Over the years, I have seen the Atlantis Submarines numerous times in the George Town harbor.  But I had never been on one – until now! After many years in Cayman, I am running out of new activities, so was quite pleased to have this to try out.  As you will see below, I had a very nice time.

On this lovely Saturday, we had perfectly calm ocean and also no cruise ships in town – so its was mighty peaceful in George Town.

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Before getting on the sub, which was “parked” off a few hundred feet off the shore near Sunset House, we had to take a +-10 minute boat ride to get here.  Here we can see the sub.  Its can seat 60 people and costs, as we were told 3.5M$US.  On this day we were only about 20 ; its still low tourist season in the Caribbean and as mentioned, no cruise ships in town.

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Here we are inside.  It was surprisingly roomy and light inside.  Unless a person has severe claustrophobia, I don’t see it being a problem for most people.  There are many windows (sort of like an airplane but bigger) and it is air conditioned so nice and cool inside.  Since the sub was less than 1/2 full, we each had 2 seats.   So if there was something to see on the other side, we can “jump” over and take a look.

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The view we had from the sub.  Of course, colors are distorted at depth, plus the pictures do not do justice ; it looks kind of dull on these pictures, but trust me it was not 🙂

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Of course plenty of fish to see.  We got to see numerous reefs like this one, one turtle and a number of stingrays.

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This is the maximum depth I saw.  We were told the sub can go much deeper, but for these tours they stick to +-100ft which is pretty much recreational scuba diving depths I am used to.  Also, the “wall” where there is a drop-off is at around 100ft which is where there is the most to see.

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The bubbles when we were surfacing.  It took maybe 30 seconds to go from around 100ft to 0 – quite impressive.

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At the end of the trip and on the way back to thee dock on a regular boat, we all got a dive certificate 🙂

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So there you have it, a new local activity off the list for me. Since I am a diver, I was not really sure what to expect since I get to see the reefs like that from “outside” the confines of the sub.  That being said, it was a great way to see the underwater world ; in style, comfort and all while staying completely dry.

One of everyone’s favorite shore dive sites on Grand Cayman is Macabuca.  When I say shore dive, it means where you can simply jump in the water and start diving – no boat required.  Macabuca is a dive operation and restaurant in West Bay, close to the Turtle Farm.

Not long after getting into the water and once we were 60-70ft down, I was able to get this cool shot of a boat overhead.  It always amazes me how sound travels in water – it is loud and clear.  But its also very difficult, compared to outside of water, to locate where the sound comes from.

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The highlight of the dive was no doubt the friendly turtle we encountered.  The lovely turtle swam slowly and gracefully with us for a few minutes.  Was not afraid of us at all.

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Here you can see how close to us it was – great experience.  Such a lovely animal.

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Some nice looking coral and formations.  The pictures do not do justice – they are much more colorful, less “green” than they look here.

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Of course – a diving selfie is required!  This picture attests to the clarity of the water. I am +-70ft down here and you can see the surface, the sun, etc.  Of course this being Cayman, it was nice and sunny out.

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So there you have it – great diving as usual in Grand Cayman.  There were lots of people out diving yesterday and lots of tourists and locals alike having lunch/drinks at the outdoor restaurant.  A great place for sure. 🙂

 

This week-end I visited one of Cayman’s newest attractions : I was not disappointed.  This place only opened in January 2016 and is quickly becoming one of Cayman’s top tourist (and locals …) neat things to do.  The attraction is called “Crystal Caves” and is located on Grand Cayman’s North Side.  Well worth the drive out.  As the name implies, you will be going into some caves.

Before we head out, they made a lovely deck area which is right in the forest.  Very nice.

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Ok so we head out into the caves.   During the visit, which is guided, we get to visit 3 different caves.  Each one very interesting. Here we are in the 1st cave – right away people were in awe that we have this in Cayman. We were told that these have been formed for over 250 Thousand years.

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Here i’m in the “open air” cave which is mainly lit by natural light.  You cannot see it, but my shirt is becoming wetter but the minute (more on that later)

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Now for some even more spectacular pictures.  The next two caves are closed – no natural light.  However, there is LED lighting and it makes for a spectacular sight.

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Isn’t this amazing?  Note: if you are only mildly claustrophobic you should be OK.  If you are VERY claustrophobic, then skip.  In most places you will be, the ceilings are quite high.  The only thing I really noted is how humid it is in there.  Of course this is summer, so it was quite hot which did not help.  But this is a cave visit after all, so I think some humidity is to to be expected.

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The 3rd and final cave is for sure the most spectacular with the underground lake.  There was also a place where we could see some water cascading in – really neat. We were told its all fresh water, which is quite rare in Cayman.

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Upon exiting the 3rd cave, we had this awesome sight. This fig tree – which I’ll assume is very old, has some very spectacular roots.  Note that the tree “sits” on top of the cave and that the roots then go down towards the ground via the air.  Quite a sight.

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The tour lasts +-90 minutes and is OK for kids and anyone who is able to walk a few hundred meters. I do recommend you wear proper shoes and not flip flops.  Also, if you want to be able to take decent pictures, I recommend you bring a “proper” camera if you have one. I suspect pictures from a smartphone will not turn out great.

Here is the Web site of the company – reservations are required.

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I recently had some travel to the British Virgin Islands – or BVI as many people call them.  I generally go to the BVI 1-2x per year for work and usually do not stay the week-end.  This time, due to some scheduling issues, I spent a week there which included a week-end.  On the Saturday, I made my way to the island of Virgin Gorda which is a short boat ride away.  Julie & I have been twice before quite a few years ago.  We loved it and I was eager to go back.   The BVI are very mountainous, so a nice change of pace from Cayman.

One of the first views I got to enjoy ; Savannah Bay.   Makes for great pictures. As you can see, Virgin Gorda is not very developed. I am told there are +-5,000 residents.

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Now for the wiew from one of the highest peaks. Wow

The island to the far left is Richard Branson’s Necker Island.  The small one in the very middle, behind the larger one, is Eustasia.  Unconfirmed reports say that Larry Page, one of the two founders of Google is the owner.  Whoever it is, they sure have a lovely spot.

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Next up is The Baths – one of Julie’s favorite spots ever. The Baths is a section of Virgin Gorda that is littered with massive granite boulders.  Some of these boulders are the size of apartment buildings – massive.  Some theories say they were left here during the ice age.  Whatever it was, it sure made for a spectacular place.

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This is probably the most photographed place – an inner cavern with nice shallow water. Any Google search for The Baths will have you looking almost immediately at a very similar picture as the one below.

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One of the the more secluded beaches ; Devil’s Bay. To get here, you need to do a 15 minute “hike” through the boulder formation – great fun and well worth it.

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Here I am (probably …) reflecting on the beauty of this place and how lucky I am to travel to all of these amazing places.

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Of course the snorkeling.  The timing was right for Silersides – essentially minnows.  Millions of them!  The pictures do not do justice to the sights I saw – sometimes there were so many, that the only thing I could see were small fish all around me ; a wall of fish.  Amazing.

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Ok so that’s it – as you can see I had a great time in Virgin Gorda, or “VG” as the locals call it.   🙂

A recent government decision has left many locals and tourists alike scratching their heads!

In a recent legislative assembly decision, the leader of the Government, Mr. Bob S. Bodden tabled a motion to render many of Cayman beaches inaccessible  to snorkelers.  This is due to recent damage to coral reefs, notably by a Cruise ship and also by a luxury yacht.  It is believed that further damage can be avoided by limiting snorkeling activity at some of the main snorkeling areas.

Signs were quickly put up.  Here we can see one at Eden Rock.  When I went, the notice did seem to get little respect since there were plenty of people snorkeling.  As of right now, I am told that people will get a warning, no fines are being issued in the first weeks.  Fines will be in the 50 Cayman Pesos range for the first offence.

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Here is the sign at Spotts beach – my favorite spot to snorkel with the turtles.

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So there you have it!  But there is some good news from all of this.   There is an extraordinary legislative assembly hearing soon.  The opposition party, the Republican-Socialists Party aim to have this overturned.

We should find out if they are successful no later than on April Fools day 🙂

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