Friday, March 25, 2011

2001—Grand Cayman, June 2-9

I had a week banked with RCI that was about to expire. So I called and said I wanted a week in the Caribbean, on the beach, for the week of June 2-9, 2001. They had 2 choices---one in Tortola (I think) and the other at the Morritt's Tortuga Club in Grand Cayman. I mainly chose the Morritt's because I thought it would be easier to get to. This was another trip with just my son Tim, his future wife Faith, my daughter Angie, and myself.
We flew USAirways to Charlotte, then on to Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We left St. Louis about 8:30am and arrived in the Caymans about 1:30pm---not bad.
Along our way we even flew over CUba.

Soon after that we had Grand Cayman in view.

Again we cleared customs quickly and were on our way.

I had rented a mid-sized car (a very used Tercel). I was a bit concerned when I first saw it, but it managed to make it through the week---barely. I was also concerned about driving on the "wrong" side of the street. It really seemed weird having cars come at you on the right side of the road instead of the left, but we made it through that, too!



Our first stop was at the grocery store in Georgetown. Our resort was on the other side of the island (about 25 miles away) and I wasn't sure there would be a grocery store nearby. Other than the milk being $7/gallon, prices didn't seem too bad.
When we checked in, I asked if we had a beachfront room, he checked, made a change in his book, and said, "you do now". The location of our room was great! We were on the ground level, but our livingroom opened up onto a gorgeous beach. We were also near the club house and deck where all the entertainment took place.

the lobby
 the pool
Our unit as seen from the beach---bottom level 2nd from the left.
our condo from beach
                      
It wasn't the fanciest place, but it was clean and sufficient. There was no dishwasher or washer/drier, but we didn't miss them too much.



livingroom with sofa sleeper.
small tv in livingroom
livingroom
                      
kitchen


Our unit opened up onto the beach just steps from the water.  We loved the views and being so close to everything!
The bar b q hut
 our bar b q lunch
 tree outside our unit
 Tim and Faith enjoying a hammock
 the dock --- just to the right of our room.
pier through palms
                   
Even the snorkeling there was pretty good. Saw BIG fish under the dock---tarpin, I think , and some giant snook later. Dinner the first night was chicken stir fry cooked up in the condo. Angie worked out in the excercise room there for awhile, then she and i went to the bar for the nightly activities. That night it was 70's disco party-name that year.
Here she and I are enjoying the bar.

Sunday:
We spent much of Sunday exploring the other side of the island. We rode into Georgetown and on to Hell, stopping along the way to take lots of pictures.
This was taken before the town of Georgetown.
                        angie

                           tim and faith
I believe this was Queen's beach near the Morritt's.

                        We shopped for a bit in Georgetown, but didn't stay long.
A mall in Georgetown
 the marina in Georgetown

We stopped and ohhhed and awed at 7-mile beach, too.





Hell was a cute little place with postcards and jagged black rocks and an old man dressed up like a devil. Shortly after that my digital camera quit working---I guess Hell got to it. Of course we had to send post cards from Hell!
kids and the devil





Tim and Faith also signed up for a sunset tour for that evening, so we went back to the condo relatively early and sunbathed, snorkeled, and cooked dinner in the room again. About 5pm we headed out to find Kaibo to drop Tim and Faith off for their sunset cruise and Angie and I looked for a place to snorkel on the north end. We didn't have too much luck snorkeling that day.

It was also the time of the year when the crabs migrate onshore and they were everywhere!

Some were quite large. It was tough driving and seeing a big crab looking at you and all you could do is run over it with a big thud!

Monday:
Angie and i went on a snorkel tour to Stingray Sandbar and Coral Gardens. It was great! Tim and Faith opted out of this excursion. The Stingray encounter was interesting. I fed one, but when i opened my hand so it could get the squid, it chomped down on my fingers. They may not have teeth, but they do have a strong chomp. After that i stuck to just watching them. It was fun just watching them and taking picture, though.
swimming with the stingrays




Coral Gardens was the best place i've snorkelled yet! It's only accessible by boat and is very close to Stingray City (or sandbar).
coral gardens
      









At one point, I saw a large eel way down there. I came upright to get Angie's attention to point it out to her and when I looked back in the water it was almost at my flippers! That was a bit of a shock, but i guess it was use to being fed. After a swift kick, it retreated back to the bottom.
    eel
Back at the Morritt's, we sampled Tortuga Rumcake, pretty good, and went to the little local store that we found near the resort (Hurleys). We snorkeled some more at the Morritt's. Tim and I went to the north side to snorkel another area since he and Faith had rented snorkel gear that day.







Then it was potato stroganoff hamburger helper for dinner. That night was the welcome party on the deck from 5:30-9:30. There was a dance competition and Lammie played Cayman music. Angie and Faith had to dance with each other since Tim wouldn't dance. It was a beautiful evening sitting out on the deck where the activities took place.
dancing
     

Tuesday:
Girls day to go to town! We shopped, but weren't too impressed. We were impressed with the size of some of the cruise ships, though!

 I even found an internet station and got 6 minutes for $2. So I sent out a quick email saying something about "yesterday went to Hell, girls not impressed with shopping, Tim stayed at the condo, ... " I didn't mean it to sound so negative, but with that being the only communication for the week, Ken thought things were going really badly.
Back at the condo, we ate in the condo again (spaghetti this time) and watched tv. There was even a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on to watch! The activity that night was a comedy show, but we skipped it.

Wednesday:
I toured the new Morritt's Grand Resort next door. It just opned a week before and was VERY nice. Too bad we couldn't have exchanged into it! Anyway, I got a $50 gift certificate for dinner at the Morritt's restaurant. I gave it to Tim and Faith to use for a romantic dinner that night. For lunch we had spam and mac and cheese.
That afternoon Angie and i went on an East end snorkel excursion. It was great! We snorkeled Sunset Reef and "Angie's Reef"--the channel on East Eand. Even saw a large barracuda! We also saw a wrecked ship and sunken 2 man sub. Tim and Faith stayed back at the condo to enjoy the ice cream social.





Even saw a large baracuda!
From 5-7 Angie and I went to the "Island Slide Jammin' Party" in the bar, complete with raffle tickets, $1 off mudslide coupons, and movie tunes competition.
Tim and Faith joined us for a short while then went to their dinner. Angie did great on the tunes competition. They started with cartoons---she knew them all and won a rum cake.


 For our dinner, Angie and i went back to our room and dined on red beans and rice. Later she and I met Tim and Faith at the entertainment deck to enjoy the keyboard and singing of Peter Bacon.


Thursday:
We went off to the south side again to tour the turtle farm and snorkel the south side. The turtle farm was fun. Those were also the only turtles we saw on the trip.
turtle farm
      





From there we went to a highly recommended snorkel beach on 7 mile beach---cemetary reef. The fine sand made it impossible to see anything for quite a distance. The fish would follow very closely looking for handouts.


 We left there rather quickly and debated on even stopping at Eden Rock--another highly recommended place. But we did stop and were glad we did.It was very different snorkeling there and very deep with lots of caverns underwater, but really neat. Didn't have an underwater camera with me here though.  Could have spent more time there, but wanted to get back fairly early to clean up for our 1 dinner out together (the taste of the Caribbean Buffet at the Morritt's). We got back with enough time for Tim and me to snorkel around the morritt's a little more. That's when we found 2 very large snook under the dock of the Reef Resort next door. The dinner buffet was expensive, but good---red beans and rice, jerk chicken, salad, conch chowder, other odd stuff and lots of desserts (key lime pie, pecan pie, flan, cake). Then Angie and i went to listen to Lammie again. There was also a fire and limbo show which was rather impressive. Another beautiful evening to be outdoors.


Friday:
Angie and i tried to go on another East end snorkel trip, but it was cancelled. They recommended Queen's monument on the East side, so Angie and i went there. It was great! Too bad we didn't find out about it sooner! It was quite a swim out to the reef, but we made it without any trouble even with our little "zoomers" flippers. It's not a "popular" place---never saw anyone else there, but the snorkeling way out was excellent.
queens monument again

We even saw cottlefish and another very large eel while we were snorkeling. I'd say it was the 2nd best place I've snorkeled so far (that includes my 10+ trips to Hawaii by 2009).
squid
    Large green eel in the coral

Even saw a bat ray.





After an afternoon of snorkeling, we went to the little gift shop at the Morritt's and got ice cream. The girls wanted to go back to Georgetown for a little more shopping, so we headed off to there in the late afternoon. We also wanted to hang out on 7-mile beach for a little while and catch a sunset. While waiting for sunset, the girls joked about being "tanned models".
tan models

Sunset was not a disappointment! The picture doesn't do it justice!
sunset of catamaran and moon from 7 mile beach

On the way back to the condo, we stopped at Burger King for dinner. Back at the condo, Angie and I again went to the deck to enjoy Peter Bacon on the keyboard. Angie even requested some Louie Prima music which he obliged us with. All the entertainers were very good all week and most of them had a great sense of humor. We really enjoyed joking with them. I guess it didn't hurt having a couple gorgeous young ladies with me---we got lots of attention.
Saturday:
I guess all good things have to come to an end! We finished off the food and packed. The girls did some final sunbathing to complete their tanned model process. I turned in the keys and towels and comment card on how much we enjoyed the visit. Then we were off to the airport and car rental return. Gassed up for the 2nd time and 450 miles for about $40 total on gas ($2.70 CI/gal---about $1.80 US at home at that time). Checked in the car, walked to the airport and waited and shopped in the duty free market of the airport. There seemed to be a better selection there then in Georgetown!
I've thoroughly enjoyed the trips with my "kids" (Faith--and now Josh, too-- included!). Even though Ken didn't want to go on these trips, I'm glad he gives us his blessings and sends us on our way.

1 comment:

  1. I love Cayman since my childhood, father would take us there mostly every year but for last few years I have not gone there. Still that’s in my memory the stunning beauty of beaches, clear blue water, looking for fishes and snorkeling. Amazing! My father always believes that Cayman bars are the world’s most wonderful bars.

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