A little caribbean adventure

Trip Start Mar 28, 2006
Trip End Sep 14, 2006

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Flag of Cayman Islands  , Grand Cayman,
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday 10th August
A little panic this morning when we awoke at Mary´s to hear the news about the potential terrorists planning to fly from Heathrow to the US, so set off extra early for Miami.

As we climbed off the plane in Cayman we saw a Charlotte and Ben waving from above - this is probably the longest we have not seen each other ever. Out straight away where we were treated to dinner at Sunset beach by Charlotte and Ben. Being curry night, we couldn´t resist. Or in Chris´case, welcome to hell! Fortunately they did burgers.

Friday 11th August
A lazy start to the day today having had an early cup of tea. A walk to the beach (with accompanying strange looks - most tourists and expats drive everywhere!) and some email catching up, followed by Chris´ footballing debut at beach football. Ben´s work had challenged an architect firm to a match, and I was co-opted as a ringer (although the idea is usually to get someone good, which certainly wasn´t the case with Chris). Massively knackering (strangely enough like running on sand), my fitness was certainly not at its peak, but was probably still better than the desk-bound workers - hence 2nd half both Ben, who is a fitness bunny, and I managed to bag a couple of goals. We then enjoyed some corporate hospitality, then progressed to a few more Georgetown bars.

Saturday 12th August
Having carried out some weekend planning at Sunset Beach, Chris and Ben went off to fetch the food, whilst Jo and Charlotte hung around the house pretending to do something useful like drink cups of tea. We then headed out for our first dive at Eden Rock. Having not dived in a while, we told Ben a fairly gentle dive to start would be good. So obviously he took us down through some underwater caves and caverns, which we had never done before! It was fabulous diving though, and the contrast of the light at the surface to the dark of the caves was striking.
After lunch, we headed to 7 mile beach (actually 5.5 miles) and had a nice swim outside Governer´s House.
Chris and Ben left the girls later on to sort the food and headed back to Eden Rock for a night dive with Ben´s mate Brian - the place was totally different, as the night-time fish come out to play. We spotted lobsters, squid, an octopus and a beautiful (living) conch - made a change to see it in the water as opposed to in a shop.
A wonderful end to the day with Charlotte and Jo´s fajitas - yummy!

Sunday 13th August
As we had hired the BCD for another day, we decided to head up to the North of the Island for another dive. Called the ´turtle farm´ due to its promximity to it, a small coral with a lot of fish. Large silver tarpin were hanging out close to a cave, and loitering with intent in the middle of them was a Barracuda. A very mean looking fish, always hanging very still in the water.

The 2nd dive of the day was at Sunset Rock and was a bit different. A submerged 12-foot mermaid statue, followed by a barge shipwreck and then a couple of turtles - very sweet animals that never seem rushed underwater, they almost moved in slow motion.

The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for our beach barbecue. We went down to the beach, watched Ben surf for a while then got a barbecue going where we cooked Ben´s special burgers (very tasty), chicken, salads and Californian wine specially imported by Chris and Jo.

Monday 14th - Thursday 18th
Ben and Charlotte out at work, so we took a relaxing view on life (and applied for jobs)
Visited a number of different beaches, including Cemetary and Governers, the latter where Jo got very scared when snorkeling because some scary fish kept following her (they were about 8 inches long). A drive across the island took us to the beautiful Botanical Gardens, and then to Rum Point bay. The beach and sea here were extremely idyllic, which also unfortunately meant it was a favourite spot for the Cruise Ship crowd. It was slightly strange to be surrounded by tourists, as most of the time we were in pretty secluded and quiet beaches. On the plus side, it meant that it did have a beach bar to indulge in.

To asuage our guilt at relaxing whilst they were working we cooked for Ben and Charlotte most nights. Ben showed his thanks by letting me go body boarding with him (I nearly drowned about 6 times, and caught 1 wave - pathetic!) and then taking me on a ´little´jog. Allegedly 8 miles, a slight detour later and one exhausted Chris arrived back to the house a vivid shade of puce after a 9.5 mile run. In 80+ degrees heat.

Friday 18th August
This morning we joined the ´proper´ tourists and went on a snorkel trip to sting ray city (perhaps the most well known undersea phenomenon of Grand Cayman). Chris´ first encounter with sting rays which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy as they clustered around us in a group of more than 20, encircling us in the hope of being fed morsels of squid. They were extremely friendly. Not everyone´s cup of tea however, as a lady next to us screamed every time a sting ray touched her leg. I could understand if it had been a couple of weeks later after Steve Irwin´s experience.

This evening consisted of sampling a few more of Cayman´s bar´s including Harvey´s, Hammerheads and Saphire, with a sneaky pizza made by Chris in between and after. You can probably guess the pictures from this night!

Saturday 19th August
Today we went out on a boat that Ben had chartered for 8 of us to go out diving in Eagle Ray Pass situated on the north wall, a huge drop off. It is, funnily enough best known for its abundance of spotted eagle rays, one of which we saw as soon as we entered the water, but wasn´t too keen on hanging around us. We swam alongside canopies of coral which dropped down alongside the wall whilst on the other side all you could see was the deep blue with the very deep drop off. In the efforts of marine conservation, Sharon (who stayed out a little while longer than most of us the night before) found an alternative way to feed the fish....

Great end to a wonderful day out diving - we had a lovely meal out at Calypso Grill at Morgans Harbour, a great restaurant where we ate out on a wide deck overlooking the bay. The food was absolutely delicious and we even managed to finish off with some desserts (plus sparkler for Ben and Charlotte to help celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary).

Sunday 20th August
More diving for Chris and Ben and a lovely sunday brunch cooked by Charlotte.

Monday 21st August
Jo and Chris desperately trying to get their South America trip sorted out whilst Ben and Charlotte back at work, followed by a nice dinner at cafe med to end the trip before leaving for Argentina on Tuesday.
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