Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grand Cayman Thanksgiving

This trip was amazing! 20 something of our family and friends stayed in condos lined up right on the beach for the entire week. Pure Bliss!

When we arrived at our condo sunday night my amazing aunt Elaine had already stocked all 5 condos with food and supplies so all we had to do was put our bare feet in the sand and smell the warm salty air. She is such a gem.

Our typical morning in Grand Cayman began with slathering the SPF 30 on our white bodies and laying the heck out!

At around noon I got to put my SCUBA diving license to good use. 2 boats would pull up right to our beach to pick up our 12 divers and off we went! This was my first dive in tropical waters and I am hooked! In my life I have been sky diving, hang gliding, para sailing, and bungee jumping. Scuba diving in the Cayman Islands has topped all of those events! 100 feet under water and I was in absolute heaven. We swam through caves and were surrounded by beautiful colors and fish I've never seen before. We took our fins off and walked on sand 50 feet underwater! It was incredible, I can't believe that I got to have this experience for 4 straight days!

Since Matt is an MBA student he didn't have time to get his diving certification. So while I was gone Matt would take the jet ski out, snorkle around the reef and went to the turtle farm with the rest of my family.

At nights we would go on a walk down the beach and watch the sunset.

That amazing Aunt Elaine I mentioned earlier... She is a culinary artist and would put her skills to use every night for us! We ate delicious hamburgers, homemade pizzas, juicy steaks and fresh lobster. We are so lucky to have her.

A few nights after dinner we went to the local out-door mall. It was a fun place to walk around. They had a huge Christmas tree up and along the shopping boulevard the had christmas lights and snow machines blowing! They had a discovery center there and just outside of the store doors there was this bouncy bench thing we played on. Everyone on the island had enjoyed it for 5 years. That is until the Masons got ahold of it...

It snapped about 30 seconds later...

Thanksgiving Day in the Caymans was a blast! We all piled in rented vans and drove out to my Aunt Elaine and Dick's house on the other side of the Island.

I hadn't been there in quite a few years, it was sad to see her Beautiful dock gone after the hurricane came a few years ago.


While we finishing up with cooking, my boy cousins found this huge bug and kept pushing it in people's faces! They had everyone on the beach screaming like a little girl. We sat down to eat just as the sun was setting on the beach. Matt could hardly believe that he was eating mashed potatoes and gravy with his feet in the warm sand. After dinner we played games and goofed around and picked coconuts.

On our last day in the Caymans we went to Sting Ray City! Since there were so many of us, my uncles chartered a boat to take us there instead of going with the traditional tour group. It was awesome and ended up being almost half the price. We shipped off to sea in the late afternoon. Our first stop was a shallow spot where Conch were littered all over the ocean floor. We got to dive in the water with our snorkel gear and collect as many as we could find! The water was just shallow enough to dive to the bottom, grab the shell, and swim back up in one breath. Our Philippino captain picked the best ten conch and threw the rest back into the ocean.


When we arrived at Sting Ray City we were the only ones there! It was late enough in the day that all the tourists had gone home so we had all the sting rays to ourself! Sting Ray City is basically a sandbar in the middle of the ocean. But since the 1800's fisherman have been stopping here to clean their fish and throw the guts overboard. It turns out what my old Bishop used to say, "if you feed them, they will come," holds true! So although the sting rays are wild-with stingers and everything- they have been around humans for a very long time and have learned to play nice. Literally within seconds of the first person stepping in the water they started swarming! They would brush up against our legs, and swim up onto our backs! It was hard not to scream and run! But if you ran youwould risk stepping on a stinger! The lady helping on our boat even knew a few of them by name and would introduce us, haha. She made Matt kiss a pregnant one! They gave us pieces of squid to feed the sting rays. But we were given very strict warning to keep our thumbs tucked in while we fed them. Their mouths could suck up stronger than a vacuum! Grandma Higginson got a hickey on her hand from one of them!

When we climbed back into the boat we found our captain chopping up the animal that was inside the conch and making a dip out of it! He said that lime juice cooks it and the tomatoes, onions and worcheshire sauce make it delicious.So we all dipped our saltine crackers in and tried it! I loved it! It tasted similar to ceviche. I was only nervous to try it because he was wiping his knife with his t-shirt.

We sailed back to the dock just as the sun expired.
What a trip!









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