We got up early this morning and were eating breakfast on the Lido deck at 6:00.  Promptly at 7:15 we met in one of the theatres for an explanation on how we were going to board the tenders to the island.

Meeting about boarding the tenders

Meeting about boarding the tenders

Because the water was so shallow and the draft of the ship so deep, these smaller boats would ferry people back and forth.

 

Boarding the tenders for Grand Caymans

Boarding the tenders for Grand Caymans

We grabbed our underwater cameras and boarded the tender, excited again for our choice of excursions; we had decided to swim with the dolphins and stringrays! 

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We waited anxiously with a group of people under a tent until this character of a bus driver picked us up.  He good-naturedly gestured to a sign in the front of his small bus as each of the women boarded.

how to ensure better service...

how to ensure better service…

All the way to our stop he explained all that we saw, what had been improved, and what had been overtaken by mangroves and swamps.

We got to the dolphin stop and left the bus with a guide who lead us through a garden/preserve where birds were plentiful. underwater jamaica 026

This young bird took a liking to Starshine and almost snatched her glasses from her hat!

 

Watching and waiting...

Watching and waiting…

Almost!!!

Almost!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the dolphin encounter we were all directed to find life jackets that fit and position ourselves along the dock.  Behind us was an older lady with three kids who tried to explain to the staff that she wasn’t participating but wanted to watch from the dock.  When the staff refused to let her through, Starshine and I “adopted” the kids. 

Remember boarding the ship, we saw that Oxford shirt wearing family with the “goth” girl?  Well, she was one of our charges, complete with the Olivia Newton John headband.  You know what else, she was a real sweetheart.

Us and our "adopted" charges

Us and our “adopted” charges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all got to touch and kiss the dolphins.

Us and Luna

Us and Luna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starshine getting loved

Starshine getting loved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear being a softie

Bear being a softie

It was fun, but not as in-depth as we had expected.

After about 45 minutes we got out of the water and most of us hit the bathrooms before boarding another boat to Stingray City.  The trip out was beautiful, 80 degrees with a breeze and the colors in the water were amazing!

To Stingray City

To Stingray City

 

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The Captain was a tall, gangly man named ‘Ed’ (think Thomas Hayden Church). He explained the there were two “wranglers” who would go out into the water with us and corral the stingrays so we could touch them.  He explained that where we would anchor, the water was four feet deep in the front of the boat and seven feet in the back. It was funny later to watch the people not listening who hopped off the back of the boat into water clearly over their heads!

Looking off the bow, people were standing in the water as the rays glided slowly past.

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We were on the sandbar for about 45 minutes and had a chance to film the rays by ourselves and take pictures with the young man wrangling them for us.

Wrangler guiding a Stingray

Wrangler guiding a Stingray

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Starshine and Bear...and a new friend

Starshine and Bear…and a new friend

gliding slowly past...

gliding slowly past…

Yes, it was controlled, but I can’t find the words to explain the feeling of sharing the water with these beautiful, gentle animals.

stacy andi

Arriving back at the dock we were given the opportunity to look at, and purchase, some of the digital images taken.  Starshine is the better negotiator, so I stepped back when the young man quoted her $120 for a package!  He didn’t know she was not just a pretty face!  They didn’t barter for long before he agreed on her price.

The stingrays were definitely the high point of the excursion for us.  The “wheeling and dealing” with prices and the almost ‘greasy used car salesman’ attitude of the staff was certainly off-putting though.

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We got back to the ship around 3:00 and decided to walk around a bit.  We grabbed some food off the Lido deck and just wandered around til we got tired.  We took a short nap until it was time to attend an interactive “game show” put on by the actors there.  Starshine jumped up and down and got picked for the first ‘competition’. 

She was fitted with a belt around her waist with a rope hanging down from the belt attached to a softball on the end.  There was another softball on the ground and the object was, for her and her opponent, to swing their hips and hit the other ball, like bocce, across the stage!  It was hilarious and she even won a trophy!

trophy

We made it to the Southern Lights for dinner.  Tonight was caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, grilled tiger prawns with steamed vegetables, and of course, warm chocolate melting cake.

We walked off our dinner on the upper deck and through the water park in the dark of the night.  Really unique!

water park

We decided to try the comedy club but there was no seating, so we stood at he bar.  Just before the show began I was approached by a waiter who, very rudely, told us we couldn’t stand there.  We tried to explain theat there were others standing against the back wall and the hostess was still letting people in.  Again we got a rude attitude and we were forcefully told to leave.This was night and day to anything we had experienced before on this trip and I was, honestly, having a hard time with being talked to like this.  I asked the hostess for the manager of the club and was told there was no one there.  So we went downstairs to the concierge desk, who directed us to the complaint desk, who told us that there were no senior managers on staff at 10:15 at night. I asked him to call the Director and, after 20 minutes of being told he was busy, I gave up.

We went back to our room feeling a combination of embarrassed and angry and frustrated about the whole situation. 

We’re set to dock in Cozumel in the morning so we decided to just sit outside on the balcony and decompress.

At the end of the day, wherever I am, this is "Home".

At the end of the day, wherever I am, this is “Home”.

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