We landed in Grand Cayman on the Wednesday afternoon, we were going to be staying for 11 days and staying with family here; Dawn, Rich and their daughter Chloe. To be honest, Stac was really nervous, we hadn’t stayed in any one place for 11 days on this trip, so the thought of staying in somebody else home, somebody who she’d only met once before, and I had never met, actually petrified her. It didn’t bother me, we’re used to getting to know strangers, it’s part of the fun of travelling.
Within a couple of hours, all her nerves and angst had disappeared, it turned out that Dawn was exactly the same, pacing up and down waiting for us to arrive because she was just as nervous as Stac, but we got to know each other, all get on well, and became the best of friends. Over the next week and a half, we explored everywhere together, we snorkeled most days, swam with turtles, went to pristine stunning beaches and got to see some stunning spots on what is an amazing island.
The people here use a phrase to describe the Cayman people, because of how friendly they are, it’s known as “Cayman-kind” and it turns out that it stretches to the people who have only lived here for a year or so also. Dawn and Rich not only put up with us in their home for a couple of weeks, they made us have their bedroom, they showed us all over the island and they spent time with us day after day, drinking, laughing and fighting with psychopathic sparklers, even though they had work the next day. It was just about the most fun it’s actually possible to have.
After they all finished work and school each evening, we would go down to another pristine beach, where we would snorkel with reef fish, or turtles, or sting rays, or octopus and many others. We’d take a couple of beers and relax watching the sun set over this amazing island, usually being eaten alive by the evil mosquitos here.
We went to the turtle sanctuary, where they have breeding programs and release turtles back in to the ocean, and on another day, we took a boat trip over to Starfish point, which, as the name suggests, is a point on the island, where you can wade through the shallow waters at the beach looking at the dozens of starfish that rest there, some over a foot in diameter.
Whilst we were here, we also swam with a large sting ray that was swimming about in the shallows, it was friendly enough to keep swimming around us even though we were all in two-feet deep water just floating under the water with snorkels.
Spotts beach is small beach, tucked away on the south of the island, but the locals know it for a very special reason, this is where the large turtles feed, and if you put on a snorkel, swim 50 yards out from the beach, it won’t take long before you can be swimming alongside one of the magnificent creatures.
The five of us went out one evening, and as is almost guaranteed here, within five minutes we had spotted a couple of large green turtles, we snorkeled nearby them for a while before they vanished off back in to the deep. We also spotted a large octopus crawling along the sea bottom here.
Camana bay is a modern shopping and dining area with a small boat port, it’s where Rich works, and it was having a festival of lights where the boat owners cover their pride and joy in as many lights as possible and compete with the others to be voted the best. The locals make a huge festival of this, and a festival in Cayman, means there will be fireworks, and big ones. The fireworks here on this tiny island are military grade pyrotechnics that make the huge displays in England look tame.
This area also has a great little wine bar that we went down to a couple of times, bonus point for this place is that it has chess boards for playing on whilst you drink wine, and because 7-year-old Chloe loves chess, we just had to go there for a drink 🙂
They took us to a couple of their favourite restaurants, including Peppers for the most amazing jerk chicken you could ever taste, and to Chloe’s favourite place for a big breakfast on our last day.
We all put the Christmas tree up together the Friday after we arrived, then the following Friday, we all had our Christmas dinner together, because we wouldn’t be here for Christmas day, but we all still wanted to do a Christmas together.
Dawn and Rich cooked an amazing dinner, we all shared gifts, drank and had another amazing night together. It’s probably no coincidence we all have lots in common, we’re all from Northern England, yet we’ve been travelling for the past year and they live in Grand Cayman, we’re hardly the normal British stereotype.
And trust me, there’s nothing normal about any of us.
Me and Dawn have blatant OCD and are serial planners, we have spreadsheets to organise our spreadsheets, Stac managed to hoover up the entire Christmas tree, and Rich has a pathological hate for cinnamon.
These good times, and so much more are the amazing memories we take away from this special island, we can’t wait to go back and see them all again, but for now it was time to say ‘see you later’, because we’re heading off to the USA for a few days, before we go back to Europe, but unfortunately for this year, that’s almost the end of the warm weather for us.
We do have a few days cruising from Miami to Key West in Mustang before that though…