A Travellerspoint blog

Grand Cayman Day 4: Zipping Along the Shore

We had nothing scheduled this morning so Vi and I made a morning trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies. She made a late morning breakfast of potato and egg tacos and then we drove into Georgetown to Grand Cayman Beach Suites. Today, Mike and Vi were going parasailing. I've been parasailing before in Mexico and decided to take a pass so they could go tandem together. The beach where we met our boat was a beautiful one.



The parasail guys suited Mike and Vi up then sent them up just offshore.



I took a few pics from the boat to get both perspectives.


Mike and Vi went higher and higher until they could see almost the entire coastline.





After about 15 minutes, it was time to start bringing them back to the boat.




We left from there and drove a few miles up the road to Calico Jack's, a beach bar, where we would spend the rest of the afternoon having drinks and swimming in the water.


Toward late afternoon, we'd had enough of the sun and drove back to Georgetown for a little shopping and dinner but we weren't able to find many stores open. We stopped in at Rackam's, a pier restaurant in town, to have some dinner and drinks.

Mike had the red conch chowder.

Vi had the snapper fish tacos.

I had the whole snapper escovitch, a local dish.

Tired from a long day in the sun, we spent some time on our deck at the house then called it a night.

Posted by zihuatcat 19:19 Archived in Cayman Islands Tagged cayman mike vi Comments (0)

Grand Cayman Day 3: Rum Day at Rum Point

We were up early this morning and after a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we decided to give Vi a quick snorkel lesson in the condo's pool. Mike was a good teacher and Vi was feeling more confident. We should have started her out in the pool to begin with so that she might have a better first experience. We then made our way to Rum Point at the northern point of the island. The white sand and clear water at Rum Point is absolutely beautiful.





We relaxed with some drinks before hitting the water.



We suited up and walked to the end of the beach in order to start our swim out to the coral boulders. I decided to try something different for this snorkel and wore a borrowed GoPro on my head so I didn't have to worry about taking pics. Of course, I realized later that the GoPro was only in the water about half the time.

It would be a swim out of about 200 yards. We started our swim and immediately got passed by a snorkel boat.


Mike did his normal diving down into the water on the way out.


We made it to the coral gardens and they were incredible...huge coral boulders loaded with fish life. None of the pics do it justice at all. Mike almost swam straight into a tail-less ray.






Unfortunately, we weren't able to stay long. After the long swim out in somewhat rough conditions, Vi was tired and feeling some panic about the long swim back. So we decided to head back to land.



We scarfed down some chicken nachos (the kind with gas station liquid cheese) and hung out for a little bit enjoying the beach. After we got back to the condo, Mike was exhausted and decided to call it a night. Vi and I got dressed up to hit the town for Boogie Nights at the Wharf. We were seated at a beautiful, candlelit table in our own section right on the water.

I had the scallops with asparagus risotto and truffle oil.

Vi had grilled wahoo with mashed potatoes and veggies.

It turned out to be the best meal of the trip! About 9:30, the band started up and we moved to the bar where I learned after trying to order a Bacardi and Coke that Cayman is a Pepsi island. Ugh. Who uses Pepsi as a mixer?

We spent a few hours dancing to 70s and 80s music and then about midnight they said, "Screw it" and just started playing whatever they wanted. We left a little while later and made the long-ish drive back to the other side of the island for bedtime.

Posted by zihuatcat 22:39 Archived in Cayman Islands Tagged cayman mike vi Comments (0)

Grand Cayman Day 2: Life Under Water

We woke up the next morning about 9a and enjoyed the view from our lowest point.

Mike decided to try out the snorkeling in front of the house.


Vi and I drove to Foster's, the nearby grocery store, to stock up. We came back and made bacon and eggs for breakfast then dropped Mike off for his dive trip around lunch time. She and I came back to the house and I took her out in front of the house for her first snorkel ever.

There was a lot of turtle grass near shore so we had to swim pretty far out to get out of that. There was a strong current. We found some small coral outcroppings and some decent fish life. The conditions were a bit of a struggle for Vi, being a newbie to snorkeling, so we swam back to shore, cleaned up our gear, and hung out on the balcony until Mike was done diving. A small cat wandered up to spend time with us. She would become a fixture all week. We named her Tink after my mom's cat, Tinkerbell, who looked just like her and had passed away recently.

In the distance, we could see Mike's dive boat passing by. He radioed us from the boat and we jumped in the car to go pick him up. The dive shop was next door to Eagle Ray's so of course, we had to have a pina colada or two before returning home. He showcased his dive pics for us.






Conch peeking out of his shell









Threespot damselfish

French angelfish


After relaxing for a bit, we got cleaned up and went to Breaker's for dinner. We wanted to sit by the water but the mosquitoes were too much for us. We ordered an appetizer of conch ceviche in a curry sauce. The sauce was good but the conch was so tough it was inedible. For dinner, Mike and I had lobster tail.

Vi had the Cayman style lobster which was lobster chunks in a sauce with peppers and onions.

Both meals were very good. On the way home in the dark, tons of giant crabs had come out and were all over the road. These things were huge and I was trying not to run over them but it was nearly impossible. They made a very loud noise when I hit them.

Mike still hadn't had enough water time so after returning to the house, he went out for a midnight snorkel. I made sure he got back safely and then we all went to bed.

Posted by zihuatcat 00:51 Archived in Cayman Islands Tagged cayman mike vi Comments (0)

Grand Cayman Day 1: Travel Day

Mike and I have been traveling together every year for a few years but this year, we decided to invite our long-time friend, Vi, along. When I asked Vi where she'd like to go to most in the world, she said....an island. So for her 60th birthday, we invited her to Grand Cayman with us for 10 days.

She came over the night before and spent the night and we all headed to the airport about 10am. Travel day is usually pretty unexciting but this particular day, there was a suspicious package found in the airport. They shut the terminal down until about 11:45am. There was a lot of waiting around and lack of information.

We barely made it through security in time for our flight so we had no chance to eat or visit the duty free shop. This turned out to not be an issue as they served us free rum punch and Cuban sandwiches on our Cayman Airways flight.

We arrived early to Grand Cayman and picked up our Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV. It was about a 30 minute drive to our villa on the East End so we stopped at Blackbeard's Liquor Store on the way. We arrived in the dark about 7:30pm and there was no electricity. I called the owner who told me that the power company had shut off the electricity even though he paid the bill. Of course, I was suspicious about this but he assured me that it would be back on ASAP.

Because it was dark and there was no power, I failed to take pictures of the villa upon arrival (and apparently the entire 10 days). It was a huge and beautiful house, right on the water. There were four stories and three of those had decks. The first floor was an open living room, dining room, and kitchen area with a half bath and balcony overlooking the ocean. The second floor had a master bedroom and bathroom as well as two extra bedrooms and a shared bathroom. Since Vi was the birthday girl, we let her have the master suite and private balcony. We took one of the extra bedrooms and used the other for luggage. On this floor, there was an iron, spiral staircase going up to one more bedroom on the fourth floor. The basement had a futon, a couple of additional beds, full bathroom, and laundry room. It opened up onto an outdoor deck so it was perfect for storing our wet dive and snorkel gear.

To pass the time until the power came on, we decided to grab some dinner just down the road at Eagle Ray's.


I had the lionfish tacos.

Mike had lobster spring rolls.

Vi had coconut shrimp.

There were pina coladas all around. After dinner, we made our way home to find....no power. Fortunately, it came on a little after 10pm. We were finally able to cool down and relax. We ended the evening with a night walk on our rocky beach and then collapsed in bed.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:53 Archived in Cayman Islands Tagged cayman mike vi Comments (0)

Santa Fe: Work Made Fun

I don't travel much for work but occasionally I travel somewhere for a conference and this was just such a trip. I thought I'd invite my friend, Brenda, to tag along because I knew she could amuse herself and it would make my free time much more fun. We decided to go a day early and stay a day late. Brenda battled torrential rains to fly from Houston to Dallas where we met at the gate for our flight to Santa Fe. After some breakfast, we boarded our very empty flight and took off.

Once landing in Santa Fe, we picked up the rental car then made our way to Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument for a little hiking. This park is known for its cone-shaped formations made by volcanic eruption some six or seven million years ago. We did a relatively easy three mile hike thru the slot canyons, enjoying the scenery along the way.




















We left there and drove the short drive to Santa Fe, checking into the El Dorado Hotel. It was quite cold and windy but we braved the weather to walk across the way to Casa Chimayo for dinner. We started with sangria and a delicious guacamole with sweet corn relish. For dinner, we had the red chile stacked enchiladas which were very good.


After dinner, we went back to the hotel and crashed, tired after a long day of traveling and hiking.

The next couple of days I had to attend my conference all day long. Brenda entertained herself by going shopping and visiting the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. On Thursday, we had a terrible dinner at Wine Bistro where I ate burned crab cakes and Brenda had a not-so-good shrimp salad. We ended the evening in the hotel hot tub. That evening we got a light snow.

On Friday, I met Brenda for lunch at Santa Fe Bite where we split a green chile cheeseburger and onion rings. After my conference was over, we walked around the plaza, looking thru the shops that were still open. Most were closed because it was the end of the day and not high tourist season. We had dinner reservations at Eloisa, a restaurant in the sad-looking Drury Inn. It had great recommendations, however, so we gave it a shot.

We sat at the Chef's counter which was fun to watch them prepare the food before it went out. We started with a hamache crudo.

I had the blue corn crusted elk with local cookies and ice cream for dessert.


Brenda had the scallops in a curry sauce and a chocolate dessert.


We wandered back to the hotel and stayed up late talking, laughing, and drinking Strongbow.


We had a little time before our flight left on Saturday afternoon so we decided to explore Canyon Road which is the arts district of Santa Fe. We had red chile breakfast burritos at Gecko Cafe before exploring the various art galleries and installations.

A greyhound made of metal.






We made our way to the airport where security was a mess and the flight was overbooked. They were bumping people from the small plane due to weight restrictions. While there, I ran into one of Mike's doctors from Dallas who was also on our flight. Luckily, we were not bumped and we made the flight home.

Posted by zihuatcat 23:45 Archived in USA Tagged santa fe brenda Comments (0)

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