Don't step on the Scorpionfish!
Scorpionfish (aka stonefish) are incredibly well camouflaged, and they rarely move around much. So it's easy to miss them when you are snorkeling or diving around rocks & reefs. Have a close look at this photo to see what I mean - and this is a close-up shot!
The good news is that they won't hurt you as long as you don't touch them. The bad news is that they have some nasty venomous spines which they can erect when threatened, and if you touch them you will seriously regret it. The pain can be quite acute, even debilitating, so immediate first aid is required. The only simple treatment I've been able to find online for this is immersion of the stung limb in very warm (not too hot!) water to relieve the pain.
Best plan of all is DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING, for the safety of the creatures around you and yourself!
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
We booked our shore tour from the cruise because we were told that if we took one of the tours from the shore that they are unreliable and not licensed.
First off, the price for the tours through the cruise (Carnival) were way overpriced compared to what we could have paid on shore. Second, we were told the tour would be on an air-conditioned bus. The bus that picked us up smelled horrible, was falling apart, and was nothing like we were promised it would be. The only air conditioner we had were windows. On the way back, the bus broke down and we had to wait more than an hour before we were picked up, so we missed all the time we had for shopping being stranded on the side of the road. Maybe next time we'll take a shore tour from locals and not from the cruise.
- Family Travel
The absolutely most dangerous thing on land or in the sea down there is young American guys driving rental jeeps! On most Caribbean islands, driving is on the left. I almost had head-on collisions 3 times with young American guys in rental jeeps, charging towards me in the wrong lane.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
Drive on the other side
I didn't own a car while in Cayman. I went everywhere on my mountain bike. It took awhile to get used to riding a bike on the left hand side of the road. Once I mastered that I noticed how reckless the drivers really are. My friend was hit my a car, not injured. Just a smashed in back tire, still enough to get your blood boiling. Be careful and take the time to look both ways...your life could depend on it.
- Hiking and Walking
Believe it or not, there are some mosquitos at night and they can be pretty bad. It was a total shock to me because I never expected it. Just beware if you're gonna be out and about a lot at night.
They only seem to be in certain areas, though. It's a bit wierd.
Although Grand Cayman is very casual and friendly, there are quite a few natives there that are pretty conservative.
I noticed they were not too keen on people who dressed racy (braless, really short skirts etc). Also, they don't take too kindly to people who get wild and crazy. You rarely see that because most of the people who go there are older, serious scuba people, families, cruise ship passengers etc.
Also, when you get off the plane there, the customs people are really picky. My husband got totally searched there and they asked us LOTS of questions. (This was before 9/11 so it's probably worse now). Just be prepared to have all your stuff searched.
As I'm sure most of you know, the Caymans are under the British Rule. Therefore driving is on the left side of the road & most of the cars are right hand drives. (makes for interesting driving, lol). Driving on the left was fairly easy for me. What was difficult was getting used to the right hand drive cars. I kept turning on the windshield wipers when I wanted to turn on the turn signal. One of the most difficult problems I faced was the console was on the left rather than the right. I would pull up & park in a parking space, roll up the windows, turn the car off......but forgot to put the car in park!!! I wasn't the only one that did that. You could definately tell who the tourists were by watching them park, alight from the car & if the car began to roll backwards....you knew they were a tourist, lol. Another difficulty I had was the roundabouts. Not only would I get confused as to where I needed to go after entering the roundabouts, but the roundabouts are 2 lanes rather than one & you had to be in the correct lane for your destination. Switiching lanes in the round about is a no-no & thank goodness I only got honked at rather than being in a crash! So folks it's fairly simple...remember to put your car in park & upon entering the roundabouts choose which lane you need to be in & stay there!
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
After Hurricane Ivan
Ivan wrecked chaos and havoc on the island in 2004 making the inhabitants more aware of the changing pattern of the climate. It took 3-8 weeks for electricity and telephones to be restored. and about 1-2 weeks for water supplies to be restored to most parts.
Visitors to the island should be aware that the hurricane season runs from June to November so be prepared.
Sand Bar be aware!
Stingrays are fish. And a fish out of water is a fish out of its natural element. Rays breath water through their gills extracting life-sustaining oxygen from the water. Just as the human lungs cannot extract oxygen from water nor can the rays extract oxygen from air. When a ray is removed from the water it is unable to control the oxygen intake. The ray essentially is "drowning in air", much the same as if you took a child and held it underwater.
On any given day at the sand bar you will see two types of "Stingray handlers" in the water with the tourists.
There are those who gently and respectfully hold the rays in the water, giving the tourist a chance to interact with the rays, photograph them, and learn to respect and enjoy them.
There are also those who lift the rays out of the water. Holding them over their heads, or the heads of the tourists, in what is called the "Stingray Hat". Or holding them out of the water using them as a "squirt gun" spraying the tourist as the ray desperately expels the last of the life giving water from their gills. These handlers are in effect turning the rays in to a sideshow attraction.
Taken fromCayman Net News March 31, 2007
Police had declared the Sand Bar unsafe the day before due to the waves hampering the
maneuverability of boats, people and stingrays. It was felt that in such conditions, tourists were more likely to be involved in accidents with the stingrays or the numerous jellyfish spotted that day.
The announced closures came too late for three tourists who were involved in minor accidents at the North Sound tourist attraction.
Two incidents involved jellyfish stings and the third involved a stingray wound to a man’s arm. One of those injured declined to go to hospital while the other two were taken in and treated for superficial injuries, and released the next day.
Anyone in a van appears to be a taxi. Just be sure it is a taxi!!!!!!!!!!!! Cayman is so safe and I have done some stupid stuff there................Natalie Halloway probably thought she was safe too!!
Do NOT shop at Gem Palace (Milano Diamond Gallery)
Gem Palace (Milano Diamond Gallery) is one of Carnival Cruiseline's recommended stores. Carnival cannot be trusted when it comes to their port shopping program... it is all a ploy for them to make more money by receiving a cut when you make in-port purchases. The guarantee they offer is completely worthless.
On May 10, 2011, I purchased a 14 karat white gold diamond ring from Milano Diamond Gallery in Georgetown, Grand Cayman for the amount of $3395.00. I consider the item purchased at Milano Diamond Gallery to be a fraudulent product.
34 days after purchasing the ring, a small diamond fell out (one of 58 small diamonds surrounding 3 larger diamonds). I became uneasy about the product I had purchased, so on June 20, 2011 I took the ring to a very trusted and reputable jeweler whom I have done business with for years. After inspecting the ring, he informed me that it was a "total disaster" and that there were several more diamonds on the verge of falling out at any time.
I received a certified letter from the jeweler (and certified gemologist) who inspected the ring. He stated the following:
“Upon inspection of a 14K white gold diamond ring belonging to Katie Morgan, it is evident that the reason for a diamond falling out of the ring is because of inferior workmanship in the setting process of the diamonds. It is evident that more diamonds will fall out of this ring because of the lack of stability of prong work when the diamonds were set. It is not an option to rebuild all prong work because of major expense involved and the initial instability of material to work with. We are custom-design manufacturers of jewelry of all types, and have over 30 years of experience in the field of manufacturing of jewelry, for not only the public but other stores as well. “
I have since made numerous attempts to settle my dispute with Milano Diamond Gallery who has been extremely uncooperative and difficult to contact. My emails to the company have gone unanswered and when I called Milano headquarters in New York on June 22, 2011, my requests to speak to a supervisor were repeatedly denied.
After having no success reasoning with the merchant (Milano) I turned to Carnival and The PPI Group (who is in charge of the port shopping program) to take responsibility. I sent multiple emails to corporate leaders, contacted customer service many times, and even sent certified letters to The PPI Headquarters. I have only gotten responses from one staff member and she has repeatedly denied my requests to demand a refund from Milano.
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Multiple cruise ships in town
We were lucky that our ship was the only one docked that day, it made everything much less crowded. If you are coming in by cruise ship you can check Cruise TT to see how many boats will be there with you, if there are a lot it may make you change your mind about certain activities. I'd recommend booking the earliest trip possible for Stingray City, I imagine by late morning with 5 or 6 cruise ships docked that it is just obnoxiously overcrowded.
For those people visiting on land, you might want to schedule excursions for days that are not heavily populated by cruise passengers.
Wear Sun Block
The sun is strong in Grand Cayman. Be careful and apply sunblock before going outside. My wife slathered us with sunblock with an SPF of 110 so we did not burn. I also took a hat to shade my head and ears from burning.
This is mostly a danger for boats.
When the Duck went into the water the narrator told us that the shore of Grand Cayman was called the 'iron shore' because so many ships were wrecked there. In the Pleistocene the sea level was approximately 6 m above present-day sea level. At that time, at least 33 coral species grew in waters around Grand Cayman. Now that the sea level has receded, it has left rocks made of ancient coral all around the perimeter of the island. The famous tour stop of Hell is composed of this Iron Shore.
The Cayman Islands marathon is called The Ironshore : Cayman Islands Ultra Marathon
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