28 Dec 2007

We left Nashville at 8:00 a.m. and arrived in Grand Cayman around 2:00 via Charlotte, NC.  After picking up a car at Andy’s, we checked in at The Anchorage and unpacked.

We went to Cemetery Reef about a half mile from the condo.  It was around 5:30 when we hit the water and there wasn’t much light, but we saw a lot of blue tangs, sergeant majors, blue parrot fish, black durgon, squirrel fish, banded butterfly fish, sea cucumbers, grouper, school master, urchins.

After cleaning up at the condo, we ate at Aqua Beach Restaurant and Bar.  Then we returned to the condo for games.

29 Dec 2007

Mom went to walk on the beach. Dad got Teagan up and made her an egg with bacon for breakfast. We went out to walk on the beach with Mom. We saw some very cool things in the tide pools. Derek was still asleep because he wouldn’t get up out of bed. We walked along to the north. Eventually, Mom said she would go back to the condo because she was hungry. Dad and I kept walking for a little while but not much further. Then we decide to go back. while we are walking back to the condo we see Mom walking toward us with a lobster in her hand. She caught a lobster in one of the tidal pools! She was holding it with her hat. We thought we might be able to eat it for super but we had to check the rules so we headed back to the condo to ask the lady in the office if we could keep it. On our way this lady passes us and stops and says Lady what do you plan to do with that lobster? She said that we were not allowed to keep it because we were in the Marine zone. I thought we should probably put it back but Mom was like I understand and just kept walking. when we got to the condo the lady in the office said that we werent allowed to keep it. we kept it in this bucket of water on the beach while Mom went up and tried to get Derek so he could see it. He finally came down and Mom and Derek released it into the water. This whole time people had been coming up to us looking at the lobster. These 2 ladies at the condo kept saying we should cook it for dinner even after we found out we couldn’t keep it.

After that we went snorkeling outside the condo. we saw some pretty cool stuff.

After that we went on a drive around the island. we stopped at sunset house to get information on a beach dive. We went to the south coast and stopped at a lighthouse at Breakers and took pictures there. Then up to botanical gardens, then up to Rum point. We got out at rum point and took pictures there and looked around. We headed back to the condo and stopped at a grocery store to get some food. We had supper at the condo.

30 Dec 2007

We began the day by going to the turtle farm at Boatswain’s Beach at the northwest end of the island. This farm raises turtles for consumption and for release. There were about a thousand turtles occupying several tanks. The turtles were sorted by size. Several of the tanks allowed for touching the turtles.

After we toured the tanks, we stopped at a viewing window for a large aquarium. The tank was large enough to house several nurse sharks, blue sharks, jack crevalle, moray eels, and several other species. A staff member gave an interesting presentation about the tank’s inhabitants.

After that, we went to the aviary where we saw several local birds. Then we grabbed some lunch at the on-site restaurant.

After a visit to the gift shop, we changed into snorkeling gear and hit the artificial lagoon at the turtle farm where we swam with turtles and thousands of reef fish. This was a really fun experience.

We wrapped up the snorkeling and headed back to the condo to clean up. Linda and Richard went to a nearby dive shop for a few items. Then we all headed to the beach in front of the condo for some late afternoon snorkeling.

The water was very murky at the beach. Farther out, the visibility was better, but it was nothing like yesterday and the day before. Linda saw what she thinks was a leopard ray, but she only got a glimpse of the tail as it was swimming off.

We returned to the condo for supper, and a game of Qwirkle.

31 Dec 2007

We left the condo in the morning and went to the wreck of the Gamma. It is located just offshore in the north part of George Town. The wreck was only about 50 feet from the shore, so it was an easy swim to get to it. The visibility was not very good — maybe 20 feet. Most of the pictures have a lot of back scatter in them.

The wreck was partly above water, but there were openings where we could swim into the hull of the ship. The surf wasn’t bad, so we didn’t get thrown around much.

After the wreck, we went to Eden Rock. This is just south of where most of the cruise ships anchor. The dive shop there has a ladder going to the water for easy access. A swim directly away from shore leads to a reef that goes from about 10 feet to perhaps 35 feet deep. The visibility there was much better that at the Gamma. We could easily see the bottom. There was an abundance of fish life there that included tangs, trigger fish, grouper, and angel fish.

After Eden Rock, we headed south to find a picnic spot. We got to Smith’s Cove and ate lunch. We also walked along the rocky coast.

Then we headed north. We stopped at one of the Dive Tech spots at the north west corner of the island to look at the beach entrance for dives and snorkeling. Then we went to the community of Hell. We took a few pictures there and looked at the gift shops.

We continued exploring the north end of the island all the way to Conch Point. After that we headed back to the condo. Derek and Richard watched some of the Music City Bowl that pitted Derek’s current school against Richard’s alma mater. I won’t mention the outcome.

We ate spaghetti in the condo while watching the game. Afterward, we went to the beach briefly to watch for fireworks along the shore. There was not much wind, so the mosquitos were out. We stayed there about 30 minutes, and returned to the condo.

1 Jan 2008

We awoke early in the morning and prepared to go SCUBA diving. We traveled to the Eden Rock dive shop and rented four tanks and various weights and three weight belts. We put on our SCUBA gear and headed towards the water. After we had all gotten in, we tested our masks. Teagan’s mask was leaking, and so some time was spent trying to amend the problem. Linda tried to get Teagan comfortable underwater a few times, but to no avail. After forty-five minutes had elapsed, Richard and Teagan headed for shore while Linda and Derek continued. After spending roughly forty-five more minutes in the water, and after seeing an abundance of fish, coral, and other various aquatic life, Linda and Derek came back to shore.

After peeling off various layers of dive clothing, the family headed next door to Paradise Bar and Grill for lunch. Teagan ordered a turtle burger, so Derek and Teagan both tried turtle meat. Richard went back to the car to get the camera, and, in doing so, remembered that he had forgotten to pay the dive shop. He promptly did so. A rooster was picking around inside of the restaurant, which was little more then a veranda over the sea. The food was good, however, as were the various smoothies that were tried.

After lunch, the family went shopping in downtown George Town. We visited several shops, but bought fairly little. Teagan purchased a shirt and Derek purchased a thimble. Linda wanted ice cream, but most of the food shops were closed, and the open ice cream shop was overly busy. We returned to the car and drove to a nearby dive shop, Diver’s Supply, to see about getting Teagan’s mask fixed. Derek’s BCD also had a leaky dump valve, so we brought that as well. Teagan decided that she would rather have a new mask, as she did not think that her old mask would be of any good any more. Derek’s BCD dump valve had pieces of dead coral inside of it, so that was cleaned out. There was another leak, however, in the liner of the right shoulder. This leak was not fixable, but it was not a major problem. After the dive shop, we stopped at Burger King to satisfy Linda’s ice cream urge. She and Derek got ice cream cones while Teagan got a slice of cappuccino pie. We then returned to the condo.

We ate supper at the condo. We then went down to the beach for family pictures, and then Teagan and Richard built a sandcastle on the beach. The family then engaged in a family game of Quirkle. Teagan won the game by a slim margin over Derek and Linda. Richard was a bit further behind.  The family then drifted off to bed.

2 Jan 2008

After breakfast we went to Cemetery Reef to snorkel.  We saw elkhorn coral, and lots of pretty fish.  There was a strong wind away from shore and incredible visibility. We took lots of pictures.  Then we headed back to the condo for lunch.  Teagan and Richard went to Botanical Gardens while Derek and Linda stayed at the condo.  Derek slept most of the time and Linda walked around on the beach.

At Botanical Gardens Richard and Teagan went on a Nature Walk.  It had all the native plants. We saw a few ponds and iguanas. There were places where you could see dead coral.  It looked like the whole place was just dead coral covered in dirt.  It was almost as if you could pick any place in Botanical Gardens and dig down in the dirt and you would come to dead coral. The Nature Walk was ok.  After that we went to the Color Garden. This was spectacular and was much more fun to look at than everything on the Nature Walk.  There were many flowers and many plants with unusual color patterns.  There was a small waterfall that we both took pictures of. We took a lot of pictures in the color garden.  After that we went to the Heritage Garden. It had an old Cayman house and gave you an idea of what a Cayman house would look like about 100 years ago.  There was a chicken coop there and a kitchen separate from the house.  There was also a medicine garden where they would grow plants and use them for medicine.  We looked around in the gift shop and headed back to the condo.

When we got back to the condo we had supper.  We played a family game of heats and Linda won. Derek was in last place by quite a wide margin I must add. Then we just hung out at the condo.

3 Jan 2008

A cold front moved in yesterday and brought a heavy overcast and high winds in the 25-35 mph range. That wiped out all the snorkel boat trips. We went to the beach to check things out.  One of the condo workers, Patrick, had some coconuts that he was cutting open for the guests.  We got some fresh coconut from him and brought it back to the condo.  Afterward, we drove to the Safehaven harbor to look at the boats just so we would know how to get there.

After that, we drove to the north end of the island to look at the breakers hitting the rocks. There was a lot of splash from the waves at the turtle farm area. After some more exploring, we stopped for lunch at Alfresco Restaurant. Derek had lasagna, Teagan and Richard had Jerk Chicken sandwiches, and Linda had fish and chips. The restaurant had a very small interior. Usually, their business is serving customers in the open deck as the name suggests. However, with the weather, we ate inside. The food was very good.

After lunch, we hit the IGA grocery for dessert, and then headed back to the condo. Linda and Derek stayed at the condo while Teagan and Richard went to George Town to shop. T&R bought a few things (iguana figurine, shipwreck coins, christmas ornament, drink hugger) and headed back to the condo.

Once back to the condo, Richard cooked chicken and rice. After supper, we played a few games of Presidents, then a round of Yatzee.

4 Jan 2008

The weather was still very overcast and windy, so there were no boat trips. Linda went for a walk on the beach. The water in front of the condo looked pretty calm in spite of the wind.

After some hang time at the condo, we drove south to Smith Cove to check out the water. It was rougher there that at the condo, so we headed back. After a quick lunch of leftovers, we headed to the water.

Near the beach, the water felt cold and was a little murky. Once we got out to the rocky bottom, the water was warmer. The visibility also got much better away from shore.  It was about 30-40 feet in spite of the rough weather.

Once we were about 300-400 yards off shore, we saw came to a reef of coral heads. We saw hundreds of blue tangs and many of the same fish we saw on Cemetery Reef. Linda found a sting ray that we followed for several minutes.

After an hour, Derek and Richard headed in while Linda and Teagan remained. The swim back against the strong wind was more difficult than the swim out. Teagan and Linda remained another 30 minutes before coming back. They found a lobster on the way in hiding under a rock.

Linda went for another walk on the beach and found some shells. After she returned, we ate leftovers for supper and headed to Burger King for dessert. After we got back, we played a game of Qwirkle.