Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday, August 24

The next morning, we woke up in The Cayman Islands.  This was a tendered location - in other words, the ships had to stop out in the water and a boat ferried passengers into the port.  We learned that the officials of Grand Cayman do this so they can collect taxes from the cruise ships.  Here I am on the port, showing you how far out our ship (and the Royal Caribbean ship on the right) had to park.

Unfortunately, we left in a rush and I managed to forget my camera.  So I had to use my cell phone camera for this port.  We also forgot hats and had to buy two caps (the sun was pretty hot).

 I had booked a tour excursion through a place called for this stop because American Express had offered a deal if you paid for the cruise with their card, you got a free shore excursion.  This turned out to be a good thing.  While the rest of our fellow passengers were climbing on buses to tour the island, we got a private tour guide in his taxi.

The first place we went was the turtle farm.  The Cayman's used to be called the Tortugas because of the giant turtles here.  The locals used to hunt the turtles and they were (and still are) their primary source of meat, though it is now illegal for them to hunt them.  All the food turtles are raised on the turtle farm, where they butcher 1500 pounds of meat a day.  The locals buy their turtle meat at the grocery store.  The turtles are fed pellets made by Purina (why am I not surprised).  I took several pictures of the giant turtles (they are very friendly) with my cell phone camera.

 The turtles really were quite fascinating.  We even visited the hatchery, where we saw a teeny baby turtle that had just made its way to the surface.  Turtles bury their eggs 3 to 4 feet down and the newly hatched turtles have to make their way through all that sand to get to the surface.  This helps their circulatory system.

After the turtle farm, our guide took us to the Rum Cake factory.  The Tortuga Rum Cake is known throughout the world.  They offered free samples, which we tasted and then of course, had to purchase a cake.  We got pineapple and have been rationing out tiny slivers each night after dinner.  (Both to make it last and because we're trying to lose the cruise weight).

After the rum cake place, we visited Hell.  That's right, they have a place called hell.  There are lava rock fields there. 

And of course their are gift shops.  My husband bought a t-shirt that said "I've been to Hell and back."  Another popular item is a postcard.  You can send you friends a postcard that is postmarked in Hell.

After this our guide offered to take us to the beach.  We declined and opted instead for a mini-tour of the island.  We saw the Governor's Mansion.  The Cayman's are British Owned and the Governor is appointed and, according to our guide, makes $70,000 A MONTH!  (I want that job!)

Then it was back to our ship.  Our next stop would be Cozumel, Mexico.

And of coursein our room, another cool towel animal awaited us.