Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tuesday: The Grand Cayman Islands

 Tuesday morning we awoke to find our ship already at port in the Grand Cayman Islands.  We saw another Carnival Cruise Ship next to us at port.  It was kinda neat to see another ship from a distance since we had not see our own ship from a distance yet.  THIS is why we loved our balcony so much.

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We could see the other ship tendering so we knew what to expect from ours.


We got ready for our day, ate breakfast at the Unicorn Cafe and then headed to the bottom of the ship to ride our tender over to the Island.

Tendering....



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Our ship as we were pulling away....



The water was absolutely beautiful and we couldn't wait to get into it and snorkel... not to mention it felt as if it were 200 degrees outside and it was only 8:00 am.  No wonder they have a city called "Hell".  We had the opportunity to visit "Hell" and buy a postcard from "Hell" but we decided to stick with the snorkeling instead.


Once on the Island we had a few hours to walk and shop around before our excursion at 11:30.  We said had we known it was going to be so hot we probably wouldn't have rushed so much to get onto the Island.  In hind sight I am glad we did because its not like we will be visiting the Grand Cayman anytime soon so I am glad we sucked it up and dealt with the heat. 



You know you are somewhere hot when Restaurants are named this....






We all live in a .......




Here are the little shops we shopped at.... when we exited the ship they handed us flyers with a coupon for a free charm bracelet.  Once we had the charm bracelet we realized we could get free charms at each port and some ports had multiple charms. We were excited.  They were not the best quality of bracelets, but it was fun finding the shops with the free charms and now we have a  fun little bracelet with charms from each place we visited.  As long as we don't wear them our arm will not turn green and we will have them forever.


Our ship in the distance....


I thought this was funny because it was called Hog Sty...this was the name my parents used to call my room on any given day as a teen. :)


This was a pencil fish of some sort.. not sure of his name but we took this picture off of a bridge using the zoom on our camera.  Talk about crystal clear waters....


This was another excursion we could have taken.  You ride around on this cool pirate ship and hear about pirate stories of the Islands.  Considering the heat we were glad we didn't choose this excursion either.  But it was a really cool ship.


After shopping and finding all our free jewelery it was time to head back to the port to check in for our excursion.  We rode on a bus through town to get to the Emerald Eyes (our boat for snorkeling).  We noticed a remarkable difference in how the locals treated one another compared to America.  They were very generous and patient and would greet one another with little friendly beeps.  It was nice for a change to not feel road rage.

After our brief bus ride we arrived at the Emerald Eyes.


Our Captain


Our gear.... 


I was struggling to put the snorkel in my mouth after thinking about all the hundreds of people who have used them prior to me using them. They were soaking in a tub of sanitizer, but I still struggled... I waited until I was in the ocean and rinsed it out first. I figured it would take me at least ten minutes to acclimate to breathing underwater anyway so I should take some time to rinse out all the germs too. I could never Scuba.

Our ride out to the reef...







Wild Iguanas....


Our next house after Greg retires....


Checking to make sure the ship wasn't leaving without us...


Nick getting his gear....


 ahhhh beautiful water....


The Reef awaits...


Snorkeling was breathtakingly beautiful.

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After our snorkeling it was time to drive out a bit further and swim with the Sting Rays.  Our captain gave us a tutorial on how to handle a sting ray.  He used a stuffed sting ray named "fluffy" to illustrate how to pet and touch the sting rays.  Their "stinger" is only used as a defense mechanism and only used if they feel threatened.  They have grown to know and love each of the rays we were driving out to meet.  They are used to the Emerald Eyes arriving each day with food and they wait for the boat to eat their snack for the day.  We were not allowed to feed them because they were afraid with so many tourists each day the sting rays would get over fed and get sick. 

It was then time to suit up and get back into the water....I was really excited.  After our experience of swimming with manatees years ago,  I wouldn't want to interact with another creature any other way than in their own habitat.  These creatures CHOSE to interact with us.  They were not trapped in a lagoon with whistles and trainers.  It was amazing.  They are such gentle, graceful creatures and it was neat to watch them "fly" through the water.

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The tour guides swam down and picked up the sting rays and brought them to the surface for us to touch.


Nick touching one...


Les touching one....

Sting Ray...


In case you couldn't see it I am pointing to it....why am I such an idiot?



Once we were back we gathered up our belongings and began to unload off the boat.  The four of us were separated while unloading and Nick and I were in the back of the crowd.  I heard the crowd gasp and everyone became very quiet.  I walked up to the front of the crowd to see what the gasping was all about and I saw Leslie lying on the gravel ground crying.  I felt sick immediately.  Greg and I jumped off the dock and ran to her side asking her what had happened.  She was crying and couldn't talk to us much.  I asked her if she hurt her back or her neck and she shook her head no.  I thought it was probably  her leg or something by the way she was sitting, but wanted to make sure before moving her.  I told her to lean back onto my legs so she could stretch out so we could see where she was injured.  She lifted up her leg and her ankle was already twice its normal size.

The tour guides immediately ran to get ice and a form for me to sign to protect themselves from us suing them.  They asked Greg and I what we wanted them to do... call an ambulance?  load her up in the van to get her back on ship?  My head was spinning because I didn't know what to do.  I looked at Greg and we were not sure of the severity of her injuries and could the ship care for her properly if it were broken?

God is so good, we were blessed to have a paramedic who was on our excursion.  He approached Leslie and asked if we would like him to look at her injury.  Of course we said yes and were very thankful for him.  He too at first thought her ankle was broken, but after asking her to move it around a bit and wiggle her toes (which was so very painful for her to do) he felt she had a very nasty sprain.  We were so relieved.

Apparently as she was getting ready to step off the dock the bottom of her flip flop (the little nubby thing that sticks out of the bottom) got caught on the dock.  Leslie is pretty tough and when I saw her crying I knew it was bad.  They helped us onto the bus, elevated her leg and Greg held ice on it the entire ride back to the ship.

Carnival was already notified and their staff was there with a wheel chair waiting for our bus when we returned.  They quickly loaded her into the wheel chair and practically ran us up to the tender.  We by passed the huge line waiting to board the tender.  The carnival staff continued to stay with Leslie the entire time and moved us quickly through the check in point with our passports and directly into the infirmary.

The nurse there was very friendly.  She told us pretty much what the paramedic had told us and said if we would like to see a doctor or have xrays we could but she didn't feel it was necessary.  We decided to allow Les to rest a while and see if the swelling would start to go down.  The nurse wrapped Leslie's ankle, gave us prescription strength Motrin, crutches and a wheel chair and sent us on to our room.

Once back at the room we elevated her ankle with life vests and continued to apply ice for the remainder of the evening.  Thank goodness for room service.  After a while she wasn't in any more pain unless she applied pressure to her ankle.  She was very good on her crutches and the ship was large enough that the wheel chair maneuvered very well through the hall ways.  Later that night she and Nick went out with friends (Nick pushed her around) while Greg and I attended a comedy show.

We went to bed that night feeling very blessed.  Blessed to have had such an amazing experience at Grand Cayman, blessed God held us in his hands with Leslie's injury by placing people in our path along the way and blessed her injury was a sprain and not a break.  Thank You Lord. 

 Tomorrow is a new day.... bring on Cozy Mel.

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