By Cary Bennett – (Roswell, GA)
We snorkeled Stingray City at the northern end of Rum Point and the Cali Wreck.
Well, everything you read about Grand Cayman says you really have to go experience Stingray City, so, we did! I happened upon the sunrise trip to Stingray City with White Sand Watersports. I am so glad we went on this one. It leaves the dock at the Kaibo Yacht Club at 7:00 am, which meant that we had to be up at 5:00 am due to the fact that we were staying over on the opposite side of the island.
It was worth getting up this early. When you leave the dock to head out the sun is just coming up. It is peaceful and quiet and the rest of the tourists on the island are just rolling out of bed. After a short ride, you arrive at the sandbar area that is Stingray City. When you get out of the boat, the rays are there waiting for you to arrive to feed them a breakfast of squid! They are not shy by any means! It was fascinating to feel their soft skin as they brush right up against you like a cat and beg for food.
This boat only holds a maximum of ten people, so, you really have the place and the rays all to yourselves! We hung out with them for a good hour, and they seemed content to continue to hang out with us even after we had fed them all of the squid and their tummies were full. Our captain said that they normally don’t hang around once the food is gone, but, that day they stayed around and were still there when we pulled away. It was truly a one of a kind experience!
After hanging out with the rays, we moved a short distance away and jumped back in to spend an hour snorkeling on the more northerly tip of the barrier reef that we had snorkeled the day before at Rum Point. Once again, it was a beautiful snorkel and a Spotted Eagle Ray happened to cross our path. I was thrilled! The Spotted Eagle Ray was my main “quarry” for this trip. I also saw my first ever Nassau Grouper, it was quite handsome. Oh, also spotted a beautiful French Angelfish, and lots of other fish, too numerous to list. Again, the reef in this area is healthy and vibrant with a great deal of diversity in both soft and hard corals.
So, now that it was only 9 am and we had already spent a couple hours snorkeling, we were trying to figure out what else to do this day. So, we decided to head back across the island to snorkel the Wreck of the Cali. We knew it was quite close to Eden Rock, but weren’t sure exactly where, so, we decided to run in the Eden Rock Dive Center once again to ask where precisely to find it. They were just as friendly and helpful as the first time we were there and told us to go look for the “Divers Down” Dive Shop, and The Cali is immediately behind the dive shop.
So, off we went just down the street a short distance. We parked, grabbed our gear and headed out onto their dock and spoke with a guy working on a boat and asked where to find the Cali. He told us to swim out to the platform about 100 feet away from the dock and just to the left is where the Cali lies in the water. So, once again, an easy entrance and exit from the water via a ladder on the dock.
The Cali was an ill-fated freighter that sank in George Town Harbor in the 1940’s. She was towed just away from the harbor and then blown up. Her wreckage lies in about 25 feet of depth at the deepest points. You can appreciate the rib spars of her hull, rope cleats and capstan winches. It is an interesting site. However, it does not have nearly the beauty of the Antilla in Aruba. For sheer beauty, the Antilla far outdoes the Cali. I would say that you do not need more than 30 minutes maximum to see this site.