Thursday, April 20, 2006

Grand Cayman and Northward

Passed Jamaica late last evening, we could see the lights. No matter that we're not visiting, I've already had the beer.

We arrived at the Caymans early this morning, specifically in Georgetown, on the island of Grand Cayman. We set out early to tender ashore, and to join our tour group. We proceeded around the island to see the sights, including the most expensive beachfront property, expensive hotels, many banks (lots of RBC's), and then Hell. Yes, it's Hell... that's the name. Postcards are coming from, if we managed to get the right postage... it's uncertain at this point.

Then, we moved on to visit a rum cake shop (we've already bought ours), and then to the turtle farm.

More turtles than you can imagine, layers deep in many many pools. The same kind we swam with in Barbados, but these are farmed, and most are destined for soup and burgers. Yes, you read right, burgers. Despite my failure to acquire iguana stew, we were successful today in obtaining some turtle burgers, conch salad, and conch fritters. Yum. Quite good. Conch is, according to the salad I had, a white meat, not unlike squid. It was kind of tough, and had a subtle taste. They spiced it up alot in the salad and fritters... so who knows, it might really taste like sweaty socks.

The turtle burger was excellent, tender and tasty... but in some ways I wish I'd sampled the more traditional turtle soup, because I'm still not quite sure what turtle meat tastes like. Anyways, it was really good, and all washed down with the very good local Stingray beer.

But, I'm ahead of myself. Between the turtle farm and the turtle burgers, the main event... Stingray sandbar. We were shuttled via boat out to a sandbar teaming with stingrays of all sizes. I'm telling you, the only way you're going to get stung by these gentle creatures is if you beat them with a stick... and then I'm not sure. They were exceptionally docile, soft, velvetly (particularly on the front and undersides). They swam gracefully, and were kind of curious... and I'm sure very used to being handled as there were about 500 people out there.

What an experience to hold one... but Tam and I were amazed at how gentle and graceful they were. When one tried to suction a non-existant fish off my arm, I admit I was a little startled... but he was just looking for lunch. Fortunately, they don't have teeth.. so it could only gum me to death. Kindof an odd sensation to have one of them trying to vaccum your arm... but hey... we're out there for new experiences.

On the way home now. We should round the west of Cuba later tonight, and will be spending tomorrow at sea bound for Fort Lauderdale.

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