Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth, Part II

Next stop: Grand Cayman.

Woke up early and hustled off the ship when we docked at Grand Cayman. First, because I'd never been there and I'm always excited to see a new place. Second, because I'd lined up a day with the wonderful folks at Fat Fish Adventures and couldn't wait to get going.

Peter, from Fat Fish, met a group of us at the Hard Rock Cafe in George Town, then drove us across the island (which is small and very, very flat) to where he'd moored his jetskis. Lemme tell ya, Peter owns some sweeeeet jetskis. We hopped on and followed a boat piloted by his friend Neil, who spends part of his year in Grand Cayman and part of the year running a dive operation out of Spain (yeah, I'm thinking Neil has it way too hard.)

As soon as we hit the open water, I thought, I'd better not do something stupid, or Neil will be fishing out my cell phone from the remnants of this SeaDoo, looking up my parents' number, and explaining to my mother why I'm fish food and how it's all my own fault. Then, of course, I went faster. The water was so blue and clear and smooth, how could I not?! Plus, Neil told me it'd be more fun if I hit the gas harder, so I gunned it.

Our first stop was Stingray City, a natural sandbar off the coast of Grand Cayman where stingrays have congregated for years, lured by food from tourists and locals alike. The stingrays--mostly female--are tame, as they've become accustomed to human interaction. When I cut power to the jetski, this beauty swam right up:

I think that particular stingray was about 7-8 feet down, as she was a good twenty or thirty yards away from the sandbar. The water was just that clear.

We hopped off our jetskis and swam the last few yards to the sandbar, since the water's shallow enough to stand there. The stingrays immediately congregated all around us, searching for squid handouts. They'd swim all around your ankles, up your back, along your elbows, you name it. You'd think it'd be frightening, but it's not. It's more like being attacked by giant portobello mushrooms (friendly mushrooms, of course!) Check out the ray Neil and I are holding (grainy photo being the result of a cheap-o, disposable underwater camera):

This one only liked me for my squid. I fed it a couple handfuls--which was something akin to feeding lint to a vacuum cleaner--then off it went, in search of another meal.

After Stingray City, we snorkeled off Rum Point for a little while (Neil came up with a huge conch shell), jetskiied some more, then headed back to shore, where Peter was waiting to take us back to the Disney Magic. I took a shower, then headed to the top deck in search of fresh fruit and shrimp. I'd just gotten done telling my husband how happy I was we'd decided to take a cruise and how it was so much more fun than I expected it to be, when this guy sat beside me:

Do you think Stitch is allowed a glass of wine now and then? (My guess is no.) We finished off the night hanging out on the verandah, watching the sunset as the ship left Grand Cayman. Gorgeous!

Tip of the day: If you are ever so lucky as to visit Grand Cayman, book an excursion with Fat Fish Adventures. Huge thanks to Peter and Neil for making my first visit to Grand Cayman so incredible!

Tomorrow, in Part III: The Vomit Ferry

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