Happy diving in Grand Cayman
by Rob Tiller
One week ago today that we were waking up on the island of Grand Cayman. We had a sweet four-night get away.
We got off to a rough start, when we missed our 6:00 a.m. flight by seconds. Note to self: check in and security lines are more crowded at 6:00 than at 7:00. I’ve forgiven the TSA agent who confiscated Sal’s moisturizer for being in a 4 ounce (rather than 3 ounce) container, but I can’t get over how idiotic the rule is that cost us half a day of vacation. I’ve also forgiven the gate agent who closed the door as we were approaching and refused to open it as the plane sat there for a couple of more minutes, but it was a bitter moment. Sal was in tears. We regrouped and got a flight four hours later. Instead of arriving at 1:30 in the afternoon, we got there at 9:00 p.m.
A lunatic rooster started crowing around 5:00 a.m. Apparently this is the national bird of the Caymans. Our resident rooster was reliable every morning.
We stayed at a scuba oriented hotel named Sunset House. Palm trees and turqoise water, a cheery thatch roofed open air bar, and dive boat right in front. It was my first time diving since completing my certification in January 2008, so I was hoping I could get my rental equipment properly assembled and avoid both embarassment and accidents. There were no real problems, though I did put the weight belt on the wrong way.
I did two dives every morning. The boat trips were all less than 30 minutes, and some less than 15 minutes. Water was beautifully clear, though a tad chilly. Some highlights: Eagle Ray Rock, Cheeseburger Reef, Great House Wall, La Mesa. The coral reefs were amazing, teeming with flora and fauna, thousands of little fish and many bigger ones (barricuda, tarpon, grouper). I swam with sting rays and sea turtles for the first time. It was peaceful and so beautiful.
Sal took the resort course again, and I joined her for guided diving in the afternoons. Her teacher, Lauren, was extremely complimentary about her technique. We covered the reef in front of Sunset House, which was well worth visiting. The last day we saw three sea turtles and a large sting ray.
We made it a point to try as many different colorful rum drinks as possible. Georgetown, which was about a mile from our hotel, was not especially charming, but we enjoyed our dinner overlooking the bay at Guy Harvey’s. We also ate one evening at Fisherman’s Reef at Morgan’s Harbor, where it was very windy. Our cabbie on the ride back was Diana, and she filled us in on the local politics and points of interest.
The trip home involved a substantial wait at the Grand Cayman airport and a four-hour layover in Miami. We finally learned the reason for duty free shops: cheap liquor. We also tried out the new electronic gadgets in Brookstone, including video enabled glasses. I made substantial progress on A. Lincoln, by Ronald White, and listened to the entirety of the Marriage of Figaro and Bruckner’s Third. We made it home before midnight.