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Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Houston, Texas
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215 posts
18 reviews
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Trip Report: Aug 4-9

This was our third trip to the island and Turtle Nest Inn in as many years, but our first trip which began on a Sunday. We contacted Joyce at Kirk's, hoping to arrange for grocery delivery since we knew the grocery stores would be closed when we arrived, ruining our usual pattern of airport -> drop luggage at condo -> Hurley’s. They don't deliver on Sunday, though, and our condo was unavailable for a drop off on Saturday. We instead stopped at The World's Prettiest Texaco, as my husband calls it, in Bodden Town on our way from the airport. Got a dozen eggs, some milk, and bottled water. I brought a bag of almonds from home, so we now had enough to get by until the stores opened on Monday.

We dropped everything at the condo and headed to Kurt’s Korner for dinner. We’d never been there before, and it did not disappoint! I had the snapper, hubby had mahi (I think) and our daughter had fish and chips. Mine came with a Caesar salad that I thought was very good. My daughter loved it, as well! Tried Kola Champagne. Very sweet but tasted good. I stuck to Sprite, water, and alcohol the rest of the trip, though. The waitress at Kurt’s was very nice and made sure my fish was not dusted with flour (Celiac Disease = no gluten = no wheat, barley, rye, or oats). We ended the evening by watching a DVD borrowed from TNI.

Monday morning, we woke up, made breakfast and headed to Hurley’s. We’ve shopped at the airport and Countryside locations of Foster’s but much prefer Hurley’s. It reminds me of Randall’s or Tom Thumb (if you’re from TX, you’ll know what I am talking about). Stocked up, popped into the liquor store next to it for some Seven Fathoms, and it was back to unload at the condo and head to Rum Point. We enjoyed lunch at The Wreck Bar. I know I am alone in this opinion, but it is one of my favorite lunches on the island. Jerk pork plate and a mudslide? Delish. We tried to replicate the awesome Rum Point snorkel adventure that Testudo took us on last year, but the current was too strong. Big bummer. As I mentioned in another post, my husband found a big moray eel wrapped around one of the pier’s concrete posts. He didn’t see him at first, and it startled him. He brought his GoPro 3 along for the trip, and he used an extending pole. Not sure the eel thought it was all that cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFCmD7CCfoc

After Rum Point, we made a stop at Starfish Beach. Our daughter could’ve stayed there all day! We discovered about 6 or 7 starfish with minimal effort, but we were at the southern end of the public beach rather than near the point. We headed back to TNI for some on-site snorkeling. It was good, but for me great = seeing things I haven’t seen before, or seeing things I’ve seen before, only in larger quantities or sizes. Didn’t really see that (though the big puffer that hangs around there – love him!). We had reservations that night for the bioluminescent bay boat tour through The Sweet Spot at Kaibo. I had my times confused, thinking we needed to be there at 6, so we snorkeled ‘til the last minute, cleaned up, and enjoyed (?) turkey sandwiches in the car as we rushed there. Turns out we were about 45 minutes early, so we had some drinks. The mudslide at Kaibo was the best I’d tried. We ended up being the only people on the boat that night. We really enjoyed the trip! John was our guide. He was super nice and did a fantastic job. I can’t recommend this trip highly enough! If you’d prefer to do kayaks, I’d leave out of Rum Point instead; as others have pointed out, it is quite a haul from Kaibo. My daughter especially enjoyed seeing the disco shrimp near Starfish Beach on the way back to Kaibo. I’m so glad we made this tour after missing it our first two trips due to the moon cycle.

Tuesday we headed to Eden Rock since there were no ships in port. We really love it there. It’s easily in our top three favorite spots, and toward the top of that short list! Spent some time there, then went to Governor’s Beach for our obligatory hour or two on Seven Mile Beach. We just aren’t lay-on-the-beach kind of people! Snorkeling wasn't as good here as it was last year, but snorkeling is so hit-or-miss. Saw a big trunkfish, which I always love to see. After Governor’s, we headed up to Macabuca for a very late lunch. I enjoyed the shrimp curry, hubby liked his fish and chips, and kiddo had mini burgers with salad. Everything was delicious. We opted for dessert – homemade ice cream sandwich for the youngster and frozen bananas foster for the grownups. WOW. Best frozen drink I’ve had. Hubby and daughter said the ice cream sandwich was the best they’d had. It had a homemade vanilla cookie instead of the usual chocolate. Personally, I’m still craving another one of those drinks! Our waitress was super and worked with the chef to make sure my curry didn’t have any thickener in it. We tried to snorkel a bit off their ladder after lunch, but we didn’t see much. It was kind of choppy and visibility wasn’t great. I was hoping for turtles (if you’ve been here awhile, you’ve heard my whining about having NEVER seen a turtle); the timing just wasn’t right. No dinner that night due to being stuffed from late lunch. Watched another borrowed DVD from TNI.

Wednesday was a big adventure for us – we headed to Wonderland and Queen’s Monument before our three-hour tour with Ocean Frontiers! We didn’t have the time or supportive wife (Mrs. Testudo!) to pick us up at Chisholm’s, so we didn’t get the full Wonderland experience. Queen’s Monument worked out better for us, though. Very pretty out there. I’d like to try that one again. We spent far too long in the water and ended up rushing to OF for our tour. Thank goodness Eagle Ray’s was open; that’s the only way we were going to be able to eat! They were amazing. Told them we were in a hurry, and we managed to get out of there in under half an hour. The food was GOOD. I had chicken curry, the waiter was helpful with the gluten stuff. Hubby enjoyed lionfish tacos. Daughter enjoyed whatever she had. Fish and chips maybe? Can’t remember. All were excellent. We hopped on the boat with our guide, Chris, and one other party of three. It’s a three-stop tour, but we enjoyed ourselves so much and for so long at the first two stops that we didn’t have time for a third! We stopped near the wreck of the Ridgefield first. Got to check out a wrecked yacht, saw some big coral heads and a few fish. Saw an indigo hamlet, which was a first for me. Pretty fish! After that, we went to South Channel Gardens. That spot is also in our top three! AMAZING. Such pretty coral, water was just the right depth, and we saw so many neat things! Hubby found a scorpionfish hiding and got some video of him with the camera and pole. Saw lobster, shrimp, crab (you mean they live in the water, too? I thought they only lived on the roads!). Saw the famous webcam. :) Will absolutely go out with OF again! Still no turtles to be found. Cleaned up at the condo and had dinner at Tukka. Hubby enjoyed the Wednesday Walkabout menu, daughter had kangaroo filet (tried it last year and hasn’t shut up about it since!), and I had steak and lobster. Didn’t care for mine much, but everyone else was happy.

Thursday – our last full day. My morning started with a crisis at work, so hubby and kiddo went snorkeling at TNI without me. They didn’t see much, or if they did, they lied to protect my feelings. I finally got work under control, so we headed back to Eden Rock. BEST SNORKEL TRIP EVER! I knew it was going to be good when I saw a rock beauty hanging out by the ladder. Never seen one before! The water was like glass that day. There was absolutely zero current! We stayed out 2.5 hours and covered the area in front of Paradise on the left, over to that big building on the right (Don Foster’s?). We were enjoying ourselves so much but were starving and agreed to go in for lunch. Just then – I SAW A LITTLE TURTLE! I think it was a hawksbill, but need to reexamine our photos and video. His shell was probably 12" long. We got to follow him for a good 5 minutes. He was far enough away that he wasn’t bothered by us, and we quietly observed. I may have gotten teary eyed! After some divers spotted him, he bailed, so we again began our quest for lunch. Then we saw a HUGE scorpionfish. Hubby decided to free dive to get some video. Again – let’s go get lunch. We paused for a minute, looked down, and there was ANOTHER turtle! This one’s shell was maybe 18” long. He was in only about 10’ of water, definitely not on the reef. He and a gorgeous, large queen angelfish were hanging out together. He was munching on some coral or sponges that were growing there. We got our video/photos and let him be. Headed back for lunch but had to stop one more time for a scrawled filefish – another first for us. It was an amazing day of snorkeling. After that, we figured we couldn’t top what we’d seen!

Grabbed Rankin’s for lunch and ate at the condo. Yum! Stopped by Beach Bubbles but missed Nina. Her friend was caring for the shop and was very helpful! Nina’s lotions are amazing. I’m typically not impressed by lotions – high standards – but hers are great. Be aware that they don’t take credit cards (or maybe they just weren’t that day?). Saw Barefoot Man that night. Really enjoyed the show he put on, but didn’t care for The Reef's setup much. Not much atmosphere, they sat everyone in the back and left close-up tables unfilled, and the food was mediocre and overpriced. I’d go back but sit at the bar instead. Our waitress was delightful.

Friday morning, we packed up and tried to decide how to busy ourselves until almost 3:00 (our flight was at 4:50). Stopped at Pure Art and loaded up on souvenirs. Stopped in George Town at Del Sol (daughter's friend loves their shirts) and Artifacts (it’s still there! Doc Carey's Black Coral had an open sign up, too!). Stopped at Camana Bay, but nothing there that really interested us. Hit up Chicken! Chicken! for lunch. LOVE their jerk chicken. I remembered how spicy it was from last year, so I went with wood-fired chicken and stole a couple of bites of jerk from hubby. ;) We wanted to drive out to Barkers just to see it (never been that far north) but didn’t make it before we had to turn around and head for the airport.

All in all a great trip! And not a single lionfish, other than on tacos. :)

Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
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1. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Thanks for the report - so glad you finally got TURTLES! :-)

I really need to stop in at Pure Art next time - it was on my agenda for this previous trip, but got pushed out due to lack of time....

Annapolis, Maryland
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for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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2. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Wow, sounds like a great vacation for all in your family, and I admire your attention to detail. Did you write the report from memory or take notes while you were there?

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Thanks, TravellingBrit! The turtles made the trip.

Kiddos, this time I made sure to post what we did at the end of each day on Facebook, so I'd have something to jog my memory. It's so easy to forget...

Trophy Club, Texas
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for Cayman Islands
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4. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Happy to read you finally got to see some hard shells! I had not seen any the last few visits, but caught a glimpse of one in July.

Virginia Beach...
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5. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Sounds like a Great Trip! I hope you get to check out the red stairs next year that place was crazy fun:) I also love Turtles, we got to see some this year too. Thank you for your trip report.

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

Thanks, y'all! Testudo, I owe you some beer money. ;)

Forgot to say -- it wasn't nearly as humid as I remember it being before! The south side was still humid at night, but it was relatively pleasant elsewhere.

Trophy Club, Texas
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for Cayman Islands
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7. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

I guess I'll be drinking lots of beer next visit! Based on my solid meteorological knowledge, I think the lack of humidity (noticed my self in June & July, Mrs. T. in August) is due to the unusual breeze on the North Side that seems not to have subsided much since February.

As I mentioned in another post, great for beach bumming, lousy for snorkeling.

8. Re: Trip Report: Aug 4-9

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