Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Western Caribbean Cruise: Snorkeling in Grand Cayman

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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.

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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.

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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.

Blech.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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!

15 comments:

  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!

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  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. 

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  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 :)

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

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

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  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 ;)

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  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!

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

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

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  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!

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  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! :)

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  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!

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  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!

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  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!

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

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Comments make me all giddy with excitement.

 
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