The Cayman Islands. Home of infamous offshore accounts, evil lairs and a really cool postage stamp store, though the latter may not be the most recognizable. But yes, the Cayman Islands, indeed! It’s been about one year since were boarded the Freedom of the Seas, one of the Royal Caribbean ships, for our 8-night cruise of the Western Caribbean. The cruise was absolutely spectacular, but more on that later. TODAY, we’ll be talking about our adventure through Georgetown!
This was our very first port, and I was very excited and anxious. LeeAnna has been on many cruises before, so she was a seasoned pro at all this. I, on the other hand, was a newbie and really had no idea what to expect. We woke up quite early, as LeeAnna said the wait times to get to the island would be minimal so we were out and about around 7 AM and waiting in line to board. And because the Grand Cayman port could not fit a ship that size, we had to be tethered and take a small boat into the port. Once we boarded, we were sailing to our next adventure.
...which didn’t start until 10:30. So we were a few hours early. BUT because I have such a curiosity of wherever the hell I am, we decided to fancy a walk in the less traveled areas of the island. Mind you, it was very early in the morning, and it was all safe, but we were still wary nonetheless. We spotted chickens running amok, gazed upon the sapphire blue ocean, and I snapped this pic of our ship, perfectly nestled out in the sea.
This was leading up to the point where we found my personal highlight of the island, and maybe in the top three throughout the whole trip: Kirk Market! Now, if you’ve never heard of Kirk Market, I don’t blame you for a second. It’s a small grocery store chain throughout the island, and it was just a delight walking in the store. I’m fascinated by local life in a new place, so we fully enjoyed perusing the aisles and checking out what locals purchase, and discovering new brands of cereal and peanut butter. I also purchased a local paper because what better way to learn about a new culture than reading about the latest gossip and political happenings.
And after LeeAnna humored our delve into the local sociology of Grand Cayman, we found out way back to the port where we patiently waited until our excursion began. We opted for a submarine/snorkel trip and it did not disappoint. We entered the boat to find a cozy sitting area, basked in an eerie blue cast by the ocean’s waters. Our guide, who’s name escapes me right now, was a young guy who by his own account, “Just woke up and threw something on,” and kept the humor going throughout the entire ride. We submerged and enjoyed looking at shipwrecks, various tropical fish and I’m going to say we saw at least one sea turtle.
It was then one of the other deckhands then dove in and began to feed the fish from his hand! The swirled around him and kept nibbling on his gloved hand, all vying for some food to start their day of swimming about. We also kept spying random cinderblocks with fence around them throughout our journey. Our guide explained that, and stay with me on this, “The droppings from the fish create the reef around the island. The blocks are set up to catch the droppings, and thus create a new reef.” We admired the ingenuity, and had more appreciation for the phrase, “Say it, don’t spray it.”
We then docked our ship and it was time for our turn to become the feeders of fish! We donned snorkeling gear and kept into the water, where we swam about with the fishes as they nibbled on not only our food, but a finger or two as well. What I did not realize was the salinity of the ocean in the Cayman Isalnds was extravagant. Don’t get me wrong, it helped with snorkeling as we were buyoed by the extra salt in the water, but goodness did it make our tummies hurt when some crept in through our masks.
We eventually made our way back to shore, where we dried off, and continued the rest of the tour of the Georgetown. At this point, the rest of the town was waking up so we journeyed through the shops, sampling the local wears like Harley Davidson and Pandora and discovering foreign delecacies like Margaritaville and Subway. We DID, however, find this fun little stamp shop, the same one I mentioned earlier! The shop was full, as you guessed it, stamps from all around the world. It had the smell of parchment and knowledge, kind of like a bookshop, except without the books and a lot more stamps.
It was getting later in the day, and we were getting a bit hungry. We turned a corner and happened upon a local heritage festival! I forgot to take pictures of the banners, but I’m pretty sure it was for the pirate heritage, which I guess makes sense. Anyway, there were local booths setup for businesses and food vendors galore. So, naturally, we bought a hotdog and some chips. We kept passing through shops and eventually made our way to a bar to sample some delicious Cayman beer, which, you may be surprised, tastes a lot like American beer. It had started to rain at this point, so after doing one more loop of the town, we ventured back to the port, where the boat took us right back to the Freedom.
Once aboard and back in our cabin, we spent the rest of the day discussing the political climate and the addition to the newest stoplight Georgetown officials installed, LeeAnna vehementaly against it, I favoring the safety factor above all else.
It was such a great first day, and now having experienced a shore excursion, I felt primed and ready to tackle our next adventures in Cozumel, Jamaica and Labadee!
And remember: adventure is always out there!