Cayman Turtle Farm and Cemetery Beach Snorkel

Trip Start Jan 31, 2013
Trip End Feb 07, 2013

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Flag of Cayman Islands  , Grand Cayman,
Saturday, February 2, 2013

It is not even 9 pm and we're beat and ready for bed.  Kara had initiative, though, and is folding clothes she took to the drier.  Here at Grand Cayman, there is very high humidity and there really is no good air flow in our room for drying any of our wet clothes and we do seem to create a lot of wet clothes.  We think the hotel should provide some clothes racks to help dry the clothes.  And there was something else we wanted that I have now forgotten.

We were trying for an early morning, but only managed to get out by 9:30 am.  I think I slowed us down by eating breakfast too slowly and then we took a long time organizing for our Turtle Farm trip since we planned to try to go snorkeling somewhere around the West End where the Turtle Farm is located.  It was difficult to decide how to deal with our valuables if we were both going snorkeling in some place where there most likely would be nowhere to put our packs and things.

We got a bus to the Turtle Farm.  It looked as if it weren't open yet, but then a man popped up and opened the door for us, told us his name was Benny and we could ask him any questions.  We opted for the full package of looking at the turtle tanks and going swimming/snorkeling in the turtle lagoon.  There were various tanks with various sizes of turtles:  breeding tanks with adults, some teenager types in other tanks, and some little baby turtles in some other tanks.  The majority of the turtles are green sea turtles with a few loggerheads interspersed and a tank with some other rare kind of sea turtle.  This place bills itself as the only turtle farm in the world because they have produced at least a second generation of turtles since they began in 1968.  As well as breeding and resettling 31,000 turtles, they also raise turtles to sell for meat.  I had read in a guidebook that they sell all kinds of turtle souvenirs that people cannot take home because of the turtles' protected status, but I didn't see anything like that in the gift shop.  There was turtle meat on the restaurant menu though.

At the turtle farm, in addition to turtles, we got to see lizards and Cayman birds, including a red ibis and a special Cayman parrot.  There was also an island in the lagoon with peafowl.  Oh, and I almost forgot, the restaurant had loads of chickens running around, including one very handsome rooster.  We got to walk around a path that marked some of the local trees, such as the red birth that we already can recognize, mahogany, and the thatch palm, that I think I can recognize now.

After touring the whole grounds, we went for our snorkel.  This was Kara's first time and she got my rudimentary and not very helpful instructions.  Unfortunately, after her first attempt, she kept getting water in his mask - the mask I got her as her Christmas present.  She kept trying for awhile and then I lent her my mask and that worked better for her.  So we switched masks and hers seemed to work OK for me.  The lagoon had some nice fish...I didn't see them at first and began to think what a dud this snorkel experience was going to be, but the water was very clear and there were actually quite a few fish around and even some little turtles.  My photos don't reflect the variety of fish at all.

By the time we finished, I was hungry.  Kara said she wasn't that hungry but we ended up getting a regular kind of lunch with some conch fritters and a mango smoothie.  I was most impressed with the mango hot sauces and the mango smoothie.

Even though our feet weren't exactly jumping for joy at the thought of walking some more - after yesterday's excursion - we checked out the snorkeling area around the Turtle Farm - or at least on the other side of the road.  I think we may have missed the actual snorkeling spot somewhere behind the farm since what we saw seemed to have pretty rough water with waves crashing up against some jagged rocks.  Kara, quite sanely, said she didn't feel comfortable trying to snorkel there.  So then we continued walking south toward our hotel hoping to find the post office in Hell.  We kind of bypassed it and decided to skip it since it was Saturday and the post office might not be open anyway.

After walking what seemed like a fair distance, we saw a little cemetery, but there was no good beach access there.  Kara checked the map, and the Cemetery Beach area seemed to be farther down the coast so we kept on walking.  With the bus system here, the bus drivers are very considerate and always beep at us to see if we want a ride - even if they are going in the other direction.  Seems odd, but there must be a reason.

When we got to the second, larger cemetery, there was a lovely beach area and some folks were snorkeling there.  I needed a drink and my feet needed a bit of a rest, so I encouraged Kara to go out first.  If we took turns, I didn't have to worry about losing anything.  I saw her put on her fins and back into the water.  She swam around close to the shore and I was worried that she hadn't seem much of anything and would be disappointed.  She said she saw some fish and it was OK.  I doubted it.  I then went out and tried to swim farther out to see if there was anything there.  I saw hardly anything - a few miniscule black fish and few little gray ones, a little green coral....Then as I was coming back in and by the rocks near shore, I began to see whole bunches of bigger fish, quite a few and it was quite nice.  Not spectacular by any means and the coral was not exciting at all, but I was happy with the fish.

After we both had a chance to snorkel, we packed up and took another bus back to the hotel, debated a bit where to eat, and ended up here at Stingers, the Comfort Suites Restaurant.  They were out of the conch chowder, but did have the rum punch specials.  We each had a different salad and shared some calamari for a light dinner plus had the substitute seafood chowder.  There were some fireworks as we left the restaurant patio. 

Oh, I see Kara is still awake.  I expected her to be asleep by now - 9:21 pm.

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