Our plan for visiting Grand Cayman this time was that it would be a kick-back-and-take-it-easy trip. We didn't have any activities planned. Just relax and make a good start to Sandy's retirement.
It had been cold in Boise over the Christmas holidays so it was nice to be in the tropics. Our first full day on Grand Cayman we took a long walk on Seven Mile Beach. We conveniently finished our walk at Calico Jack's, a bar right on the beach, where they had the NFL playoffs on tv. It was Seattle against Minnesota, played outdoors in Minneapolis. In case you don't remember that game, it was minus two degrees Fahrenheit and windy. We were feeling pretty smug sitting and watching it in a beach bar. At the end of the game you could tell there were a lot of Americans there on vacation. You could hear shouts go up all along Seven Mile Beach when the Vikings missed the last second field goal that would have won the game. Not many things are sure in life, but you can count on death, taxes and the Minnesota Vikings blowing it in the post season.
Although we did watch a couple of NFL playoff games and the college national championship, we really didn't want to spend our time sitting around and watching tv. Most days we took a long walk on the beach. Sometimes we took two. Although it is heavily developed, especially along the central portion, Seven Mile Beach is still a beautiful beach. And as the name implies, it's really long so we could walk as far as we wanted without running out of beach.
And not all of it is developed. One day we went to Cemetery Beach. The name comes from the fact that you park your car in front of a cemetary. In fact the path from the road walks right along its edge. This was at the far end of Seven Mile Beach. Here it was fairly narrow. In fact, at one point we had to step into the water to avoid some rocks. It was relatively undeveloped as well, at least by Seven Mile Beach standards, meaning no high rise hotels or condominiums.
Most days we took our walks at Governor's Beach. Like Cemetary Beach, it's just a name for a specific section of Seven Mile Beach, usually one with public access from the highway. It's right at the end of the road that parallels Seven Mile Beach and has a large parking area. It also was very easy to reach from where we were staying so it became our standard spot for beach walks during the week. Calico Jack's was located right here, in case we felt that we needed to follow up our walk on the beach with a cold beer or a snack.
We usually went to Governor's Beach in mid morning right after we finished breakfast, or we went there late in the afternoon. During the middle of the day it was packed with people off of cruise ships who caught buses or vans from Georgetown to get there. One time we did come in the middle of the day and it was a zoo. The beach in front of Calico Jack's was packed with people, literaly elbow to elbow. You had to contiually excuse yourself just to move along the beach. After that we always avoided it at midday.
But we did see one interesting sight that afternoon - a real rocket man. There was a jet ski with a hose coming off it that ran to a guy with water jets on his feet. There must have been a very high pressure water pump because the guy was flying thirty feet in the air on jets of water coming from his feet. I guess it was some kind of beach thrill ride that they charged people lots of money to try. Kind of interesting to see although I think it would only be amusing to do for about two minutes.
Sometimes we didn't feel like driving anywhere and just took a walk from our hotel. Usually it was when we were up early and took walks before breakfast. There was a large swampy area near our hotel (although fortunately there were no bugs) where we would walk. It was not very scenic and there wasn't anything around but at least we could enjoy the fauna. There were lots of water birds, wild chickens (yes, plain old chickens) and three foot long blue iguanas.
Since we had a car we made a few excursions. One day of course we went into Georgetown. It's kind of a zoo because cruise ships anchor in the harbor and let off thousands of people. Some of them take island tours (more on that in the next post). Some catch buses or vans to the beach, which was why we avoided Govenor's Beach in the middle of the day. But many of them seemed to just walk around the few blocks of tourist shops right near the cruise ship pier. I like to shop for tshirts as much as anyone, but if that was the whole trip I don't think I would enjoy a Caribbean cruise very much.
Because we had just seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens the week before, I thought I would pack one of my Star Wars tshirts for the trip. I happened to be wearing it when we went into Georgetown. Well of the five cruise ships in port that day, one of them was a Star Wars themed cruise. That meant that there were hundreds of people in town that day wearing Star Wars tshirts. They were everywhere. I certainly fit right in. By the middle of the day I wanted to hang a sign around my neck that said "I am not from a cruise ship".
Of course I did do well and managed to find a few good Grand Cayman tshirts to take home. I also found some nice but inexpensive jewelry that was quite unique, so I stocked up on Christmas presents for next year. No sense waiting till the last minute - there's only 350 shopping days left till Christmas. And Sandy found a really nice necklace to get for herself. So I think I am set for presents for most of this year already.
There were some nice restaurants right on the water that were on the edge of downtown. We had lunch there on the day we went into town and came back for dinner several evenings. The seafood was fresh and really good. It was nice to sit on a patio right on the water and watch the sun go down over the ocean while we had a glass of wine. It certainly beat being back in the cold weather and going to work every day.