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Trip report

Hillsville, Virginia
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75 posts
4 reviews
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Trip report

My family of 14 arrived on the island Sunday July 14th. We flew Delta air from Greensboro NC thru Atlanta. Tight connection but all went smooth. Had to wait out in heat at airport on arrival due to a few planes coming in at once but was thru airport in about 1 1/2 hours and out to Marshall's to pick up our 12 passenger van and compact car, this process was quick and smooth and price lower than original quote. Load up clown car/van and off we went. Driving on left not bad as expected and only had one time where we went down wrong side of road but didn't take long to figure out when we all started screaming and other cars honking. Arrived at Morritts Tortuga resort which was beautiful and we loved being on "quiet East End" where we would have the whole beach to ourselves until after lunch every day. The snorkeling here is as good as if not better than anywhere else we went to on the island. We were able to swim with 2 reef sharks, barracuda, stingrays, tarpen, an octopus, eel, spiny lobster as well as several smaller assorted fish everyday right at the resort under the pier. Rooms were lovely, housekeeping even would straighten our shoes in closet and wash dishes in sink when would clean our room. Fosters express in close walking distance to resort, we visited it several times and were able to get everything we needed here without having to go to a "bigger" grocery. Some prices were higher but some things were same price as Walmart back home. We would eat breakfast/lunch everyday in room and go out for supper every night. We ate at over the edge twice(recommend the Cajun chicken) service slow but prices good. Dukes in seven mile beach twice(recommend the rib/chicken combo, Tukka, a little pricy but beautiful place to eat on deck with nice place for kids to play on beach(I had fish & chips and was up sick all night but no one else got sick or had this to eat). The Italian Kitchen - pizza good but a little pricy for pizza. Margarita vile, loud, slow, and waitress in constant state of confusion(recommend jerk pork cheese steak) and Eats...wonderful food, selection, and prices. The only excursion we payed to go on was stingray sandbar with Dexter. It was a downpour when we were scheduled to go out and he delayed our trip by 30 min until rain stopped and then we were off. The stingrays were a little scary at first due to all the horror stories you hear about but didn't take long til we were splashing and having fun. The two 8 year olds had to go back to boat because of their fear but the 1 yr old and 2 older kids(11 & 14) were all able to enjoy it. We visited the turtle farm, everyone done in an hour and Hell, done in 5 min but neat to see. We stopped at cemetery beach to snorkel but my opinion of this is clouded a little by the fact that my husband about drowned after being caught in a rip current so be careful. He really came close....couldn't walk for about an hour, vomited, and had to be helped back to car where he was unable to drive so another member of family had to take over. This put an end to his snorkeling for the week but was Friday so had already snorkeled several sights. My overall opinion of the island was gorgeous, friendly, safe and would definitely return in future. Restaurants expensive but knew that going into it....just makes me appreciate eating out at home that much more. Definitely go to stingray sandbar but can skip turtle farm unless trying to kill time. Consider staying on East End the peace and quiet and beach all to self can't be beat and that's why I go to a carribean location, if want crowds and building after building can go to any beach in the US. The only complaint I have is why do all the stores close at 5? I like to stay on beach all day then eat supper and shop in the evenings when I'm not missing the sun. Home now so must go and cook supper and get back to the real world, enjoy if you are planning your future trip! Oh and my other complaint is bug bites...I have 20 or more right now. I think the spray actually attracts them lol. One night there was a truck driving down road by our resort spraying for them but received most bites when sitting out eating supper at night(especially at Dukes and they supply bug spray for you). Ok I'm done

Trophy Club, Texas
Destination Expert
for Cayman Islands
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6,623 posts
24 reviews
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1. Re: Trip report

Thanks for the TR. Glad your husband did not end up any worse in that water incident! Agree on the Rib/Chicken Combo at Duke's. Not certain, but for future reference I think some of the stores in Camana Bay are open past 5:00

camanabay.com/pdfs/tenantdirectory_openingti…

Annapolis, Maryland
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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4,921 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: Trip report

Thanks for sharing a comprehensive and interesting report. It will be helpful for many other visitors who are planning a trip to Grand Cayman.

Hillsville, Virginia
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75 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Trip report

Thanks Testudo I'm thankful he wasn't any worse off as well especially since he wasn't out much farther than my children when it happened and he wouldn't call for help because he didn't want anyone else to get in it. We had no idea he was in trouble til he dragged himself ashore and collapsed on the beach. I think the camana bay stores are open later also but we love the local souvenir junk stores like in GT. we had the ribs/chicken from Dukes 2 nights in a row. Lol

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
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4,354 posts
87 reviews
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4. Re: Trip report

Thanks for the review - it's good to have all sorts of opinions from folks - helps get a better picture of things to do and things to avoid.

Most of the GT shops close earlier than most because they tend to cater to the cruise passengers - once the tenders leave the dock, they tend to wind down very quickly. You will find stores that cater more to the folks who are staying on the island are open later.

In general, though, store hours seem to be more like what I was used to growing up in the UK - the stores closed so that folks could get home for dinner with their families, and nothing was open on Sundays.and holidays.

Toronto, Canada
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18 posts
3 reviews
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5. Re: Trip report

Question for the experts:

I've snorkeled a number of times at Cemetery Beach and have never heard/experienced any Rip Tide concerns. Is this more of a concern in the summer months when the active weather picks up?

Tennessee
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581 posts
24 reviews
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6. Re: Trip report

No expert but to me that would be very odd in that area. In order for there to be a rip current there has to be structure forcing water to flow in a focalized manner in one direction. Like a cut in the barrier reef near Morritts for example. That would be a rip current.

Hillsville, Virginia
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75 posts
4 reviews
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7. Re: Trip report

Wow I guess we just experienced a weird and unusual phenomenon then since you have never experienced one...I pray you or no one else ever does either because a dad drowning or nearly drowning in front of 5 young children is not something I hope anyone ever has to experience, it certainly traumatized my kids. We swam at Morritts everyday for 8 days and never experienced a problem there so I guess they don't have them if one person experience at a snorkel site is all it takes to make you an expert on it. Maybe instead of a "rip current" it was someone tugging him back out to sea ...all I know is he about drowned and I just wanted to warn others so they wouldn't experience the same dangers! Some People are so critical on here which is why I will sign off now and not be back on.

Massachusetts
Destination Expert
for East End, Grand Cayman
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911 posts
14 reviews
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8. Re: Trip report

The channel cut near Morritt's is actually in front of the northernmost building of The Reef Resort next door. You won't run into that rip current unless you go way out to the reef itself - as I like to do to find nurse sharks and stingrays - or swim straight out into it. Once you are out there and get within 200 yards of the southernmost channel marker, the prevailing south to north current will sweep you toward the channel marker and into the rip, which will try to pull you out through the channel.

It is a very strong current. I have swum myself into the edges of it a half-dozen times, and each time I was able to beat it by kicking hard and a couple of times resorting to using my arms in breast stroke to get out of it. But I could easily see someone who is not a strong swimmer get sucked out or panic and drown from exhaustion fighting it.

For reference, I find it significantly more tiring to spend five to ten minutes swimming hard to elude its grasp than I do during a mile of lap swimming in the YMCA pool while keeping my pulse at a steady 150.

Edited: 24 July 2013, 17:38
Grand Cayman
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for Grand Cayman
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9,575 posts
75 reviews
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9. Re: Trip report

Sam I don't think that anyone meant to be critical. It would be very unusual for there to be rip current there just by nature of the topography of the area. Odd things do happen however. I think the comment was made to answer the question about were they more a concern in summer months. I guess the answer is no that they are really not a concern in that area, however, your experience is very beneficial in that it shows that one should never let their guard down even when in the water. Mother Nature throws all sorts of surprises at us. Your posting about your experience has made people aware that something out of the norm happened in a place that is frequented by many visitors. Normally the waters around GC are pretty safe from rip currents because of the reef systems surrounding the island and big cut in the boat channel that is out by Morritts (but much further than swimmers would go) is a place where rip currents do occur. Your information is beneficial to all of us and I don't think brennan was commenting on the accuracy of your experience, but rather the question came after that. Thank you for the heads up.

for the sake of accuracy -- unless the swimmer is a mega swimmer like the one that posted at the same time as me!!!!

Edited: 24 July 2013, 17:43
Tennessee
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581 posts
24 reviews
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10. Re: Trip report

Yes, I've heard that current is pretty bad. I think I read about people doing shore dives and getting caught in it.