24 May 2008

Our flight left the Nashville airport at 8:20 am and we arrived at Grand Cayman at 1:10 pm via Charlotte. We picked up a car at Andy’s and headed to Foster’s grocery for supplies. But we got lost and ended up at Kirk’s grocery, so we just shopped there.

We arrived at the Anchorage around 3:00 pm and checked in.

We went to Foster’s grocery for more supplies and picked up supper at Chicken!Chicken!.

25 May 2008

After breakfast in the condo, we snorkeled in front of the Anchorage. Linda found a grey reef shark. By the time everyone else got to it, it was hiding under a ledge and all we saw was the tail. We were in the water for about an hour.

We ate lunch in the condo. We played hearts on the porch. Teagan and Richard went to Cemetery Reef around 4:00 to snorkel. They saw a sting ray, several parrot fish, and the other usual reef fish for Cayman.

We ate spaghetti with meat sauce at the condo for supper. Afterward we played Quirkle.

26 May 2008

After breakfast, we headed to Dive Tech by the Turtle Farm on the north end of the island. We entered the water using the ladder there. Underwater, there wasn’t much to see except rock. Off shore, when the depth was about 40 feet, there was a short wall that looked like it might be interesting, but we were snorkeling, so we couldn’t really tell. We cut that trip short (30 minutes total in water) to head for more interesting water.

We headed to Smith’s Cove. We entered the water around 10:50. We turned left after entering and found coral right away. There was a French Angel to greet us. Then we saw a sting ray swimming along near the entrance. Continuing to the left (east) we saw more coral. There were several four-eyed butterflies, four types of urchins, cuddlefish, peacock flounders, lots of other reef fish.

We were in the water about 80 minutes. We stopped at The Captain’s Bakery and Grill to pick up some lunch to take back to the condo. We got some jerk chicken, rice, fried chicken, and flans. The food was pretty good, but the restaurant itself was very disorganized. It took them a long time to get our order out.

After lunch, Richard and Teagan went to the Butterfly Farm. Linda and Derek stayed at the condo. The Butterfly Farm was very interesting. There was a 30-minute guided tour that was very good. The rest of the time was spend wandering through the garden looking at the butterflies.

Teagan and Richard returned to the condo. Mom went out to the beach with an intertube thing to float in the water. Teagan, Derek, and Richard later went down to throw the frisbee. After that, Derek went back up to the condo. Richard and Teagan got in the water with Mom for a while.

We then went up to the condo for the night. Teagan cooked a frozen pizza, which she and Derek ate. Linda and Richard had leftovers.

27 May 2008

We got up around 7:00 and had breakfast. Then we got our snorkeling gear ready to go to Stingray City. We arrived at Red Sail Sports at Safehaven at 8:30. We went in the gift shop briefly, then got our stuff and went on the boat. We left the dock around 9:00.

One of the crew gave an introduction and talked a little. There was a photographer that talked to everyone as well. On our way to Stingray City, we went out to the bow of the catamaran and enjoyed the ride in the sun. We got to Stingray City and everyone got in the water. There were lots of tame stingrays on the sandbar about 10ft bellow the surface. Teagan was the first of us that went down and touched a stingray. Then mom did, and Derek. Dad didn’t go down because of his ears. Sometimes one of the crew would bring up a stingray to the surface so people could touch it if they didn’t want to go down. It was a little crowded sometimes but it was ok. There was a good surf, but not too strong. We noticed a lot of people seemed to be trying to fight it, but we would just kina go with it because we were comfortable.

They called for us to come in and we headed to Coral Gardens. Here was a shallow reef in front of the boat, and you could see waves breaking in the distance. The reef looked pretty good. Derek spotted a small eel and showed it to Richard and Teagan. Linda spotted 2 flamingo tongues and showed them to us. Teagan saw this man who was vertical above the reef and was bicycling to put his mask on. It bothered me to see him disturb what might be future coral. We would swim into the reef and let the surf from the breaking waves carry us out.

They called us in and we got lunch. They had 2 different kinds of wraps, a pasta salad, and bread. Derek just got the pasta salad and a piece of bread; he didn’t like either of the wraps they had. The rest of us ate a good meal. They had cookies for dessert. Teagan and Derek got 2; Richard had 1. We enjoyed the ride back to the dock.

We went back to the condo. Teagan and Dad went shopping in Georgetown. Teagan got a music cd at a souvenir shop, which they had been in on our last visit to Cayman. It was hot outside, so they stopped at a place to get drinks. They ended up at an alcoholic drinks place Breezes by the Shore. Teagan got a virgin frozen rasberry daiquiri and Richard got Caybrew. The rasberry daiquiri was pretty big and Teagan got a little cold drinking it. When they went outside, it wasn’t that hot anymore.

On the way back to the condo, they went to Fosters and a beer/wine place in the same shopping center. They returned to the condo and Richard grilled some chicken on the grill by the pool. We had that for supper along with some frozen vegtables Richard heated up. Derek had made the marinate for the chicken while Richard and Teagan were shopping.

After supper we played euker and Richard and Derek won, but it was close.

28 May 2008

We left the condo around 10:00 a.m. to head to the east side of the island. We stopped at Turtle Inn in Bodden Town to take a look at their property.

We snorkeled the reef in front of Turtle Inn. The barrier reef is close to the shore on that part of the island. There were grass beds near the shore. The water was shallow all the way to the barrier reef, probably not more than 5 feet at the deepest point. We had to be careful no to kick the bottom. A lot of times we were just using our hands to propel.

There were lots of black durgons there. Linda found nine flamingo tongues on a soft coral.

The wind was strong out of the southeast, so there was a current that carried us westward along the inside of the reef. At one point, we encountered a rip current where the water that was blown inside the barrier reef was escaping. We had to kick pretty hard to get out of the current.

We swam back to shore and showered off. Then we headed to the east end of the island. Along the way, we saw the blow hole near the southeast end of the island. We took a few pictures there and then headed to Collier at the northeast corner of the island.

We ate sandwiches at the beach near the Red Sail Sports trailer. Then we got our snorkel gear and started snorkeling just north of the pier at Morritt’s Tortuga Club. We let the current carry us northward. Teagan swam through a large school of silversides on the way out. We saw queen conch, lots of squirrel fish, Derek found a colorful flounder and a lobster. Linda found a toadfish. There were lots of tarpon near the pier in front of Reef Resort where we got out.

Then we headed to the north sound. We parked about 0.5 miles west of the Queen Elizabeth statue in a public beach access area. There was brain coral right at the shore. Swimming out, the depth got very shallow. After the shallow part, the bottom was rocky with lots of yellow sea fans, but little hard coral. we swam out about 200 yards, but didn’t find any reef, so we headed back to the shallow area where things were more interesting.

We found lobster skeleton left over from a moulting, a slipper lobster, and a huge fish that we couldn’t see well enough to identify hiding in a hole in the coral.

After we got out, we headed to Rum Point for some refreshments. We got some smoothies, a rum runner for Linda, and a cheeseburger for Derek. Afterward, we walked out on the pier. Then we headed back to the condo around 5:00 p.m.

We ate left overs at the condo for supper. There was a nice sunset from all the clouds in the sky from th e rainy weather.

We played a game of Yatzee after supper.

29 May 2008

The storms from the south have set in. The forecast predicts 60% chance of rain each of the next several days with 20mph winds from the southeast. Undaunted, we set out to check Eden Rock in George Town as a snorkeling site.

We got there around 10:15 and were lucky enough to find a parking space right on the water near Paradise Bar and Grill. The coast there is iron shore, so an entrance ladder is required. The one at Paradise requires that you have a safety vest to use, so we walked down to Eden Rock Dive Shop and entered at their ladder. We swam out the Devil’s Grotto where the reef ascends from about 40 feet to about 10 feet below the surface and snorkeled directly in front of the dive shop. We headed east (left) to follow the reef. We saw SCUBA divers below. The amount of coral there is impressive. We saw a huge school of blue tangs and watched them for a while. Then we headed west to the coral formations referred to as Eden Rock.

We saw our first trumpet fish on this trip there. There was a file fish that we couldn’t identify for sure.

After an hour in the water, we headed to the ladder at Paradise restaurant, assuming they would let us out there even without a safety vest. There were several tarpon hanging out at the ladder. As we were walking back to the car, the rain returned and rinsed us off. We changed at the car and headed to Paradise for lunch. Teagan got conch fritters, Derek got a fish sandwich, and Linda and Richard got Caribbean soup. We all shared an order of fried plantains.

After lunch we drove to Pedro St. James where Teagan and Richard toured the “castle.” There was a multimedia presentation to explain the history. Then Carl, our tour guide and a direct descendant of the original owner of the house, gave us a tour of the restored house. The original stone structure is still there, but the wooded porches and floring had all been rebuilt.

After the tour, we looked in the gift shop and headed back to the condo. On the way, we stopped at Foster’s for supplies. Back at the condo, we had spaghetti with meat sauce for supper. Derek and Richard watched soccer and basketball on TV, and Linda and Teagan worked crossword and Sudoku puzzles, respectively.

30 May 2008

We got up late and headed to Rum Point at 10:30.  We stopped along the way at Prospect Point, where we saw a monument that had been destroyed by Ivan. It was leaning a little and there was a crack in it. We took pics and looked at the water.

Then we drove around Rum Point, on different parts of it that we hadnt seen before. We stopped at this picnic area to eat lunch. We ate sandwiches and cookies.

We went to the main area of Rum Point and looked at the water in a place Richard had read was a good snorkeling spot. The wind looked too strong there, so we went to the Red Sail Sports ppl to get some advice.

We ended up at a public beach access area very close to Rum Point. There was alot to see; we stayed in almost 2 hours. It had lots of coral and sea fans. It was very shallow, probably didnt get deeper than 6ft. We a few fish we had never seen before. One was orange and small. Another had lots of black spots on it. We saw a juvenile angelfish and 2 big lobsters under a rock.

After the snorkel, we went to the main area of Rum Point and got some smoothies. Then we headed back to the condo and had rotisserie chicken for super. We played Euker afterwards.

31 May 2008

We got up early this morning. The weather is unchanged from the past few days except that the wind is a little calmer. Tropical storm Andrew is still in the Caribbean throwing heavy clouds and light rain our way.

Richard and Teagan left around 8:00 a.m. and headed to the Butterfly Farm. They got there early to see butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. Linda and Derek got picked up at the condo at 8:30 for a dive trip.

Teagan and Richard headed to George Town, after seeing the butterflies again, to go to the National Museum. It turned out that the museum was not open while its new home is being finished. So they visited lots of shops in George Town. They had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. Teagan got a spinach garlic burger and Richard got a jerk chicken sandwich. When they got back to their rented car to return to the condo, they realized that Teagan had left her camera in one of the shops, so the retraced their steps, but couldn’t find the shop with the camera. They had given up and were on the way to the car when they saw the shop with the camera. Then they returned to the condo.

Linda and Derek had just gotten back from their dive trip. They dove two spots on the north wall a little west of Rum Point. The fist dive was on a site called Gail’s Mountain. It was a wall that started at around 60ft and had a great deal of lobsters on it. We did not actually dive below the top of the wall, as we didn’t want to have to do any decompression stop. Linda spotted a neat anemone. There was not all that much to see except for lobsters, and assorted fish. It was much like a snorkel, except 60ft underwater. We made a safety stop at 20 feet for a few minutes, then one at 15ft for 5 minutes. Our second dive location was called Leslie’s Curl. It was so named because the wall has a curl at the top of it, and it was discovered by someone named Leslie (obviously). The wall began at around 55ft, and nobody dove below 55ft as this was our shallow dive. Derek spotted a fairly large Green Morey and several pictures of it free-swimming were obtained. A Queen Triggerfish was spotted by the crew member, as well as a small turtle. Many pictures of the turtle were taken, but sadly, no picture of the triggerfish was obtained. Again, a safety stop was taken at 20 feet for a few minutes and another one at 15 feet for 5 minutes.

Derek, Teagan, and Richard figured out how to play three-handed picochle and completed one game to 1500. Teagan was victorious.

Teagan and Richard went for a swim in the ocean in front of the condo while Linda chilled on the beach. We all ate a supper of dirty rice fixed at the condo.

We looked at recent vacation pictures afterward.

1 June 2008

We spent the morning at the condo playing pinochle. Teagan and Richard won. After lunch, we drove north to the public beach near the Alfresco Restaurant because we had heard it was a good snorkeling spot. We snorkeled out about 100 yards, then turned right (north) and swam past the pier. We never saw anything interesting, so we got out and headed to the Eden Rock Dive Shop where we know things are good.

We got in using the ladder at the dive shop and swam out to Devel’s Grotto. Then we headed south to get to a part we had not visited before. We found a flounder in the sand on the way out. Then we saw the same school of blue tangs we found during our last visit here. We also saw a usual assortment of reef fish here, including black durgons, damselfish, parrot fish, and blue chromis. We also saw a green sea turtle that was about 2 years old. We swam with the turtle for several minutes. On the way back in, we saw a baby file fish.

After we got out, we headed back to the condo. We played another round of pinochle and ate supper there. Linda and Derek won.

2 June 2008

We stayed at the condo until lunch hoping for the weather to get better because it was very overcast. We played a game of Qwirkle and Derek won. We ate lunch at the condo and headed to George Town to snorkel Cheeseburger Reef.

On the way, we stopped at the Grandview condos to look at their property. We got in a vacant oceanfront unit so we could see what they were like. Once we were finished there, we went to Eden Rock Dive Shop to look at their shirts.

Then it was off to Cheeseburger Reef, which is just offshore from a Burger King (hence the name). Richard had seen a picture on the web that showed an entry point just south of BK, so we entered the water there. Unfortunately, there was a strong current going south so we had to fight the current all the way to the reef. On the way to the reef, Derek spotted a smooth trunkfish. Just as we got to the edge of the reef we saw a sea turtle.

The reef was spread over a large area, so there was plenty to explore. We rested hanging on one of the many mooring lines since we were tired from the current. Richard, Derek and Teagan decided to swim to the far edge of the reef and let the current carry them back. Derek went with them at first but later decided to back downcurrent to where Mom was. Richard and Teagan saw large schools blue chronis and sergeant majors, and one school of large jack off the deep end of the reef. There was also the usual assortment of parrot fish and wrasses. They headed back to Mom and Derek.

We decided to let the current carry us to the wreck of the Callie. That worked well for a while, but the current gave out along the way and we had to kick. The visibility became worse along the way also. Once we were directly in front of Don Foster’s Dive Shop, we found it.

The wreck covered a large area. Mom and Derek headed in to Don Foster’s, while Teagan and Richard went to the far end of the wreck. They found a coral reef at that end, but the visibility didn’t improve so they didn’t explore it much. After about ten more minutes on the wreck, they headed in also. We rinsed of in a shower at Don Foster’s and headed back to the car. Mom and Teagan got ice cream at Burger King and Derek got, appropriately, a cheeseburger. On the way back to the condo we stopped at Chicken!Chicken! to get some cornbread and looked around in Diver’s Supply.

Richard and Teagan grilled some marinated chicken thighs. While they were grilling, we took some family pictures on the beach. The we ate supper in the condo. Afterward, we played euchre and hearts.