Grand Cayman Islands
On the third day of our cruise, we were at our second port of call in the Grand Cayman Islands. Like Key West, we had no plan here except to hopefully find a spot to go snorkeling. So we woke up in the morning bright and early, pack our snorkel gear, a couple of waterproof cameras and set off on our way to go ashore. The Caymans were different than any other port, because of the shallowness of the water, we had to tender. Which meant we had to take a boat from the cruise ship to the dock.
When we got on the boat, we made sure to get seats that were along the edge. We were already taking in the view of the islands and the blue water but it wasn’t until we pulled away from the ship that we looked down and we saw how clear the water was. We were all truly fascinated by the insane beauty of it all. If we had spent the rest of that day on that boat zipping across the water, I would have been happy.
But we had to get off the boat at the dock, with no inkling of where we were going, someone said “lets go right”. It was the best decision that we made that entire day. Now, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, certain events happen so that you end up at a certain location. Someone decided to go to the right and thats how we ended up off the tourist track with the best unplanned day ever.
When we turned right, we took a stroll around the curve of the water on the port stopping atvarious places before stumbling along a restaurant. The restaurant/bar was called Paradise and boy did it live up to it’s name. Paradise had its own little beach and an inlet into the water overlooking our cruise ship in the distance.
After some investigation, we learned that Paradise allows people to swim and snorkel in the water that is in front of their place. We thought, SCORE! We couldn’t have been any luckier. But it got better and better as we got the edge of the rocks along the water and started to peer in.
In the water were fish that were HUGE! We learned that they were Tarpon and the man from the restaurant were training them.
They had to be at least three feet long and there was loads of them. We were now a little nervous to be entering the water but the man insured us that the tarpon are docile creatures and they don’t have teeth. We rented flippers from the Paradise restaurant for $6, very reasonable considering we had all of our other gear already.So,we made our way towards the water, with still a bit of caution. In short, it was AMAZING!
We looked under water, surrounded by tarpon and little tiger fish, giving us a wonderful experience into their underwater world. The tarpon looked huge with out goggles, their eyes and mouths would give your heart a surprise when first looking under the water. The man came out of the restaurant and would feed the tarpon with chicken. Giving us the opportunity to try and touch the tarpon while they were distracted. The man would throw the chicken far out and the tarpon would go chasing it in the same sense that dolphins would in a show. It was really quite something to see.
After the amazingness of the tarpon fish started to wear off on us, we started to swim further out into the depths of the water. The further out we swam, the more exotic sea life we began to see. It was completely unreal. There was a huge reef filled with life. You could see the fingers of the reef going out in every direction, all of them home to one creature or another. We spent at least two hours in that water and it was the best thing that we could have done. It is an experience that I am never going to forget and wish to repeat one day.
I highly recommend the Grand Caymans as a port to consider visiting if taking a cruise. Whether you want to take our spontaneous route or want to do something a bit more planned, the Caymans are exquisitely beautiful to admire.
Tomorrow: Catching up on Jamaica