Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cruise: Grand Cayman

Tuesday was our first stop. It was at Grand Cayman. Oh baby. We couldn't pull up to a dock, so we debarked onto passenger boats which took us to the island.
We were wearing our bathing suits and were equipped with towels, water, and the water proof camera. Before leaving the cruise ship, we covered every square inch of our bodies that might be exposed to sun with sunscreen.
The boat dropped us off at the Carnival area, which had some shops and stuff, but seemed very Americanized. Not as authentic as we were hoping for. But I guess since it's a big tourist place, it's not going to be as foreign as we were hoping for. Anyway, we waited with a group of strangers for our excursion to take off. Here we did what we now rate as the funnest of the excursions. The Ray Runner and Snorkel tour.
When it was finally time to go, we hopped on a little bus with 5 other couples. Let me tell you, everywhere we went had some rather scary drivers. Oh, and apparently USA is unique in how much we DON'T use the horn.
We made it to our destination safe and sound though. We were at a little inlet, or outlet, to the ocean. My husband would call it an estuary. There we were instructed to put all of our belongings that we didn't want to get wet inside some lockers. The lockers were a couple of old abandoned cars that no longer ran. But the tour guides had keys. From there we took only ourselves and the waterproof camera. The sunscreen remained in the backpack in the car.
We were all given flippers and snorkel equipment and were instructed to get into little motorized air rafts. Aaron and I were alone in ours. Then instruction was given on how to operate them, and, after we were instructed to stay in the wake of the lead boat, due to my delicate pregnant condition, we were off. This is when we started taking pictures with the water proof camera. These pictures were those that we were most looking forward to seeing. We bought a waterproof digital camera for about $25. It seemed like it would work out to be cheaper than the disposable ones, and we could use it over and over.
However. Upon arriving home I was messing around with it trying to upload some pictures. During this process I opened the battery compartment. Later we learned that opening the battery compartment erased all of the pictures we took on Grand Cayman. So mad.
Anyway. The ride out to the stingray sandbar was actually pretty rough. We were going fairly fast against the waves and wind. Made for some significant bumping and jarring. So, while at first I was flippant about the concern I was getting for my pregnantness, I soon understood. I tried to adjust my position to one that would cushion my stomach as much as possible.
Then we swam with the stingrays. Well, we didn't actually swim. We were instructed to keep our feet on the ground at all times so we wouldn't step on a stingray. The water was about 3-4 feet deep, and so clear and pretty and warm. Here we fed a huge female stingray, (felt like a vacuum sucking the icky squid from my hand) then we all held it, kissed it, and got a stingray back rub from it. Kinda nervous-making at times, but fun.
Oh, we have one picture of this. It was taken by the tour guides and costed us $20. Youch! And I look awful. So much for waterproof mascara.

After hanging out there we got back in the rafts and headed over to "Shark City" to snorkel. I'm not sure it that's what it's really called or just something the tour guide said to scare us. There were no sharks.
This was our first snorkel experience and we are both fans. We were over some corral reef looking down at all the fishies. Sometimes they seemed close enough to reach out and grab. It was really cool. We took lots of pictures that we will never see. :(
Soon we headed back to the bus. Here they took all of our money for tips and the picture. Nothing left to souvenir shop.
We got back on the ship and showered and stuff. This is when we realized how badly we were sunburned. Let me tell you. So sunburned. I got it especially bad on my thighs and hips and right arm, (hand in particular) and Aaron got it the worst on his shoulders, back, and right arm, (hand in particular.) Thankfully we brought aloe gel, which we caked on our burns. But the rest of that day was kind of miserable. I don't think I've ever had a more painful sunburn.
We watched the show they put on that night. It was juggling and then a comedian. Very entertaining.
That night I did NOT sleep so great, thank-you sunburn.

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