snorkel

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, 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!

Captains Log, snorkel, Stingrays, things to do

AMAZING SNORKELLING IN GRAND CAYMAN

Coral along the reef in Grand Cayman

July 16 brought on a pleasant enough day in Grand Cayman, offering the the full gamut of tropical conditions throughout the day, which means never a dull moment!

On this day we hosted a private tour for two wonderful guests from the Ritz Carlton. On the itinerary were the ever popular attractions Stingray City Sandbar and Starfish Point, but being great lovers of snorkelling, it was a great pleasure to take them some of the best snorkel sites that can be found along and near the Cayman Reef.

The caribbean waters were relatively clear and showed up splendid colours. Some of the best sightings were of the coral, gorgeous colours along the reef as well as sightings of tropical fish such Angel Fish, Blue Tang and a Yellow Stingray to name a few.

A great excursion which we hope left our guests happy - we know our crew just loved every moment with them and returned feeling all "at one with nature"!

Brain coral - Grand Cayman

French Angelfish against Corky Sea Fingers

Yellow stingray

 Smooth brain coral along the reef

Smooth brain coral along the reef

fish, snorkel

SNORKEL TREASURE!

  Families that snorkel together, keep memories forever!

Families that snorkel together, keep memories forever!

If you have read our past posts, you will be well aware of the awful conditions that we have experienced for way too long, resulting in countless tours being cancelled and so, so many disappointed guests.

We are seeing some relief from this unusual weather - last week we managed to get out for 2 days, and this week we have also managed a couple of days. This has been very tough on the local operators during what is considered to be the highest season of the year.

What is amazing, are the days of total calm between all the storms which truly brings to life the saying "the calm before the storm", although we are changing that to "the calm between the storms" for this year!

Of course, being able to go ahead with excursions with guests concerned that they might miss this experience with the stingrays, and ants-in-the-pants crew members, engenders a lot of excitement which is almost palpable.

And so it was a great big cherry on the top when we spotted these beautiful morays at the snorkeling site we chose for the day. We know Elvis the Green Moray very well, and occasionally spot another Green Moray along Cayman's North Sound reef, but to find these two morays at the Coral Gardens AND right next to each was just amazing! The Caribbean water was amazing clear and Captain Mario managed to get this stunning shot!

  A Viper Moray and a Goldentail Moray alongside each other at the Coral Gardens

A Viper Moray and a Goldentail Moray alongside each other at the Coral Gardens

What beauts!

The Viper Moray is the dark one, closer to you the viewer. They usually reach a maximum of 3 feet in lengths, are dark over their entire bodies, and have very arched jaws which only touch at the tip of the mouth, thus constantly displaying their impressive teeth. They are generally nocturnal fish and feed on fish or octopus. The above photo shows a well known characteristic of them - their sit and wait approach to feeding - sticking their heads out of the coral and waiting until dinner swims past and wham! dinner is done.

The prettier one behind the Viper Moray is called a Goldentail Moray - far lighter background colouring with dots that spread over the body. The dots start small in size on the snout and progressively grow bigger towards the tail. They are small and are not expected to reach a length greater than 2 feet. They have tiny teeth which are used during night forays to catch themselves acarnivorous meal - usually solitary creatures, so the above picture shows an unusual behaviour.

We had some divers out on the boat with us for this tour, and they were so incredibly in awe at finding these moray during a snorkel, as was Captain Moray who was over the moon at spotting them.

We hope they stay for a long time and that we can visit them frequently and show them to our guests who, we are sure, will equally enjoy seeing these marvellous fish!

snorkel, Stingrays

31 January 2015 - GO AWAY, HUMAN BEING!

Tour Time : 10:30am

Guests from : Aida Bella Cruise

Star Stingray : Kim

No Shows : 0

Tough conditions today for our excursion guests, but kudos to our guests for getting out there and giving it all they could!

Captain Mario found a sleepy stingray during the stop at the stingray site. The stingray found his presence somewhat annoying, gave him the hairy eyeballs and moved on - and Captain Mario got it all in pictures which was pretty cool.

It looks like tomorrow's tour is to be cancelled due to worsening conditions. Again. NOT COOL. Let's hope we can get everyone out there on Monday.

Have a super weekend!

Sleepy stingray ..... NOT impressed with being disturbed (snorkelling in Grand Cayman)

Excursions, fish, sunset, snorkel

AWESOME DAY IN GRAND CAYMAN

The 24th January served us up an incredible day. 

Living in the Caribbean is lucky for so many reasons, but for us, the best reasons would be the climate and the beauty that we see on a daily basis. Even just taking the school route offers up a glimpse of the beautiful tropical blues along Seven Mile Beach - one almost wishes to be stuck in a traffic jam!

But there come days when Grand Cayman just goes a step further and produces a day which is stunning beyond words, and we all get excited about it, and get especially worked up about sharing such a day with our tour guests. 

It is on these days that Captain Mario's wife and child hound him half to death to be taken out into the North Sound. They do not often get this opportunity, but on days with these conditions - well, no is not accepted for an answer. Mandy adores the stingrays and cannot collect enough photos of them, while Gina adores Starfish Point and no family tour can be completed without stopping at this island attraction.

Captain Mario stopped off at a beautiful spot for the snorkelling - a little out of the usual site but along the barrier reef. The propellors had hardly stopped turning before Mandy was in the water, where she was met by a gigantic Mutton Snapper who surprisingly accompanied her for most of her visit - how wonderful! His size is not easy to see from the photo below, but he must have been at least 3 feet long - usually they are rather timid as the locals fish for them, but this guy was quite happy to tag along.

  The massive Mutton Snapper that joined us for the snorkel along the Barrier Reef

The massive Mutton Snapper that joined us for the snorkel along the Barrier Reef

 What a beauty of a Queen Angel Fish found at the Barrier Reef in Grand Cayman

What a beauty of a Queen Angel Fish found at the Barrier Reef in Grand Cayman

  A school of Blue Tangs float on by during our snorkel visit

A school of Blue Tangs float on by during our snorkel visit

  Conch Shell in Grand Cayman

Conch Shell in Grand Cayman

The reef was splendid - Mandy felt that there was a certain magic in the water and was amazed to see so many fish and corals - an enormous Queen Angel Fish and a school of one of her favourite fish, the Blue Tang, were some of her pleasures. Add to that the fact that she found four live conch and her day was already made! We used to fish for conch for our standard excursions, but changed our policy this year - we feel that they are already over-harvested and hardly see any these days. You can be sure no-one will be told of these conch's whereabouts!

After the snorkelling, and during our boat ride to Stingray City Sandbar, we were treated to a beautiful rainbow hitting land on the North Side. Wow, we did not think it could get too much better, but we were wrong. 

 Things to do in Grand Cayman

Once again, Mandy was testing Captain Mario's patience with wanting to spring into the ocean before the propellors had stopped twirling ...... can you blame her when you see the conditions were like the photo below?

  Incredible conditions at Stingray City Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Incredible conditions at Stingray City Sandbar in Grand Cayman

The above image was taken from on-board "Big John" - the waters were so clear you could see right to the sand bar bed with the ripples of sand caused by the flow of the ocean. The first sight was of a ginormous stingray burying herself into the sand - we were delighted to see that she was very, very swollen with pregnancy and can't wait to have her little ones darting around. She eventually stopped "digging" and lumbered over for a kiss and some lovin' .... got a picture of her in Captain Mario's arms, just resting there for a bit.... we made sure to give her plenty of stingray "popcorn" (squid) to keep her nicely fed for her babies!

  One very pregnant stingray burying herself at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

One very pregnant stingray burying herself at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

 Stingray City Sandbar in Grand Cayman

The "girls" felt the magic of the day and cavorted with us and the other sandbar visitors with great abandon and a lot of kisses and hugs and snuggles were shared - oh what a time was had! Mandy and Gina were in 7th heaven! It was tough to leave this spot, but Gina was in nagging mode by now, and Starfish Point was obviously next on the itinerary.

On the way over to this heavenly beach on Grand Cayman, we were given a hint of what to expect, with the skies and clouds forming incredible shades of blue and greys. Gina was extremely verbal in her delightful find of 4 starfish with excited yelps and squeals heard by all. But those quietened down when the sunset put on an astounding show. When even a four year old is heard to say "lets sit quietly and watch the sunset" you know it has got to be a good one! Below is the proof .... what a magical day to enjoy and witness. On days such as these, one can only be hugely grateful to be living surrounded by peace, surrounded by beauty and surrounded by hope - hugely lacking in so many parts of the world. Thank you.

  Sunset from Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Sunset from Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

snorkel

SNORKEL TOURS IN GRAND CAYMAN - SCRAWLED FILEFISH

  The Scrawled Filefish

The Scrawled Filefish

The visibility on today's tour (2 January 2015) was awesome, and the snorkel site offered up loads of tropical fish to delight our tour guests.

This little Scrawled Filefish was quite happy to pose for Captain Mario, and he managed to get some nice photos of him swimming through the coral at the Reef.

They are quite gorgeous with the brilliant background colouring of lemon yellow dashed with electric blue and black spots - and always look to be whistling a tune ......

Stingrays, snorkel, barbara

SMILEY

  The ever-smiling Barbara snorkel with us yet again

The ever-smiling Barbara snorkel with us yet again

That smile of Barbara's never seems to fail! Since all the topsy turvy tropical weather we have been experiencing over the last few weeks, Barbara has taken it upon herself to visit us during our visits to the various snorkel sites. We were used to seeing her occasionally, but she has been joining us for the majority of our excursions lately - and what a pleasure for our tour guests (and Captain Mario who favours her the most)!

You are just awesome Barbara - we absolutely adore you!

Stingrays, snorkel

BARBARA AND CAPTAIN MARIO .....

If you have read the Captain's Log recently, you will know we have been suffering a truly long and horrible tropical cold front for longer than we care to think about. Very high winds blowing in the wrong direction meant that the North Sound was very inhospitable to tours and excursions, and many of our guests were left disappointed at cancellations. However, we refuse to put financial considerations before safety of our guests ...... ever.

So, today's tour under blue skies and Caribbean sun was an absolute delight, and everyone island wide were in the mood for fun and frolic - including Barbara the stingray, it would seem.

Barbara and Stumpy have been joining us quite regularly at our snorkel stops lately, playing "tag" with the guests and generally being inquisitive. Today Barbara joined us again, before flirting with Captain Mario and allowing him to take her over to the guests for a meet and greet. Barbara is Captain Mario's favourite, and she knows it, giving him puppy dog looks and kisses. She also followed us over to the Sandbar at Stingray City where she continued to work her charm on our tour guests.

Our deckhand JR captured these awesome pictures of the interaction and we hope you enjoy!

snorkel

LITTLE YELLOW FELLOW

Stingray City in Grand Cayman is one of the best attractions on the island, and guests on their caribbean vacation here cannot leave without kissing them! The Stingray Sandbar provides a unique spot to cuddle, feed and even kiss the southern stingrays!

But lets not forget another less known Yellow Stingray. Incredibly well camouflaged, they are not often spotted on our snorkel tours, but are a delight to see. Pretty and timid, they keep very much to themselves. Far smaller than the southern stingrays (normally no wider than 50cm), they can nonetheless give you a good sting with their barb.

But as always, common respect means we can just enjoy each other's company! Come snorkelling with us in this beautiful Cayman Islands site!

  Little yellow stingray 

Little yellow stingray 


snorkel

ELVIS THE EEL

There are two well known Moray Eels at the various snorkelling sites in Grand Cayman, with Elvis being the friendlier of the two (the other one is called Phsycho!). 

Elvis can be found at Coral Gardens and on most days is quite happy to come out for a treat and say hi to our snorkel guests on tour with us. 

In this photo you can see someone hand feeding him - we were taking photos of another tour operator doing this, and strongly advise that you don't do this for two reasons. One: you probably like your hand in one piece and Two: we do not want the eels to connect human hands to food.

When it is possible, it is a magnificent sight to see, and has our excursion guests swarming to watch the show - which is greatly enjoyed.

Elvis showing us his better side