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January 17, 2019  •  Leave a Comment
First glimpse of George Town, Grand Cayman

Since who knows when, there have been a few places on my bucket list (even before I knew what a bucket list was) and the Cayman Islands? Right up there.
On a muggy morning, the day after my 60th birthday, the cruise ship tendered offshore and I caught my first glimpse of George Town.
Before the boats started making their never ending round trips to shore, I grabbed my camera and stepped out on deck to take a few shots of the island. Forget focusing. The lens fogged immediately from the humidity. It was 7 a.m. I giggled. Fitting for the Caribbean.
As soon as we were allowed to escape, we climbed aboard our tender boat to start an unforgettable tour ashore.

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas as it sit tendered under a rainbow off George Town, Grand Cayman

Ashore waiting for tours to begin

We booked water activities for the entire day. It's been a decade since I've been diving and I miss it. A lot. So I was determined to get into that turquoise water one way or the other. Snorkeling it was!




Truth be told, the $60 each we paid for the day would have been worth it just for the time spent aboard the tour boat. Clear, multi-colored water. Slight breeze. Caribbean heat. Yeah, that would have been just fine. Until I remembered where we were headed.


Stingray City isn't named so because of the buildings that rise up from the sea. It's because the amount of boats and people who stream there on a daily basis mimic an urban centre! But it was still a blast. Just getting my first feel of the warm, shallow waters was worth every cent. Stepping off the boat initially ran a chill up your spine, but a split second later, heaven.

First sight of stingrays beneath the tour boat at Stingray City, off Grand Cayman Island

And then you see them swim past, mere feet away, as you make your way to the heart of the water city. Every tour guide is holding their 'own' southern stingray as their photographers take photos of kids and moms and couples and grandfathers who may or may not pay later for the unique souvenir. I had a bit of trouble with the fact that the poor stingrays were more likely than not a little traumatized over the entire situation, so I just watched. And waded in the glorious water.

Stingray swam up behind me

See why they call it a city?!
The hour went by too fast, but the next leg of the three-part tour was going to be fun as well. Our group was rounded up and heaved back aboard by the tour guides and we upped anchor and moved about three minutes south to the reef.
Fitted with fins, snorkels and masks, we all looked like fish out of water as we waited for the do and don't lecture before once again hitting the Caribbean sea.
On both the stingray and reef snorkel adventures we took along underwater film cameras, so, if anything turns out once they are developed ... I'll add more photos!




The Coral Garden reef is only abut 10 feet deep but is remarkably alive. Large coral clusters, so many varieties of tropical fish and yes, two stingray even followed us from Stingray City! But alas, all good things must come to an end, so we once again were summoned aboard to make our way to our third and final stop for the day.

Starfish Point
This final stop was to Starfish Point where we did see a few scattered starfish. A little disappointing, as they move in and out of the area and some days they line the shore. But the three or four we did see were colorful and delighted everyone that came in contact with them.

Selling coconuts 
Driving on the wrong side of the road!



The half hour boat ride back to shore was heavenly in itself. And the bus ride back to the cruise ship terminal was interesting as I hadn't realized that Grand Cayman was a British colony with the Premier being appointed by the Queen. Thus, they drive on the wrong side of the road!
I could have used an extra four or five hours ashore to explore the city itself. There are less then 30,000 who call George Town home and it has somewhere around 600 banks or trusts.
No, I didn't open a Grand Cayman bank account, but I did buy a Cayman dollar bill. So, all-in-all, a great end to a perfect day in paradise.




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