Our excursion in the Cayman Islands included two stops: swimming with the stingrays in Stingray City and snorkeling amongst coral reefs and fish. I was super stoked about the snorkeling. I had purchased an underwater camera for this very reason: to take incredible shots of the underwater life.
Well, that didn’t happen.
Let me back up. After leaving Stingray City, we sailed for another 10-15 minutes to get to deeper water where the coral reefs were. With this journey, we were the only boat around so it was a little scary. (But there were also 50 people with us – so, really, not that scary at all!) I had to put on my flippers, grab a mask and snorkel, and hop into the water. It wasn’t easy, but that didn’t even come close to being the hard part.
I guess I should mention that I’ve never snorkeled before. Not even in a pool. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing. I pulled down my mask, inserted the breathing part-thing into my mouth, and stuck my head in the water… only to come up sputtering 5 seconds later as salt water made it’s way down the snorkel tube and into my mouth.
I hate salt water with a passion. It’s the main reason I’m not the biggest fan of the beach. Well, that and the fact that sand gets everywhere.
It took me a while to get used to the snorkel and how to use it properly to actual swim with it. My throat felt raw from all the salt water I had choked up and for a while, I was not a happy camper.
But I got used to it and learned how to snorkel and became a pro in no time. The strap from my camera fell off somewhere so I had a fun time taking a picture and winding the film with one hand, while keeping the other hand firmly grasped on my upright snorkel. I had a few pictures with finger shots, but they turned out pretty good. For an underwater film camera.
I think the most disappointing thing was the lack of fish around. At most, I saw around 20? I was expecting to see a lot more! The coral reefs were amazing, though, and the whole experience was simply awesome so I’ll take what I can get. I mean, I snorkeled in the Cayman Islands! For a girl whose biggest adventure thus far was skiing in Virginia… well, this took the cake.
We had about 35 minutes to snorkel and I could have used another 20-30 minutes. Once I got good at the snorkel part, I was happily swimming everywhere, exploring the world beneath me. It’s pretty amazing to think of what a world there is beneath the sea. After a while, I looked up and saw about half our group was already in the boat and my mom and I had ventured pretty far away (farther than I would have liked!). So we high-tailed back as fast as we could with flippers on our feet and masks on our faces.
It was an amazing excursion, one I highly recommend. I wish I had chosen another snorkeling excursion for Cozumel, but I wanted two totally different experiences. After snorkeling, we got back into the boat and to Georgetown, where my mom and I indulged in a Cayman Island delight – Dairy Queen! 😉 Yes, we are cultured folks. (To be honest, it was the only place where we could find a bathroom but we also had to buy something!)
As for purchases, my mom bought a keychain but that’s all we got. Shopping in the Cayman Islands was not a good experience, at all! I don’t think they’ve ever heard of the phrase customer service, shown as a worker began putting up magnets on a display as I was perusing it! I mean, really? That couldn’t wait another two minutes? Sigh.
Our time in Grand Cayman was short, but incredible. I would definitely go back again for all the fun excursions there are. My tablemates (the family of three) went on a dolphin excursion that sounded divine. Swimming with dolphins? I’m up for that!