best

Excursions, Captains Log

26 March 2015 - Good news, bad news in Grand Cayman

This year is shooting by, and nothing illustrates it more to us than checking on when we last posted news to our blog!

Another way of looking at the world 

Another way of looking at the world 

We seem to have gotten over the horribly moody weather experienced since November / December last year (and all the way to the first half of this month!), although having said that, we are warily eyeing some conditions towards the end of this coming week. But it has been exciting for our crew to have our island visitors enjoy some calm conditions and stunning Caribbean colours!

The last four weeks have been very busy for the island, with an enormous pressure to try and accommodate guests wanting to visit the stingrays and do some amazing snorkelling at the reef. Of all the times for Captain Mario to get sick, this was not the best! He landed up in hospital having an operation to drain a cyst in his hand, and was most definitely not a happy chappy. Even his little girl pushing buttons and moving his bed in 16 different directions did't get the full smile going. He was released early this morning and was down at the cruise terminal by 8:00am back in full swing and ready to go! Thank you to the doctors and nurses at the George Town Hospital who were responsible for his amazing treatment!

Ready for business - even in hospital! The Acquarius sign by Captain Mario's bed .....

Ready for business - even in hospital! The Acquarius sign by Captain Mario's bed .....

There was great excitement when one of snorkel guests found a new Moray Eel during a visit to the coral reef. The other two, Elvis and Physcho (aka Brutus & Beverly), are well known to us, but a new younger one has now joined the crowd! As soon as Captain Mario found this out, like a flash he was in the water and got a gorgeous photo of her!

And here "she" is ... the new younger Moray Eel found at the Reef - Captain Mario put her at approximately 4 feet and possibly 2 years of age - ain't she a beaut? The crew have not yet named her.

And here "she" is ... the new younger Moray Eel found at the Reef - Captain Mario put her at approximately 4 feet and possibly 2 years of age - ain't she a beaut? The crew have not yet named her.

More fun and delightful news was hearing back from a couple that had sailed with us in December. The lady had suffered severe motion sickness, but Captain Mario told her he suspected that it was more than just that ..... so it was awesome when they contacted us to say he had been right, she had made it safely through the her first trimester of pregnancy and they are expecting a boy! Wonder if they will call it Mario??

We also had a very special tour with the Purkey family. Their family first toured with us a couple of years back, and it was devastating to hear that shortly after they returned from holiday, their oldest son tragically passed away. We went out in search of a stingray to be his name sake, and it took us quite a while to get a "feeling" for the right one. But upon discussing the characteristics with the family, we knew we had found right stingray, and it was named "Trinton". The family made a return cruise, but oh how cruel was it that the day they anchored in Grand Cayman, the weather was beyond safe and we could not take them out to see him. That day left a whole in our hearts. So it was with mixed feelings that we accepted another booking from them for a week back, hoping like crazy that the weather would be kind, that Trinton would turn up for a visit, and that we could all share a very special moment. We won't go into it too much, but let's say that the crew were more than touched to see Trinton come visit and say hi to the family. We would not have traded that moment for anything in the world. We will look after him for you Purkey family!

Taken too soon but always remembered - Trinton Purkey

Taken too soon but always remembered - Trinton Purkey

On a less happy note, it is with great sadness that Captain Mario still reports bad treatment of our beautiful stingrays by some operators. He witnessed one picking up a stingray right out of the water and holding it over the heads of some guests for a photo - this is something we find appalling. Captain Mario was in the process of upping anchor and leaving the sandbar so was able neither to chastise the operator, nor even take a photo as proof, but it breaks our hearts that this kind of abuse continues. It is simply so wrong. He also reported finding a dead starfish at Starfish Point .... yes, anything could have caused this, but too many times we witness operators and visitors taking the starfish right out of the water! We always stress the importance of respecting our beautiful creatures to all our visitors, and we wish all operators did the same. Let's hope we can continue to educate everyone and change their attitudes and actions.

Stingray and anchor at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Stingray and anchor at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman

Captain Mario has reported some pretty amazing snorkelling moments of late, not least the finding of the new comer eel! Excitement has also been generated by the the large Barracudas that have been spotted, one over 5 feet! Our excursions guests have enjoyed seeing a congregation of Bermuda Chub (Captain Mario estimates there must have been over 100 of them!), a congregation of Stoplight Parrot Fish - pretty awesome and a huge Spotted Trunk fish enjoying body polish at a "cleaning station". But his favourite moment of all was spotting a Tiger Grouper - oh, he did not stop babbling about the sighting for a while!

We have included some of the photos from the last few beautiful tours, and we hope that you enjoy them. Come visit soon!

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


Excursions, Starfish Point, sunset

24 December 2014 - Grand Cayman Islands Tours

Everyone passes gas some time .......

Captain Mario and crew saw every kind of weather today ....... black skies, squalls, gusting winds, rainbows through to shots of sparkling caribbean sun and clarity under the water!

Kudos to our excursion guests who took it all in their stride and were rewarded with awesome snorkelling, finding a Queen Helmut and a sunset that could only mean christmas would be here the next day!

For the most of the day, it was better to keep the head under water to watch the breath taking coral formations and the tropical fish. It is quite extraordinary how the reef can still be so lit up on a dark day. 

Above the surface .......

Above the surface .......

Below the surface ........

Below the surface ........

Grand Cayman island seems to always dish out superb sunsets around the festive season, and she did not let us down this year either. How quiet people become when they behold such beautiful work by Mother Nature - I am quite sure you would have to be souless not to be affected ....... we hope it added a touch of special christmas feelings to all who we were lucky to be hosting!

 Things to do on vacation in Grand Cayman

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!

Captains Log, Excursions, Starfish Point

10 December 2014 - Stingray City Tours

Tour Time : 9:30am (departed 9:45am due to ships anchoring at Spotts beach)

Guests from : Carnival Freedom, Sunshines Suites Grand Cayman

Star Stingray : Barbara

OH so good to have some tropical sun on our skins which have been rain-soaked over the last few weeks - life is good when the sun is shining!

The tour went well with our guests basking in the sun at one of Grand Cayman's best beaches - Starfish Point. Guests oohed and aaahed at the sea stars, posed for pictures and lost themselves in their Caribbean vacation.

The snorkel site was enjoyed - this day we visited Coral Garden and were joined, once again, by the stingray Barbara. Captain Mario got this sequence of photos of her doing a "flyby"! She later joined the group at the Sandbar and happily snuggled in for all their kisses! Thanks to all our visitors who make each and every excursion awesome!

Our guests enjoying a stroll around Starfish Point

Our guests enjoying a stroll around Starfish Point

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.......

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