Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Western Caribbean Cruise: Snorkeling in Grand Cayman


Our excursion in the Cayman Islands included two stops: swimming with the stingrays in Stingray City and snorkeling amongst coral reefs and fish. I was super stoked about the snorkeling. I had purchased an underwater camera for this very reason: to take incredible shots of the underwater life.

Well, that didn’t happen.


Let me back up. After leaving Stingray City, we sailed for another 10-15 minutes to get to deeper water where the coral reefs were. With this journey, we were the only boat around so it was a little scary. (But there were also 50 people with us - so, really, not that scary at all!) I had to put on my flippers, grab a mask and snorkel, and hop into the water. It wasn’t easy, but that didn’t even come close to being the hard part.


I guess I should mention that I’ve never snorkeled before. Not even in a pool. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing. I pulled down my mask, inserted the breathing part-thing into my mouth, and stuck my head in the water... only to come up sputtering 5 seconds later as salt water made it’s way down the snorkel tube and into my mouth.



I hate salt water with a passion. It’s the main reason I’m not the biggest fan of the beach. Well, that and the fact that sand gets everywhere.

It took me a while to get used to the snorkel and how to use it properly to actual swim with it. My throat felt raw from all the salt water I had choked up and for a while, I was not a happy camper.


But I got used to it and learned how to snorkel and became a pro in no time. The strap from my camera fell off somewhere so I had a fun time taking a picture and winding the film with one hand, while keeping the other hand firmly grasped on my upright snorkel. I had a few pictures with finger shots, but they turned out pretty good. For an underwater film camera.


I think the most disappointing thing was the lack of fish around. At most, I saw around 20? I was expecting to see a lot more! The coral reefs were amazing, though, and the whole experience was simply awesome so I’ll take what I can get. I mean, I snorkeled in the Cayman Islands! For a girl whose biggest adventure thus far was skiing in Virginia... well, this took the cake.


We had about 35 minutes to snorkel and I could have used another 20-30 minutes. Once I got good at the snorkel part, I was happily swimming everywhere, exploring the world beneath me. It’s pretty amazing to think of what a world there is beneath the sea. After a while, I looked up and saw about half our group was already in the boat and my mom and I had ventured pretty far away (farther than I would have liked!). So we high-tailed back as fast as we could with flippers on our feet and masks on our faces.


It was an amazing excursion, one I highly recommend. I wish I had chosen another snorkeling excursion for Cozumel, but I wanted two totally different experiences. After snorkeling, we got back into the boat and to Georgetown, where my mom and I indulged in a Cayman Island delight - Dairy Queen! ;) Yes, we are cultured folks. (To be honest, it was the only place where we could find a bathroom but we also had to buy something!)


As for purchases, my mom bought a keychain but that’s all we got. Shopping in the Cayman Islands was not a good experience, at all! I don’t think they’ve ever heard of the phrase customer service, shown as a worker began putting up magnets on a display as I was perusing it! I mean, really? That couldn’t wait another two minutes? Sigh.

Our time in Grand Cayman was short, but incredible. I would definitely go back again for all the fun excursions there are. My tablemates (the family of three) went on a dolphin excursion that sounded divine. Swimming with dolphins? I’m up for that!


  1. KJHartenstein6/7/11, 10:22 AM

    Yeah I thought Grand Cayman was kind of bleh.  Although we did end up at Margaritaville which is always fun!

  2. I've basically never snorkeled either except for a few minutes in Dominican Republic when I was like 13, but I remember really loving it. The excursion sounds awesome! I really should do more of them while I'm on vacation- your posts are totally inspiring me to! That's too bad about the shopping though, I hate when sales people don't know what they're doing. 

  3. I've only been snorkeling once; I didn't love it either. I do like salt water but only cause it clears out my sinuses (I know, that's gross, but true). Way to go you for conquering it though :)

  4. girlwiththeredhair6/7/11, 10:54 AM

    That looks AWESOME. Snorkeling is totally on my life list! 

  5. i love love LOVED the stingrays when i went. unfortunately, a storm hit on our way back and my camera was completely soaked :( my sister did a dolphin excursion, which she liked. luckily, she did the cheap option because in reality everyone had the exact same "touch the dolphin" experience. not a person got to swim with them, which was total bunk

    glad you had so much fun! take me on your next trip ;)

  6. The island itself wasn't much so I probably wouldn't vacation there, but there were a ton of great excursions so it's a fun stop on a cruise ship!

  7. The excursions made the whole trip that much better. Totally recommend!

  8. oh my gosh, coolest pics eva!!! when are you going back??? haha :)

  9. The only time I've ever been snorkeling was in the Indian Ocean. I was kind of terrified at first because I had never done it and have a bit of a fear of open water (well not the water as I'm a great swimmer - the things which live in open water) but I am so so glad I did it. Once in a lifetime experience. I'd love to try it somewhere a little more tropical though!

  10. I've never really wanted to snorkel before until now I'm seeing your photos and you kind of have me convinced to try it some day! :)

  11. I seriously wanted to get back into the boat within the first 30 seconds. But I didn't and I'm so glad I kept with it! :) It was so much fun!

  12. If you ever go on a cruise, it's a must-do! They have so many different kinds of snorkeling excursions but make sure you do one!

  13. The one my tablemates were talking about, they actually did swim with the dolphins. Like on top of them! So cool! It was the most expensive option, but I think it would be totally worth it. Plus, it came with a DVD of the experience!

  14. Looks like fun! I've always wanted to try snorkeling.


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