Stingray City

Captains Log, snorkel, Stingray City

Grand Cayman at it's best!

  Incredible Brain Coral along Grand Cayman's barrier reef

Incredible Brain Coral along Grand Cayman's barrier reef

  Incredible clarity of water at Stingray City

Incredible clarity of water at Stingray City

  Even the skies and trees put on extra sparkle for us - Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Even the skies and trees put on extra sparkle for us - Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

  Stingray City in Grand Cayman - smooth horizons and salty kisses

Stingray City in Grand Cayman - smooth horizons and salty kisses

  The girls swarm to say hi to us at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

The girls swarm to say hi to us at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Remember to tell your special ones that you love them today.

Some days are just extra special. Like yesterday.

It has been an emotional few days watching Hurricane Matthew tear it's way through the Caribbean. Many of us well remember the devastation brought about by Hurricane Ivan, and as happy as we are that our island has been spared, our hearts sag with concern for those who were not as lucky. Our prayers and thoughts go to all trying to now recover.

And so, yesterday's tour was doubly appreciated. Mother nature showed off her far more beautiful and benevolent side to us - astounding Caribbean blues, still clear waters and magical sea creatures. Sometimes, words fail us, so let the images do the talking. Enjoy.

  Welcoming committee - Grand Cayman snorkel

Welcoming committee - Grand Cayman snorkel

  Quietly stunning - coral swaying to the tune of the tides in Grand Cayman

Quietly stunning - coral swaying to the tune of the tides in Grand Cayman

  Blessed and beautiful calm at the Barrier Reef - Grand Cayman

Blessed and beautiful calm at the Barrier Reef - Grand Cayman

Captains Log, For children, Stingray City

HITCHING A RIDE ...

Tropical storm Earl edged his way past Grand Cayman this past week, forcing the cancellation of tours over two days. The ensuing disappointment for guests who could not make it out to Stingray City with us was tough on the morale of the crew, who honestly can't wait to make it out every day.

Nonetheless, conditions on August 4 meant that excursions could start again, although clouds were still a moody gray and the caribbean waters were still choppy - adventuresome guests were ready and waiting to tackle the tour - including this awesome little passenger!

She was full throttle all the way, but everyone can have their limit, and she thoroughly enjoyed this ride back to the boat courtesy of Salvador, one of our amazing deckhands. We think the smile says it all!

A smile like this makes our day .... possibly even our week!

  Hitching a ride back to "Big John" with Salvador

Hitching a ride back to "Big John" with Salvador

Captains Log, Starfish Point, Stingray City

9 February 2015 - The calm between the storms!

Tour Time : 8:30am

Guests from : Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, Westin Hotel Grand Cayman, residents

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 0

  Caribbean beauty stuns the mind

Caribbean beauty stuns the mind

NOT happy about having to cancel tours on the past Saturday and Sunday (lousy weather) .... leaves a bad taste in the mouth and disappointed guests. We were holding our breath for Monday morning as the prediction was for a few hours of gorgeous weather, and some guests had very kindly agreed to move their booking to this date on our advice. Tense times indeed!

  Approaching the Reef in Grand Cayman for snorkelling

Approaching the Reef in Grand Cayman for snorkelling

But oh my were our guests rewarded! We set off from the Cayman Islands Yacht Club in completely still waters, and made our way across the emerald caribbean waters towards the Reef for our snorkel stop. Everyone was mesmerised by the incredible clarity of the water - you could make out each blade of turtle grass, and see the burnt amber starfish that whizzed past under the bow. The closer we got to the reef, the bluer the water ...... spectacular colours all round! The ocean was so inviting our guests were in the water before you could say "mask"!

 

 A Blue Runner joins us snorkelling the Reef in Grand Cayman

A Blue Runner joins us snorkelling the Reef in Grand Cayman

"Refreshing" is the best way to describe the water - cooler than normal due to the recent winds and rain, but so easy to adjust to, especially when looking around at the beauty under the surface. Everyone shot off in different directions, all eager to ogle the tropical fish and splendid coral formations. Waiting to welcome us were Trumpet Fish, giant Parrot Fish, Blue Tangs, Blue Runners, Snappers, and stingrays ... and someone special!

 Trumpet fish found along the Reef during the snorkel stop

Trumpet fish found along the Reef during the snorkel stop

Captain Mario joined the group in the water and headed off to find a friend of his ..... which he did! There is a Moray Eel who lives along the Reef, and the captain is quite adept at locating her. He found her home for the day and promised to bring everyone to see her a little later on ..... it was time to move on to Starfish Point first, and if we had time, we could return to visit. The weather was already showing signs of turning, with the wind picking up a little from the South West, and Captain Mario's priority was to make the best of the excursion before it really took hold!

  Incredible cloud formations on the way to Starfish Point

Incredible cloud formations on the way to Starfish Point

"Big John" arrived at Starfish Point to find it deserted except for one couple standing in the waters, in awe of the surrounding nature. The ombre shades of blues and greens of the water lapping this idyllic beach were breath taking. Our 1st Mate Dwayne went off in search of Starfish while Captain Mario chatted to our guests about the beach and the gorgeous little creatures after which the beach is named.

  Caribbean blue up in the skies at  Starfish Point

Caribbean blue up in the skies at Starfish Point

  Juvenile Starfish making tracks

Juvenile Starfish making tracks

Our tour then continued onto Stingray City Sandbar, world famous for it's stingrays. All aboard were buzzing with excitement about meeting the "ladies", and questions were being fired at the crew about how to hold and kiss the stingrays. They were firing the answers back as quick as they could!

  Stingray City Grand Cayman - the sandbar - and one of the stars

Stingray City Grand Cayman - the sandbar - and one of the stars

Even though the wind was slowly but surely picking up again, and the waters very moderately choppy, we had timed this visit perfectly - as we arrived, everyone else bar one boat melted into the horizon and we were left the centre of the stingrays' attention. Bliss! In minutes, the love was all around our guests, and Dwayne was once again captivated by his beloved Snowflake. Giggles, squeaks, ooooh's and aaaah's filled the air - the girls were especially affectionate today and plenty of kisses were handed out. Captain Mario was right in the thick of things trying to capture it all, taking photos of the action (which are provided free to our guests). It was sad to leave the ladies, but everyone had voted to go back to see the eel and it was time to do this.

So off we tootled back to the Reef to return to the promised spot! Most of the guests couldn't wait to get back into the water to meet her (although some were a little more cautious and preferred to stay onboard). Captain Mario did not disappoint! He managed to anchor just a few metres from the coral where the eel was regally awaiting her audience. Oh she was in such a social mood today! She put on a brilliant display of Cayman hospitality and repeatedly came all the way out of her hole to  let her visitors get some great pictures and footage!

  The Moray Eel at Grand Cayman's Reef - ain't she a beauty?

The Moray Eel at Grand Cayman's Reef - ain't she a beauty?

All in all, an incredible excursion today, and we hope that our guests had a good time that will be remembered forever.

We hope you enjoyed reading all about, and genuinely hope to be able to host you one day as well!

Captains Log, Excursions, Stingray City

4 February 2015 - BRIGHT BUT CHOPPY

Tour Time : 9:30am

Guests from : Celebrity Equinox cruise, Serenade of the Seas cruise, Disney Magic cruise

Star Stingray : Stumpy

No Shows : 8 (oh boy, that hurts!)

  Nosy little Needle Nose at Stingray City in Grand Cayman

Nosy little Needle Nose at Stingray City in Grand Cayman

It's not only stingrays that you get to meet at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman, there are other cute little critters who dart through this area as well. Above is the Needle Nose - very pretty fish who reflect the silver blue of the caribbean ocean so very beautifully - faster than light these little guys! We often see conch, are sometimes spoilt with a King Helmut, and Blue Runners are seen darting about between the people. Don't forget the sea gulls who hover above trying to steal the squid from your hands!

Today was somewhat choppy but oh so wonderfully bright and cheerful. Our guests took on the tour with gusto and we had an amazing time with them. The waters were back to the beautiful blue and the clarity of it was truly awesome. 

We are expecting some idyllic conditions tomorrow, so can't wait to share photos (Captain Mario - take lots!), but the weather is not looking too happy for Saturday and Sunday - ugh! Well, you never know ..... it can change in hours!

Hope you all have a beautiful day and come visit us soon!

 Cradling "Stumpy" as  Stingray City  in Grand Cayman

Cradling "Stumpy" as Stingray City in Grand Cayman


Captains Log, Excursions, Stingray City, Stingrays

28 January 2015 - BARBARA'S BACK!

  "Barbara" and her Mona Lisa smile - welcome back!

"Barbara" and her Mona Lisa smile - welcome back!

Tour Time : 9:30am - left at 10am - read all about it!

Guests from : Carnival Breeze Cruise, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Brilliance of the Seas - cancelled visit

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 0

High and lows today! The day started off rough - literally - not the best of conditions, with quite high winds blowing in such a way that the Brilliance of the Seas cancelled its visit to the island, and Carnival Breeze decided to drop anchor at Spotts - which is on the other side of the island to the normal cruise terminal. Can you imagine the consternation this can cause - all the tour operators racing out to Spotts trying to find their guests ...... Captain Mario did a sterling job of it, but the tour left late as can be expected under these conditions.

With the ship now anchored in Spotts, it was unfortunate that we had to leave Starfish Point out of the tour - not enough time to do this AND get them back to the ship on time. But now for the good stuff....

snorkel-excursions-grand-cayman-28011502

Over the last week or so we had been missing the Captain's favourite stingray Barbara. The crew and office staff were becoming a little tense about her disappearance. It must be remembered that the Cayman stingrays are in open water - they are not closed in any manner. Barbara was also born without a tail, which of course, is the stingrays defense against predators. But JUBILATION! Today, while at the snorkel site, there she was - all smiles and cuteness, playing with our guests and flirting up a storm. Happy phone calls were made to the office to let everyone know Barbara was back!

grand-cayman-stingrays-28011503

The other great part of the day was the awesome caribbean sunshine - the ocean was gleaming with emerald and sapphire colours, so even though the surface was choppy - the colours were delicious!

Snowflake did the honours today, kissing our guests with great abandon and hopefully leaving them with lifelong memories. We always hope that our "girls" turn each visitor into a stingray ambassador. These beautiful creatures are fished to extinction in some parts of the world - their "leather" used in fashion pieces and their flesh sold as scallops. We get cold shivers thinking about this truly hope that guests of the sandbar start moving against these practices.

Everyone made it back to ship safe and sound and on time, and we can't wait to share these photos with our guests - we hope they all come back soon.

And welcome back Barbara - you had us really worried girl.

  Mwah!!! Snowflake wins another admirer!

Mwah!!! Snowflake wins another admirer!

Stingray City, Captains Log, children

20 January 2015 - BABY KISSES & STINGRAYS!

Always a complete delight to host the young adventurers that come out on our tours ..... we hope that our love for nature and the beautiful sea creatures leaves a mark and a memory forever.

Tour Time : 11:30am

Guests from : Celebrity Reflection Cruise, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Sunshines Suites

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 2

  Snorkelling at the  Coral Gardens  in Grand Cayman

Snorkelling at the Coral Gardens in Grand Cayman

A lovely, relaxed excursion today - the sun was doing the Caribbean proud - with only 13 guests on board the interaction was even more personal than normal.

The snorkelling at the Coral Gardens was spectacular, with inquisitive tropical fish eager to say hi. Beautiful coral formations witnessed - an incentive to work harder at protecting the Reef for certain.

Loved our little adventurer on-board today and what a kiss Snowflake the stingray was given! We hope that somewhere in that young mind, the memory will remain for years to come, and that he will  treasure this very special moment.

A truly great day out with our island visitors today - we hope they had as good a time as we did!

  This little adventurer was all hands with Snowflake the Stingray - awesome!

This little adventurer was all hands with Snowflake the Stingray - awesome!

Stingray City, Captains Log

RIP CAPTAIN MARVIN

We cannot let the passing of an island legend go by without bidding him farewell.

Captain Marvin, who is credited with being the first Caymanian to commercialise Stingray City in Grand Cayman, passed away late December 2014 aged 98.

  Captain Marvin - the pioneer of Stingray City Grand Cayman (photo - The Cayman Islands Business Journal)

Captain Marvin - the pioneer of Stingray City Grand Cayman (photo - The Cayman Islands Business Journal)

Many of the local Cayman fisherman can still relate first hand stories of how it all began - with their day's catch being cleaned at the sandbar before making their way home. Gradually, the stingrays became accustomed to this easy buffet, and friendly to the folk that brought it.

The enterprising and social Captain Marvin would meet visitors to the island asking what attractions should to be visited. And so, on a borrowed sailboat, he took his first tourists to snorkel and visit the stingrays in the North Sound - 1951 was the year.

In those days, all kinds of rays were to be found, including Eagle Rays, Leopard Rays and Manta Rays and more conch than you could ever imagine. His tours would last all day long and include a lunch on a beach near Rum Point - he would prepare whatever he had caught and serve this up with his wife's famous potato salad.

His business flourished from then, and has been kept as a family concern providing employment to his children, grand children and even great grand children!

We wish we had had the honour of listening to some of his stories, of which he must have had many. We are privileged to be a part of this industry and will strive every day to take care of what he started.

So long Cap'n - we salute you and look forward to exchanging stories on the other side!

Excursions, Stingray City

29 December 2014 - Stingray City Snorkel Excursions Grand Cayman

Tour Time : 9:30 and 2:15pm

Guests from : Ruby Princess Cruise, Villa Pappagallo Condos, Treasure Island Resort, Poinsettia Condos, Comfort Suites

Star Stingray : Droopy

 Stingray City Grand Cayman at sunset

Stingray City Grand Cayman at sunset

Captain Mario came back from his tours today whistling and smiling ..... incredibly happy that he had had two excursions where all seemed to go right, even the weather!

The above image taken at Stingray City is unusual in that it does not feature a stingray .... but oh my, what a sunset our guests were given!  Captain Mario was busy taking photos of our guests, back to the light, when something told to him to turn around and boom - this is the shot that he got.

We are holding thumbs that the last of the miserable tropical cold front has left us so that we can welcome our guests onto tours with calm Caribbean waters around and gentle warmth from our winter sun. Stingray City Sandbar seems to be offering up her old jewel colours and the snorkel sites are putting on brilliant displays of colour again. We look forward to seeing the New Year which is just around the corner.......

   Stingray City Sandbar  was offering her up the jewel colours again!

Stingray City Sandbar was offering her up the jewel colours again!

Starfish Point, Stingray City, Captains Log

22 December 2014 - Stingray City Tours in Grand Cayman

Tour Time : 9:00am & Private Chartered Tour at 2:30pm

Guests from : Westin Hotel, The Meridian Condos, The Castle in East End

Star Stingray : Lilly & Snowflake

The island is buzzing with excitement - Christmas in Grand Cayman is a Caribbean delight. The sunny, tropical climate often leaves visitors from colder climates a little off balance, but we are sure they are lapping up the warmth whatever attraction they choose to tackle for the day!

We enjoyed two excursions to Stingray City Sandbar, snorkel sites and Starfish Point today - how lucky can we get? The first tour was a standard tour, and the second a private excursion for a wonderful group staying at the Castle in East End. 

  Chasing Barbara the stingray

Chasing Barbara the stingray

Snorkelling at Coral Gardens brought Captain Mario's favourite stingray out to play, and play she did! The Caribbean ocean once again provided an underwater beauty spot with fabulous coral, tropical fish and a lovely school of Grunts.

  A school of Grunts surround us while snorkelling

A school of Grunts surround us while snorkelling

Circling above us was a lone seagull, hoping to grab a take-away lunch - they can be very cheeky at Stingray City Sandbar. When feeding the stingrays at the sandbar, the initial knee-jerk reaction is to pull away and hold the squid up in the air - and that is when the seagulls pounce!! Incredibly quick - before you know it is just your hand waving about above your head, whilst a happy bird disappears into the horizon. 

  In-coming squid thief!

In-coming squid thief!

Starfish Point, was, as usual, stunning. Our excursions guests relaxed and pondered the Sea Stars and breathed in the fresh tropical air. 1st Mate Dwayne and a guest enjoyed a touch of American football during the stop - definitely working up the appetite for pizza!

  Cayman vacation - relaxing, exploring and having fun!

Cayman vacation - relaxing, exploring and having fun!

The stingrays were an eager bunch at the Sandbar, ready to share the love (and the squid!). We call squid Stingray Popcorn - they can't stop eating it!

  What a smile - what a moment! Cradling a stingray at  Stingray City  in Grand Cayman

What a smile - what a moment! Cradling a stingray at Stingray City in Grand Cayman

The second tour of the day was a private chartered tour for a lovely group enjoying their holiday at the Castle in East End. Private tours are definitely the best way to visit these attractions, and are surprisingly affordable if you are a group. These excursions are a fantastic way to celebrate a destination wedding or another special occasion! 

  Our private tour guests enjoying their visit to Stingray City Sandbar, Grand Cayman

Our private tour guests enjoying their visit to Stingray City Sandbar, Grand Cayman

And of course, to round the day off ....... a splendid Caribbean sunset watched in awe from Starfish Point, before setting off to drop our guests back at the Kaibo Yacht Club. Another gorgeous and memorable day in paradise!

  Grand Cayman sunset from Starfish Point

Grand Cayman sunset from Starfish Point

Captains Log, Excursions, Stingray City

20 December 2014 - Grand Cayman Stingray City tours

Tour Time : 9:30am (departed 9:30am)

Guests from : Island Princess cruise, Aida Bella cruise, residents

Star Stingray : Barbara

 Grand Cayman snorkelling is the best in the Caribbean

It is tempting to say that "Barbara" was the star of today's tour, but I think perhaps she came second today.

Although she was the perfect host at Stingray City Sandbar, cuddling and kissing her gorgeous heart out, there was one tour guest who had NEVER set foot in the ocean before, and she did it today, with us, with stingrays swimming around. WAY TO GO!

We have hosted many island visitors who are unable to swim, and they have trusted our crew enough to join in the snorkelling and maximise their visit to some of Grand Cayman's best attractions. But to have someone who  has never even put her foot into an ocean before, do it with us AND do it with stingrays .... well ... we think she is a pretty awesome woman!

  Mom has never been in the ocean before .... but she did it with us and the stingrays! Kudos!

Mom has never been in the ocean before .... but she did it with us and the stingrays! Kudos!

Unlike yesterday's tour, today everything went perfectly and the excursion was great. The gorgeous Caribbean sun was out and the island was bathed in the holiday feeling again ... if there were any destination weddings on the go today, we are pretty sure that they were accompanied by huge sighs of relief after the tropical cold fronts we have been experiencing!

And yes, Barbara, you can go back to being the star again tomorrow!

Stingray City, Excursions

11 December 2014 - Excursion to Stingray City

Tour Time : 9:30am (departed 9:30am)

Guests from : Freedom of the Seas, NCL Epic, Navigator of the Seas

Star Stingray : Lilly (1st Mate Dwayne's favourite girl!)

When one sees the beauty of the Caribbean in these photos, it can be hard to believe that in tropical weather conditions, this spot can be quite a cauldron of waves and swells.

These last few weeks has displayed one of the longest cold fronts that Captain Mario remembers during his time on Grand Cayman, but we are slowly seeing the (sun)light again ......

This was a tour filled with a lot of fun and laughter, and was enjoyed by all. Dwayne had not seen Lilly for a while, and was missing the "girl" who has captured his heart - today they were reunited.

So ....... Caribbean waters, Cayman sun and smiles all round today ..... can't ask for much more!

Excursions, Stingray City, Starfish Point

5-7 December 2014

Tour Time : Various times over weekend (all on time)

Guests from : Carnival Pride, Island Princess, Carnival Splendour, Treasure Island, Coral Stone Club, Marriott Grand Cayman, Aida Bella, Caribbean Princess, Silversea Spirit, Tamarind Bay, Grand Cayman Beach Suites

Star Stingray : Kisses & Snowflake

Conditions over the weekend were still choppy, but at least we had some of that beautiful tropical sun shining down on us! The guests were awesome and let nothing phase them on the tours, and we managed to have a tremendous time snorkelling and visiting the Stingray City Sandbar. Starfish Point also looked all shiny and new with incredible colours and was a pleasure to visit! 

We'll let the pictures do the talking.......