Back’s Against the Wall

Sunday May 26, 2013

 Jess snorkel 2

One thing I have to say about Grand Cayman, is they have some world class snorkeling and diving areas.  Seeing all the coral heads under us as we brought Serendipity to her mooring ball last week, we took a little little snorkel our second morning here just to see what we could find.  And lo and behold, there was a whole amazing underwater world right off of our back porch.  All of it is a protected area with no fishing allowed in depth under 80 feet, so there was a plethora of every kind of imaginable fish swimming under our feet, unaware and non frightened of any humans bobbing around a few feet away from them.  Unlike the Bahamas, where not only did they fish know they were your dinner and made a mad dash in the opposite direction any time you started to move near, there also wasn’t the wide expanse of sandy patches between coral heads.  This area was all coral, no sand.  Swimming further and further, we came to a ledge where we looked down to find a spotted eagle sting ray below us, and schools of large jacks darting in and out of caves.  It was easy to become lost in this underwater world, and we even got a nice scolding from a dive boat that passed by since we had now swam a few hundred feet away from the boat with no dive flag up.  A few days ago I collected Matt and Brian in the dinghy so they could explore a shipwreck just off the shore, and keep an eye on them and other boats while they swam.

Rode Trip - snorkeling - fish

Brian - snorkeling ship

(Above photos courtesy of Rode Trip)


Today the four of us planned on another snorkeling trip together, and when Brian and Stephanie came to pick us up in their dingy, we had some important information from them.  Ren, from s/v Nila Girl, had just sent me a few links to weather sites showing there might be a tropical storm headed in our direction.  Brian and Stephanie are getting a new stay made for their boat, but were planning on leaving as soon as it was ready, in the next few days.  But from this forecast, we’re looking at some pretty nasty weather from the 28th to the 6th.  Which means none of us have time to get anywhere else without the chance of being caught in this storm.  Ren also sent us a map to a creek in the North Bay that we should be able to tuck ourselves into if things get bad, so we’ll really be keeping an eye on the weather for the next few days and moving our boats if necessary.  I let Brian take over my computer for a bit, since we were now able to use our long range wifi to pick up Burger King’s signal, and let him spend a little time researching site after site to see what might be coming our way.  While this was going on, Stephanie and I amused ourselves by finally getting an American radio station in again and jamming to the tunes.  When one song came on I could see her cock her head to the side, and as she looked at me, I blurted out before she could ask, “This is Fun”.  She just looked at me, “Yeah, we’re going to have a lot of fun today, but I just wanted to know..”.  “It’s Fun”, I broke in again.  “Jessica”, She sighed, “I love spending time with you guys, but sitting on your boat, checking the weather, isn’t that fun.  I just want to know who sings this song”.  By this time, Matt and Brian were cracking up with me.  “Stephanie”, I slyly smiled, “The group…is called Fun”.

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I keep trying to tell you woman…this is Fun!!

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Our weather guru, making sure we’re safe in Grand Cayman.


Fifteen minutes later we were satisfied that we couldn’t do anything about the weather except keep checking it for the next few days.  Piling the four of us into Rode Trip’s dinghy, we thought we’d go up towards 7 Mile Beach (which is actually only 4 miles long), to see if we could find any good dive sites there.  The boys also really wanted to check out ‘The Wall’, an area that drops off from 30-40  feet to hundreds of feet deep in just the span of a few meters.  Getting a very wet ride in their low sitting dinghy, we roared on near 7 Mile Beach and all the fancy hotels with their high class customers sipping on fancy drinks while sitting in shade covered lounge chairs (Ahem, J & N! (don’t worry, they come in later)).  Tying off to one of the dive balls in front of The Ritz and watching wave runners and hobie cats race by us, we put on our gear and flipped into the water, gearing up for some great coral and fish sightings that day.  While we did have a fun time (See Steph, you were right!), this area didn’t seem to offer as much as where we were anchored and all the dive shops are located.  I’m starting to think that they know something…

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I swear, I’m not a Trekkie.  I have no idea what’s going on with my hand.

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After spending a little time in the extremely warm water and catching glimpses of what fish we could, it was back in the dinghy to take the guys to The Wall.  We really had no idea where it was, it was not an ‘official’ sight, we just needed to look for a dive ball where the water turned from aqua to a deep emerald blue, and hope we found something there.  The wind was beginning to pick up, and now that we weren’t extremely close to shore, the waves a current were getting a little nastier where we sat tied to the dive buoy we found.  While the guys jumped out to see what they could find, Stephanie opted to stay in the dinghy the whole time, and I did get in the water, but wouldn’t let go of the dinghy.  There wasn’t much to see anyway, at least from my vantage point.  Just a whole lot of blue, and then a whole lot more.  We were already parked in close to 50 feet of water which makes it hard to see the bottom anyway, but since we did happen to be right at the drop off, it was impossible to see anything after that.  It looked like an area that you did have to be in dive gear for, or at least like our friend Ashley, where you can hold your breath for six minutes.  Brian did take a few dives down, getting to about sixty feet, while Matt was just a little shy of him at 40.  They played around for a few minutes, but even with their diving skills there was nothing for them to see either, and we turned around for beaches and beers.

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The dinghy ride was so wet, Stephanie had to wear goggles just to see.

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Brian: ‘There’s a whole lotta nothing out here!’


There isn’t much public beach space on West Bay, but we managed to find a little spot of sand to beach the dinghy on where we could relax and enjoy the Red Stripes I packed for us.  I don’t always plan ahead, but when I do, it usually involves drinks.  We found a little wooden platform to park our butts on as we popped the tops on our beers and watched storms come in from the distance.  It took all of five minutes for Matt and Brian to get restless, and they began chasing iguanas up trees and hunting for coconuts.  Trying, and failing, to climb the trees themselves, they instead found old coconuts on the ground and used those to knock fresh ones from the trees.  When a pile of six or seven had fallen to the ground, they brought them back over to us to try and open…without any kind of knife or machete or sharp objects.  With caveman ingenuity, they took to smashing them on sharp rocks over and over again to split the husk, and then ripping it apart as best they could.  It took a lot of huffing and puffing and grunting, but each guy was able to open their coconut, passing it around to drink the water inside (don’t hate me, but I can’t stand coconut water) and then breaking the rest into smaller pieces for us to dig into the meat.  After multiple days of projects, and running around, and other ‘have to do’ things, I think a day like this is exactly what all of us needed.

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