Friday, November 27, 2009

Grand Cayman - Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise

One of our biggest expenses was going on a cruise aboard one of Jolly Rogers Pirate Cruises. Since Jared is so pirate obsessed lately, we knew this would be at the top of our list of things to do.

Both kids were really excited, but also a bit shy, when we first boarded. Since we were there in September, and it is one of the slowest months of the months for tourists, there were only about ten more people on the boat.

Soon after boarding, we went down to the lower deck of the boat. Jared loved the pirate decorations.


I was a bit disappointed with the cruise. On the website, they promote the cruise as for children. They said kids can help hoist the mainsail, help fire the cannon, or walk a plank, none of which took place during the cruise. I don't know if it was because ours were the only kids on the boat and they were very young, or that there were so few people on the boat, but we had hyped things up for the kids, and I wish I would have know what it would have really been like.

Still, we did get to go snorkling for a little bit, which was nice. Jared came with me in the water, but at that time Alexa was still not putting her foot in the water. A really nice older lady stood with her while we were in the water.

I love the color of the water in the picture below. It's the only picture I have that comes close to showing what the water actually looked like.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grand Cayman - Cayman Kai

Our second favorite beach, one we liked almost as much as Rum Point, was the public beach at Cayman Kai.  We tried on two occassions to be at the beach during sunset. We did catch a little of the sunset before it was totally dark, but we never managed to get there to watch it right when the sun just starts to sink below the clouds. Still, it was very peaceful, calm, and, because we were always the only people on the beach, very private.

Alexa loved writing in the sand, and then throwing big handfuls of sand into the ocean.

Jared climbed the trees with Steve's help...

and was absolutely delighted to find a crab walking through the grass.

We came another afternoon to the beach at Cayman Kai for a picnic lunch, and the kids walked with Steve all around the edge of the shore that lined the park.

Afterwards, we drove a short way to the northernmost tip of the island (still Cayman Kai area). I included some pictures below to show how deserted this area was. And it had the most clear patches of beach we found on the island.

We walked along the beach for a while, gathering little treasures from barrels (I think they were supposed to be parts of piers that were never built), and walking along portions of piers into the ocean.

As we rounded a corner, we were so thrilled to find about ten starfish in the water. It was so awesome to pick up live starfish in the wild. We stayed there quite a while just taking in their beauty.

Grand Cayman - Our Home Beach

Several times during our stay, Steve took out a little raft, which belonged to the owner of the house, out to the reef about half a mile from shore. It would have been a bit much to have all four of us in the raft, but Steve did take the kids out to the end of a broken down pier (it had been destroyed with Hurrican Ivan).

They also had a whirlpool at the other end of the porch. It was a nice break from the salt water. At one point, while we were right in the pool, Jared let go from the edge, and his head went under the water. It was a scary moment. I really, really would like the kids to take swim lessons.

Jared especially liked to swim with Steve. He also loved it when you'd play shark with him.

The kids often played and "swam" in the beach in front of the house, although the water only came up to their waists before the reeds began.

It was so relaxing to have dinner on the porch, often BBQ, while we could look at the ocean. The kids are very, very light and, especially Jared, picky eaters. We are lucky to have them sit still for five minutes with us before they want to run around and play, so it was nice to have a relaxing dinner while watching them play in the sand or by the water.


Grand Cayman - Alexa's Vacation Pictures

I've already written a lot about how Alexa loves to take pictures. Being on vacation didn't stop her from wanting control of the camera. Here are a few highlights of the pictures she took, mainly around our beach home but a few along the ocean at night, too. Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I really think she has a good eye for framing and creating interesting compositions.

Grand Cayman - Mastic Trail

On another squeltering, sweaty day we hiked a good ways down the Mastic Trail, one of  the last remaining examples of the Carribbean's dry, sub-tropical, semi decidous dry forest, that is home to varieties of animals and plants unique to the Cayman Islands.

It's always a surprise how the kids take to going on a hike. Earlier this year we took two hikes when we went to Kelly's Island in Ohio. One hike we had to practically carry them the entire time, the other hike they walked and climbed up steep hills almost the entire time. You just never know. I was hoping, praying really, that they would walk most the time because it was  H O T!!!!!!!

It turns out Alexa did walk most the time, and we only carried Jared about half the time. That's really saying a lot, too, because we hiked down the trail a lot further than I thought we would.

Alexa loved playing "leader" which really encouraged Jared to walk more on his own.

I realized afterwards that I didn't get too many good pictures of the fauna while we were hiking, only video. However, I really liked our family pics. Thanks to Alexa's photography skills, we were even able to get one of me, Steve, and Jared together.

Below is a picture of a huge (cockroach maybe ?) insect we saw while walking along the path. It might be hard to see in the picture, but it was laying on its back with its legs flayling in the air. It was in the same position when we headed back down the trail. I was for flipping the poor thing over, but Steve wasn't having any of that.