2014 Mendel Vacation: Grand Cayman

Continuing our family adventures from last year's family cruise. Catch up here, here, and here

The morning came that we entered waters surrounding the Cayman Islands. It was a day that we were all anxiously awaiting. Why? Well, all 24 of us were doing an excursion together! We were headed to Stingray City for some exotic water fun, and we were ready.




First of all, we had to be tendered off of the ship because Grand Cayman didn't have a port to pull up to. That means small boats taxi'd us from our ship to the mainland, and for this, we had to have tickets. It was first come, first serve, and we didn't want to be late for our excursion. My family decided to be waiting in one of the designated areas for tickets to get off of the ship, and it paid off. We were tendered on shore and were buzzing with excitement...until we couldn't get ahold of anyone regarding our excursion. We did not book this one through Carnival, so we were on our own. Well, all 24 of us were on our own together. Finally, someone got in touch with the manager of the excursion we were scheduled for, and he said they were just running late. So, in the meantime, we all wandered around the shops in the port of Grand Cayman and did some shopping. 








It's our family, so it's always a blast no matter what we're doing, but we were getting antsy. Then, finally, we were introduced to the manager and headed off to a bus to take us to where we were going to meet some stingrays! We filled every.single.seat of this bus to the max, but we all fit in one and made it a family affair... 


Finally, we had reached our destination to board a boat and head out on the water for some fun in the sun. Because of the number of people we had, we were able to secure one boat for all of us, which meant there weren't any other tourists on board with us! It was pretty special for us all to get to experience this trip with just our family.












Our first stop was one that wasn't initially part of the excursion, but they added it since they were late in picking us up for the trip. It was a starfish farm! They stopped on a little island and all around were starfish. We really had to watch our step! It was so cool to be able to hold one and feel it sucking on your hands! We stayed here for a few minutes and then headed back to the boat for our next stop...stingrays!

Once we arrived at stingray city, our instructors/guides/captain of the boat spoke to us about the stingrays and then helped us each hold one! But we didn't only get to hold one, we also kissed stingrays and got back massages from them! One of them really got me good - I wasn't paying attention and had my back turned, and the guide had a stingray in his hands. He put him up to my back and it felt super creepy! Of course I screamed haha. But it was so awesome to see the stingrays in their element and be able to interact with them. After pictures were taken of everyone holding/kissing/being rubbed by the stingrays, we got to feed them. Their little mouths just suck the food right out of your hand! Way cool. My brother got some pretty awesome footage on his GoPro camera of them.







I have to admit that I wasn't super excited about playing with sting rays. They are dangerous, for starters, and I just never really had a fascination with them. However, being able to interact with them in their environment was a pretty special experience that I'm very grateful to have had! Especially with family. It was pretty awesome!

After the stingrays, we all got back on the boat for our last stop at a little coral reef. We put on our snorkels and flippers and jumped on in. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. You're underwater, experiencing sea life and all of the beautiful colors, in the middle of the bluest water you've ever seen. Talk about serene! I was in heaven. We got to swim around, snorkel, look at all the sea creatures ... pretty fantastic! Our captain knew of an eel that was in the reef and dove down to get him to come out. He was successful a few times, so that was pretty awesome as well! We didn't have to get close to the eel, but seeing him react to the fish and slither out of his hole below us in the water was amazing. We couldn't stop talking about it!







We then headed back to the main port in Grand Cayman, where some of us shopped and some of us headed back to the ship by tender. Mostly, we were starving! An all you can eat buffet aboard ship sounded like heaven, and it definitely didn't disappoint!


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