Grand Cayman 2004

Flew down on Delta with a connection in Houston. Our tickets showed the gate across the terminal in Houston for our connection so off we went. We get there and CSA says that is some kind of mistake, the gate you actually want is (surprise!) right beside the one you deplaned at. So we RUN back so as to not miss our flight….we arrive all tired and sweaty and the other passengers are looking at us in amusement. The security guy on the bridge was not amused though; one look at us and there we were getting interrogated as we must have looked suspicious. I wouldn’t trust me either!  Thank you Delta.

The FA on the second flight gave us extra peanuts when she found out we were getting married though. Awesome.

We arrive and get our rental car. Suzuki Alto (say what?), 62 blazing horsepower with the a/c off (about 2 with it on) and has smaller tires than most tent trailers I have seen. Doesn't even have hubcaps. At least it's red so people have warning I'm coming!! Whatever. I ask the counter guy about mileage restrictions and you know he wants to ask “Are you retarded?”. Instead he says “The island is 35 km long”.

RH drive of course. So we head out and after about 500 feet you hit a traffic circle going the wrong way with a stickshift on the wrong side; go to signal, naturally the wipers come on and we fling out the other side of the traffic circle with wipers on fast and incorrect signal light announcing my amateur driving abilities.

Motel is nice. 7 Mile Beach is across the road so you have to do the frogger thing to get there. Drivers are used to tourists so play dumb and they will help you out (ie, they will skid to a stop for you…LOL).

Never tire of watching the tiny Caribbean ants eating crumbs/food.

Seven mile beach is awesome, soft sand and the waves gently crashing are just perfect. Not super crowded but you won't get lonely either. It’s actually only 5.5 miles long. Go figure.  

Wedding is at the Cracked Conch restaurant. Just the two of us on a gazebo overhanging the ocean on a beautiful hot night getting married by a minister who didn’t know our names 5 minutes ago. On the walk out a guy sitting with his wife (?) yelled “Don’t do it!”….he later said he was just kidding but I’ll bet his wife made him say that. We found out later that they were actually there celebrating their own wedding anniversary. The wedding planners were our witnesses, and we had our own waiter for the entire night. Dawn looked beautiful, and I looked odd in dress clothes. The ceremony was short but beautiful, and there we were married.

They were out of Conch shells so promised one would be sent out with our names on it as soon as they could.

The owner also had a large parrot that would indeed repeat whatever you said. I’m just happy he didn’t poop on my shirt!

Submarine trip was excellent. Atlantis XI it was called, not sure what happened to the first 10. Holds 48 people, really cool to be underwater in complete comfort and look at the sea and plant life. Well worth the money. Took some pictures but as usual they never show what you see in person, the tour was impressive though.

Turtle farm visit was fun too. It was established in 1968 to provide turtle meat without the wild herd being further depleted. It’s now a research and conservation facility as well, and yes you can order turtle dishes around the island. Never saw turtles so big. Also never smelled turtles like that either. Amazing designs on their shells.

Our first trip to an ATM was interesting. It would not let us take out our usual 20.00/40.00/60.00; we had no idea what was going on, thought maybe something was wrong with our account, but it would let us have 25.00 and it turns out the Cayman islands have 25.00 bills!! Who knew?

No trip to the Cayman islands is complete without visiting Stingray city. We were lucky enough to have Captain Crosby himself take us out there; he is considered the first person to feed the stingrays by hand and has been sailing for over 40 years. This is in a naturally protected area and fishermen of old would clean their fish on deck and throw the waste over the side, the stingrays found this an abundant supply of food in an area protected from predators and soon people were swimming with them. They are tame, don’t step on them though. You can stand in the water and just hold some food in your hand and they will glide over and “vacuum” the food out of your palm. Amazing creatures. On the way back Captain Crosby played guitar and sang to us all…it was good fun.

No trip I take is complete without an old car of some sort and sure enough found one on this tiny island. Red Buick Skylark drag car 70-72 vintage with slicks and a hood scoop, sitting on a trailer in a guy's back yard. Wanted to go visit but nobody home. No idea what you would do with a car like that there. Saw some neat cars while there, Nissan Skylines, Porsche 911, smaller trucks, lots of econoboxes like ours.

Locals are all very friendly. Food is great, bit pricey, not unexpected.

We did a fair amount of driving. Got pretty good winding out that 62 hp Alto on the narrow Cayman roads flanked with brick walls and no shoulder lanes, and zipping through the traffic circles…. “Waxed like the stealth bomber, the cops know I pull over as a favour to them…” I mean where you run to anyway??…LOL

And what’s with all the chickens and lizards running around everywhere??

When we handed the car back in, the rental car guy was shocked when he saw we had put over 400km on it in a week.

Two weeks after we left Hurricane Ivan came through and destroyed the entire place. 2 Billion USD in damages, 80% destruction.The Cracked Conch is gone along with many other buildings along Seven Mile Beach. That's the trouble with paradise, every once in a while it gets wiped out.


Two years after this trip, a parcel showed up and there is our Conch shell with our names on it. They never forgot to send it, even with the hurricane disaster. Can you believe that? Awesome people on that island. And UPS never broke it either. Amazing.


Note the various sizes and quality of pics, this is the time digitial was starting yet film was still strong so various sizes and settings. Also, not putting up our wedding pics online, family members can email me if they want copies or more pics.



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