We Are So Blessed!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day 4! Grand Cayman- Sting Rays, Hell, and Turtles!

Grand Cayman is another port that the cruise cannot dock, so it anchors in the bay and you ride "tender boats" from ship to shore. We all like "tendering" the kids see it as an 'extra boat ride' and so do we really! We had tickets to a jam packed early starting day, so we had to catch the tender early! Luckily you get priority VIP debarkation when you buy excursion tickets through the cruise line (which we always do)- so we get escorted off and are able to cut the line, which helps you make your group meetup time.  
We first boarded a bus that took us to Hell (an actual city) … we bought some post cards that say,  “We’ve been to hell and back” (and other things)… They have a huge field of some bizarre limestone formations.
Isn't that weird, that's rock for seemingly no reason. I thought it was like lava rock I've seen in volcanic places-- but NOPE its limestone!

Only MY family would smile in pictures like these... and yep every one of us smiled- we can't help it, LOL!

We then headed to Tortuga store… That is one of our most favorite treats -Tortuga Rum Cake! We’ve been addicted to it since we first tried it on our first cruise (sold on the ship, made in Caribbean), and we always buy many cakes to take home on every cruise. To stop by the actual Tortuga store in the Caribbean was a real treat. They had samples (but we already knew what we liked so we bought our favorite cakes and some other treats based on recommendations. 

Then we headed to the Turtle Farm- that place in itself was so cool that you could spend a full day there- we didn’t even get to explore half of it before it was time to head to the next activity.. but we did enjoy what we did get to experience. Maletch’s favorite part and the highlight was definitely getting to hold turtles!
 We saw many ginormous turtles!

Maletch even got to climb in WITH the turtles! How cool is that?!
This guy was not our tour guide- but we noticed him leading another group and he looked like fun... so we started taking to him and he was absolutely hilarious. We were crying from laughing so hard. When he found out we were from So Cal, he told us how he used to live in Inglewood and started telling us crazy stories in his Caymanian Island accent!
They had an aviary at the Turtle farm too. But look what we saw just running around... a white peacock! So pretty!
We stopped at the gift shop and bought some goodies before heading back to the bus... to our most exciting stop yet!!
Our bus then took us to a dock where another boat was waiting for us to take us to Stingray Sandbar which is in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean (pretty far out- could not even see a shore anywhere around us). The rays are completely wild (not in captivity what-so-ever). The water was supposed to be waist high thanks to the underwater sandbar, however it was "high tide" so it was pretty deep (too deep for the kids to stand up). We were out far enough so we were far away from crashing surf (no coast around)- however there were waves from the tide and they got pretty rough. John and I enjoyed feeding the rays! Their mouths have very strong suctions (and LOUD like a vacuum)- they can give you a hickey on your hand when taking the food if you’re not careful! We also got to hold, kiss and pet the rays. They were swimming all around us, rubbing up on us and it was amazing how big and heavy most were.
I for whatever reason seem to attract bugs and animals. The entire time, if someone would ask "where are all the rays?" the answer was always "over by her" (while pointing to me).  I had a crowd around and one that was swimming around my legs and laying on my feet. Another one came over, so for a while I had two (touching me), then a 3rd came and I could tell there was a problem. They did some weird dog-pile thing (while they were on my foot) and next thing I know they were fighting with each other! I unfortunately got stung! It was completely a fluke thing, and at no time was I afraid or under personal attack. They are friendly animals and usually only sting if stepped on (like "hey get off of me"- it happens a lot to surfers that don't see them camouflaged on the ocean floor)... BUT the famous "painful-like-no-other" sting of a stingray was a little more than I bargained for- but I would go back out again in a minute- I'll just be sure to watch for them fighting with each other and stay away from tussling stingrays! 
The kids were really struggling to just be in the water, I was able to help Maletch touch one but Sariah wasn’t feeling like it- she was also pretty tired so a little bit fussy- so John took her back to the boat.


There was a man pushing a shopping cart full of coconuts, chopping them with a Machete while yelling, “Coco, Coco!” He gave one to Maletch (he said, “Here boy for you”) - Maletch  got to taste coconut milk!

By the time this excursion was over and we tendered back, we were starving, it was time to eat and nap. 

After we refreshed, we dropped the kids off at Kids Club for an evening of fun! Sariah had fun throwing soft balls and Maletch's class played Sticky Ball- which is throwing wet tissue balls to stick to targets! How fun is that?!  They watched movies and lots of other things too!
While the kids were busy, we went to Love and Marriage Show-which is like the Newlywed Game and its hilarious!

People  had been coming up to us for a few days, saying, “We saw your picture on display- you are the cruise models they’re using for selling this cruise."  "You guys are the famous Carnival Family!" and "You are the new commercial family!" from lots of people.. we never knew what they were talking about so we just shrugged it off and forgot about it, until we'd hear something again.
Finally that evening, as we were heading back from picking up the kids, we saw our picture on the "Photo Wall of Fame"... with a sign that said, "If your picture is here, you get the photo free!" Sweet! And we had an "A-ha moment" - about those silly comments from earlier! 

 Do you recognize that family??
We got that 8x10 for FREE! What a fun surprise to end a perfectly FUN day!! 
 Towel Animal: We came back to find this cute little elephant chillin in our room!

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