Grand Cayman is favored by divers, because it is surrounded by reef. This makes it impossible for a cruise ship dock to be built without destroying the reef. Apparently this doesn’t greatly bother the cruise ship industry which schedules stops here enthusiastically. We arrived along with four other behemoths who floated off shore and tendered their passengers into town. Our tour to feed the sting rays on the reef left at 8am and we had to board the small boat which would take us to the pier at 7:15am. Only on vacation do we arise so early!
When we got to shore we were greeted with the disappointing news that the reef was closed for the past three days. The reason given was weather, which makes no sense since the seas are calm. In town locals told us that sometimes they close the reef if someone has recently been stung by a ray, or they are breeding, or fighting with one another. A tourist did die here last year, so they are probably more careful these days. Whatever the reason, we didn’t get to go. We would have been really bummed if we hadn’t fed the rays here before, but we wouldn’t have signed up to do it again if we didn’t really like it. The tour operator looked mighty disappointed as herds of tourists at $55/head walked sadly away.
Cayman’s other claim to fame is off shore banking. It was easy to spot a bank in town, but we remembered them being an even greater presence before. Today with electronic banking, an imposing building may be superfluous.
Most of the shops sold high end jewelry. Since my usual garb is jeans and a T-shirt, high end jewels aren’t on the shopping list. So we wandered around in town until enough of the 10,000 cruisers bobbing in the harbor began to join us. We thought about a taxi to Seven Mile Beach, a beautiful spot if memory serves, but were afraid that the congestion would lessen our fun there, too. A peaceful spot to swim was just a short tender ride away. An afternoon on deck with a good book was really all we require.