Family in the Caymans

Larry & Carey decided they needed some time out of Calgary and arrived in Georgetown to see what we get up to and what this sailing life is all about.

At Camana Bay on arrival

At Camana Bay on arrival

Don’t think Larry will be trading his truck in for our small open convertible to get to shore but they definitely got the hang of getting in and out. No incidents getting back aboard after a few drinks out at night so that was lucky.
P1100372This guy on the other hand wanted to be our mascot.
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It was a pretty full 10 days, where we got them out enjoying some water sports; snorkeling, swimming and wandering the beautiful sandy beaches most days.
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Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach

Carey at Starfish Point

Carey at Starfish Point

snorkeling the Kittiwake wreck off Seven Mile Beach

snorkeling the Kittiwake wreck off Seven Mile Beach

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Stingray City was a highlight as we had a nice calm day out near the reef and met a local who told us about the stingrays and held one while Carey & Larry rubbed it between its eyes, something they like. The stingrays eat squid but were pretty full given all the visitors.

 Not the only ones out enjoying the calm waters

Not the only ones out enjoying the calm waters

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DCIM100GOPROGOPR0216.Sailing we got to experience all conditions as we moved about the island. We had all sorts of winds from calm, to low winds (10-15knots) and +30knots with choppy seas. Now they know why we don’t like to go the against the wind!

Larry putting our screecher sail up

Larry putting our screecher sail up

 screecher day as calm winds & boys up front

screecher day as calm winds & boys up front

 girls helping out with sail setting

girls helping out with sail setting

a little more lively with spray coming over and running down the decks

a little more lively with spray coming over and running down the decks

Did get some relax time in too, of course.
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painkillers for Teresa's birthday at a beach bar

painkillers for Teresa’s birthday at a beach bar

the boys enjoyed a kayak while Carey enjoyed the sun

the boys enjoyed a kayak while Carey enjoyed the sun

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When anchored out front of Georgetown we would awake to the anchors going down from the cruise ships behind us and watched all the tourists getting shuttled ashore. Da’Fish Shack in Georgetown had great happy hours and a beautiful view so we enjoyed a few stops there.
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Da'Fish Shack

Da’Fish Shack with great views over the harbor

the local pirate ship passing while a cruise ships leaves

the local pirate ship passing while a cruise ships leaves

A car was handy to tour the island, see some of the different sights of Grand Cayman and get to some of the beaches further away.
We even went to “Hell”
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Pedro San James built by an Englishman in 1780 gave us some history of the island and included a tour of the house and gardens and a presentation on life back in he 1800s.
P1100402Horses and kite surfers at Barkers Point on the West End

Looks like fun..

Looks like fun..

The iron shore rock coastline on the south side
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I think they left pleasantly surprised and even had learnt some sailing skills but we were all much in need of an AFD (alcohol free day).
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Grand Cayman

Had a good sail to Caymans after taking advantage of SE winds just after a northerly wind and arrived into Georgetown. Checking in was a breeze here; very professional compared to a lot of places we have been. No cash reqd on entry, given 30 days and directed to a Mooring buoy to start our stay in the Caymans. Every day we were moored in the harbor we were awoken to anchors going down for the big cruise ships that bring in thousands of tourists. Lots of action compared to some anchorages so fun to sit with our coffee and take in the views.
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Georgetown itself is a small compact area with colorful buildings made up of many different banks and for the cruise ship tourists lots of high end jewelry stores etc. and of course a wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from. An easy place to wander around but busy during the day depending on how many cruise ships are in town.
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scattered all around the island are painted iguanas; very cute

scattered all around the island are painted iguanas; very cute

The fish market is right on the waterfront with the fishermen cleaning the fish on old wooden tables and if you so choose some of the nearby restaurants will cook your fish for you. May have to buy some fish…
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the blue iguana that has come back from near extinction; painted on a restaurant in town

the blue iguana that has come back from near extinction; painted on a restaurant in town

The Caymans accept both USD and the Cayman dollar, which is actually pegged to the USD at a premium of 1.2. Ingenious as goods and services look reasonable compared to what you pay in the US but of course it’s 20% higher! Ouch. Great that you can get USD and the Cayman $ out of the ATMs though.

There’s plenty to do here including lots of different sports from diving & snorkeling the many beaches to golfing. You can jump the public buses around the island, hire a car, motorcycle or bike to see the small towns on the coast and some of the history around the island.

1 of the murals at Fort George showing the Spanish attacks of 1779

1 of the murals at Fort George showing the Spanish attacks of 1779

The Caymans are well known for their diving and on our first dive we were not disappointed by the fish life. We were escorted by a big dog snapper who showed us a green moray eel, 3 legged turtle, spotted eagle ray, a large lobster and lots of other fish life. The coral here is not as spectacular as we thought it would be. Life is made easy for diving as we could hook up to any of the mooring buoys scattered around the island so of course we had to take advantage.

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See the moray behind our friend

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 Tiger grouper

Tiger grouper

Stingray City near the entrance to north sound is a busy place ALL THE TIME! It’s kinda neat getting up and close and being able to touch the stingrays; just watch their tails. They have no qualms about coming up close as they are fed by the day trip boats that come.
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Anchoring off Starfish Point on the northern end of north sound was protected and pretty with the palm trees on the white sandy beach. The day trip boats typically bring their guests over to the spit, to stand in the clear shallow water and look down at the many starfish in the sand after visiting Stingray City. Sunset was perfect as the day trip boats were gone and there was no one else around and we could look back at the lights along the other side of the island.
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The water was nice and calm so we kayaked into the various bays in the area, past some pretty substantial homes, up to Rum Point, which we found to be really touristy.

Kayaking in the canals near Rum Point

Kayaking in the canals near Rum Point

Seven Mile beach on the West side of the island has that white powdery sand and turquoise water but it’s really closer to 5 miles long. Lots of different water activities are available; parasailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, sailing a hobby cat or Kayaking. We enjoyed just laying around on the pristine beach and swimming in the clear water.
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Fo a change of scene we ended up scoring tickets to the 2016 Legends Tennis at Camana Bay to see 3 matches. After talking to the Welcome Centre at Camana Bay we were allowed to stay the weekend at the docks, for free! A nice area with lots of expensive shops, bars and restaurants which is very protected as its in the North Sound. It just so happened it was also Super Bowl weekend so great place to be as there was plenty going on.

Sunset from the tennis over to the Dock at Camana Bay

Sunset over the docks at Camana Bay, from the tennis

Anna Kournikova & Jim Courier vs Mansour Bahrami & Ashley Harkleroad.

Anna Kournikova & Jim Courier vs Mansour Bahrami & Ashley Harkleroad.

a rather large impressive iguana also hanging out at Camana Bay

a rather large impressive iguana also hanging out at Camana Bay

We found another great anchorage in Governors Creek and thru the canals to Mitchells Creek, which we used when a Northerly came through. Very calm and right across from Cost U Less for our grocery runs.

Tucked away in a nice neighborhood

Tucked away in a nice neighborhood

Our bikes were handy for getting around the island as its nice and flat so we could get some good exercise seeing the island.
The West Bay Loop bike trail (10m) was a good ride where we got to see the Western end of the island including Barkers National Park and cycled through the different neighborhoods on the West side.

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Heritage Kitchen, a great find for lunch

Heritage Kitchen, a great find for lunch

Lots of kite surfers off Barkers Point playing in the wind

Lots of kite surfers off Barkers Point playing in the wind

Also cycled down to South Sound past some pretty palatial homes. Went to a couple of nice beaches with great shade for us people that burn. Smith Cove wasn’t far from Georgetown and is a protected cove that was actually really busy. Spotts beach was on the south end of the island and busy with people snorkeling out to the reef that is fairly close. It was a Saturday so there were a lot of locals out enjoying the day as well.

 Smith Cove

Smith Cove

Spotts Beach and yes the water is that clear

Spotts Beach and yes the water is that clear

Our last dive before posting this we saw quite a few large fish. One was the biggest fish we have ever seen while diving; a 4ft (?, huge) Goliath Grouper that was hanging out outside his cave. I’ve included a picture of one from the internet so you can see how amazing they look as unfortunately my photo was looking down on him so he looked the same color as the coral, shame!
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We were also approached out in the open by a rather aggressive green moray eel with his mouth opening and closing, which is actually their way of breathing but not attractive when it’s after you. After doing some reading they are typically shy and retreat but do have bad vision so guessing this guy mistook us for something else. Brett had to kick at it a number of times till he fled up over the coral. Bit of excitement for the day!
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Great day diving

Great day diving

Well we have guests coming to enjoy the Caymans with us. Will have to hire a car and see what else we can find around the island. Really enjoying our stop here.

We have had to extend our visa which meant a trip to both Customs and Immigration and a fee for extensions. Nice that they give you 1 month free though.