Western Caribbean Cruise – Day 4

We got up early this morning to head to Georgetown. The tending process went smoothly, but the seas were less smooth. Georgetown doesn’t have any long piers, so the harbor was dotted with tenders from the five cruise ships in port that day – the Caribbean Princess, plus ships from Celebrity, Holland America, Carnival, and P&O.

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Cruise ships in Georgetown, Grand Cayman

The harbor is very shallow – about 80 ft deep where we were anchored and crystal turquoise. Not far off, though, you could see where it dropped off to a depth of about 8,000 feet. Because of the abrupt drop off and the generally shallow depth right at the shores of Grand Cayman, they actually have to import their seafood, as the geography isn’t conducive to fishing.

Got our photo taken with some pirates as we got off the boat and reserved spots on an island bus tour. We stopped in Hell – very touristy and so many bad jokes!

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It gets its name from otherworldly black coral formations that can be seen in the area. The whole of Grand Cayman is a coral island, which is somewhat unique, and accounts for the water depth issues I mentioned above. Here, the coral is exposed, so it looks blackish.

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Coral formations in Hell

Then we stopped by the Tortuga rum factory and sampled delicious rum cakes and vanilla rum. I’m kicking myself now for not buying any!Then we stopped by a dolphin place, where they had to lug fat tourists around and finally a brief stop at 7 Mile Beach. 7 Mile Beach is home of the island’s most insanely-price real estate, with condos and apartments, some of which go for hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Interestingly, besides condos, the beaches also have a number of cemeteries. When the islands were originally settled, the beaches weren’t of any use, so they buried their dead there. Ironic, that now the beaches are some of the most sought-after real estate in the world!

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A cemetery on the beach – taken from our speeding bus.

 

Our guide gave us lots of other facts about Grand Cayman, such as how its main industries are tourism and banking, how people used to have a tradition where they covered their yards with white sand near Christmas time to mimic snow, and how many trees have sheets of metal around the middle to keep iguanas off. As tourists, it was exciting to see iguanas just running around, but they are actually a pest species and will deforest most plants that aren’t protected in this way. He talked about how Grand Cayman is governmentally British (some coins I got as change have the Queen and sea turtles) but culturally American and is a very modern island. He said he has had people on his tours ask to be able to do what the “natives” do and he says, “well, most of the ‘natives’ are inside on their computers!”

The heat was unexpectedly tiring and we wanted to get lunch on the boat, so we picked up a few souvenirs and took the tender back. Continuing on my tradition of having an awkward encounter every day of this trip, I had an incident with one of the tender employees. The seas were still rough, so they were taking people’s’ hands as they transferred from the tender to the cruise ship to keep people from falling in. Right as he took my hand, they decided the gangway was too full and so we proceeded to stand there hand-in-hand until they started letting people off again.

We went to the afternoon movie (Mr. Holmes) which finished just in time to watch our departure from Grand Cayman from the back of the ship. For dinner I had prosciutto and cantaloupe, a delicious peach Bellini cold soup, and spaghetti.

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