compass Rose galley which produces the majority of meals including room service. Chef Surjay, from South Africa, is in charge of everything food related and he gave an excellent tour of his domain before getting back to work preparing for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
We cruised into the beautiful tax haven (for some) of Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We decided to swim with the sting rays at the aptly named String Ray City Sandbar. It
WATERY MAIN STREET ON CAYMAN
A beautiful waterway escape from city life to the sting ray sandbar.
is about a 30-minute speed boat ride from Grand Cayman over azure blue waters. We entered the neck deep water after our safety briefing and were immediately surrounded by dozens of rays of all sizes, some with 6 foot wing spans. They are not shy and seem to enjoy the human contact. The skin of a ray feels like the cap of a portobello mushroom and is about the same color. We even got to interact with a pregnant ray at one point. They are not generally aggressive in spite of the unfortunate incident when Steve Irwin died from a puncture wound to his heart. The stinger or barb is about 6 inches long and it is wise to keep away from its tail. They use their barb as a defense against sharks. Thus, when we held the rays, we did it while face to face with them. The water temperature was lovely and we could have stayed in all day bobbing around with the friendly rays.
Next stop was Cozumel where we hit the water again to swim with some dolphins. We got paired up with a mother dolphin named Marina and her 1-year old son Orion. They
CHUCK & MYRT
These two hail from Omaha and travel the globe on Regent.
are such amazing mammals and due to the shape of their mouths, they seem to be smiling all the time. They are very social animals and graceful swimmers and water acrobats leaping and soaring above the ocean. Dolphins are also pretty fast reaching speeds up to 18 mph. Factoid: dolphins are thought to have actually lived on land at some point in history but re-entered the water and adapted over the eons to that liquid environment. Their intelligence is renown and the Greeks considered them sacred fish.
We always look forward to our arrival at Harvest Caye, Belize. This small caye was developed as a private island for cruise ship passengers and the activity options are endless. This year we elected to take a motor launch to tour the Placencia lagoon and mangroves. While Belize is known as the Mosquito Coast, we didn’t see any. There are over 500 species of birds and numerous other wildlife abounds. After the boat tour we took two pedalboards out into the lagoon in search of manatees. Pedalboards are like stand-up paddleboards, except that in lieu of a paddle you pedal like on a bike to propel your board through the water. They
seemed rather tippy to me but not only did we manage to stay upright, we also found a manatee and cruised around with him(her?) until we got tired out from pedaling and balancing in choppy water. To finish off the day at the caye, we went snorkeling near the beautiful white sand beach. I guess you could say that we are kind of like those dolphins in that we live on land but are more at home in or on an ocean, lake or pool.
In Guatemala and Honduras, we stayed pretty close to the ship since I came down with touch of the flu. Fortunately, we were there just a year ago and were able to do and see some interesting things back then.
Our final port of call was Key West. After clearing U.S. Immigration, we headed ashore and took a (guess what) boat tour of the harbor. There is a ton of history in this southern-most outpost and our boat captain, Sean, shared his knowledge and love of the Keys with us. We cruised Fort Zachary Taylor, Sunset Key, Truman Annex, the remnants of the Overseas Railroad built by Flagler, the Navy base, Mallory Square
We spent time exploring the beautiful grounds before going on our manatee pedalboard trip in Belize
and finally Beyoncé’s $80 million dollar yacht. Sean told us that Key West has the most bars and churches per square mile of any place in America. That seems about right for this, the Conch Republic.
Great cruise, stunning ship, wonderful weather and nice fellow passengers. We thoroughly enjoyed our 10-day sojourn at sea.
Tot: 1.085s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 33; qc: 135; dbt: 0.0311s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb