Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grand Cayman

Blake spent 8 weeks this past summer living in a hotel in Brooklyn for a trial.  I spent those same two months at home doing daily doctor visits and injecting myself with ungodly amounts of hormones.  Basically, I'm just proud that we both survived.

At the beginning of the summer we'd made a deal with ourselves that if we could get through the summer and also be securely pregnant, we'd take an awesome babymoon vacation to celebrate.

We wanted to go somewhere relaxing and also somewhere neither of us had been before.  We started looking at places in the Caribbean and narrowed it down by where there were nice Starwood hotels.  Blake earned approximately one billion (that's a rough estimate...) Starwood points from the summer, so we were able to get five nights at the Westin Seven Mile Beach for free.  We used credit card points for our flights, so it ended up being a five star trip for next to nothing.

Neither of us knew much about the Caymans before we got there, so we were expecting something a little more like the Bahamas in terms of the feel.  We were pleasantly surprised when it surpassed our expectations.

The water is crystal clear and about 85 degrees, so you can stay in all day long (even if you're a wimp like me).  The snorkeling right off the beach was amazing, too.  We rented snorkel equipment and spent all day out on the water.   We'd swim out about 50 yards from the hotel and there was a great reef with an amazing amount of colorful fish.  I think it was my favorite snorkeling since the Great Barrier Reef when I was 16.  We saw rays, puffer fish, squid, tons of colorful fish, sea urchins and all sorts of great coral.

The only thing we ended up not liking were the fish called Bermuda Chubs.  I guess they are used to being fed by tourists, so they swarm you when you are snorkeling.  At one point I looked over because Blake had yelped and he was surrounded by about a hundred of them swirling in a circle and darting in to inspect him.  One bit him on the elbow really hard and made him bleed.  Who knew that fish could be so aggressive?

From that point on, whenever we saw the Chubs coming we'd hurry and paddle in the other direction.  I wasn't about to get bloody fish marks all over my arms.  Scary Chubs.

In between snorkeling and hanging out at the beach, we ate some truly fabulous food.  Our favorite places ended up being the ones right across the street from the hotel: Eats Cafe, and the Sunshine Grille.  I think I gained five pounds in five days. Nothing completes a fabulous trip quite like gluttony.

Before I drown you in photos...probably our favorite thing we did while we were there was to take a catamaran out to Stingray City.  It's a series of shallow sandbars out in the middle of the bay where you can touch and hold stingrays.  The rays have been coming to the spot for years because they know they'll be fed there, so they've become as docile as house pets.

Some of them are quite large - 4 feet across, so it's a bit unnerving to have one swim up to you and give you a sucking kiss or slide its wings past your arms and legs.  Nervous factor aside, they are SO COOL.  We got to hold and a pregnant one and the guide had me feel where she was carrying her pups. I felt a bloated kinship with the thing (though I'm glad I'm only carrying one as opposed to 3-5 like she was).  Their skin is very soft and silky.

Also, did you know you get seven years of good luck if you kiss one?  All I know is that I will do anything for some extra luck, so I took the kissing very seriously.  Really.  The look on my face in the photos below shows the seriousness with which I approached the situation.

I'm hoping that the seven years of good luck includes being able to go back to the Caymans again soon.  We're already trying to figure out when we'll be able to go next.  Forget real life.  If you need me, I'll be in the Caymans.

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