Grand Cayman
May 23-27, 2002

My first trip to the Cayman Islands! We (me, Deanna, Sherry and Jamie) rented a condo at Rum Point and decided on diving with Ocean Frontiers. Well, Deanna and I, as neither Sherry nor Jamie are scuba divers.
I searched the web and couldn't find any bad things said about them - most of the reports were very favorable. They are also on the east end with supposedly better diving. I haven't dived off Seven mile beach so I can't compare.

I tried to take advantage of the special American Airlines had - only 30K miles for a round trip, but of course all the seats were taken. As I had enough miles, I decided to splurge on going first class - you sure get spoiled by going first class. I left Dallas Thursday morning and arrived on Grand Cayman in the afternoon after the customary stop (for Caribbean travels) in Miami. I was picked up by the rental car agency rep that also had the keys to the condo at Rum Point on the northern part of the island. I then had a few hours to kill before picking up Deanna that arrived later that evening. The condo was just across the street from the beach with a diveshop next door (Red Sail Sports). I asked if it was possible to do any shore diving close by but unfortunately the reef is way to far off the beach to swim out to. And of course I met a fellow Swede there - we sure likes to travel. She's a dive instructor and had been there for about two years.

On my way to the airport to pick up Deanna it started to rain and throughout the weekend it rained off and on. Deanna and I were lucky in that it never rained when we were diving - only in the afternoon and evenings.


Saturday afternoon Sherry, Jamie and I went on a snorkeling trip to Stingray city (and a shallow reef nearby). With so much written about it I expected it to be packed with people and very few stingrays (the rest scared away by annoying cruise ship passengers). But this is low season and we were pretty much the only tour boat out there! We got all the stingrays to ourselves and we had a blast. They really came up to you begging for food. You had to watch where you stepped in the sand as they were everywhere! The tourguide was great and very knowledgable. He showed us to how to hold the stingrays and it sure is an experience to hold a three-foot diameter stingray in your hands. The underside is very smooth, like silk. They had a bucket with pieces of squid that you could hold in your hand so the stingrays would follow your hand. You held the piece with your thumb and when releasing it, the stingray would just suck the piece up from your hand - that's in theory that is... In real life they have sharp teeth and both Jamie and i got bitten - Jamie got a real nice "hicky" on her arm. They then took us to a shallow reef (well, a few coral heads anyway) with a lot of fish life. Saw a lizard fish, stingray, Angelfish etc. They picked a really good site for snorkellers. A few people even saw a free-swimming green moray eel. All, in all a very good trip!

On Sunday we went sightseeing - with the first stop being the turtle farm in West Bay. They sure had a lot of them, from the smallest one to the really big ones. Next doors we found the Tortuga Rum Company where they sold their famous rum cake - you could sample it before you bought it and the cake sure is tasty. I didn't buy their rum as the price at the airport is the same. After indulging the rum cake we had to go to hell... Well, that is what it's called! We got a little spooked when we turned onto the street where the Hell post office is located - the car engine just died! Fortunately it started right away, but it sure was a little weird... Well, Hell was closed as it was Sunday... We got a couple of pictures of the strange iron rock formations that were the reason for the name.

Click on thumbnails to see the full size pictures

View from the dive store - not too shabby, is it??

Turtle in it's natural environment (courtesy of Geoff)

Sherry and Jamie on the way to Stingray City

I think the stingrays heard our boat coming and knew they were about to get fed.

This is our guide holding one of his favorites. He's taken people out to the sandbar for many years and the stingray seem to know him.

The stingrays sure are friendly - they didn't mind Jamie holding them. It's an amazing feeling holding a 3 feet stingray!

A mandatory stop at the turtle farm. I'm not sure if this one just tried to get out or got stuck, but I pushed it back in.

We went to hell but of course it was closed on Sundays... Got this picture though - sure is a little spooky.