It had seemed like a good idea–going to Grand Cayman for a vacation. My cousin had been there twice. But there we were, driving around aimlessly, not sure which way to go after an officer forced us to take a detour. We tried to explain to him that we didn’t know the island, but he insisted we take a country road leading to . . . we didn’t know where.
It took a while, but we finally found our way back to civilization. It was my first trip out of the country, and it all seemed so strange. From arriving on the island, to finding the right van to the hotel in the pouring rain and riding through a mostly industrial area to our small inn, I wasn’t sold on the place.
But the next morning the rain had subsided and the sky began to clear. My first moment of “Wow” on Grand Cayman came when we went to a large hotel to rent a car. On the blue ocean just outside the lobby towered a huge white cruise ship. We entered the pool area to Calypso music, passing a gorgeous pool with a swim-up bar. Continuing on to the bleached white sand beach, we needed darker sunglasses to observe the crystal water which changed to aqua, then deep blue. It was my Caribbean dream come true.
Grand Cayman Beach Suites
I began to see the true beauty of the island as we explored more–driving a short distance to a public parking area right next to Seven Mile Beach. Casuarina trees shaded our car, and we only had to walk a few feet, right past the Governor’s house, to smooth sand and clear water. Not only was the ocean more beautiful than any I’d ever seen, but there was less wave action. It was easy to swim in the calm water, and a snorkeling mask made it possible to view colorful fish nearby. There was very little moistened sand, so strolling along the shore was different than it is on South Carolina beaches, where we usually go.
Another difference on Grand Cayman is less sea breeze. I’m sure it varies, but I was used to a constant breeze cooling me. And even though it was only 87 degrees most of our time on the island, I really felt the sun. But the lack of wind also made dining outdoors more enjoyable. Usually I have to hold my hair away from my face and weigh down napkins in order to combat the wind while I’m eating, but outdoor dining was a pleasure. We ate outside more than inside, and insects weren’t a problem.
One of my favorite activities in Grand Cayman was a submarine ride. I was a little hesitant about being in an enclosed space with a group of people, but I didn’t know if I’d ever get another opportunity. We boarded a boat which took us into the darkest, bluest water I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t a submarine anywhere, but we were assured it would appear at any moment. And appear it did–rising to the surface as a light green blob, then exploding on top of the water and changing to a dull gray. It was truly exciting, then a little scary as we followed a gang plank between the two vessels and descended metal steps into the belly of the beast.
After we found seats on a bench facing portholes I relaxed more, waiting for the journey 101 feet down to begin. A winding sound indicated we were sinking, and soon the water seemed gray. The lack of sunlight caused this, but we soon observed underwater moun-tains with many sea creatures swimming above them: Sea turtles, stingrays, and fish I couldn’t even identify. Everything was in slow motion, and we started back to the surface all too soon.
I’m really glad we made the trip, and the differences and inconveniences were definitely worth it. It’s a place I’d love to visit again.