Stingray City Grand Cayman

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, 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, weather, stingray city

TROPICAL WEATHER - CONFUCIUS SAYS

Sunny with stormy clouds. Clear with tropical thunderstorms. Calm with choppy conditions.

Making sense? "Nah bo bo" as they would say locally.

But these are the tropics, and this is mid summer. The scariest question we face at this time of the year? "What will the weather be like today/tomorrow/next week?"

Usually we go through several tropical conditions through the duration of our tours in Grand Cayman, and the best Captain Mario can do is try to guage the optimal timing to visit the different sites included in our excursions. Most times he gets it right, sometimes not - and that is when our guests suddenly realise that one of the reasons we chose a boat with a comfortable inner cabin is so they can take cover from thunder showers.

Below is a photo taken on yesterday's tour showing beautiful caribbean sun highlighting the awesome colours of the sea, while threatening, dark, moody thunderstorms and downpours are clearly visible in the background. Makes for some awesome photography but certainly keeps the crew hopping!!

Ah well, all in a days work. Never boring, always interesting - and love every moment!

Kissing quickly before the rain hits us ... Stingray City in Grand Cayman

Captains Log, Starfish Point, starfish

A rare find at Starfish Point

It has been a little time since we last blogged. There has been plenty to blog about, but so little time to actually put it together.

To begin with, we are so, so grateful to have seen the worst of the weather gone. That was a very tough few months and some of the worst conditions that we have experienced in decades. Needless to say, every hour of Caribbean sun that we are getting now is LOVED (I am sure island visitors are feeling the same!).

 Starfish Point has been exquisite and we have shared a ton of photos with our guests - we provide them free of charge and we hope that they love their vacation photos.

This week, Captain Mario also found this cutie there - he did not recognise it, but we contacted the Department of Environment and they identified it as a Two Spined Sea Star :

Two spined sea star at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Two spined sea star at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

The photo not only captures how beautiful it is, but also how clear the waters have been this week (more photos below!).

This fellow is nocturnal and usually only comes out of hiding in the sand at night to enjoy it's prey - it is a carnivore and likes to munch on molluscs and gastropods such as the queen conch. It transfers its prey to its mouth using it's arms and swallows it whole, later regurgitating undigested leftovers.

It was a great little find and we have enjoyed sharing the pics and the info with you!

 
Caribbean Cushion Sea Star at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Caribbean Cushion Sea Star at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

 

As we were saying above, we have been blessed over the last two weeks with great conditions (this past Wednesday being the only day that was so bad we had to cancel tours), and we promised to share some photos - so here they are - enjoy!

Enjoying a stingray snuggle in Grand Cayman

Enjoying a stingray snuggle in Grand Cayman

One of the "ladies" at Stingray City in Grand Cayman

One of the "ladies" at Stingray City in Grand Cayman

DIY stingray kiss at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

DIY stingray kiss at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Fire coral at the reef in Grand Cayman

Fire coral at the reef in Grand Cayman

Captains Log, sunset, conch

SHELLS IN THE SKY

Conch in the sky on tour in Grand Cayman

Conch in the sky on tour in Grand Cayman

We are pretty sure that as youngsters, many of our guests enjoyed finding shapes of things in the clouds in the skies, and are sure that this fun activity gets handed down generation to generation.

During this private tour, we were sad to witness some people poaching conch while at Stingray City - it is not conch season and they are so over harvested that they really need the season to replenish themselves at least a little bit. We hope that places like the Caicos Conch Farm will prove to be a great leader of conch farming so that the wild conch can flourish.

So it was with a bittersweet feeling that we witnessed this beautiful conch shaped cloud on our journey back to dock  - lapping up the beauty of this incredible sight whilst feeling a tinge of sadness that the rule protecting these little creatures had not been observed.

All in all, a stunning end to another amazing tour soaking up the beauty of Grand Cayman!

 
A beautiful conch shell at  Stingray City  in Grand Cayman

A beautiful conch shell at Stingray City in Grand Cayman