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In just a few months, I had a lot of family in town. My mom came for a week. My dad and sister came for a weekend. And finally, my dear cousin Kirsten and her husband came down for a final summer fling.

One of my cousin Kirsten and her husband Adrian’s reasons for coming to Cayman — other than to go out on a pirate boat and watch as I had far too much to drink (oops) — was to complete their PADI open water certifications. Being frequent Hawaii visitors, they both had tried out diving and while Adrian felt comfortable, Kirsten had had a bad first experience and was a bit nervous.

Open Water Grand Cayman

They completed the coursework online before coming down, so all they had to do was their pool checkout dives and four open water dives. Kirsten did have some initial hesitation with the first boat dive but between her being a great student and Mark being a great teacher we were all underwater soon.

Open Water Grand Cayman

I was able to go along for their checkout dives and make a video, which was so much fun for me. It is truly a joy to watch the people you love falling in love with the things that you love. This is my favorite video of the summer, and I think I can really see how far I have come with underwater videography. I obviously have so much more to learn and I think it could take years to truly master the art but I have had such an experience just getting to this point. There has been a lot of self-doubt and frustration but as Mark reminds me, if it was easy it wouldn’t be so fun. It’s a long one, turn up the speakers and enjoy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCh6_hjVq68]

But we weren’t done with the water yet. First, Kirsten and I had some girl time at the The Turtle Farm Boatswain’s Beach, which I wrote a separate post about. But we needed even more underwater animal encounters. Our next stop? Stingray City. You’ve heard me mention it I believe? Maybe every third post on this blog or so it seems? Well I can promise you’ve never seen a day at Stingray City like this one, because neither had I.

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

As I’ve mentioned, I think Stingray City to be Cayman’s greatest attraction. However, I’ve been there a million times, and I was in the middle of packing up and selling our stuff and truth be told I was not so enthusiastic about going along. But I wanted to spend time with my dear cousin and so I relented. Lucky me.

 Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

After the rainy but nonetheless excellent experience I had with Captain Marvin’s when my dad and sister were in town, we went out with them again. The stingrays were out in full force this time.

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Kirsten, you don’t mind that I posted a photo of your bum on the internets, right? Gratzi! With the sun shining and my underwater camera in tow I wanted one great photo of myself with these guys — I did spend all summer with them after all.

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

That water, that sky… I had never seen a day like this at the sandbar. Soon we were back on the boat and we took advantage of the two level boat to do some balcony jumping! One of the highlights of the day.

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Stingray City Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

I’m sure you all have had your fill of watching stingray videos, but I’m telling you, this one is really worth a watch, both for the beautiful water and the screaming like little girls while jumping from the boat.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzpZtLt7QbE]

Finally, Mark had a day off. We knew exactly where to go — far away from the crowd of Seven Mile Beach. Our first stop was the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Garden, a site I’d been eager to check off my list, and wrote a separate post about. Next up was our favorite spot on the island, Rum Point.

When I need to get my brain juices flowing, get the mind thinking again, really stretch those mental muscles, I head to Rum Point. Its a very academic place for serious reflection and thought.

There are labs for scientific marine life research.

Rum Point Grand Cayman

Buoyancy analysis tanks.

Rum Point Grand Cayman

And of course, hand eye coordination training simulators.

Jet Ski Rum Point

Its almost as fun as studying for a chemistry final.

On the way back from Rum Point, we made a fun little discovery. See, Cayman isn’t exactly a place ripe for “exploring.” Sure you can drive around, but you really aren’t going to find anything not in your guidebook. So imagine my surprise when Mark and I, en route to replace a tire on the bike for inspection, stumbled upon this:

Cayman Conch Shell House

Of course this required a pull over and full investigation, as well as a justification for bringing my camera along to a bike inspection. What does a conch shell house look like, you ask? A little something like this:

Cayman Conch Shell House

Cayman Conch Shell House

There was a small plaque letting us now that there are in fact residents in the house, but they don’t mind photos or people poking around. When I got back home I did a little research and found the house is made up of a whopping 4,000 conch shells and dates back to 1935 when it was used as a bomb depot by the US Navy. No word on the bomb-shell correlation. Ha! Pun fun strikes again.

Any Cayman-goers looking to snap a photo of something not listed in their guidebook can head to the Caribbean Electric Company and look across the street.

I had such an amazing week exploring with my beloved cousin! Thanks a million for coming, Kirsten…

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2 Comments...
  • Cecilia
    August 8 2014

    Hi!
    It’s so funny! I have found your blog with a pic i have seen in google! from rum point (didn’t know it)
    And i love your blog!!
    I am a traveller addicted too (still have no blog but i am working on that…)
    and i am planning a world tour in 2016/2017…
    I loved your advice of earning money, as it is just what I am really thinking off these last days!
    So thanks for those, and i am going to keep on reading 🙂

    Cécilia

    • Alex
      August 8 2014

      Thanks for all the kind words, Cécilia! Glad you found me here and my posts have been helpful! Enjoy the planning stages of your trip, they are part of the fun as well. Wishing you all the best and hope to see more of you around here!

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