Diving in Grand Cayman

December 1-8, 2006

After extensive rebuilding, the Cayman Islands have mostly recovered from the effects of Hurricane Ivan, a category 5 hurricane with 150 mph winds that ripped through these islands two years ago and put many old establishments out of business. Naturally, the replacements are bigger, grander and more expensive than the originals. Many quaint two-story hotels have been razed to make way for new 8-story resorts and condos. And there are always plenty of new buyers ready to take the place of those wiped out or scared away by the last hurricane. Just as I plan to do, as soon as I exchange these 100,000 shares of preferred ENRON stock for some prime Seven-Mile-Beachfront property !

Or maybe not. Anyway, I don't come here to make deals. I come here to experience a world distinctly different from central Wisconsin in winter. Due to global warming, those differences may be less pronounced than in the past. But you still know you're in another world when, stepping off a plane in December wearing only blue jeans, a T-shirt, shoes and socks, you suddenly feel ridiculously overdressed.

So you immediately strip off your clothes and look for a lounge chair to mark as part of your territory.
As Dubya would have it, Mission Accomplished. That's enough work for today !

Besides the radical change in climate, I also come here to dive...

The Cayman Wall that surrounds these islands is an ocean drop-off that plunges down for a mile before reaching the seafloor. Even though the water here is amazingly clear, you can't see down quite that far. But the knowledge colors your experience and makes the blue depths look that much... well, bluer.

Here, you can swim right along with the fishies, seaturtles, and other assorted ocean critters...

Which also include stingrays, found here in abundance at Stingray City in the shallow waters inside a barrier reef...

Nobody here brought up the Steve Irwin accident that happened a few months earlier. Apparently, the odds of getting stabbed through the heart by a stingray's stinger are still considered too miniscule to be worthy of mention. Unless, of course, you set about delibrately provoking them while putting yourself in the most vulnerable possible position vis-a-vis their tails... not recommended.

So, aside from stingrays, is there any wildlife, you ask ? Well, this isn't Jamaica, you know. I mean, the Queen would hardly approve of those gigantic doobies, this being the British West Indies and all. But you can purchase excellent Cuban cigars here. And just down Seven Mile Beach from where we stayed is a nice little beachfront bar called Calico Jack's where a bloke my't quench his thirst, if ya know what 'ay mean.

Enough. What happens in Cayman stays in Cayman.

"You can't beat fun."
- Silas "Chum" Spengler

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