Thursday, May 18, 2006

Grand Cayman - Part 2

The beach sand was like white powder on my feet as I approached the aqua water. There was worn smooth and flat coral at the water line to cross before I entered the water carrying my fins. My snorkel mask was on my head already. I could see my feet quite clearly through the totally transparent Caribbean waters. There were hardly any waves in the protected lagoon and the bottom was sandy for some thirty feet or so out into the water. I waded out until the water was up to my thighs and then began putting on my bright pink fins. Some sand got in them and I had to rinse it out so it wouldn’t irritate my feet while kicking. Then, I pulled my snorkel mask over my face and lowered my chest in the water and began snorkeling! A whole new and glorious world opened up to me and I could see very clearly through the mask and water.

At first all I could see was white sand, but then I could also see grass and then what I initially thought were big rocks. They turned out to be living conches!

The sand here was hollowed out like a bowl and I free dove 10 feet or so to pick one up and look at its pink mouth. It was so beautiful. I replaced it carefully. There were also star fish. Then up ahead, I could swear I saw a small southern sting ray.
The owner said there was one here. It was just so exciting. Here I was never having seen anything like this at all and there was this sting ray! I mean holy shit!

Further ahead where the water was shallower again, I could see sea fans and brain corals and lots of tiny fish hovering around in the somewhat rougher surf near the outer edge of the lagoon. Sean and I had studied up a bit to know what fish would be out here.

I saw a parrot fish (green phase),

a small yellow tang,

blue tang,

a one spot butterfly fish,

a blue head wrasse,
a fairy basslet,

a yellow tail

and a sergeant major fish.

The water was really too rough to go closer to the edge of the reef and the corals too high; some even extended out of the water. We weren’t supposed to touch them as the whole sea around Grand Cayman is a marine park and is protected. I didn’t feel that I was a strong enough swimmer to get that close and not accidentally brush a fin or something. It was tantalizing however. Man, I did not want to come back in. I was just totally sold on snorkeling. But, I was starting to wonder where Sean had got to. So, I came back in.

There he was, sitting on the sea wall, all wet from his foray into saltwater paradise. We babbled at each other excitedly about the wonders that we had seen; he had seen everything I had except the sting ray (at least he was properly jealous about that) but he had seen a school of blue tangs out by the edge of the reef where I was to chicken to swim (um, decided not to). He said that he was just fine in the rough water (he is a very strong swimmer, was a life guard, competed in college, has coached, etc).

We were ravenous for dinner, so we hung up our wet things, showered, dressed and headed for the resort’s restaurant. You couldn’t go wrong on the island ordering fish. I don’t remember what fish we had but all of the fish we had on the island was exceptional. We sat in the common room for a while over drinks.

Then we returned to our room and settled in for the night. We left our louvered glass windows open so that the ocean breezes would sweep lightly over the bed. It was the most tiring, adventurous, beautiful and romantic day of my entire life. I could not believe that there were 8 more just like it on the way. Next time…Sting Ray City!


Ryan said...

awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ryan, i really enjoy your comments! they are so honest and clear.


Sue said...

Totally, totally, totally! Ya just gotta snorkel if you never have. It will change your life.

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Anonymous said...

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