Stingray City

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

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What I did
Barrier Reef
Stingray City

Flag of Cayman Islands  , Grand Cayman,
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's past 10:30 am and we're still here in our room....maybe until noon when we leave for our second Stingray City trip since I am too chicken to cancel.  Anyway, maybe there are still disposable cameras and I can take some underwater photos of those great reefs!  No chicken adventures this am, though.  How disappointing!

Now it's evening and we're back at the hotel.  I have to make this fast because I only have a half hour's free time in the business center.  The hotel has updated its computer system and the internet is down for tonight.

Well, after breakfast, we lazed in the room.  I worked on uploading Kara's photos onto our last two days' blogs.  Then we sent them out.  By 11:30 am we had to start eating our lunch and getting ready for our boat trip to Stingray City.  Our second.  We went over to the other hotel's dive shop where we booked the trip, paid up, and I looked at their cameras.  They had a digital for $50 and a disposable, but re-usable, film underwater camera for $30.  It was more than I wanted to pay, but money has been flying through our fingers this whole trip, so....I really wanted to have some pics of the beautiful coral reef out we bought it and a plasticized fish ID card.  Now we could tell a tarpon from a barracuda....hopefully.  Theoretically, at least.

This group was smaller, but with a full complement of staff - Andy, the skipper; Mandy, the leader; Tom, the new staffperson with all the dive experience; and Angel, short for Angelica I think, who does all around stuff besides booking the tours in the office.  They were all very nice and we enjoyed this trip a lot.  Even though it was our second out to Stingray City and the reef, it was great fun and just as exciting.

First we drove what seemed quite a long way almost out to Rum Point to the owner's house where we got into the boat and went through the canals out to North Bay and the reef.  There were quite a few boats out, but only one or two others in Stingray City.  We played with the stingrays and fed them bits of octopus.  My knuckles got rubbed a bit when mine grabbed its chunk of octopus and I lost another piece in fearful anticipation of the animal's chewing off my fingers even though I guess they don't have teeth.  This time I realized that they feel a lot like a bolete mushroom with the shiny gray top surface and very soft and almost slimy underside.  They were great - whipping around us, bumping into us and even sometimes climbing up our chests if we would let them.  Kara and I tried to feed the babies, or little ones, but they wouldn't come for the food.

After the stingrays, we headed over to the reef and snorkeled. It was great, just like yesterday. I don't think I saw as many fish, or as great a variety, but the corals were gorgeous. I got awfully close to them at one point and had to reverse to get out in fear of damaging any of them. Mandy and Tom saw a Moray eel and Mandy also saw some lobsters. I saw something but I wasn't sure if it was a bit of coral moving on the floor of the sea or an animal. Kara had the camera so she was busily taking photos. Since it is film, we will have to wait to see those pics. I went out and back a few times to empty my mask and got the Darth Vader thing going once - that always scares me. We found out how our masks are supposed to fit....not like ours that dig into our faces. Andy was very helpful with his info on mask fit and lent Kara one of theirs to try to see if it fit better.

We had a pleasant boat ride back in, but much faster.  There were some big clouds out there and we saw what looked like rain, maybe in Georgetown, at one point, but by the time we got back to our hotel, there wasn't any rain.  Oh, Mandy also pointed out a water spout that was forming.  I took some photos and marked one, but it looks kind of lame, even zoomed in.

We got back around 5 pm, showered and waited a bit before going out for our last dinner here.  Boo hoo.  We did waffle a bit on where to go but eventually decided on Cimboco, for which we even had a coupon.  Ambiance was a bit lacking.  We sat outside facing the parking lot because it seemed too cold to sit inside.  We had a calaloo appetizer.  I think we still don't know what it is but it was very nice - a tomato sauce and the green stuff was surrounded with a slice of plantain.  The calaloo bits were more photogenic.  Kara had pizza and I had curried scallops and green mussels.  They were good.  We looked at the dessert menu but decided to go instead for mud slides - a drink originating here on Grand Cayman - as dessert at the Marriott so we could sit by the beach.

When we got to the Marriott, we were impressed by the poshness.  There was music and candles and there was the ocean.  We got our beachside table and ordered our mudslides - we didn't find out the price until we went to pay:  $11 in Cayman money  so it is 25% higher in US.  The rub was that they were served in plastic glasses, well not even plastic glasses, but those disposable beer cups.  The ambiance was much improved over the parking lot.  We saw quite the buffet as we walked along the beach to our hotel, but Kara thought that it was a private function...with champagne.

So now we are back in our room, Kara is watching TV; I uploaded and edited the photos but will have to wait until tomorrow to put them up on the blog since the system is down.

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