Thursday Feb 27 – Grand Cayman Island


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Published: February 28th 2020
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Hello from Grand Cayman Island, the largest of three Cayman Islands. You can Google the other two island names if you are interested, but this is the one where we are today. And we got a very early start on our activities for the day.

We had to meet in the Princess Theater at 6:45, and we obviously needed to get dressed and fed first. Anyway, we arrived on time. Rather than have Janet walk down all the steps to the front of the theater we were able to sit in the upper level and when it was time for our group to leave, they escorted us to the elevators first. We were the first two in the “water shuttle” because this is a Tender Port. But it was pretty easy for Janet to get on-board and we sat on the top deck so she did not have to go down or back up the steps once we arrived on shore. Everything worked quite well.

We met our tour guide and again we were at the front of the line. There were less than 30 people on the tour, but the buses are small, so they split us into two groups – 13 in our group. Janet got to sit by the door and could stretch her leg out in the aisle for more comfort while we were driving. The name of our tour was “rum cake factory, panoramic views & local bites”.

We started with a short drive to the rum factory where we were offered thimble-sized samples of rum. Janet only tried the Banana Rum, but David had that, and the coconut, and the white, and the dark. So by 8:00 AM we were well on our way to having an enjoyable excursion.

Our guide then drove us to the East end of the island where we saw the “Wreck of the 10 Sails”. The story was much more interesting than the view. There is a nice panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea with gentle swells breaking against the coral shore. The only view of the wreck is single small boxy structure about ¼ mile out, perched on a coral reef. The story though is that in the 1700s, 10 British sailing ships were laden with treasures and got blown off course in a strong nighttime storm. Unable to see the comparatively flat island they all barreled onto the reef and sank one after the other. However, the local natives sprang into action and rescued all but 8 sailors from drowning. Since one of the rescued people was the son of the King of England, the king declared the Caymans to be part of the English Empire (now a British Protectorate) and they would never have to pay any taxes to England and never have to fight in any English wars. Apparently, the document where this was declared cannot be found, but it is English Law as approved by every sovereign (including Elizabeth II) ever since.

We then drove along the south coast for a short distance until we came to the “blow hole” However with only gentle swells, the spout isn’t as impressive as it might be with larger waves, but we did get to see some of them. We then proceeded along the coast, stopping a couple more times for points of interest. One was the Wishing Wall, when people walk along the boardwalk and make wishes while looking out to sea. Another was the Flip-Flop tree. Here the locals collect the extraneous flip flops they either find on the beach or which wash ashore. They then nail these to the trunk of a particular tree along the coast.

We eventually got to the Pedro St James Restaurant. Here we had a complimentary snack – rice and beans, jerk chicken, BBQ pork, and a fritter. We had plenty of time here and got to sit on the terrace looking over the sea to our south or a park to our west. Since we sat on the corner we had both views. There was another opportunity to purchase 8 thimbles of different rum for 5 dollars, but it was still before noon and we felt we had enough rum for the morning.

We drove back into town following a different route and we saw many large/expensive condominiums and resorts being built, or already occupied. Several of the properties had been destroyed by Ivan the Terrible (also known and Hurricane Ivan in 2004) and were only now being rebuilt. Of course, these new structures looked extremely sturdy. However our drive out to the East End had taken us past much property which looked to be completely undeveloped or else had small drab houses that reflects the high prices of living here and the comparatively low standard of living unless you are part of the well-to-do. That is probably not a totally fair assessment, but that is the impression we got from our guide. Another interesting fact is that the government is helping to pay for the modernization of the churches, so they can be used as hurricane shelters when the need arises again in the future.

We got dropped off at the port around 12:30 and we caught the next water shuttle back to our ship. There were actually 4 cruise ships in port today, so perhaps having an early excursion might have helped us avoid some of the shore-side congestion.

We had originally booked a different excursion which Jim and Kathy went on. It included a submarine ride and we just were concerned about Janet’s ability to climb down and up the ladder to get into the bowels of the ship. They said it went down to about 40 feet and they got to see a lot of fish – we are not going to try to recount their entire excursion. Anyway, we had a good time on our excursion anyway.

Once back on the ship we went to the Trident Grill and each got a hot dog and some fries. Janet got her first glass of tea today about 1:00 and was beginning to suffer from caffeine withdrawal. We had a big dinner planned for tonight so we didn’t want to be too stuffed during lunch. We returned to the cabin and Janet was able to get a nap for a couple of hours.

At 4:00 Janet ordered her free glass of wine. What’s that your ask? To get people to use the Medallion ordering system, the first drink you order (up to $11) is free. And they deliver it to wherever you are – including our cabin. Then at 4:30 our complimentary tray of appetizers was delivered. This is the second/last Formal Night on this cruise. The Sieberts came down at 4:30 also and we had a small “before dinner” party. Then tonight was our complimentary dinner in one of the Specialty Restaurants. We were scheduled in Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant at 5:00. This was a perk built into our original booking for the cruise. Jim and Kathy also came with us and we had a really good evening dinner.

Correct that – we had a GREAT dinner. It was a 5-course meal. First they brought us bread with oil before we ordered. We started with soup/salad. Then we had the antipasti course. Then came the pasta course, then main dinner followed finally by dessert. Everything was really delicious, and really very filling. It was a great experience in addition to terrific food – the first time in many years that we have eaten in one of the specialty restaurants.

We went back to the Siebert’s cabin just for a short tour to compare our various rooms. Then we went back to our cabin to let a couple of notches out of my belt. We will settle down and watch a movie and then be off to bed for a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow.

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Tot: 0.044s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0149s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb