Captains Log, Excursions, Stingrays
Mudslide - any Grand Cayman visitor or resident would immediately think "Rum Point" - the home of the famous Mudslide cocktail which can make the earth slide out from under your feet in the most fun of ways. Their first thought is not usually of a stingray ...
However, any guest who has been out with us or read our reviews, will know that we absolutely adore the stingrays that we see daily at the sandbar, and name the "girls" for their characteristics due to individual colourings, markings and personality.
Some of them are Barbara, Dark Vader and Lilly. But we now introduce another lovely dame who deserves much respect and love - Mudslide!
Mudslide the stingray giving and feeling the love at the sandbar in Grand Cayman
The name was earned from mostly visiting guests at Rum Point, but recently she has moved over to the sandbar at Stingray City. Captain Mario estimates her age at approximately 30 years (yes, human years) which we believe makes her the second oldest - Scarface is the oldest one there!
She is one of the most lovable and sweet girls. Although her skin is a little rougher than most other rays because of her age, she is incredibly gentle when being held, taking food and appears to be particularly fond of children.
She is identified by the darker "ring" of colour around her edges and because her tail has been cut short at the point of her barb - it is not known how this might have happened.
We are loving having her at the sandbar, as are our excursion guests, and we will be keeping an eye open for her to give her extra love and attention which she deserves.
Next to we make it out to Rum Point, we will raise a Mudslide to you lovely lady - may you be with us for a long time to come!
Captains Log, snorkel, Stingrays, things to do
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
Smooth brain coral along the reef
Excursions, sunset, Stingrays
Our last two posts have described the effects of tropical downpours on the sandbar and surrounding waters of the North Sound in Grand Cayman.
We always say that there is never an ugly day in the Caribbean - even storms provide the most magnificent skies to behold. Not nice for island visitors for sure, but beautiful nonetheless.
It is always our pleasure to take photos of our tours and shares these with our guests free of charge, and the snorkel sites, Starfish Point and stingrays provide awesome subjects.
Yesterday we hosted a standard tour in the morning, welcoming guests from the Carnival Victory and the Marriott Resort and other condos, whilst the afternoon was reserved for a private chartered tour. It was a brilliant day all round, even if the sun was somewhat shy.
The photos of the stingrays came out with unusual colours and smoky effects. We loved them, wanted to share them with you, and hope that you like them as much as we do. Happy day to all!
A stormy sunset ..... quite spectacular .... Cayman Islands Yacht Club
Captains Log, Excursions, Stingrays
It has been some time since we posted news - we can't believe that the year has already hit the 3rd month! We also cannot believe how much wind we are still experiencing and since we last spoke, there have been days of triumphant tours interspersed by days of cancelled excursions (and the accompanying disappointment and grey moods)!
Cancelled tours means that we, as a family, have some time to spend together and be social - a rare and precious gift during high season, and we have greatly enjoyed the Cay Dance Festival as well as the Red Sky at Night Festival. Cayman Brac celebrated their Agricultural fair the weekend just past, and on Friday 27th, a superb fund raising evening was held at the cruise terminal to raise money to rehabilitate the enormous area of coral destroyed by the Carnival Magic's anchor. Some $27,000.00 dollars was raised during the evening, and the island has today been excited to hear that Carnival has donated $100,000.00 towards the recovery efforts which have so far been carried out by volunteers and local dive companies for free. If you would like to follow more news on the recovery efforts, the Facebook page is Cayman Magic Reef Recovery.
Monday saw Captain Mario standing on the stingray sandbar with the water reaching just up to his calves - a sure sign of turbulent weather to come. We were proven correct, with yesterday's tour being a tough one with choppy weather. The cruise ships arrived late, and this factor on top of high swells mean that we had miss Starfish Point - always disappointing for our guests. But they were awesome and soldiered on and got their fair share of kisses from the willing "girls" at Stingray City.
But we have been constantly delighted to see "Barbara" at the snorkel sites when we have managed to get out there, and she is always wearing her Mona Lisa smile. We hope that she has brought wonderful memories to our island visitors, and hope to share her with many more!
Captains Log, Excursions, Stingray City, Stingrays
"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....
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!
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!
Captains Log, private tours, rum point, starfish, Stingrays
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!
Excursions, Captains Log, Stingrays
RASTA HAS A GIRLFRIEND!
Guests from : Celebrity Equinox, Carnival Breeze, Norwegian Epic, Carnival Magic, Laguna del Mar condos
Stingrays : (New comer to be named) and Stumpy
There is such a wonderfully giddy vacation feeling around the island - the sun is out, the wind has tamed down into a cool caribbean breeze, the first post-christmas pay-day has hit the accounts and all is good....
Even Rasta has found a girlfriend! Rasta is a brown pelican that our crew have been noticing around Starfish Point lately - and yesterday they noticed that he now has a female feathered friend. What a lovely way for him to start 2015 - obviously, Captain Mario has been commanded by the office to now get a photo of the loving couple! Don't know if she is as pretty the Miss Cayman Islands contestants, but am sure Rasta thinks she is.
Our tour guests have been a great, fun and adventurous bunch and we have been delighted to welcome them to the island and share the splendours of our snorkel sites.
Every now and then, we endure a sudden disappearance of a large majority of the stingrays from the sandbar. It is ghostly without them, and we think we know why this happens, but cannot yet prove it. The usual "girls" were nowhere in sight, but along came a new comer - Captain Mario believes this one was probably from Deep Stingray City - but she was nonetheless an absolute charmer. Looking for a name for her now....... The disappearance only happens for a day or so, and everything gets back to normal within 24 hours!
Tandem stingray delight at the Grand Cayman sandbar
All in all just another two magnificent days in paradise ...... thank you so much to our visitors - we hope that you will can be lured back to Grand Cayman for another excursion with us soon!
Snorkel, Captains Log, Stingrays
These past few days have not been the highlight of our year so far ... weather was tropically moody and in some cases, bad enough for us to cancel tours AGAIN! We mentally banished the Cayman weather to the naughty corner for some time out ....... today appears somewhat better - let's hope it worked!
Nonetheless, we have had the pleasure of great company and enjoyed visitors from all over - cruise guests included NCL Epic, Carnival Dream, Carnival Splendour, Navigator of the Seas and Caribbean Princess. Some of the overnight guests includes those from hotels and apartment such as the Marriott, Sunshine Suites and Plantation Village.
The family that snorkels together ...... Grand Cayman snorkel excursions
The Coral Gardens proved to be the best snorkel site for the prevailing conditions. Water clarity was good if not perfect and our excursion guests enjoyed their time with the accompanying stingray while marvelling at the abundance of tropical fish. Captain Mario still avoided Starfish Point on some of the tours due to the continued presence of jelly fish - and of course, the first day he decided it was safe to go back, was the only stung by one!
Dwayne, our 1st Mate and otherwise known as the "Stingray Whisperer" had a flirty moment with one of his favourite stingrays "Snowflake" and Captain Mario managed to catch some photos of their interaction which is very beautiful. We are very pleased to see that "Frosty", who was looking rather skeletal and ill at one stage, seems to have recovered with a little bit of extra help from our crew. She is now looking absolutely gorgeous, chubby and happy!
Snorkelling with Stingrays in Grand Cayman
Excursions, Captains Log, Stingrays
Tour Time : 9:30am (departed 9:35am)
Guests from : Carnival Freedom Cruise, Serenade of the Seas Cruise, Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise, Regency Court Apartments
Star Stingray : Lilly
Snorkel, Stingrays, private tours
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).
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!
Stingrays, snorkel, barbara
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, stingray city, Lilly
They say photos never lie (except when overly photoshopped!), but we think this series of images taken at Stingray City in Grand Cayman clearly show the love that our "Stingray Whisperer" and 1st Mate has for the stingrays! These photos show "Lilly" frolicking around our tour guests, and then swimming straight into the arms of Dwayne - and you can see the delight on his face ...... and then the snuggle and kisses .......