I write this entry with a heavy heart...it's a recounting of my last full day on the island. I've really grown to love it here over the course of the last 7 days.
Diving with Neptune's once again, we originally had a full boat this morning. But a foursome had a woman whose girth wouldn't allow her to navigate the ladder..and then there were four. Much calmer water today, thank goodness. Orange Canyon was the first site...similar fish to the other dives...but I'm getting more comfortable in deep water...105 feet seemed like nothing. Our morning shallow dive was Queen's Reef, again similar fish, although we did see a barracuda and a small sea turtle.
As I was diving both morning and afternoon, Casey and crew were kind enough to let me off Sunshine Suites for lunch....I had a leisurely lunch while Casey led a quick refresher course for the afternoon boats' resort divers. Sunshine was really good. Service was brusque at first, but once we realized we both came from OH-IO, things got much better. Had the kitchen sink burger, was was good (not spectacular)...but the fries/mushrooms/onions were GREAT). And the free mini ice cream cone for dessert can't help but make it a great meal. $16ish KY. And, at least from the outside, Sunshine Suites is immaculate.
Marcos picked me up at Sunshine and brought me back to the boat. I lounged on the bow of the boat while we slowly made our way to the afternoon dive sites. As the boat was filled with new-ish divers, Casey gave me plenty of leeway to get the most of my dive. Paradise was the first site...and the first I've seen to have a 'school' of fish (must have been 100 schoolmasters). Hogfish were plentiful & 2 turtles were seen (one of whom could not stop eating his sponge sandwich).
Last dive of the trip was Public Beach..similar fish to the earlier site, but we saw 2 barracudas in the span of 40 minutes. This was a good trip to become really comfortable in deep water, and now I feel ready to tackle the north wall, waves or no waves. Neptune's was a good outfit for low-to-medium experience (or comfort level) divers. Casey & Marcos did a great job of getting newbies comfortable in the water, managing some very loquacious (and slow) divers, and leading the groups (while letting the more experienced divers go off on their own). Strongly recommend them.
Back at the hotel, and it wasn't even 5 yet. What to do???? Thought it might be nice to actually enjoy the hotel's amenities and beachfront location for once...so I went straight from the car to the hotel's beach. Got myself a frozen lemonade, read, and watched the sun set. Really relaxing. Although I can't say I like the streetside of SMB, the beach itself has grown on me. And everyone was so nice about taking pictures for each other...love the way that vacations wear down our protective little shells we often wear on a daily basis.
As tonight was the last night, needed to do those 'wrapping up vacation things'. Went by Divers Supply for a Tshirt (found a great one) and a small Xmas tree ornament (silly, I know, but at least its a baby stingray handmade on the island). Unfortunately, though, the dive shop didn't have any Cayman Island dive patches to put on my dive bag. Hopefully I can find one tomorrow.
And, it was only fitting, I have a final Caymanian dinner..couldn't resist going back to Seymour's (directly across from Texaco on Shedden Road) for another round of Jerk Chicken. Seriously, this is the best chicken I've ever had. I wonder what's in that special sauce???? And at $7KY, it's unbeatable, price wise.
Well, I ate dinner on the beach, under the light of a full moon. Now, it's time to start pre-lim packing, so I can hit Cemetery Beach tomorrow before my early afternoon flight.
Grand Cayman, I miss ya already!