Thursday, August 2, 2012

SkyWatch Friday & Caribbean Cruise Week - Went to Hell and Back

After our ship departed Cozumel, we headed east to George Town, Grand Cayman. We would be there early the next morning. Our overnight voyage was a little on the rough side due to weather. In preparation for the crossing, the ship emptied out the pools up on Deck 11 and tied down the lounge chairs. By emptying the pools, it took away the potential for splashing of water onto the deck and kept it safer for passengers.

I was slightly concerned about being able to sleep that night. The ship has stabilizers to help with side-to-side motion, but you still get a little front-to-back wave action. Depending on where your cabin is on the ship, you could notice more or less movement. Our cabin was closer to the middle of the ship although slightly aft. The minor waves that I felt ended up rocking me to sleep and I awoke well rested to mostly cloudy skies in George Town.

In George Town, the ships are anchored out and passengers are taken via smaller boats (tenders) into shore. There were four ships at anchor here - two Carnival ships, a Disney ship, and us.

Carnival and Disney Ships at Anchor

After breakfast, it was time to go ashore to do some sightseeing before our day's planned bike excursion around the island. The clouds were clearing and the humidity rising as we headed in.

Leaving the Ship to Go Ashore
(Click on the banner to go see other SkyWatch Friday shots from participants around the globe)

The town of George Town was bustling with tourists and island residents. I wish I took pictures of it but I was too busy just seeing it all. We did a little shopping and then decided to eat lunch before our bike tour. Wow! Were things expensive on the island! Two chicken sandwiches and bottled water was almost $30 USD.

We found the rendezvous point for our bike adventure and about twenty of us were loaded onto a small bus for a short ride along Seven Mile Beach to our starting point. The bus driver was very knowledgeable and gave us quite the mini tour. Grand Cayman is known for being an international banking center and banking centers were plentiful. Real estate was very expensive there as the cost of living but it was a pretty island.

We arrived at our destination and soon had our bikes chosen and helmets on. We received a short orientation and safety briefing and then it was time to pedal on.

Receiving Our Safety Briefing

Our tour was scheduled to take about three hours. We would be riding along quiet country lanes, then along the coastline with stops at Dolphin Discovery and the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, then we would go to Hell before returning to the country lanes and our starting point.

Dolphin Discovery was a good place to stop and refresh ourselves with sports drinks. The humidity was climbing and together with the biking, we were hot and thirsty. I wasn't interested in seeing much at this stop but did enjoy watching all of the crabs climbing on the rocks near the shore.

Small Crabs Everywhere!

Next stop was a short ride to the Tortuga Rum Cake factory. Here you could sample the a few flavors of rum cake. Meh, didn't particularly care for it. Not even the chocolate flavor. Shocking, I know!

One thing I noticed about Grand Cayman was the number of iguanas seemingly everywhere. On rooftops, in yards, even at near a water pipe next to the Rum Cake Factory.


Getting Some Sun
 
Back on the bikes, we made our way to Hell. Yes, Hell, Grand Cayman. We stopped at a bar/gift shop with a deck that overlooked a group of the strangest looking rock formations. Short black limestone rocks with pools of water apparently moved a local politican to proclaim that this is what Hell must look like.

Welcome to Hell
Limestone Rock Formations at Hell
Do you see the iguana?

Before we knew it, it was time to return to our starting point. Our tour was over. We had gotten a feel for island life but now it was time to go back to the ship. And just in time, too! A large rain cloud let loose on the tender ride back to the ship.

While we were waiting for the Mariner of the Seas to haul anchor and depart for our next port, the Disney ship sailed away. It was so comical to listen to their horn. Its worth googling it to hear.

Bon Voyage, Disney Magic!

Up next, Jamaica mon.


13 comments:

  1. If only I could talk my wife into a cruise. She has some kind of phobia about it. Rouge waves....
    I think it looks like great fun. Thanks for the tour!

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  2. OK, not everybody can say they've been there and back! Bike tour was a great way to see the Island and get some exercise to work off all those shipboard meals! What good timing with the weather!

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  3. I love those formations!

    Hope you can stop by and say hello at my blog, and if you have not already done so, "Like" Hood Photography on Facebook! Thanks!

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  4. Love the skies and what a great cruise! I spent some time in Cozumel, learned to snorkle and I also cruised in the area and really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing the fun!

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  5. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  6. Looks like a fun time at Grand Cayman. It is a fun port for the ships to visit. I like the iguanas, the bike ride is a neat way to see the island. Great photos from your cruise. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Fabulous cruise photos and wonderful dramatic sky!

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  8. Delightful captures! Happy sky watching and a great weekend too.

    Your comment on my Sky Shot will be greatly appreciated.

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  9. Looks like you had some fun - great skies - thanks for sharing

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  10. Looks like fun! Hell doesn't seem so bad - just not the place to walk barefoot!

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  11. Awesome pics!
    Please see mine at: http://amitaag.blogspot.in/2012/08/skywatchqueued-up-and-waiting.html
    -your latest follower

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  12. I would be running from those evil looking iguanas! A most interesting post.

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  13. Wow, you survived hell. Which I'm sure I'd have survived better than the bike ride.

    When I lived aboard a sailboat in Lake Union I loved the way the gentle rocking put me to sleep.

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