The Cayman Islands have become one of the world’s most popular diving destinations. It’s come a long way to widen what was once a niche sport to a wider audience. Visitors are lured not just for the turquoise waters and romantic views but also as caribbean cruise destination.
And so after what seems an eternity with tickets booked long ago, I finally got to take my four year old son, Robbie, on a family holiday. We arrived in the evening, exhausted after a tantrum filled flight and collapsed into bed, to be fresh and ready for our holiday the next morning.
The first stop we visited on our itinerary was the Botanic Park. This is where we came face to face with the blue iguana, or little monsters as Robbie referred to them. He was scared but thrilled at the same time. The park is participating in a program to protect the endangered blue iguana from local wildlife such as dogs, cats, rats and the wheel of a truck or two. They reminded me of my own mother. They love the sun!
We said our goodbyes to the little scaly creatures and strolled to the white sandy beach nearby. The name Seven Mile Beach kind of says it all really. The volleyball players kept us entertained while Robbie built sandcastles but failed miserably to get enough water into the moat before it drained away. So daddy was kept busy running round-trips back and forth with buckets of water.
We headed north to Rum Point and hired some pedal-boats. There was a shark, a train and even a pirate ship to choose from. How could we not choose the pirate ship. And so it was a pair of pasty landlubbers became salty sea dogs and set sail on an adventure into the crystal clear waters.
If you are in the Caymans on a cruise around the caribbean you will definitely want to visit Stingray City. The stingray themselves are very impressive and larger than you would expect at almost a meter across. We were allowed enter the water and awaited with fear and excitement as these giant beasts swam towards us. They brushed against our legs and the soft rubber-like texture combined with a scaly feeling added to the eeriness. But it was an immensely enjoyable experience. Except if you are a four year old boy who didn’t enjoy it one bit and is perhaps now scarred for life. Oh well.that’s another story for his therapist.
In the hope of convincing Robbie that not all fish are monsters i took him to Jacque Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment adventure centre. This educational centre is designed to give children a real understanding of and respect for the environment and in particular the ocean. We joined up with a group of other ambassadors and set sail to the mangrove swamps on North Sound and set up camp in the protected centre in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. We were given a lesson in how mangrove thrives in salty water and just how resistant they are to hurricanes. We were taught about jellyfish and how they swim upside down to catch their food. We learnt about starfish and saw a myriad of rainbow like colours and turtles swimming beneath the crystal clear waters. I think Robbie was won over thankfully. His biggest disappointment? No scary crocodiles!