Sunday, January 12, 2014

Grand Cayman Day 1

This evening, returning from the beach, I told Josh that we should make a booking now for next January so we can come to the same place again next year.  I know it is only the first day, but I have seen enough to know I want to do this A LOT MORE.

We arrived, red-eyed and grumpy after about 12 hours of very turbulent, squashed, no-frills, low-sleep flights.  On approach, we circled the island a few times, swooping over cruise ships looming far higher than the island and across uninhabited atolls with yachts moored nearby.  The sea changed from a moody turpentine to pure turquoise.  On arrival, there are no concourses in the airport, so we just walked off the plane onto the blazing white cement runway and 85 degree heat.  The kids were thrilled.

Frost said "This is great.  This is tropical."
Wren said "I thought it would be MORE tropical.  It is very hot.  There are palm trees!"

Our house is lovely.  It is one half of a duplex on the beach or rather on a tiny rocky shelf with a tiny beach which connects right onto the end of the famous 7 mile beach.  We are a short walk from one of the best beach-snorkeling sights in the area (Marine Park's Cemetary Reef) and around the corner from a supermarket and a liquor store featuring gazillions of types of rum.

Everyone is very helpful and laid back.  Josh went to one of the U21 World Cup soccer games and reported that they couldn't figure out how much to charge or how to issue tickets so they told everyone to just come in.  The supermarket shopping aisles are chaos as people just leave carts at odd angles and drive hither and thither up and down the aisles.  It is not uncommon to have an 8 cart grid-lock.  Nobody minds.  Everyone just stands still and looks confused.  I came to the front of a 7 cart line at the checkout and asked where eggs were.  She told me where and added "If you need eggs, go and get them... there's a long line so they can wait."  How does that work?

We have started our bird list, or rather tried to.  I thought I had identified a kind of dove, a black cuckoo and a shrike.  However, going through the bird book I missed vital diagnostic features and am only able to conclusively identify a wild rooster which was begging by the Car Rental place.

On the road from the airport we saw some large lizards (18" to 2 feet long) dead on the road.  I mentioned this to the owner and she said that they were invasive South American iguanas and they are told to run them over!  These are not the rarer, native giant blue iguana which we hope to see later in the week.  When we first came to our house, the kids screamed to me to come and see A LIZARD. Indeed, the rocks by the shore are home to many larger hunting lizards - the kind that stand up tall and run fast and upright.  We will stalk them again tomorrow.

While Josh watched the Seahawks game I took the kids down the beach (in the picture) to a nearby swimming beach and marine park.  We snorkeled and Wren built castles and jumped waves.  We stayed until sunset it was so lovely.  I saw many fish, including tang, silver fish and something that looked like a hawk fish. I also found a complete lobster carapace which I hope to draw tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I am going bird watching and then we'll try and snorkel out to the reef with Frost and wade and baby snorkel with Wren.  There is a kayak under the deck we can take out and moor to a buoy if Wren gets comfortable enough to snorkel himself.  Right now he only wants to jump waves.  The sea is VERY salty and warm.  The visibility is good but I have not yet seen the coral.  Tomorrow, I hope.
Our house is the left half of this duplex.  This is taken from the beach wall.

This is the view from the deck over the rocky foreshore.
Plain sand starts around that corner.  In the distance you can see some white silhouettes which
are huge cruise ships in port.


Tara said...

Sounds like you have found heaven on earth.
Today was rainier than I have ever seen it in the rainy city. Everyone was talking about it. It woke lots of people up last night and caused rivers to run down the streets.
You left this city at a perfect time.
I texted Jason and have not visited Beez as I am too busy painting.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. I hope you can keep us posted every day so we can share in the pleasure...even if its just a picture or two! love MUM

Lynn K said...

Wow - sounds fantastic. All I can think is, "Me too!" How did you find the house?

Lynn K said...

I found a flight for $636 round trip (April school break). Can it possibly be that reasonable? I'm going to be passionately following your blog!

tamusana said...

looks sublime... so happy you're there.