Friday, December 04, 2015

Grand Cayman: Day 3

Day 3 was definitely the most memorable day of the entire trip. Again, we woke up bright and early, got ready, and then went downstairs to borrow GoPro cameras at 8:00. We ate a quick and portable breakfast (of granola bars we'd brought from home) and then hopped in the car and drove over to the Yacht Club.
We arrived a bit early for our tour, so we walked around the docks, admiring the dozens of parked boats.

MOBY DICK TOURS
A few weeks prior to our trip, I booked a tour to Stingray City and Coral Gardens with Moby Dick Tours. In terms of price, they were right in the middle (not on the higher end but certainly not on the lower end) but they had amazing reviews. Mark Button replied to my tour request promptly and we set everything up. I paid through the website ($45 per person).
We got there pretty early (because I feared they might take off without us). However, we ended up hanging out on the boat for a bit whilst the guys picked up cruise ship passengers and brought them over in a van.

Soon we were on our way. As we made our way out of the Yacht Club (at approximately 5 MPH), the guys demonstrated 'Stingray Safety' to us, making sure we'd avoid being pierced by their stingers and showing us how to safely feed them.
When we got close, we saw several boats anchored in the shallow blue waters and dozens of people hanging out and laughing. We anchored close by and were told to get in the water too. The water was about waist deep and as soon as my feet touched the sand, I was nudged by a hungry ray. I was super happy to have the GoPro with me for this excursion.
We got to hold humongous rays - they sort of just relaxed on top of my outstretched arms - and we even got to give the rays a smooch!
Apparently, kissing a stingray will bring seven years of good luck. So far, so good.
We also got to see baby stingrays, which were adorable.
And, I couldn't resist feeding them. The key technique is to hold the squid like an ice cream cone and let the ray come over the top of your hand. Their vacuum-like mouths will just suck the squid right up. But be careful! An aggressive stingray came by and sucked the squid out of my hand and then kept sucking and gave me a stingray hickey, which eventually became a painful bruise. And my sister said they kept sucking up her thumb.
The babies were super cute and playful.
After about 45 minutes at Stingray City, we headed over to Coral Gardens. The reef here was gorgeous and the clarity was amazing. We saw tons of amazing fish (though, we didn't do a great job capturing it with the GoPro - still learning to use that thing) and really gorgeous reef formations.
After snorkeling, we enjoyed a gentle ride back to land. We drove back to our hotel and then made some Korean cup ramen for lunch (which totally hit the spot). M and I were still feeling peckish so we each got a salad at Anchor & Den. M went for the grilled romaine salad with crispy pork belly and a Caesar-style vinaigrette while I went for the nicoise salad with rare grilled tuna.
SMITH BARCADERE
We wanted to explore a little more of the island and snorkel some more so after lunch, we went to Smith Barcadere. It's easy to spot; just look for the giant mansion with big 'T's embellishing the wrought iron fence and park right next door.
This beach is actually quite beautiful and peaceful and I think it's a nice place for relaxing as well as snorkeling.
We settled next to this little cove-like area.
And my sister found these weird, creepy looking larvae fossil-y things.
The snorkeling here was great, though it seemed a little lackluster to us since we'd just been at Coral Gardens.
But, there were plenty of fish and the reef was pretty close to the shore, which makes this a great place for kids to snorkel.
LOBSTER POT
After snorkeling, we went back to our hotel, cleaned up, and then headed out to dinner. We went to Lobster Pot, which was just a short drive south from the Marriott and arrived just in time to watch them feeding the tarpins.
Our waiter was really cool and helpful and went into detail about the specials of the day and items on the menu that he especially liked.

I went for one of the specials, which was a small lobster tail with a piece of mahi mahi served on a bed of pureed potatoes and carrots. It was really good. The lobster tail and fish were cooked until perfectly tender.
M got the lobster cooked Cayman style. It came with beans & rice and steamed vegetables. The lobster was super delicious and I loved the sauce; it was kind of peppery, vinegary, and tomato-based.
Dad got one of the fish of the day dishes, which was a grouper which came with beans and rice and steamed vegetables. The fish was crazy delicious because it was so fresh. The waiter said it literally came off the boat that afternoon.
For dessert, we were hoping to have sticky toffee pudding again for the third night in a row, but since they didn't have it, we settled for the coconut cream pie. The filling was a fluffy, mousse-like texture packed with coconut flavor. It was really good.
After dinner, we drove home and watched a little television before falling asleep. I watched the most ridiculous episode of Mystery Diners ever (that show is so fake) and then I discovered that The Nanny was available on Netflix in GCI, so I started watching that instead! It's not the classiest show, but it brings up memories for me; my grandparents in Brooklyn did not have cable so whenever we went over, my sister and I had to just watch whatever was on and more often than not, it was reruns and marathons of The Nanny.

xoxo.

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