After Colombia, Panama and the San Blas islands, San Andres, and Providencia, we couldn’t have been more shocked. The first noticeable thing about Grand Cayman (GC) is that it is expensive. The tours priced us out, so we didn’t take any — not a single one. Groceries cost about 20% more than in the states, but it felt like much more after Colombian and Panamanian prices. However, our rental car was cheap, so we kept a car for our entire six week stay. (Cruising friends going to Grand Cayman: use Apex [Budget] Car Rental for crazy $1 a day deals. The taxes and fees are ridiculous, but total was about $400/month — still a good deal.) Anyway, the next thing you notice about GC is that it looks like you are back in the states. There is nothing exotic or wild about it, but that doesn’t mean it is not beautiful. Grand Cayman does have its attributes.
The rich, the famous, and the tax dodgers all know about GC, land of confidential banking. Want to buy some waterfront property, but it is all claimed? No problem, they will just fill in an area and raise the land creating a whole new tract to sell. These homes range from beautiful to absolutely spectacular on a grand scale. Pictured here is one of the smaller homes with the cutest little sailboat. Not sure if the catamaran was theirs or their neighbor’s, but there was also a power boat that parked in-between. We spent all our time anchored in Governor’s Creek, a very calm anchorage surrounded by multi-million dollar homes and mangrove. A small channel led into the creek from the shallow North Sound. No deep-drafted boats will want to enter the sound, which ranged from 6-8 feet deep. When it was blowing stink and the water outside was ripping, our anchorage was calm as could be.
The main event of this blog is Stingray City. It is an open water area inside the North Sound that ranges from 3-12 feet deep. Just watch where all the tour boats are going. They’ll lead you right to it. There are no walls, nets, or anything holding the rays there. They are free to go as they please, but why leave when you can get easy all you can eat food every day? The tour boats give their guests pieces of squid to hand-feed the rays. We aren’t talking 5 or 6 rays. Oh no! There were dozens of them; plenty to go around and visit everyone. They ranged in size from huge (maybe 5 feet or so across) to small juveniles. The small ones were shy, but the large ones could get stirred up into quite a feeding frenzy that is very intimidating. What an incredible experience to be in the water and surrounded by so many large wild animals! We were all a bit skittish because only a few days before Bruce and Lauren’s son, Sam, who was visiting Vidorra from the states, was stung by a stingray on his foot. He was learning kiteboarding and must have stepped on one. It stung him right through his water shoes, causing excruciating pain for hours.
So what do we do? Jump in the water with stingrays, of course! The above video is a collage from everyone’s photos and videos. Our group included Steve and his visiting sisters Susan and Anne from Slow Flight; Paul, Jayne and Lily from Delphinus; and Dave and I with my mom, who was also visiting, from Livin’ Life. Thanks everyone for your contributions. I hope you like the video.
In case you missed the Facebook post, above is a video of our sail from Providencia to Grand Cayman. If only every sail was so smooth! But then everyone would be doing it. Anyway, enjoy a few zen minutes. Next blog explores into Grand Cayman more thoroughly.