Grand Cayman Trip Report - May '08

Our trip to Grand Cayman in May was great. Flew down on Delta from Memphis, TN and stayed at Harbour View Appartments for 10 fabulous days right on the waterfront. Cruise ships parked right in our front yeard and we were able to have breakfast while watching all the harbor activities of Georgetown.

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Boat Dive
Hell 'n Back
Gardens
Island Tour
Stingray City
Shore Dives

Met up with Alex777 who I met on Scubaboard and did a dive at Eden Rock weaving in and out of the numerous swim thrus. . Alex uses his own "tropical minimalist" system that includes no BC, weight belts, or snorkle. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but apparently it works well for Alex. You can see his website at: http://angelfishphotography.com/TropicalMinimalistDiving.htm

Eden Rock is in the center of Georgetown and within easy walking distance from the cruise ship dock. A popular spot that unfortunately suffered a lot of damage to the reef in the last hurricane. The predominance of brain coral there will take a lot of time to recover. There are few soft corals at this location, but the swim thrus here and adjacent at Devil's grotto are spectacular and great fun. Huge tarpon are likely to be spotted in the dives here both in and arround the holes in the rock as you can see in the picture above Alex.

The views from Harbour View Appartments where we stayed was fabulous. The shoreline was rocky, but there was a nice sandy area in front for lounging. Large coconut trees gave it the "Tropical" atmosphere and there was a nice dock with a swimming ladder for entry into the water.

Snorkeling (or diving) was great right in front. The reef was located about 150 yards from the shoreline with deep coral walls and valleys. The coral extended to within 8' of the surface with walls running down to about 40'. I did not go out far enough to see the main barrier wall at this location so don't know what it looked like, but this has got to be one of the better snorkeling spots around the area. I did one night dive and enjoyed watching the little shrimp and lobsters with their beady eyes in our dive lights.

Don't really recommend the coconut tree climbing, but while we were there this gentleman did climb them to remove the nuts to eliminate the possibility of their falling on someone. The view was great and some days there was a cruise ship parked right out in front.

The cruise dock is about a mile to the west of this location.

 

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Underwater Adventures
Boat Dive

These shots were taken at two locations near wrecks on a boat dive from Fosters in Georgetown.
Unfortunately, my strobe was not available so the pictures dont show all the beautiful colors.

 

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To Hell and Back

This popular tourist stop is a scenic location on Grand Cayman that
is so named for the rock formations found here.

"Hell" is named for the rock formations found here. As you can see from the pictures below It certainly must have seemed much like a "Hell" for the early settlers arriving at this place.

This is a popular tourist location and includes a post office, as well as several tourist shops. Many visitors come here to send letters to the folks back home just for the postmark. The "Club Inferno" is a good place to pick up postcards, but the air conditioning wasn't bad.

We didn't see any of the famous Cayman blue iguanas" here in "Hell" but we surely saw a bunch of the regular old green ones. They were seen crawling on the rocks as well as hiding in the shrubs and trees around the Hell Post Office.

These decorated statues shown here are found all over the island celebrating the unique Blue Iguana of the Caymans. We did see a couple of the live versions in the Botanical Gardens but never saw one in the wild. They have become endangered because of predatory dogs and cats as well as traffic on the roads of the Cayman islands. The botinical gardens are currently breeding blue iguanas for transplanting around the island in protected areas in an attempt to reestablish them in their native habitat.

This one is gonna get me in trouble for sure!

 

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Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens

This lovely Botanical Garden complex has a great collection of plants native to the area. Also includes the Blue Iguana restoration project that is breeding the iguanas for transplanting within protected areas of the island.

This handsome dude was found outside the visitor's center posing for photos.

This is a "sand garden" showing popular method of providing a "lawn" among early residents of Grand Cayman. Low maintenance and attractive, requires raking instead of mowing.

These friendly parrots were among the many wild birds that made their home in the gardens.

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Grand Cayman Island Tour

 

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Stingray City Snorkling Tour

The captian tells us how it's done.

And off we go to molest the rays!

I don't think they know she doesn't have any squid left.

Stingray wrangling class #101. Going for three falls I think

I'm not quite sure, but I think Don is kissing this one.

All fun things come to an end. We bid a fond adeu to the stingrays

and move over just a bit for snorkeling on the reef nearby.

A Green Moray is lured out.

Shall we try Eel wrestling?

 

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Boat Dive
Hell 'n Back
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Island Tour
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Shore Dives

Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto Dives

Soldier fish at Devil's Grotto

View across the coral

Entering a swim thru at Devil's Grotto

Gray Angel at Devil's Grotto

Sea Turtle spotted on Snorkeling trip at Harbour View Apts

A Snapper hides out at Eden Rocks

Spanish Hogfish at Eden Rocks

Sea Anemone with purple tips at Eden Rocks

Peacock Flounder at Eden Rock

Dives with Sun Divers at The Cracked Conch

Butterflies, Butterflies

Butterflies

Gray angel at The Cracked Conch

Tis a shame my strobe was sick. The colors of the sponges and soft corals here were truly spectacular.

These little worms were lovely as they fanned the slight current.

 

 

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Boat Dive
Hell 'n Back
Gardens
Island Tour
Stingray City
Shore Dives