December 2012

A few days ago, I went diving with Ocean Frontiers in the East End of Grand Cayman.  Both dives were great ; tons of fish, some lobsters (very big …), a nurse shark and amazing visibility.  All-in-all, a great time.  However, little did I know, the best was yet to come.

On the way back to the dock, the captain suddenly turned around.  I had no idea why.   Turns out he had spotted a large Manta Ray.  So he doubled back and found it once again. It was swimming at the surface so was somewhat easy to spot assuming you were wearing polarized sunglasses (cuts out glare/sun reflection on the ocean)

Here is the Manta Ray as we get close to it.  My estimate is 7ft across.


Here the boat is stopped and its right next to us.



This is now the best part.  Since Manta’s are essentially gentle giants, most of us on the boat grabbed our fins, masks and snorkels and jumped into the water with it.   I don’t have an underwater camera (I know, I know … ) so thanks to Simon who was on the boat with me.  Here it is ; notice the snorkeler behind.


Close up shot



Underneath shot


and finally what is probably the best shot of all:


The episode, amazingly, lasted about 10 minutes.  The Manta ray was obviously not afraid of us and even double back a few times when it got too far from us.  Almost as if it wanted to play.  It got so close we could have touched it.  Of course, all on board are animal lovers so we abstained from doing that, even though it was tempting.  This was definitely one dive outing I will remember for a long time.


In the past I have mentioned the Cayman Islands Humane Society (similar to SPCA) ; as anyone who knows me, knows I adore dogs.  Here in Cayman, I really like the fact that many people when they want a dog (or cat for that matter) go to the Humane society to find their new best friend. Unfortunately, this place is constantly overflowing with pooches ; either because of new litters or people abandoning them.

There is good news though. Every Sunday, a bunch of volunteers take the dogs and give them some basic training.  This week-end and last I tagged along with my good friend Lorene (who goes pretty much every week-end). The idea is to get the dogs who are in need of a new home out for some fun, get them socialized and also give them some basic training.   At this weekly event, the local “dog whisperer”, Kenneth who does an awesome job with the dogs is always around to assist with the training.

Last week, it was on Seven Mile beach.  Here are some the dog handlers and the doggies. (I was also one ; was assigned “Flint”, a cute black dog.)



Kenneth, aka the Dog Whisperer giving us the marching orders.


Here Kenneth assists one of the handlers (as we are all called during the training – I like it, sounds sorta formal) with her pooch.  SIT 🙂


After all of the sits, heel, turns and walking around, this dogs gets some TLC. Seems quite content!



The sad part is at the end.  The doggies have to go back to the Humane Society.  Hopefully most get adopted in short order and don’t stay there too long.  In any case, with the walks they get + Sunday training it should give them a better chance of finding a good home.   Here they are getting loaded into the van for the ride back.   All of these doggies were awesome; makes you want to take a few of them home with you.



Unrelated to the event, I saw this guy just before the dog training.  Quite impressive since this dog looks only a few weeks/months old.  I walked along the beach for a while and this little guy only fell off once ; the whole time he was going back & fourth between his owners legs.  Very cute.



Last year was the 1st time I ran the Cayman Islands Marathon. In fact I “only” run the 1/2 Marathon (21.1km / 13.1 Miles)  This year was the  10th year of the event and my second of this event.

Saturday, the day before the race, was the pickup of our number and goodies bag.  This was done at the Marriott and due to the numerous volunteers, I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.  Here is a shot of my friend Sean at the pickup.  Good job sir and to all your colleagues.

The always popular goodie bag was once again filled with quite a variety of things, including the “tech shirt” (i.e: polyester), sunglasses, sunscreen, cell phone arm band, etc.   Great stuff.

Included with the registration was a coupon for a “pasta loading” supper the evening before. For those who run, it is a well known fact that pasta is a must the evening/day before the race.  So, being a sucker for a free meal, I obliged and made my way to Breezes (ocean/harbor front) in George Town Saturday PM.   Here is a sample of one of the 2 plates of pasta I took. Needless to say I did not go to bed hungry. 🙂

New this year are the bibs … your name is on it.  Very nice.   This picture was taken post-race and has some obvious Gatorade spill marks on it.

After the run, every finisher gets a really heavy and shiny medal.  Very nice.  It will hang in my office with last years medal.

The course is the same as previous years. (it is “officially certified” so they don’t change it around) The official certification is important since a runner can use the result of this race to qualify for other races where you need to run a certain time/speed in order to be able to participate (e.g: Boston Marathon)

My result: 40th out of 650 runners in 1h43mins 58 seconds. I am obviously very pleased.  🙂