By Tom & Jan Turner – (Jamestown, PA)
We were able to make our annual snorkeling trip to Grand Cayman a little early this year. Arrived hungry at 2:30 PM, and went to Sharkbites (Hammerheads) for a fish fry lunch on the water at Hog Stye Bay. After lunch, used their ladder to go for a snorkel out over the wreck of the Calla. Wet within two hours of getting there.
For a change this year, we booked a bed and breakfast off of the water in Boddentown for the first three days that we were there. It is a working farm that feeds you for breakfast what they grow on the farm, a traditional Cayman breakfast. It’s a buffet style, some was very good, some not so good. It was well worth the experience.
Our first full day there, we went to a spot that we have never snorkeled before. It is called Point of Barkers, and it is not known for snorkeling. Bone fisherman use it to try for the wily bonefish. It is very shallow, so we walked out quite a ways. Finally got deep enough to swim, and we had our sights on a small island out about 500 yards. Saw some stuff along the way, but when we got to the island, we were really glad that we made the effort. Great soft and hard coral all around the island. Lots of fish and all kinds of sights to enjoy. What a great way to start.
We made it to several places on our list of spots that we had never been to, and there is only one spot left on our list that we want to snorkel. We have been there numerous times over the years, and it is always too rough to give it a try. Maybe next year.
We had the opportunity to see many things that we have never seen before, or seldom have opportunity to see. We saw four moray eels this year, two Green, one Spotted, and one Goldentail. We have never seen a moray on our own before, only when we were with a guide. We saw a 7-8 foot shark, which is only the second time we have ever seen a shark at Grand Cayman. We are pretty sure that it was a Lemon Shark. Whereas we have seen octopus before, we never found one out playing around in three feet of water, that just hung around and let us watch him do his thing for 20-25 minutes. It was fascinating. Saw two different scorpionfish at different times. They are hard to see and recognize. Found a late 1700’s ship wreck that I had looked for a few times and was not successful until this year. Not much left to a wooden vessel after 225 years or so. We only saw one turtle this year; last year we saw turtles almost every time we went in the water.
In closing, we had a great time being able to spend 10 days at Grand Cayman this year. We snorkeled at two different sites each day, and saw all kinds of fish and coral and beautiful sights that are always unique. Snorkeling is the activity that keeps on giving and never gets old. It is never the same, and who knows what you might see the next time that you go in.
P.S. I used Galen and Nicole’s camera section to determine that I wanted to purchase my wife the Canon Powershot D10, for Christmas. She used it during the trip and loved it. She was learning how to use it, so sometimes she had the wrong settings, but we now have reef shots like we never had before.
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debbieo – Dec 1, 2012 – What Area to Stay in Grand Cayman
I have enjoyed your comments on Grand Cayman and am planning a trip there for the spring. Will you please advise me on different areas for setting up camp? If you have the name of a specific place that is great – but as the saying goes – location location location is everything to me.
We will have a car. I do not have to stay on the water, but that is always nice. I do not have to be in the center of activity. In fact that is not my choice. If I pay the money to stay on the water, I would like to walk out and snorkel – and like everyone – could I have my own private beach?( just kidding :))
Info from fellow snorkelers always is the best. Your info will be in the truck beside me!
Tom Turner – Dec 2, 2012 – Places to Stay at Grand Cayman
My wife and I have a time share at Grand Cayman that we get for one week a year. We like to try to extend our stay when the opportunity is available. Our standard whenever we travel to a snorkel spot is to try to get a place to stay for less than $100 per night. We have not been able to reach this goal when we extend our stay at Grand Cayman. I will go through the best that we have found.
We purchased our time share at Morritts Tortuga Club because it is on the East End, which is the sleepy side of the island. We wear ourselves out during the day snorkeling, so we have no interest in night life. Morritts is expensive to stay at, but if you are an RCI member, you can purchase a week’s stay for a reasonable price through RCI. Snorkeling is quite good just off from this location.
Next door to Morritts is the Reef Club. We have never stayed there, but sometimes they run specials, which you can find online, that appear to be reasonable.
Heading west from Morritts, the Turtle Nest Inn (turtlenestinn.com) is on the south side of the island. This is one of the more reasonably priced spots that is right on the water with good snorkeling just off shore.
On the west end, just north of George Town and south of Seven Mile Beach is the Harbour View Apartments (harbourviewapartments.com, spelling is correct). Their prices are reasonable and they have great snorkeling just off from their property.
A place that we have just booked a stay at, which will occur in February, is Paradise Pointe (homeaway.com, property #382893), which is on the south side of West Bay, north of Seven Mile Beach. They are waterfront, and I expect that they have good snorkeling.
Lastly is The Retreat at Lookout (retreatatlookout.com) which is a bed and breakfast that is inland. It is a working farm, and they feed you from the crops that they grow, plus some other stuff.
This is the extent of my knowledge regarding places to stay at a reasonable price at Grand Cayman. The two places that I mention on the west end are in lower key neighborhoods and will not be as busy as any of the resorts along Seven Mile Beach. They will also be a lot cheaper.
We have our favorite snorkel spots. Eden Rock is one of the best, even though it is right downtown George Town. There are ladders into the water both at Eden Rock Dive Shop or the Paradise Restaurant. Locate the big yellow buoy and swim to it. It is well worth it.
Whereas there are sandy beaches at Grand Cayman, there is a lot of “iron shore”, limestone with no sand. You should have booties to get across the iron shore areas comfortably.