Been To Hell, Nobody There I Knew - Suprising

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Flag of Cayman Islands  , Grand Cayman,
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cruise Day 4: Grand Cayman - Tourism and Banking 
 Early start today, ship cant dock at the wharf so we were herded like sheep into tenders and ferried to shore.. an old established seaport, famous for having over 90% of the worlds banks with a branch or presence here, the 6th biggest financial industry in the world. No income, property or Sales tax here, wonder why!  Billions of US dollars in the banks and Obama wants his slice for America by way of tax. Had a 4x4 jeep tour of the island and did indeed get to drive but being an English territory, drive on left hand side of the road. Overall the tour was a bit disappointing, Dennis our guide was a hoot, can buy cheap houses here, can't take the keys with you when you go, Dennis offered to look after the keys and collect the rent. He also offered to bank any spare cash we had there and as he was Jamaican and not American, not subject to tax. Promised to send monthly statements but if we needed to contact him we had to be sure to use his Cayman Island email address and not his Nigerian one. You can tell that these shore tours are steered towards different places, we went to Hell which was going to be where I sent post cards from but our one was down the road from there so sadly had to give that a miss. Rumour has it that it gets its name from the multi-storey retirement village for Mother-In-Laws or that the locals were amused by a visiting British explorer who was partial to taking pot shots at local birds and when he more often than not missed used to exclaim "oh hell" could have been worse...Afternoon visit to the sandbar was fantastic except there was no bar there, just sand.... A few miles offshore in waist deep water surrounded by some (rather than thousands) of tame stingrays, again I have pictures, even one of me holding one but the capacity of the Internet on this ship is limited - and expensive. Only the crew were allowed to feed them and there was at least 15 other vessels there all doing the same thing. Last activity was snorkelling at the reef, another mile out, about 12 feet deep, on the other side if drops to 1400 feet less than 50 metres away. As you all know, I'm no Jacques Cousteau but was having a good old time trying to find Nemo, some really awesome and pretty fish, even a barracuda. So after 10 minutes I got a bit cocky and ventured towards the reef, waves a bit more active there, more effort required to manoeuvre, then it happened, cramp, lost all steering and propulsion - just like the other carnival ship the other week, I started taking on water through the snorkel, apparently there is no nostril release valve on the face masks and while I tried to get myself vertical treading water with one leg I managed to destroy 50 years of coral growth, didn't do my back much good either, no barnacles left on there, nor much skin either... Managed to avert a maritime disaster but discretion being the better part of valour, hauled my sore and sorry arse back to the boat and applied the traditional West Indian cure all, no not pot, the other one, rum mon, and banana flavoured as well, not really much resemblance to banana after the first smell and taste, lots of afterburners then!That was it for the day, we went overtime on the trip so straight back to catch the last cattle barge back to the ship, no time for shopping, had an early night!
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