Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Day 14 – Lookout Stingrays, We Are On Our Way!

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The ship was on time as we spotted the Georgetown harbor at 6:00  am.

You Know?  When Columbus landed in the Caymans in 1503, he found tortoises and sea turtles in such profusion that he promptly named the islands Las Tortugas.  But the name that stuck for the islands was the Carib word “Caimanas.” Fitting, since the caiman is a New World crocodilian, the islands were long the lair of pirates, buccaneers, and assorted freebooters.

Despite their past, the Caymans are a Caribbean demi-paradise of white-sand beaches, coral gardens, and offshore waters harboring spectacular shipwrecks.  Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman also boast the highest standard of living in the entire Caribbean.

The weather was perfect, and there were no mountains here; it was flat as a pancake!

We had company; a Celebrity and a Carnival ship were there a little before us.

They were anchored in the bay and getting ready to use the tenders to go ashore.

We arrived right on time at Grand Caymen Island.  We landed in Georgetown and then took the bus to catch a small boat and ride to Stingray City!  (See the map below)

The Cayman Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory and the largest by population.  The 264-square-kilometer (102-square-mile) territory comprises Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman islands.  FYI: Catalina is 76 square miles!

The Caymans are located south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.  Georgetown on Grand Cayman is the capital city and the most populous of the three islands.

We took the bus from Georgetown a short distance and crossed the light blue area to Stingray City via a long boat.

We hopped on a water taxi to the pier since the piers did not handle large ships!  The city provided a fleet of tenders that could take 150 people at a time.

We were pretty small compared to the Mother Ship!

The port provided efficient transportation to and from the docks using new boats.    It was a walk-on/walk-off arrangement.

The boats loaded and unloaded 2,000 people per ship in a half-hour.

We were greeted with a Hula by the temporary mayor of the city (for today).

Hilo (Mary) Hatti waved to us!  (Do you remember Hilo Hatti?)
Native Hawaiian singer, hula dancer, actress and comedian (1901-1979)

We were taken to a tent where we awaited the bus, which had the driver’s seat on the wrong side of the vehicle.  This is a British protectorate, so they drive crazy.  I paid particular attention because we will be in Ireland in a few weeks and have rented a car.

Mary has the tickets, so we are ready to go!!

Driving down the wrong way on the streets was a little exciting!

I just closed my eyes at every turn.

We arrived at the dock and jumped onto a 50-passenger boat to the sandbar called Stingray  City.  About 25 minutes later, we disembarked  (climbed a ladder off the back of the boat into the water) and met an experienced guide who instructed us on how to handle the stingrays.

We are ready for them; are they prepared for us?

The boat tied up and dropped an anchor, and we went into the wonderfully warm water.

We went for a swim in waist-deep water and discovered friendly white southern stingrays at Stingray City, a group of sandbars located 25 miles off the shore of Grand Cayman. The water surrounding the sandbars is pretty shallow, which makes it ideal for people of all ages to join in the fun. We had 90-year-olds in the water with us, and I assisted an older lady who was scared of the stingrays in climbing back up the ladder to safety.

The graceful southern stingrays glided around us as we entered their natural habitat’s clear three to four-foot-deep waters.  A couple of those rays were licking their lips, a worrisome sign.   These giant sea creatures are so used to humans that they allow us to feed, play, pet, and take pictures.

There were a lot of people, but it was not crowded.

The winds brought in some large waves, meaning about five feet tall, so you had to keep an eye out, or you would swallow salt water!

It was a perfect day to chase the little critters around.

We got up close and personal with one little guy named Seymour.

Go ahead, Mary, touch him, but be careful of the poison stingers.

They dared me to kiss Seymour, so I puckered up and planted one on his nose. Ah, I think it was his nose.

SMOOOOOCH!!   Mary got a kick out of that!!

Then, all of a sudden, I was attacked by a “StingMary,” a rare fish that finds decrepit old men and plants kisses on them!

We think Seymour was getting jealous!

One more little pat on Seymour’s head, and we were off to get dry.

Hello S  mour!  Keep your lips puckered!

After getting on the boat, we were warm, but after an hour in the water, our wrinkles had wrinkles!! Mary has a new nickname for me: Wrinkles!

What’s the secret to having a smoking hot body as a   senior?  Cremation!

One benefit of old age is that your secrets are always safe with your friends … because they can’t remember them!

After getting in the boat (no easy task, I may add), I got in the sun, and within a few minutes, I was somewhat dry!

Read the T-shirt;   It says, “WARNING, I Bought The Drink Package.”

We headed back to the island and through the mango groves to the hidden base from where we began the journey.

In thirty minutes, we will be on the 16th floor in a hot tub, recalling our harrowing adventures today and how we got away from the man-eating rays!

Just before boarding the tender, the crew gave Mary the T-shirt since she whispered to all the rays in the local area.  They are now lining up to go to the aqua-eye doctor.

#1 Ray Whisperer!

OK, back to the ship. We will go by bus and then the tender! When we arrived, we were starved, so we went to the pool area and ordered a burger and a dog. They disappeared immediately. From there, we went to the adult’s hot tub and enjoyed the 96-degree water!

We returned to the room before heading to the 18th floor and meeting David, our new friend.  David joined us at about 7:15 pm. We had a few drinks before we decided to crash!

Dinner on the 18th!

David went his way, and we decided Mary needed to see the shops before they closed.

Whilst heading for the shops, we decided to pick up some of our pictures from the cruise.  This is where I met Grance!

What can I say?? (Note: it was staged by the photographer)

The shops are near the ship’s center, and we heard danceable music, so we sat and had a drink (or two).

I said we would go to the room when I could carry the martini glass without spilling it. Mary was attempting to make it smaller so we could go.

It was 10:00 p.m., and it was time to head home, so we did. We pushed the elevator button, rose two floors, and walked to our suite, a mere 10,982 steps away!

See you tomorrow!

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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