I love visiting Grand Cayman. After a lightning storm last night I was not sure what to expect when I walked out onto the balcony early in the morning.
To my surprise I was witness to a sky filled with large puffy clouds reflecting beautiful hues of pink and yellow as the sun started to rise. I saw a Carnival ship whose passengers, I am sure, were enjoying this beautiful view too. I stood mesmerized by the view and waited until the sun finally burst above the horizon; it was well worth the wait.
We were off to an early start because our tour bus that would be leaving the dock early taking back to places we first visited in 1996 while on a cruise the Majesty of the Seas. So, off to breakfast at the lounge and down to the pier to board our tour bus.
Our tour started with our first stop for a photo opportunity at Grand Cayman’s famous 7-mile beach. It was only 9:30am and already the beach was full of happy people. We then drove to West Bay where the Hell Post Office is located.
Okay, so you are asking what Hell is. Well, when we first came here it was a post office with a ‘hellish’ looking open space in the back filled with black limestone. I must say it really did look like a dream or two I had over the years of what hell would look like. Behind the buildings are two platforms you can take photographs of this weird formation. If you look closely, you will see what purports to be a ‘devil’ among the peaks.
Today we were surprised to see that this once little post office has now grown to include the Devil’s Hangout Gift Shop. The gift shop is a fun visit. Inside, helping visitors with their souvenirs is a man dressed as Satan who greets people with words like, “How the Hell are you?” and other interesting phrases. Too funny!
We spent our time walking around the gift shop stopping to take pictures at the funny photo boards. Of course, Randy was the devil and I, of course, was the angel. Could it be any other way? Very funny!
Our tour guide explained that, “In 2001 Hurricane Michelle had damaged to the old Turtle Farm. A decision was made to rebuild the farm in a location further back from the water. In 2004 while the new farm was still in construction the island was hit by Hurricane Ivan fortunately, it only suffered minimal damage”.
This once small turtle farm today is not only a large turtle farm but an island wildlife encounter center where you can visit a free-flight aviary, watch daily shark feedings, hike along a trail full of the flora and fauna of the island, and swim with the turtles in a saltwater lagoon.
Our guide took the group on a walk around the park and shared tidbits of information about turtles. There were green and Loggerhead turtles at the farm.
Our guide walked around many of the pools filled with turtles of various sizes. We stopped at one location and were allowed to pet and, for just a few minutes, hold one. I could not get over how smooth they felt.
We passed one pool that made me take a second look. Inside the pool was a crocodile. Smiley, as he is named, first showed up at Grand Cayman in 2006 and became a lifetime member of the farm. We read that, “Smiley and her ancestors are the reason we are called the “Cayman Islands” today. The name is derived from “Caiman” the Spanish word for crocodile”.
Our last stop was back downtown at a shopping area. We asked the bus driver if he would drop us off at one of our favorite places not too far from the downtown area that just happened to be on the way and he was happy to do so.
One thing we like to do wherever we visit is find a restaurant or bar that looks like fun and stop for a cold drink and perhaps something good to eat. The last time we were here we found the Cayman Cabana Restaurant and Bar. It is an open air bar and restaurant right on the water. The music is good; the food is good and the bartenders very friendly.
We ordered a couple of local beers which had a nice, light taste called, Caybrew. We eventually ordered a Gourmet Cayman Burger with jerk aioli, crispy bacon, melted cheese, an onion ring and sautéed mushrooms. This was just the right meal for a hot, tropical afternoon.
We spent some time talking with our bartender, Kenney, who we learned was new and just learning. We think he did a very good job. While Randy and Kenney got involved in a conversation, I walked around taking pictures of our ship as well as others ships that were just sitting off shore.
While I was looking through my lens I spotted a weird sight. It was a duck boat in the shape of a school bus taking tourists on a tour of the bay. I think I would like to do that the next time we are here. Very funny!
As much fun as we were having, we needed to make our way back to the ship. It was formal night and we needed to shower, dress and head up to the lounge for cocktails and then on to dinner. On our way back to the dock we spotted a crab walking along the sidewalk. Can you imagine? We both that was very funny.
As always dinner with our table mates was fun as we shared each other’s experiences for the day. Dinner finished, we made our way back up to the promenade trying to decide if we wanted to go to the show or retire to the cabin for the evening. The draw of the cabin won out.
Today was just lovely returning to places we had visited so many years ago and realize that, not only are they still there, but thriving.
Tomorrow we dock in Cozumel, Mexico.