Cruise memories: Cayman Islands

The first port of call we entered was Georgetown, Cayman Islands. At the time, it seemed like the most beautiful place in the world. Blue skies, crystal-clear waters, palm trees everywhere. Of course, I didn’t know that the ports we would be coming to soon were even more stunning.

Our excursion was super-early in the morning. Which maybe wasn’t so bad, because it meant we were able to get off the Eclipse first. The bay at Georgetown is too shallow for a cruise ship to dock at. So the ship tied up at sea and a tender boat came out, picked us up and brought us to the shore.

We had just enough time to head over to the gathering area, then hop onto the bus to head off for the excursion.

Unfortunately, it’s only been a few weeks but I already don’t remember a lot about the bus ride. It obviously wasn’t very interesting, just a ride through the town and over to a dock on the other side of the island. Then we hopped on a little boat and headed back out into the sea, this time heading out to Stingray City.

 

Mind you, when we booked the excursion, the description stated that there was a sandbar where a lot of stingrays swam and there was a beach party to follow. The area that the stingrays were in was supposed to be no more than hip-deep. So I figured that this was going to be a little inlet at the beach where a little bit of water made it to shore, and that’s where the stingrays swam.

Instead, the sandbar turned out to be in the the middle of the friggin’ ocean!!! The boat was zooming along for a good 20 minutes or so away from the island, when suddenly they cut the motor and we started to drift in to this section where a few other touring boats were anchored. We were seriously out in the middle of the bay. There was no land close anywhere.

I figured maybe we were just stopping so the captains of the various ships could say “Hey!” Can you imagine my horror when I realized that they wanted us to get off the boat there?

Yet that is exactly what they wanted. I had to get out of the boat – the water was much deeper than chest-deep, so I ended up starting out the experience scared out of my wits. The captain of our boat helped me down into the water and kinda pushed me over towards the shallow end. Not in a very nice way either… But I reckon he’s used to dealing with wimps. 🙂

I didn’t expect the sea to be as powerful as it was. And we were just on a shallow little sandbar! The waves were strong enough that I never got my balance, never felt like I was steady. You can see the fear in my eyes in some of the pictures. And the video. Seriously, I look terrified!

I wasn’t scared enough to not enjoy the experience though. Being in the water with the stingrays was amazing. The rays are much more powerful than I would’ve ever thought was possible. A couple of rays were strong enough to send me stumbling forward. One of the rays actually hopped up on my back like he was giving me a backrub. It was quite an experience!

From there, we headed off to the beach party part of the excursion. This was at a place called Tiki Beach, a private section of the Seven Mile Beach.

That should’ve been nice, but it really wasn’t. The staff was nice enough, but the facilities are substandard, the sand at the beach was surprisingly rocky.

What I was amazed to find out is that the only way to get an umbrella was to rent one for $10. That would’ve been okay if the sun weren’t blazing down, baking everyone in sight.

I decided it was too hot, so I headed off to the bar. Erin stayed out on the beach for a while. The bar was actually pretty good, the bartender was super-friendly and made some really strong drinks. While I was sitting at the bar, I noticed that there was a woman who was trying to order a drink. She looked a bit timid, like she was trying not to be an inconvenience to anyone. Could be cultural, she had a distinct European accent. Perhaps she was from a section of the continent where politeness trumps everything? Anyway, I told her that she just needed to be a little more direct to catch his attention. It worked for her, too!

Erin told me she was headed to the bar (we used walkie-talkies to keep in contact), so I ordered her a margarita and me another drink (I don’t remember what I was drinking, though I don’t think that was related to the drink itself). When Erin got back to the bar, she saw I was on my second drink and started giving me a hard time. She actually took my notes and wrote: “Cause he is obsessed with alcohol- all he talks about is drinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

How wude!

After our time at Tiki Beach was up (thank god!) we headed back into town, and Erin and I went shopping. Which is, you know, shopping. Normally, I wouldn’t be into it too much. But it was fun to be shopping somewhere exotic together. We found some souvenirs to take home and a couple of things to use on the cruise (including a cheapo pair of flip-flops for me. Those will end up being quite important in my entry on Cozumel). I think that I found some good rum there, too. I think it was there, anyway. Either there or Cozumel. It’s kinda scary how there are little holes or confused memories. Kinda reminds me of my trip to Amsterdam. Though this time, it’s age and bad memory, not being drunk and stoned. 🙂

After shopping it was time to head back to the Eclipse. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

– M

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