private tours

Captains Log, private tours, Snorkel, barracuda

EERIE BARRACUDA

Tropical storm Earl had made his way past us a couple of days before, and water clarity in some parts was still not good. However, we were delighted to be asked to take a group of five island visitors on a private tour which included Coral Gardens, the Reef and Deep Stingray City.

 Stingray City Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Captain Mario seldom gets the chance to visit Deep Stingray City and he was delighted to be doing this. As usual, he was in the water with our guests taking photos of them enjoying this experience, turned around and clicked this photo of a Barracuda swimming curiously by.

This one is called the Great Barracuda and is known by its black spots marking the incredibly sparkling silver scales along its side. The Barracuda has a very pointed face and teeth that are more like fangs. They carry a rather bad reputation for attacking people, especially in murky waters (gulp - see above) - swimmers may be mistaken for predators and be followed in the mistaken hope of picking up left-over scraps of predator meals. Shiny objects can also be mistaken as prey - hence the advice not to wear shiny jewelry and accessories when snorkelling. However, they are generally more dangerous if eaten - they have caused more food poisoning cases than any other fish!

In any case, this guy was just curious and caused no alarm at all, but the photo really turned out to suit his spooky reputation!

Captains Log, private tours, sunset

GRAND CAYMAN COMPETES WITH RIO

5th August brought on the spectacular opening of the 2016 Olympics in Rio this year, and millions of people around the world were spellbound by special effects created by incredible technology. We wish the best to all those athletes who have worked so hard to get to this point.

Meanwhile, we were experiencing our own little special show put on by Mother Nature. We are so lucky to see so many Caribbean sunsets, but have to say that this has got to have been one of the best. This photo really is a point and shoot production, no special effects done by us bar the watermark.

This was taken during a private tour, in the North Sound, heading back to port. Pretty much had everyone on board stunned to silence. Grand Cayman putting on her own show. Just beautiful. And absolutely worth sharing of course.

  Grand Cayman fires up her own special effects for the Olympic opening ...

Grand Cayman fires up her own special effects for the Olympic opening ...

Captains Log, conch, coral, private tours, Snorkel

MOTHER NATURE NAILED THIS GRAND CAYMAN TOUR!

  Approaching North Side in Grand Cayman

Approaching North Side in Grand Cayman

No excursion is the same. Each one has something special about it.

  Lobed Star Coral along the Reef in Grand Cayman

Lobed Star Coral along the Reef in Grand Cayman

It could be a special moment when a kid gets to snorkel for the first time and you hear the squeals through the snorkel. It could be a turtle sighting or Elvis the eel visiting or watching guests' stress melting away the more time they spend surrounded by this awesome Caribbean beauty.

And then there are days where Mother Nature just seems bent on blowing your mind with beauty. Yesterday was just such a day.

  Conch and shell along the reef

Conch and shell along the reef

We hosted a wonderful group for a private tour - with this comes the luxury of taking things as slowly as you want (or quickly if that is your wish although we don't advise this). It is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to chill out and truly enjoy the snorkeling, the coral reef and of course, Stingray City Sandbar.

Mother Nature, simply put, showed off yesterday. Absolutely brilliant Caribbean colours both below and above surface, glorious sunshine, rainbow tropical fish, fragile coral structures and of course, cuddly stingrays made this a tour of vacation memories of note!

  Stunning Elkhorn Coral

Stunning Elkhorn Coral

Here we have included some of the photos with descriptions and hope that you enjoy them. I know the crew enjoyed the tour and every moment with the guests, and we certainly hope that our guests left us feeling absolutely relaxed and awed.

  Follow my leader with Parrotfish

Follow my leader with Parrotfish

Captains Log, private tours, snorkel

GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW AND COME SNORKEL WITH US!

  Grand Cayman vacation and a moment to remember - snorkelling the  reef

Grand Cayman vacation and a moment to remember - snorkelling the reef

Aaaah - we are loving this photo of a group who chose us for a private tour. This was taken whilst out snorkelling - great conditions with the natural caribbean colours gleaming all round. Hope the photo makes it onto their walls and that they join us again soon for another excursion!

Excursions, private tours

9 March 2015 - From bad to better

Tour Time : 9:30am and 2:15pm

Guests from : Plantana Condos, Ritz Carlton, Discovery Point Club, Westin Hotel

Star Stingray : Frosty

Our morning excursion welcomed a wonderful group of guests who were more than willing to take on the wind and swells - they were just awesome, especially the kids! Winds reached top speeds of about 17MPH at around 10am and then slowly reduced during the rest of the day until they were around 6MPH at 9pm last night ..... not the time we go out on tour! The skies were somewhat overcast, but the sunny smiles from our visits just brightened everything up! 

  The sandbar was shallow this day, although the water was quite choppy!

The sandbar was shallow this day, although the water was quite choppy!

Plenty of great snorkelling was enjoyed by our groups, and as always, the cherry on the top for the private tour in the afternoon, was watching the sunset as we made our way back to the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. Amazing how the sunset always has the power to make everyone silent and ponderous (even the kiddies) ..... penny for their thoughts anyone?

 Grand Cayman attractions

Captains Log, Excursions, private tours, fish

20 February and the week gone by ..... up and down like a toilet seat!

The crew spirit has gone through extremes this week .... one day absolutely elated at the conditions and dizzy with excitement at sharing it with our guests, the next day grey, grey moods to match the skies! We have had awesome sun-filled days accompanied by breezes as slow as 2 knots, only to be bullied into cancelling tours the next day by tropical squalls and howlers of up to 25 knots! Bleh!!

Thankfully, we did manage to keep our dates with a private charter on the 15th, as well as standard tours on the 17th and 18th. The cruise ships were happy to come in and off load their visitors at the beginning of the week, but kept their anchors tucked away and avoided our little island like the plague on the 19th and the 20th. Who knows what tomorrow will hold?

But as we said above, the good days were gooooooood and the bad days were very, very bad. Here, we share some of the good stuff!

The 15th saw us hosting a family for a private excursion. They had chosen to Starfish Point, Rum Point, Stingray City and Booby Cay as the attractions they wanted to visit. It was a beautiful day for these choices, with brilliant colours and skies dotted with clouds. The water was slightly choppy but beautifully clear. The tour was a full 5 hours (it never seems long enough!) and the crew truly enjoyed hosting this fun group very much.

  The sandbar in Grand Cayman

The sandbar in Grand Cayman

Monday saw the boat receiving some scheduled maintenance - it was a nice day and if we could have postponed this to another day we would have. However, Tuesday and Wednesday still saw incredibly beautiful days and it was a pleasure to show Grand Cayman off to her visitors. Brilliant sunsets have been the cherry on the top for our excursions this week, and the blues, purples and golds of these moments left everyone pretty much in awe of Mother Nature, once again.

  Sunset from  Starfish Point  in Grand Cayman

Sunset from Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Wednesday was especially interesting and pretty. The morning excursions faced showers at Starfish Point and half way through the stop at Stingray City, but otherwise enjoyed sun. However, while the island was completely flooded with buckets of rain, it was a tough task to convince island visitors that the North Sound was not experiencing the same conditions and that the afternoon trip was going to be stunning. Some trusted us and came, some did not ...... and what a shame they didn't!

  The Reef in Grand Cayman - what conditions!

The Reef in Grand Cayman - what conditions!

The above photo of the Reef shows you what we saw ...... mirror-like surfaces and brilliant displays of colours by the coral formations. The fish were also incredibly social and we were visited by young stingrays, Bermuda Chubs, Trumpet Fish, Needlefish, Parrot Fish, Butterfly Fish and so many more! Captain Mario had gone in search of the Moray Eel, and had found her tucked away under a piece of boat wreck - usually a sign that she wants to be left alone which he respected. However, just a few minutes later, she was playing hide and seek - popping out and going back in, and then made her way over to her "social den" where she stays when feeling sociable. Much to the delight of everyone, hide and seek was resumed and she entertained all those watching by peek-a-booing and then swimming out and back in to her hide-hole a number of times. What an experience!

  The moray eel plays hide and seek at the reef in Grand Cayman - popping out, going back in ......

The moray eel plays hide and seek at the reef in Grand Cayman - popping out, going back in ......

 Best snorkeling in Grand Cayman

During our tour, we had bypassed Stingray City Sandbar in order to avoid the crowd - a lot of boats were there! Eventually, we knew we had to move in .... and luckily the majority of the others moved out .... perfect timing by Captain Mario again! The water at the sandbar was only 2 feet deep and crystal clear. Stingray whisperer 1st Mate Dwayne set off to go and find one of his "girls", and came back to the group whispering sweet nothings to Snowflake who wilted in everybody's arms - she was so relaxed and laid back and just took in all the love whilst handing out kisses to whoever wanted them! 

  Dwayne flirts and plays with one his "girl" - stingray Snowflake - at the sandbar in Grand Cayman

Dwayne flirts and plays with one his "girl" - stingray Snowflake - at the sandbar in Grand Cayman

As we said at the beginning, the good was gooooooood and the bad was very bad. Let's hope we get some more of the good stuff in the next coming week ..........


private tours, Excursions, Captains Log

2 February 2015 - Stingray City Video

Tour Time : 9am (standard tour) & 2:30pm (private chartered tour)

Guests from : Caribbean Princess cruise, Westin Hotel, Sunshine Suites, Comfort Suites

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 0

Yes! Stunning, stunning, STUNNING conditions in the North Sound today - the kind that take your breath away. Today is about Grand Cayman showing off ...... the island at her most beautiful!

Low winds, the Caribbean sun moderate, the ocean waters so calm and smooth .... these are days of extreme paradise. We get extra excited for our excursion guests when these days come around, and it is hard to believe that just a mere 12 hours ago the North Sound was a seething cauldron of tropical disturbance! We hope you enjoy the short snippet .......

Captains Log, Excursions, private tours, Starfish Point

25 January 2015 - CALM BEFORE THE STORM

As happens so often in the Caribbean, we have enjoyed some idyllic conditions over the last two days which only means the miserable stuff is on the way ........

Tour Time : Standard tour @ 8:30am and a private chartered tour at 1:00pm

Guests from : Disney Wonder Cruise ship, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, self drive, Coral Bay Village

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 2

  The calm before the storm .... Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

The calm before the storm .... Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

It's hard to believe that just a three hours after the above picture was taken, Grand Cayman was experiencing a downpour of note! The morning tour had gone off very well with the sun shining down on our excursion guests, affording us a very comfortable tour and loads of photos opportunities at Stingray City Sandbar and Starfish Point Beach. In the above photo, you can even see Rasta the pelican paddling happily away near to shore. Don't know what happened to his two mates that were with him a few days ago, but hope we see them again.

The afternoon's private tour went ahead as scheduled. This was a bachelorette celebration for a bunch of lasses all the way from New Jersey, and they bravely put their faith into our Captain Mario who was proven correct! The storm hit the island with as much water as it could, but the North Sound was wonderfully rain free and even managed a spot of sunlight here and there. We hope that they enjoyed their celebration with us (no photos published OF COURSE) and wish the bride a very happy wedding in June!

  Feeling kind of blue .....

Feeling kind of blue .....

Captains Log, private tours, rum point, starfish, Stingrays

18 January 2015 - Private Chartered Tour in Grand Cayman

Tour Time : 9:30am

Guests from : The Ritz Carlton - Grand Cayman - private chartered tour to Stingray City Sandbar, one snorkel stop and a visit to Rum Point

Star Stingray : A newcomer - to be named

Each day, our tours present our crew with so many variables - we have island visitors from all over the world, arriving by cruise ship or plane, coming on vacation, for work or perhaps a destination wedding - no day is dull and each tour is special. Throw into that mix the fact that nature is always a surprise and you will understand why the crew love their jobs.

But, we have to admit, that some excursions simply defy words. On these days, everything goes according to plan - the weather is awesome, the timing is perfect, the caribbean ocean surprises us with more of her beauty and the stingray kisses are even sweeter than normal. Today's tour was one of those ......

It is far simpler (and probably way more effective) to let the photos do all the talking, so that's just what we'll do! Enjoy!

Captains Log, private tours

17 JANUARY 2015 - A LUCKY CATCH!

Determination pays off occasionally.......

Of course there is ALWAYS argument about whether it is stubbornness or determination ..... anyways .....

On Friday just past, our Captain noted that there were not one, but two brown pelicans at Starfish Point (see post here). Initially, one had previously been spotted and named "Rasta" by our 1st Mate Dwayne, but then a second pelican appeared!!

  Two of the Brown Pelicans spotted at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Two of the Brown Pelicans spotted at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Mandy (pale skinned office slave of the company) had not managed to get out on the boat since October - but this was NOT to be missed. And so it was that poor Captain Mario was forced into turning the boat back from the dock at the end of the morning tour - he might have been able to refuse Mandy, but definitely not his daughter Gina who was itching to see Starfish Point - her all time favourite place on the island!!

grand-cayman-things-to-do-17011502

Starfish Point revealed not one, not two, but THREE pelicans!! They had become the centre of attention and were happily whooping it up - swooshing through the air over our heads and just generally showing off their flying skills. They do not make very elegant landings, we must say. They fly over head so gracefully but tended to look like an inebriated party-goer trying to negotiation an "invisible" glass door - just a big splat with wings and legs everywhere! 

They put on this display for some 10 minutes before taking off for another spot, so what luck we had in witnessing them - awesome moment! 

Snorkel, Stingrays, private tours

28 December 2014 - Chartered Tours in Grand Cayman

Awesome, awesome private tour today!

What an absolute pleasure it was to host this fun and adventurous group! We collected them at the Kaibo Yacht Club (this can be done for chartered tours and in select other circumstances), and it was sunny smiles and laughter from the get-go.

Their choice of attractions to visit? Some of the best in Grand Cayman of course. First stop on this excursion was the Secret Garden - a beautiful spot that Captain Mario has discovered with prolific coral and tropical fish - today Barbara joined us and brought along 3 other stingrays with her including Stumpy (a name earned because of her very short tail). We managed to get some stunning photos of the children interacting with them, and we hope these images will be with them forever.

Along the way, we agreed to find some conch for our guests - as stated in a previous post, we no longer retrieve conch on our standard tours as we feel they have been over harvested and their numbers are now so low. However, we have made exceptions to this policy for our private tours (if requested).

  Stingrays play ......

Stingrays play ......

  Stingrays rest ......

Stingrays rest ......

This time we left the best for last! Stingray City Sandbar was incredible and we arrived when no-else was there. Pure vacation bliss! Just us, the Caribbean Sea and the stingrays all round, eager for squid and kisses. 

It was a sad but fond farewell at the end of our time together, but we sincerely hope to host our new friends again in the not too distant future. Till we meet again!

Excursions, private tours, rum point

26 December 2014 - Private Chartered Tours

Today, we played host to a wonderful group of island visitors and residents who organised a private excursion so that they could visit sites they were most interested in.

Our guests were an adventurous group, and at the time of reservation, had asked to snorkel for conch. As it is conch season we were able to assist, and once they had their conch onboard Dwayne prepared ceviche which they greatly enjoyed, while we cleaned the shells as tour mementos. Conch season is November to April in Grand Cayman, and we used to offer conch on all our tours, but now feel that they have been over fished and no longer wish to add to this problem.

Other stops included a "drive-by" at Rum Point, a little bit of exploring around Cayman Kai including Finger Cay, and a stop for a tropical cocktail at the very beautiful Kaibo Yacht Club. Of course, the best known attractions Starfish Point and Stingray City Sandbar were included and thoroughly enjoyed.

On the way back to dock, we slowly meandered through Booby Cay, truly one of the best spots to see the Grand Cayman sunsets. A beautiful day, a wonderful group and a delightful tour all round!