Grand Cayman Island

Going towards town

One of the most memorable trips I have ever taken was to the Grand Cayman Islands.  My sister bought the tickets for me.  Work was getting rough and life in general was closing in real fast (or so it seemed) and my sister thought it would be a great idea to get away from all of it for 4 weeks on the Island, she was right.

Sunset at the Caymans

It is where I fell in love with Jerk Chicken.  Spicy , sticky, smoky and hot grilled chicken.  It truly did leave one of those memory stamps in my head.  The smell was awesome and you literally could smell from a distance, way before you even see the place, then you see the bellowing smoke  followed by the tin shed the food is being cooked from.  The shop was made of what seems to be scrap metal and from a distance it looked to be on fire because of the smoke.  The “restaurant” is nothing more than a scrappy tin shed with a hole at front to order, bench seats and tables.  At front of that were three or four, one gallon drums cut in half and converted into coal BBQ’s with a dude, trying to whilst dodging the smoke.  The chicken is chopped into a few smaller pieces served with Jamaican bread (which is slightly sweeter) and a small take away tub of the sauce (which is the marinade reduced with a little soy and ketchup) and its wrapped in paper, can’t get any better than that!

I saw the freshest of sea food caught from the bluest waters I have ever seen.  I learned to scuba dive there and what a place to learn.  I had a deep fear of deep water.  Although I surfed and water skiied pretty well all my life, I have always had a fear of what is under the water.  I over came that in the Cayman’s!  The marine life down there was fabulous and I swear that if I lived there, I would be diving on any other day. So clear and so pristine, the visibility was as afar as the eye can see.  I patted sting rays and eels and swam with come pretty amazing aqua culture, it was an experience I would definitely recommend.  We tried fishing in deeper waters with my brother in law on his boat but alas, nothing was caught.

Shallow waters of the South Sound

The fish market

I tasted some pretty amazing traditional Caribbean food such as braised Cow Foot!  Sounds gross but it was actually good.  Very sticky braise with lots of gelatine, eaten with rice it which reminds me a lot of Filipino dishes but with pork.  I tasted Conch for the first time in many different forms, grilled, fried, ceviche and all were incredible.  They tasted similar to abalone in flavour and texture and almost like scallops when they’re grill in smell and flavour.

The menu 

They had this fish market there every morning.  Yep, the fisherman just go off in their little boats and come back with what ever they have caught.  Coral trout, Conch, what we call trevally and many many other types that I can’t even imagine the name of.  They unload their catch on a trestle table, put shade on it and sell to the public until they have nothing to sell.  Some days, its all over by 9am.

The life style was truly amazing.  The place I have been to where you get on a boat, travel over the Sound (body of shallow waters, the one in Cayman is called South Sound) to the other side of the island, anchor away then walk to the shore and you’re drinking an island cocktail with in 20 minutes.  Finish there, you travel back in the South Sound and stop in what seems to be in the middle of the ocean.  You jump out (yes out into the water cos it’s only waist deep on me and I’m short, so that’s shallow!) you’re walking around in the middle of the ocean then when you think it can’t get any better, sting rays come to you like puppy dogs wanting attention!  You guessed it, they are hand fed here and human contact is ok.  In fact their government were concerned one year after their yearly cyclones that the sting rays had not eaten for a long time, so they went and fed them before fixing the cyclone torn island – wicked!

The sting rays are harmless

I have never seen such fine, golden sands on a beach any where in my life and they stretch all the way around the island, almost!  On my first few days when I arrived, I did nothing but lay on the sand to get over my jet lag, followed by a cool dip in the South Sound.

Cruise ships dock here almost every day

Also for the ladies, jewellery like you would not believe and shopping like there is no tomorrow.  For the fellas, watches, every kind! If you are any thing like me, I was  mesmerized at the amount and varieties of fashion and Swiss movement watches, DROOOOOOOOOOL!

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