grand cayman shore excursions

Captains Log, conch

CONCH SHELLS IN RAINBOWS

Times are getting quieter right now .... the slowest time of the season - time to catch our breath and do some maintenance.

However, never too busy to share pictures of our beautiful surroundings collected during our tour. Here, two conch shells lying on white Caribbean sands with water so clear that you cannot see it. The surface creates rainbows and provides yet another amazing moment of beauty.

Enjoy!

Rainbows on conch shells - Grand Cayman

Rainbows on conch shells - Grand Cayman

Captains Log, barracuda, Excursions

MAN MEETS BARRACUDA - THE PHOTO!

We love hearing back from our guests, especially when sharing videos or photos that they took during their tour with us.

We posted news about an excursion where Captain Mario took a picture of a guest squaring off with a Barracuda to get a photo - we loved the photo and shared it. So, what an amazing and lovely surprise when he e-mailed us with the resulting shot - which, we might, is a pretty darned awesome pic (see below)!

Squaring off with a Barracuda - awesome photo by a guest - thanks for sharing!

Squaring off with a Barracuda - awesome photo by a guest - thanks for sharing!

It is really a great shot made even more special because it was shared by a guest. This is what we love, these are moments that we love being a part of.

Thank you to all our guests - where would we be without you?

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, Excursions, Stingrays

MEET "MUDSLIDE" THE STINGRAY!

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

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, 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

Excursions, weather

GOOD WEATHER / BAD WEATHER - STINGRAY CITY GRAND CAYMAN

There's nothing like a photo to tell a story, so here goes ......

GOOD WEATHER

 Grand Cayman attractions

BAD WEATHER

 Things to do on vacation in Grand Cayman

The start of the Caribbean hurricane season has passed us - 1 June - and boy did the season start with a bang!

Before we could utter the words "hurricane preparedness", the first tropical depression was upon us, and it was big and moody and miserable and wet, wet, wet, with inches of rainfall coming down on this little island. Flooding occurred in the lower lying regions - well, with our highest point being just 60 feet above sea level, this allows for a lot of area to be flooded!

Many pre-booked guests contact us asking if we go ahead with tours if the skies are a little cloudy. The answer is always a resounding yes!! The island may be small, but you will be amazed at the disparity of the weather conditions over just a few miles. It can be cloudy and choppy along Seven Mile Beach, while the North Sound where the stingray sandbar is found, is gloriously sunny and smooth (and vice versa).

Rain doesn't stop us either, as the same conditions as described above can be prevalent. It is not uncommon for the office to contact Captain Mario to check that everyone is doing okay with the "sudden squall" only to be told that the excursion is enjoying magnificent conditions! Besides that, you ARE going on a sea tour and we figure that you are going to be getting wet anyways.....

But wind. Now that it our enemy. Some winds coming from certain directions actually make for awesomely beautiful conditions for our visits to the reef, Starfish Point and Stingray City. But then there are the ferocious winds that can make the sound worse than a witch's cauldron! And THAT is when we cancel tours. 

"Big John" our faithful boat can handle these conditions, but when you have six foot swells, horribly dubious visibility and high winds - all you need are some intrepid guests thrown into the fray to have a tour end not so happily.

We don't enjoy cancelling tours. Firstly, our crew actually love what they do and a day without the sea means very long faces in the office. Secondly, for a small family concern such as ours, it means a loss of much needed income. Cancelling tours is not done on a whim, or because we want a day off, or because we suddenly have something better to do. We cancel tours when it is not safe to continue with the excursion in the prevailing weather. Safety first. Always.

Captains Log, Starfish Point

30 January 2015 - BY THE SKIN ON YOUR CHINNY-CHIN-CHIN!

The end of the excursion and we narrowly miss the storm - well done Captain Mario!

The end of the excursion and we narrowly miss the storm - well done Captain Mario!

As we wrote yesterday morning, conditions meant it was a close call whether to cancel the tour or not, but in the end, Captain Mario decided it was a GO, GO, GO!

Tour Time : 11:30am

Guests from : Carnival Pride Cruise, Carnival Splendour Cruise, Paradise Pointe apartments, Sunshines Suites Hotel

Star Stingray : Frosty

No Shows : 0

And boy was he glad that he had made that decision when he met our guests for the day - their cruise had been dogged each step of the way by bad weather, and at each stop they had faced cancelled excursions - what a blow that must have been for them all!

With this news in mind, Captain Mario and the crew were more determined than ever to get them out to the beautiful sites in Grand Cayman, and to get them their fill of stingray kisses! The winds gave our excursion guests a run for their money, but they were amazing and took on the adventure with huge enthusiasm! 

Coral Gardens was the best snorkel site for the day and it was not a disappointment. Even though  the wind was howling above the surface, the ocean was beautifully clear below and our guests enjoyed great visibility. Captain Mario got some great shots of the very timid Spot Fin Butterfly fish and the pretty corals, while also managing some awesome photos of our guests snorkelling.

Incredible clarity in the water at Coral Gardens, even though the winds were howling above the surface

Incredible clarity in the water at Coral Gardens, even though the winds were howling above the surface

Starfish Point Beach proved to be a real delight, with the gorgeous Caribbean sun spoiling us all with a great show during this visit. The tropical colours were ablaze and gave us the opportunity for some superb pictures with the starfish (now known as Sea Stars). Everyone marvelled at these little creatures, except for one little guy who was not totally convinced and kept his mask on at all times ....

Keeping the mask on  just in case ....... Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Keeping the mask on  just in case ....... Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

The Caribbean sun puts on its gorgeous display at Starfish Point

The Caribbean sun puts on its gorgeous display at Starfish Point

Stingray City Sandbar was the last stop - choppy waters could not deter our excited guests! The crew had so much fun introducing them to the gentle and sweet "Frosty" - she really is so terribly laid back and happy to hand out the love! What a moment it was to have our guests enjoying this moment after having so many of their vacation dreams dashed by bad weather at previous ports - jubilation for sure! 

The choppy waters at the Stingray City Sandbar were no match for our awesome guests!

The choppy waters at the Stingray City Sandbar were no match for our awesome guests!

This young guest's dream comes true - a stingray kiss to remember - mission accomplished!

This young guest's dream comes true - a stingray kiss to remember - mission accomplished!

It was a very fond farewell at the end of this tour, and we sincerely hope that we have left our island visitors with good memories that will entice them back for more!