Grand Cayman 2019 AAR

So a bit late in posting…this was a trip we took down to Grand Cayman this summer. A special trip…Marisa’s 50th birthday (you’d NEVER guess…I know…). This marks our third trip to Grand Cayman, so you know it is a pretty awesome destination.

A bit of drone footage with some nice music…featuring our two favorite bands (Stick Figure and The Hip Abduction). Totally coincidental that snorkeling features bikini booty…

(L to R) Joseph (Kai’s cousin who we raise), Marisa’s mom Sally, and our son Kai…

Departing Charlotte. Always feels weird to be in the back as a passenger…

Arriving Grand Cayman after a short two hour flight…amazing that such a paradise is so close!

Marisa found us a beautiful condo for our 10-day stretch in Grand Cayman…

Sipping drinks out on the patio was a regular affair…

Every sunset was spectacular…

I have no idea how we would have survived Prohibition…we probably would have been smugglers…

Our long friend Rose accompanied us…an avid snorkeler and great travel companion…

Nerd 1 and Nerd Jr…

Marisa and her Mom…

The pool was about 90 degrees…but was a nice rinse off station to shed some salt water…

Every so often a tropical thunderstorm would roll through…putting on a nice display of lightning…

I had an outfit on the island deliver a fishing kayak for me for the week - a great idea that I really enjoyed having for the early morning and late evenings…

Kai making sure his snorkel gear was functioning correctly prior to hitting the ocean…

Caption…unnecessary…

Marisa picked this location specifically for the ability to walk out of our condo, drop off the dock, and be in prime snorkeling territory…

The birthday girl looking smokin’ hot…

Gen X-ers can play “Moving in Stereo” at this point…

There were several coral “layers” at the condo. Up close to shore was the shallow stuff, then a little channel where you could be in 2-4’ of water and really get up and close with the coral formations. On the outside of the inner channel was the outer coral formations that would be probably a bit too deep for snorkeling (25-50’). I love going out to the deeper coral and free-diving down…

In the deeper locations, mooring buoys were set at intervals to allow dive boats to come tie up for SCUBA divers. When they were empty, it was nice to swim out to them and just hang on to the tethers since the current was somewhat swift out there…

In the late afternoon I’d go out and tie up to the buoys and fish. I had good success with reef fish, but what I was really targeting was the game fish and I couldn’t manage to hit the right formula to catch barracuda or tuna…

Marisa booked us a really nice, small tour out to Stingray City at the earliest departure time. If you go to Cayman and Stingray City…I highly, highly recommend taking a tour with the very small boat (White Sand Watersports) instead of the cattle cars. You will get there early (we were the first boat there) and we had it all to ourselves for an hour or more…it was fantastic…

The boys playing some soccer before our tour…

Rose and Sally…

Marisa’s mom refused to get in the water with the evil devil fish (LOL)…but she enjoyed the ride out to the sandbar…

Stingray City is great…(this was our second visit) but we really also enjoy the side tour to Coral Gardens, which has some of the best and healthiest coral formations on the island…

Puffer fish…

Broken up freighter out on the reef is scattered all over…

Since we were in the area…we stopped by the aptly named Starfish Point…

Back on our beach…

This particular type of coral…some sort of blade coral…will absolutely burn you if you scrape against it…it leaves welts that with itch maddeningly for a week…

Elkhorn coral formations…

Nurse shark on the prowl…

More Blade/Fire coral…

The boys at one of the deep buoys we kayaked out to…

A beach just down the coast from where we were staying…

The local Caybrew…

Me set up as the bartender at the beach…

Blowhole…

Out in the kayak fishing…

Our favorite snorkeling spot was the drift snorkel from Cayman Kai (great name!) down to Rum Point on the north side of the island. The prevailing current whips at a good pace to the west, so you just swim out across the boat channel and let the current take you down-current to the takeout at Rum Point…

The mass of moving water must keep the coral pretty healthy and the visibility is very good…we came back time and again to this drift snorkel…

Caribbean Squid…always a favorite…

Trumpetfish…

Toward the tail end of the Rum Point drift snorkel is an incredible mass of Staghorn Coral…

Filefish…

The takeout at Rum Point…

Fortunately Rum Point takes damp cash…

Here and there we saw some Lion Fish…an unwelcome non-native reef species that looks awesome, is poisonous, and is bad for reef diversity…

Chainlink Eel…

Birthday Girl on her 50th birthday…we had a very nice date night…

Marisa and Kai at…Cayman Kai Beach!

50 and a day… Wow…

Top Gun barracuda…taught to never leave his wingman!

Signpost at Rum Point…

Anemone…

I’ve been told there is a lobster in this picture…

My fishing wingman…

One of the nearby shoreline projects that never took off unfortunately…a beautiful brick road paved along the cliffs above the reef…

The Flip-Flop tree…

Ice cream in 90 degree heat…better eat fast!

Despite warnings…Marisa and I undertook the long swim out to the USS Kittiwake, sunk just off the North-West point to form an artificial reef. She shifted a few years back in a hurricane, but remains diveable. It was a long swim out…and I doubted we’d find it for awhile, but eventually it emerged from the gloom. Again, not really a snorkel site due to the depth, but if you can freedive down 30 or 40 feet you can get some good pictures…

We did do a night snorkel…which is always fun, spooky, and interesting…

We hit some of the reefs that are squarely downtown in the port area…which you wouldn’t think would be good, but actually are, though somewhat deep…

Heading back to the drift snorkel to Rum Point…I think we did it four or five times…

Kept the boys in hand while crossing the boat channel…speed was paramount until you got to the outer reef…

Kai loves to have the camera in his hands…just like Daddy…

Yellow stingrays are common in the shallows…

Well…the body count means we didn’t lose anyone on the drift…(including the camera-woman!)…

Queen Angelfish…

Decisions, decisions…

One evening I decided to go for a short hike down the Mastic Trail. A very, very bad decision in the fading light. After about a quarter mile down the trail and buzz-saw squadron of mosquitoes descended on me. I’ve never been attacked by such a vicious hoard. If you stopped for a single second they were all over me…

I assume these caterpillars eat the desiccated shells of the bloodless corpses left by the mosquito hoardes…(pro tip: it’s safer in the ocean!)…

Smith’s Beach…

Somewhere…no idea where we were for this one…

Me and my pirate crew heading out for a deep water expedition…

Rare, photographic evidence of the author!

Some drone photos…

Heading home…!

Cuba!

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Nice pics, and looks like a great vacation. What were you using for your underwater shots? I’m still on film for underwater shooting. If it ain’t broke and all.

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Marisa uses a Canon S120 in a dive housing of some sort - I use an Olympus Tough TG-5 which I really like pretty well.

Beautiful! Looks like an amazing vacation!

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