Sunday, February 15, 2015

Disney Cruise - Grand Cayman

When we woke up Wednesday morning we were already at anchor off the coast of George Town in the Grand Cayman. They told us that due to the beautiful Coral Reef they didn't want to build a harbor but I think they are making such good money ferrying the tourist back and forth to the cruise ships they don’t want to ruin a good thing.
Here is a picture of George Town from our ship while it was at anchor. Every day on this cruise was wonderful and I had no bad experiences but I think Grand Cayman was quite possibly my favorite place. In fact the background on my blog was a picture I took on the coral reef which was indeed beautiful.
In the weeks leading up to the cruise Landon told me that he was going to sleep with us every night during the cruise. We had planned on rotating so I wasn't quite sure how this was going to work out. The problem sort of resolved itself when Evan told me that he was NOT going to sleep with me during the cruise. because it is too hard to wake me up. He is right about that but  I assured him that Grandma wakes up very easily. It is important to Evan that if needs to roll over during the night or if he needs some other help that someone can hear him. That would not be me but it would certainly be Grandma. 

As it turned out Evan and Cameron slept with us every night during the cruise but during the waking hours both of our doors were open and we went back and forth constantly. 

After a quick breakfast we headed for the shuttles that ferried us to the shore and made our way to our private tour. With our family combined with the Smiths we had enough people that Justin had booked a private tour for all of us and that is probably what made this day as special as it was. We took a bus to where the boat was docked and and headed out to sea. 
For a couple of miles our boat made its way through some channels that were completely lined with Mangrove trees. You could see the occasional house behind the trees but the Mangroves were thick.  
I've read a lot about Mangroves and how they can actually create islands where before there was nothing. I think this is the first time I've actually seen them in action.  
Evan and I sat on the upper deck where we could see what was going on. 

Once we got out of the narrow water ways we entered into a large bay. If I remember right the name of the bay was "Big Bay" or something like that. It is surrounded on three sides by the island but the north side of the bay is protected by the coral reef. The average depth of the bay is only ten feet. 
The boat took us to the coral reef first. Mom and I took the underwater camera and went snorkeling first while Kira and Justin watched the kids. Unfortunately Mom and I got so entranced by the beautiful sites that by the time we turned the camera over too Kira and Justin and took the kids it was time to leave. I still feel bad about that because they didn't get a chance to see how beautiful the fish and the coral were.  
 I loved this fan coral
 This is the picture I used for my background. The colors are just stunning and the blue color of the water is so peaceful looking. And look how white the sand is. 
 There were all kinds of fish swimming all around us. 
 I especially liked this fish I came across. 
 From the coral we went to a place called "Stingray City". I wonder how it got its name?
 Our tour company is a family owned business and they claim that their dad is the guy who discovered it. 
It is out in the middle of the bay far from any land but it is a shallow sand bar where the stingrays love to hang out. 
 There were dozens of tour groups there and some of them had a ton of people. None of the other groups got the kind of service we did. Our guy would grab a sting ray and hold it still so we could rub them. 
If you were comfortable enough he would even back off and let us hold the stingrays. They are much tougher and heavier than you would imagine.  
And if you wanted you could even kiss them. 
 Their skin is so soft that they can give you a tremendous back rub.  
 Of course I had to give my guy a kiss
 We also gave each other a nice hug.  
 Mom hugging her new friend
 Piper wasn't nearly as impressed as we were. 
We were also able to feed them. We held a squid in our fist but they warned us to keep our thumb tucked inside our fist. They don't have teeth but they have a powerful suck. If they happened to suck your thumb into their mouth they bite down with a bar that is designed to crush sea shells. It would also crush your thumb. 
Our next stop was Star Fish Point 
 Its beautiful white sand and crystal clear water made you think you were in a postcard.
In case you were wondering how it got its name, it has a lot of starfish. While there were a lot of starfish it wasn't a many as this picture may suggest. When we got there our tour guide scouted around the beach and gathered up all the star fish he could find. I took this picture after they started wandering away.   

I was impressed with how much our tour guides cared for their natural resources. They were very careful with the coral reefs, the stingrays and the star fish. They asked us not to hold the star fish out of the water for more than ten seconds.  

Is this postcard material or what?
The point we were on was too shallow for the boat so it was anchored in deeper water. We took turns diving off the top of the boat. This is me doing a swan dive.
We then headed back to our boat and bid farewell to Grand Cayman.
Justin and I decided to watch them pull up the anchor. It was really quite spectacular.
 Dinner was back in the Animators Palette
 Tonight I made my midnight stroll on the upper decks with Kira. We decided to grab a piece of pizza, relax in some deck chairs and watch the last part of a movie. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

5,000 eggs are consumed every morning on board the ship. 552 of those are served sunny side up. Two of those were for me.

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