Most people think that there is only one Stingray City, the place where you can see and touch stingrays in about 3ft of water in the North Sound.  Well, you would be wrong! There are in fact two Stingray City’s.

The second one is also in the North Sound, maybe 1km (my estimate) from the one most people know and and many have visited. This second one is in 12ft of water, so is a dive and it is known as the “best 12ft dive in the world”!

The theme and story is the same ; many years ago, fishermen would clean their fish and stingrays congregated for a free meal. This one is in a bit deeper water just behind the reef.

So here we are – just one other boat which left not long after we arrived.  On our boat we were only 6 divers, so had the place literally all to ourselves.

Lets start off with an underwater selfie! 🙂 The water temperature was a “nice” 80 degrees. Some folks wore wetsuits, but this Canadian just went with bathing suit and t-shirt!

So here we are with the Stingrays.  Just like at the other Stingray City; all very mild and willing to be touched. Here is one coming to check me out. And of course is rewarded with some petting ; i’ll assume she liked it
I know this one is a female since the males are small (size of a small 10-12 inch pizza) – only the females grow to be large. 

 

Here my work colleague Alvin is spending some time with a lovely specimen and just like me filming and taking pictures.

Quite a few other fish are around for the fun.  The Dive Master is the only one allowed to feed them. They are not allowed to give them too much food – makes sense I guess.

There is not a whole lot to see around this sandy patch, but there were a few lovely coral heads to see.

Near the end of the dive I spotted this rather large lobster.  No lobster catching allowed while diving.

With my awesome underwater camera (a GoPro) I also shot a few nice video’s.  If you feel like seeing more of this experience, I have posted a few below. The first two are the experience with the Stingrays.

This one is an encounter with a rather large Moray eel!  Not super friendly, but always impressive to see.

This one is also the Moray eel – it did not like one of the other divers and went after him.  Thankfully it retreated before getting to him.  I sure got spooked as you will see.  After the incident you can hear me laughing underwater 🙂

And finally some of the surrounding scenery and the reef formations. Very pretty, colorful and full of fish.

I hope you enjoyed this post about diving in Cayman.  The experience was quite awesome and in very shallow water, so is accessible to even the most novice divers.

As is the tradition, in early December many people bring out the Christmas lights, many Christmas lights!

In recent years, some of the “Roundabouts” have really stepped up their game.  The roundabouts in Cayman are mostly sponsored. We have the “Butterfield Roundabout”, “Cayman National Roundabout”, “Island Heritage Roundabout” and the list goes on. As you can see, its a corporate thing.

There is also the house in South Sound that always puts on an impressive show as you can see in the 3 pictures below.  By far the most lights at a residence on the island although the Creighton property towards the east also outs on a good show.

Here are two of the Roundabouts I was talking about.

Another new addition are the “falling snow” or stars lights.  Very pretty.  For this, I had to make some videos to show.  Anyway, I hope you will like the videos, they should give you a much better feel for this festival of lights.

 

 

In closing, Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to everyone reading this!

Ill post again in the new year of course. 🙂

How time flies.  It seems like yesterday I decided to run in the Cayman Islands Half-Marathon after starting to run only a few months earlier.  That was in 2011! So this is the 6th time I run it and its always a great event.

In the days before the race, we were expecting rain so I had prepared accordingly. A garbage bag to use as a jacket pre-race (to stay dry as long as possible), a baseball cap so I can see if it comes down hard and also Vaseline for areas subject to chafing if wet.  Thankfully it did not rain which is great – it was however quite humid. In recent days, I had I noted +-22 degrees while driving to work.  This morning it was already 27 degrees at 3:30am.   The race starts at 5AM – hence the early morning temperature read.

So the race started at 5AM exactly, as always. Its fabulous running in the dark for the first +-1h15 or so.  The pictures below were all taken by me after I had finished my run, went back to my office to shower and made my way back to the start/finish line area.

The RCIPS (Royal Cayman Islands Police Service) was out in force, making sure motorists stayed off the route as much as possible.  I saw many of them throughout the morning. Great to have them around as well as the many volunteers.

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The water stops are all very animated.  Lots of them have motivational music going (think “Eye of the Tiger”)  and often people are dressed up like at this Pokemon themed one.

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I stood around the start/finish line for a while. I enjoy seeing people finishing and the satisfaction on their faces of having completed their run.

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The entire post-race area becomes alive with people discussing their races, what went well, what was tough – everyone congratulating each other.  Lets face it; whatever time a person got, they were out running at 5AM on a Sunday while most people were asleep in their beds.

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The fresh fruit, granola bars and water/Gatorade are very popular after a long run.

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I was quite privileged. The main sponsor of the event, Intertrust, had a “VIP” breakfast for their staff and various guests such as business partners.  Lucky for me I am in that second group.  I was treated to a lovely breakfast, fruits, coffee, etc.  They even had mimosas’ and the likes for those that wanted some.  The bacon really hit the spot after a long run!

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So how did I do?  Not bad at all.  Results below.   26th out of almost around 750 runners.  5th in the men’s 40-49 y/o category.  Considering my training did not go really well over the summer, it’s a very good result. The winner, a local guy, got his 1st win.  From what I heard, he is only 17 years old.  I guess he may win quite a few of these in years to come!

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This is the medal all the finishers got.  The middle part spins and the outer rim is like a million little diamonds; nicely done.

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The rest of the day I took it really easy. I also enjoyed the swimming pool of a close friend.   This 6ft high waterfall is awesome. The volume of water that falls is such that its “heavy” and provides a pretty good shoulder massage.

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So that’s it till next years Half-Marathon. Another year for the history books – as always a superbly organized event. Thanks again to all the volunteers who are there to give us water, keep us safe and cheer us on.

In November, the latest and greatest of Hotels in Grand Cayman opened.

For those of you who have been coming to Cayman for a long time, this new property, called the Kimpton Seafire, is located on the spot of the old Courtyard Marriott (called Holiday Inn before that in the 1990’s).  That is adjacent to the Public beach section of Seven Mile beach.  This new hotel has been in construction for around 2-years now. From what I can see, the hotel part (below picture – right) is completed.  The residences/condos (below picture -left) I think are “almost” ready but not sure. It looked to me as if they were still outfitting the inside parts. Outside looked done.  The hotel part is in an “L” shape going towards the beach.  The condo building is a rectangle.

Anyway, here is the place.  Its big – definitely the biggest structures in the Cayman Islands.  This is the view from the road – beach is other side of the buildings.

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Of course walked around – all is very nicely done.  The landscaping is very pretty and everything (obviously) feels very new.

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Apart from the main buildings, here are the “Beachfront Bungalows” – very nice, intimate and super close to the beach.

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And of course the beach.  West Bay road was moved east a few years ago to make this possible.  Where I am standing here, used to be a busy road. Much better now 🙂

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Pretty neat little “mini cabanas” for beach-goers.

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Clearly very recent – note the stilts on the palms.  Since they were only planted a few weeks/months ago, they need to be propped up until they can form proper roots.

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I looked down and noted that the paving stones were somewhat different.  I looks like the builders decided to add broken glass to the them.  Assuming they were made in Cayman, this is awesome since there is currently very little local recycling of glass. It makes for pretty blocks and probably reflect some light at night.

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A final view back toward the hotel from the beach.

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We are having our office Christmas party here next, so will be nice to see this in the evening!  Very much looking forward to it.

Cayman Islands Marathon is tomorrow – Race review coming soon of course 🙂

Once again, end of October means Halloween and of  course the 10-10-10 relay race in the east end. What started as a very small race six years ago, is not a very popular event. Its the last “real” race before the marathon in early December, so it attracts a number of very strong runners.

It was a lovely Sunday morning to run ; as always, very few cars and quite sunny.

Here I am around East End village (the last leg) chugging along.

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At the finish line with my teammates. Craig, left is from South Africa and Dan in the middle from Windsor, Canada.

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We did quite well – finishing first in the corporate teams category!  yay 🙂

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On my way back from the East End, I stopped at the East End lighthouse – had seen the sign a million times, but never stopped.

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There are a number of informational plaques explaining the history of the lighthouse.  Today there is just an automated navigational light.  Anyway, an interesting historical (and short) stop if you are driving around the area.

Finally, in my 10-10-10 race report for 2015, I posted a picture of a big house being built in Bodden Town.  Its so big, that although the project is quite advanced, its still not complete. What a house it is! Its starting to look really nice.

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The weather in Cayman is quite amazing right now – not too hot, fabulous evenings. Hope this stays the case for the weekend of the marathon. Hurricane season is almost over – another year with nothing.  Great! 🙂

PS: I recently changed Web hosting company. Please let me know if something is not working or if you notice something weird with this blog.  You can leave a comment or click on “email me” top right.

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