things to do

things to do

QUAKERS NEST!

Captain Mario is a great lover of the sea and it's inhabitants, and assimilates facts about aquatic species like his lungs assimilate oxygen. However, he also has another great love ...... birds!

Over the past weekend when weather made tours impossible, the opportunity to have a drive around the island was greatly enjoyed, and he was delighted to spot some Quaker Parrots on a power line down South Sound. He had not seen any around the island for quite some time, so was doubly delighted by the show they put on ..... one by one they joined others on the power line. As each new Quaker joined the group, the others would side step down the line in unison until their was enough space ..... very sweet to watch.

Quaker Parrots

Quaker Parrots

Yesterday, after a very happy excursion, he went off the a camera shop in South Sound to get some advice on taking photos. Upon arrival there, he heard them again, followed the sound and VOILA - found their nest. 

Also known as Monk Parakeets, these little birds originate from South America, and are believed to have been brought to Grand Cayman as pets. Over the years, some of these have been released and they have now formed breeding groups, establishing breeding colonies mostly on the South-West side of the island. 

They breed in groups of pairs in large shared nests - the girls and boys cannot be told apart. The nests are large and consist of a series of "apartment" - each pair having a "bedroom" and "lounge" area. These birds are vegetarian and will make a meal out of any seed and vegetation.

So it was an awesome start to the week for the Captain - stingrays and Quaker Parrots - what more could he ask for?

things to do, For children

Bel Air Gardens - Whistling Ducks & Iguanas Galore!

 Things to do on Grand Cayman

When you and the kids need a break from sun and the beach, hidden away down South Sound is Bel Air Drive, where you will find a small public park called Bel Air Gardens Family Park.

Here you will find endangered West Indian Whistling Ducks, fresh water turtles and a LOT of green iguanas - we usually splurge out on a couple of loaves of bread to feed them all. Other visitors also bring along a variety of leafy vegetables which are greatly enjoyed by the inhabitants.

This is the only duck to breed on the island. Sadly their numbers were hugely depleted due to loss of habitation and over-hunting, and they are now a protected species. Breeding groups of these beautiful ducks are now only found on a few of the caribbean islands. 

The ones here are quite familiar with their human visitors, and the turtles, ducks and iguanas all jostle for front position when the snacks are being handed out.

Great fun for little and big visitors alike - come on over and enjoy a rare bird!


things to do, For children

21 February 2015 - WINGED SUNSET FROM DART FAMILY PARK

Very occasionally, we get the chance to go out and enjoy an island outing. We are so lucky to living on the beautiful island of Grand Cayman, however, like anywhere in the world, work can sometimes get in the way of enjoying what we have around us.

Grand Cayman Attractions

Tours had been cancelled for today, and our little family was lucky to have some time all together - Mandy managed to finish her work by around 11am, so a bit of fun was planned. It was a truly lovely day with our little caribbean island glowing in the sun shine and we ended our day at the Dart Family Park along South Sound.

Grand Cayman Attractions

This is situated right next door to the National Trust for the Cayman Islands off South Church Street. This little gem offers something for everyone - jungle gyms for the kids with a selection of monkey bars and slides, walks, picnic areas with seating and tables, and a gorgeous view of the caribbean ocean. Incoming flights carrying visitors to our island usually make their way right over this little park as they come in to land, and today we managed a lovely photo of one of them doing this at sunset.

A flight comes in to land on Grand Cayman at sunset

A flight comes in to land on Grand Cayman at sunset

It is always exciting to wonder if we are going to be the lucky operators who will get to take them for a visit to the Stingray Sandbar ........ here's hoping!

22 February 2015 - Sighs all round

 Best snorkel sites in Grand Cayman

Clearly, as can be seen in the photo above, even the stingrays were smiling to see things getting a little back to normal after the last few days.........

Tour Time : 8:30am

Guests from : Disney Wonder Cruise, Marriott Beach Resort Grand Cayman, Sunshine Suites Hotel, residents

Star Stingray : Snowflake

No Shows : 0

Enough already! We have been forced to cancel tours since Thursday, so it was with a sigh of relief that we managed to get out again today. We have had to console so many disappointed island visitors who were looking forward to meeting the stingrays .......

Barbara, the stingray favoured by Captain Mario, was all of the guests. Captain Mario said that at one point she seemed even to be hugging his head she was so happy to see him! Below are some photos of the stingrays who came to visit us at the snorkelling site at Coral Gardens.

Captain Mario also reported great jollity from all the other operators who were also just SO happy to be out again, and of course, the guests who had been worried they miss this awesome adventure completely were quite giddy with excitement. Very good spirits all round .....

Daughter hides behind mom, mom is bravely handling the situation......waah! Surprise when Snowflake picks up her nose for a kiss, mom ALMOST loses it. Then mom re-assesses the situation, steadies herself and BAM she goes in for the kiss! Awesome!


Captains Log

11 February 2015 - Like a rough diamond....

As we suspected yesterday, cruise ships were diverted to Spotts again today. Everyone took a deep breath and gave the day their best shot! Weather conditions all rough on the surface, but really quite a delightful tour to be had .....

Tour Time : 9:30am & 2:15pm

Guests from : Carnival Breeze cruise, Brilliance of the Seas, The Sea Breeze condominiums, Grand Cayman Beach Suite and Comfort Suites

Star Stingray : New comer

No Shows : 0 Whoopee!

Our guest enjoys the company of a stingray during the snorkelling stop

Our guest enjoys the company of a stingray during the snorkelling stop

The morning snorkel stop was just fantastic, with so much life happening all around us. Barbara the stingray, and two of her buddies, joined us for this section and played beautifully with our guests (the above photos show how close they come to say hi!). A large Parrot Fish also joined in the fun, and some of the other tropical fish which delighted us with their presence were the Mutton Snapper, the Spotted Trunk Fish, the Grunts. Spanish Hog Fish, Sergeant Majors, Queen Angelfish and the Blue Tangs - just a rainbow of aquatic colours!

Snorkelling in Grand Cayman - huge Parrot Fish, Blue Tang and Queen Angel Fish

Snorkelling in Grand Cayman - huge Parrot Fish, Blue Tang and Queen Angel Fish

The wind was blowing, making the waters choppy, but the colours were brilliant blue and green, a product of the glorious caribbean sun that was shining down on activities.

The glorious result of the caribbean sun shining down on the North Sound in Grand Cayman

The glorious result of the caribbean sun shining down on the North Sound in Grand Cayman

Much like yesterday's morning tour, Starfish Point had to be missed because of time constrictions due the cruise ships being in Spotts. However, this beach was very much enjoyed by our visitors on the afternoon excursion, and they were treated to a stunning amber and pink sunset on the way back to dock.

A Grand Cayman sunset

A Grand Cayman sunset

We always have to say a big thank you to our wonderful guests for choosing us for their tour. We would not be here without you all. Today we invited returning guests who were visiting us for the 4th time, and we cannot be more honoured or happy! 

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


Captains Log, Stingrays

3 February 2015 - GLUM DAYS BUT BRIGHT SPIRITS!

Our last post showcased a video of a glory day in Grand Cayman ..... now you can see a really glum day in the caribbean! 

A glum day in Grand Cayman

A glum day in Grand Cayman

Tour Time : 9:30am

Guests from : MSC Divina Cruise Ship, Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort, Coral Stone Club Condominiums

Star Stingray : Lilly (Dwayne's favourite)

No Shows : 0

Talk about 50 shades of grey .... and none of them particular saucy! We woke to grumpy skies and cheeky winds which stirred up the waters and lowered the temps!

Kudos to our awesome guests who turned up despite this - they were determined to have a good time, and we were determined to make that happen. So nice to have "Barbara" the stingray back in circulation again - she went missing for a short while, and were concerned for her - she joined us both at the snorkel site as well as at the sandbar.

Close up of "Barbara" - Captain Mario's favourite girl!

Close up of "Barbara" - Captain Mario's favourite girl!

The clarity of the water at the snorkel site was good though, and our excursion guests had a good time admiring the coral and tropical fish, and were thrilled at the company of some stingrays. Captain Mario managed to some lovely snorkelling photos for our visitors, and we hope they they keep the memories alive for a long time - come back soon, you hear?!

 Snorkel Grand Cayman

Captains Log, Excursions

6 JANUARY 2015 - STINGRAY CITY SNORKEL EXCURSIONS CAYMAN ISLANDS

Typical  Grand Cayman excursion  pose - watching and being watched in return

Typical Grand Cayman excursion pose - watching and being watched in return

Tour Time : 2:15pm (departed 2:15pm)

Guests from : Marriott Hotel, Morritts (East End)

Star Stingray : Snowflake

And yes - that is the Caribbean sun on his back - YIPPEE! I should imagine some Canadians could happily throw snowballs at me for saying this, but we have had a rough winter so far! Cloudy skies, high winds and temperatures as low as 20 celsius! It has been a mean few weeks and we are looking forward to the season settling down now.....

Sadly, we again had to miss Starfish Point today - the presence there of an abundance of jelly fish meant avoiding this beautiful beach - usually a favourite attraction during our excursions. However, our guests had a great time snorkelling at the Coral Gardens and we managed to get some great pictures of them frolicking with some of the visiting stingrays. We love collecting these images during our tours and sharing them with our guests for free. We hope they bring life long smiles.

Captain Mario gives a hand with new snorkelers during our tour - they loved every moment!

Captain Mario gives a hand with new snorkelers during our tour - they loved every moment!

Snowflake gathered all the love and kisses at the Sandbar today - she took a particular liking to one of our guests and was quite happy not to move on at all. I don't know if the stingrays have any idea how many smiles they produce on a daily basis, but we sure wish they do. I reckon the "girls" MUST be the most photographed celebrities in the world, and they deserve every bit of squid they receive!

Our deckhand contemplates his naughty versus nice strategy for 2015

Our deckhand contemplates his naughty versus nice strategy for 2015


Excursions, private tours, rum point

26 December 2014 - Private Chartered Tours

Today, we played host to a wonderful group of island visitors and residents who organised a private excursion so that they could visit sites they were most interested in.

Our guests were an adventurous group, and at the time of reservation, had asked to snorkel for conch. As it is conch season we were able to assist, and once they had their conch onboard Dwayne prepared ceviche which they greatly enjoyed, while we cleaned the shells as tour mementos. Conch season is November to April in Grand Cayman, and we used to offer conch on all our tours, but now feel that they have been over fished and no longer wish to add to this problem.

Other stops included a "drive-by" at Rum Point, a little bit of exploring around Cayman Kai including Finger Cay, and a stop for a tropical cocktail at the very beautiful Kaibo Yacht Club. Of course, the best known attractions Starfish Point and Stingray City Sandbar were included and thoroughly enjoyed.

On the way back to dock, we slowly meandered through Booby Cay, truly one of the best spots to see the Grand Cayman sunsets. A beautiful day, a wonderful group and a delightful tour all round!

Starfish Point, Captains Log

16 December 2014 - Shore Excursions Grand Cayman

Tour Time : 10:30am (departed 10:30am)

Guests from : Independence of the Seas, Major Rod's hostel

Star Stingray : Lilly

Underwater fun while  snorkelling in Grand Cayman

Underwater fun while snorkelling in Grand Cayman

Oh me oh my ..... this has got to be the longest windy season Grand Cayman has experienced in forever! Kudos to our tour guests for braving it all and having a ball despite the conditions which would be off-putting to less adventurous types!

 Snorkel Grand Cayman

It was a constant tussle between the grey clouds and that gorgeous caribbean sun throughout the excursion. But, it worked out well with the clouds winning during the snorkel site visit and the sun breaking through for our visit to Starfish Point and Stingray City Sandbar - just perfect! We managed to get some truly lovely pictures for our guests and hope they enjoy them!

The sun breaks out for us at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

The sun breaks out for us at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Excursions

11 December 2014 - Excursion to Stingray City

Tour Time : 9:30am (departed 9:30am)

Guests from : Freedom of the Seas, NCL Epic, Navigator of the Seas

Star Stingray : Lilly (1st Mate Dwayne's favourite girl!)

When one sees the beauty of the Caribbean in these photos, it can be hard to believe that in tropical weather conditions, this spot can be quite a cauldron of waves and swells.

These last few weeks has displayed one of the longest cold fronts that Captain Mario remembers during his time on Grand Cayman, but we are slowly seeing the (sun)light again ......

This was a tour filled with a lot of fun and laughter, and was enjoyed by all. Dwayne had not seen Lilly for a while, and was missing the "girl" who has captured his heart - today they were reunited.

So ....... Caribbean waters, Cayman sun and smiles all round today ..... can't ask for much more!

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.......

Stingrays

MIRANDA .... GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!

Yup, we get to know and name most of the stingrays that we meet at the Sandbar in Grand Cayman!

Meet "Miranda"

We named her after a bride who held her destination wedding on Grand Cayman, and then chose to have a post-wedding chartered tour for her bridal group to wind down. This stingray was the centre of attention at the sandbar that tour, and was very, very, VERY loving towards the new husband. If you look closely, there is a white spot on her left wing, which looks like a wedding ring! So with all the affection she was showing the groom, and the wedding ring, VOILA! she became Miranda! We had not seen her since that tour, but here she is again - and good to have her back.