Monday, July 7, 2014

Stingray City

Jamaica wore us out. We stumbled back to our cabin and slept for what felt like 4 hours before dinner and shows that night. Needless to say, we had to rest up for our next island stop, the Grand Cayman Islands!

The next morning we awoke to the beloved clear blue sea of the Cayman islands. We were excited to visit the island once again, revisiting memories from our honeymoon as we passed through the familiar streets.

Our first stop: HELL.

Yes, Hell.

We had a fun time visiting the popular landscape made of repetitive, jagged, sharp black limestone rocks. The name Hell stuck when decades ago, locals tried crossing the land but claimed it was bloody hell trying to get across. Paired with the famous landscape is a fire-engine red postcard office themed with "I've been to Hell and Back" postcards and souvenirs inside. Visitors are able to send postcards from "Hell" but we opted out and stuck to just viewing.

Our second stop:  RUM CAKE TASTING!

YUM! Once we finished with Hell, we got back on the bus and traveled to the Tortuga Rum Company where we sampled original and chocolate rum cake. We're not sure what we were expecting but there was no skimping on the rum part of this cake. We could definitely taste the rum, making sure to bring back plenty to share with our friends and family.

Third stop: TURTLE FARM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next, our guide took us to a familiar place, the Cayman Turtle Farm. Lucky for us, we already knew how awesome this place was. We had been lucky enough to visit the turtle farm on our honeymoon and were ecstatic to go back. This visit was much shorter than last but still very enjoyable. There's just something about those giant sea turtles that keeps us in awe. After walking around the farm and seeing the various sizes and ages of the turtles, we got to climb in a tank of younger turtles as they swam around you, letting you pick them up if you nuzzled them in the right places. Jeremy even nuzzled one to sleep! Asha, however, got nipped by one (we're thinking they thought she was food since her skin tone matches their food). She quickly forgave the turtle but was also quick to get out after that :)

Fourth stop: BEACH!

We left the Turtle Farm in happy spirits especially since Jeremy had his iPhone working and in tact when we exited this time. (3 years ago, he ruined his iPhone when he accidentally went snorkeling with it in his pocket. Story here.) We had a little time before getting to our Stingray portion of the trip, so our guide stopped by the white sandy beach so we could take a few photos by the beautiful ocean.

Fifth stop: STINGRAY CITY aka Asha's largest freak out moment

Our next stop was easily the most nerve wracking. We both were a little nervous to swim with wild stingrays and honestly had no clue what to expect. It's safe to say that Asha was waaaaaay more nervous than Jeremy and you'll see why in just a few moments.

We switched transportation, loading onto a boat and enjoying a 30 minute ride out to a shallow sand bar in the middle of the ocean. Our boat joined about 4 others and anchored it's way into the stingray filled ocean. We couldn't believe the HUGE size of the stingrays, easily picking them out in the clear blue ocean. Our guides warned us that the stingrays were wild but were "well-mannered" as they were used to tourists and being fed on a regular basis. Once allowed in the water, we took no time at all getting in. We were actually one of the first couples in the water and got our pictures taken and out of the way. The one Jeremy is holding actually pooped on us! Asha was a trooper for the pictures, but after that she was nothing but a big baby jumping into Jeremy's arms, screaming and praying for her life. The combination of the rough current and thought of stepping on one of those giant sea beasts scared the living daylights out of her. She had no problem getting back on the boat and looking at the stingrays from there :)

The ride back to shore was a little more relaxing now that all of our anticipation was gone. We couldn't help but laugh at the freak out moments Asha had in the water. It will definitely be a moment to remember.

Once we reached land again, we loaded onto the bus and back to the city. We only had a few minutes to shop before heading back on the ship for another night full of more food, a dance party and our nightly towel animal. There's just something about the Grand Cayman that is dramatic each time we go. Last time it was J's story; this time Asha's. Whose will it be next time?

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