Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grand Cayman Day Two...

The main request of the boys was to swim in the ocean, snorkel and find seashells. So with the three days we had, we left two days with nothing but ocean time. But I just had to throw in some adventure... as much for Micah and I as for the boys. So day two was full of exciting firsts!!

Remi requested room service for breakfast, so the boys had a grand ole time eating their bacon and eggs (and pancakes) on the porch.

After breakfast, we started the day off by heading to the main town, Georgetown. We walked around and looked at a few shops to let the boys pick out some Souvenirs- Remi got a bottle of Cayman sand, Roen got a wobble head turtle, and they both got a shark tooth necklace.

From here we went on our first adventure of the day... a submarine ride!! Roen has loved submarines since he was a wee little thing and I thought this was something we would all love and had never done before. We went a total of 105 feet down in the ocean, and it was awesome! It lasted about 30 minutes and we were able to see the coral reef and fish up close and personal! I think the boys are even more excited that they can now say they have ridden in a real life submarine!!

The boys were pretty excited about getting 'official' certificates... until I accidentally let one fly into the ocean... oops!

Afterwards, we had all afternoon before our next outings. So, naturally, we spent it at the beach, building sandcastles, going on giant trike rides, finding more seashells, eating lunch on the beach and of course, snorkeling..

After an afternoon of saltwater, we headed back to the room to rinse off and put on clean swimsuits. This was going to be a late night, but it was so very worth it!! We headed out to the yacht club (around 6:00), met up with Captain Neil, and took off through the ocean blue. The boys LOVED being in the boat and their smiles grew even bigger when we went fast!

Our first stop, was Stingray City. Stingray City is in the middle of the ocean on a sandbar. Literally, hundreds of stingray live in this area and flock to the boats that come to visit! These creatures were HUGE- some 6 feet wide!

As we got off the boat, they all swam up like a herd of kittens... rubbing their 'wings' up on our shoulders and crowding around us so thick, we could barely walk! Other than rubbing their tails in the wrong direction or stepping on them, there really was no danger of getting stung... these little rays LOVE people! However, with it being in the middle of the ocean, the waters were pretty rough so I was constantly worried about the boys jumping on top of one! We got to feed them... the sucked squid out of our hands (they have no teeth), hold them and then all four of us kissed them.... supposedly 7 years of good luck! The underneath, white part of their wings was the softest, most amazing, almost velvety feeling... I couldn't quit touching them!

This was one of the coolest thing I've ever done! And my fearless, little beach bums were all about getting warm and friendly with these stingrays... Roen kept getting mad at me for holding on to him! As you can see, the boys started off with life vests, but that didn't last long!

This picture makes me laugh... the look on my face!! This was right after we got in, and they just swarmed us! There is always something so very humbling about interacting with deadly wildlife...

By the time we finished with the stingrays, the sun was setting... which was perfect timing for our next activity... night snorkeling!

We all put on our flipper, goggles, masks, underwater flashlights and headed to a nearby reef. Roen was my little snorkeling buddy and Remi went with Micah. I wasn't sure if Roen would want to do this, but he jumped in that water without a second thought. Of course, I knew Remi would be the ringleader of this!

So, after we jumped in and swam over to the reef, it was pretty much dark. I love snorkeling. It's almost like you are in world all your own- it's quite, beautiful and in way it feels so safe under the water. So as we shined our lights on all the nocturnal sea life, we were able to see glowing eyes looking back at us as they poked their heads out of the nooks and crannies of their reef homes.


Being in our own dark world under there... but then, you would pop your head up and realize you were in the middle of the ocean, it was pitch black, you couldn't see a single thing and the only way we knew our boat was where we left it was by the little lantern hanging from it's roof.

Swimming in the middle of the ocean at night... maybe a bit creepy.... seeing nocturnal sea life... incredible!! Captain Neil said the boys were the youngest he has ever had on his boat to go night snorkeling!

From here, we did something that I can only really describe as magical.

We headed down to a quite little bay to see the Cayman bioluminescence.

There is said to be only 12 places in the world that have bioluminscent waters... and only 7 of them are in waters that are safe to enter. We knew getting in that it was probable that we were going to get stung by these glowing organisms if we chose to enter the water. However, it would only feel like a dull bee sting and there was absolutely no way I had come all the way to the Cayman's to let some bitty sting stop me! Roen chose to sit on the boat ladder, but Micah and Remi both got in as well.

Here's the thing, it is nearly impossible to take pictures of this incredible phenomena. So, I will attempt to describe it...

The water is black as ink and the moment you enter the water, the ripples glow as if you have just broken a glow stick and let it bleed into the water. The bioluminescence we saw were green on this night. Sometimes they are yellow and sometimes other colors, but on our night they were green. And they were so bright. These little organisms were most definitely working in our favor by putting on a truly extraordinary show! It was almost like your hand was emitting magic as it waved through the water followed by this glow.

But underwater, is where the magic really was. With a snorkel and goggles I was able to see these tiny little creatures. As I moved my body around it was like I was jumping into millions of glowing fireflies... I cannot even began to describe how breathtaking this was. I honestly, had to drag myself out of the water because as I was swimming in these waters I was experiencing a manifestation of wonder I never even dreamed existed and never wanted to end.

This is the only picture that shows a glimpse of the glow... my flash made the green look white...

Micah got stung twice, and of course, Remi's entire body itched, but the little critters were nice to me and I got nothing but an amazing experience!! And sweet RoRo decided to stick his head underwater from the boat ladder so he could see the 'fireflies' too!

What an incredible day this was!! It will go down as one of my all time favorites with the boys! They both fell asleep on the way home and went straight to sleep when we put them in their cozy beds...

I truly feel blessed that God gave me, not only a husband that likes to explore this great big world with me, but two little monkeys with fearless hearts and a love for exploring!


Cindy Rector said...

Ok...let me start by saying this adventure better become one of your hard back books! It belongs on the coffee table! This makes me want to book a trip and experience everything that y'all did...well maybe not the stingrays! It is incredible to look at all the pictures and feel like I'm right there with ya. I love the big trike pictures. How much fun would that be to have a race down the beach! Sister....I think you could be a travel reporter. Your closing remarks took me to one of Grannie's (momma's) favorite songs - "I Hope You Dance"! You must have heeded those words....I hope you never lose your sense of WONDER!!! Thank you so much for sharing, always remember....When you get the choice to sit it out or dance..."I hope you dance"!!! Love you much!

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