Day 4 - Stingray City
Finally this was the day to Stingray City; the main reason we chose Grand Cayman for our vacation! I woke early as usual and started to pack.....beach towers check, sunscreen check, GoPro check, camera check hahaha! We waited at the front lobby at 9:10 am and in few minutes or so Captain Mario came to pick us up! Next, he stopped at Holiday Inn and picked up two girls from New York....oh yes we all escaped the snow :D In no time we arrived at the marina and went up to Captain Mario's ship...I should say a yacht! The yacht was big, clean, and comfortable. There was another couple who arrived earlier and Mario said we had a small group today - only 6 of us! We were so lucky, I felt like we were on a private tour on a beautiful yacht! Have to see it to believe it...time for photos!!!
Sail out to the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea!!
It was already fun just to photograph around Mario's yacht! The seats were very comfortable plus the warm sea breeze, how wonderful life is!
It was an overcast day but in some area still managed to get some blue sky in my photos :)
There were already two Red Sails boat there at Stingray City Sandbar but fortunately we went to snorkeling at the reef first.
We arrived at the reef and snorkeled, the sea was rough that day so had to work harder to swim hehe. Hubby is a non-swimmer so Mario keep an eye on him to make sure he is alright; he had snorkeled before and comfortable in water! I took mostly videos and forgot about photos with my GoPro but Mario had an underwater and took a lot of photos of us which we can download for free afterwards! Some photos of the reef that Mario took that day:
Mario also went down and got the eel out, he knew exactly where the eel live, oh my when I first saw it, it was big! Mario was very close to capture some photos while I was a few feet away capturing video! Then I was drifted and getting closer to the eel and I tried to swim away LOL!
No idea how long we stayed at the reef but Mario said we can take our time, there was no rush since only 6 of us :) I got tired and went back in the yacht and just relax!
Don't I look relax??
Blue sky, white clouds, and turquoise water...picture perfect!
I felt like a celebrity hahaha!
Next stop, we headed to Starfish Point and passed Stingray City Sandbar again, this time there were three ships there. I like our ship better hahaha don't be jealous!
We arrived Starfish Point and another small tour was there but they left a few minutes later so we had the whole area ourselves wohooo! We drove to Rum Point on Sunday and we couldn't find Starfish Point, wish we know how to get here since it's very picturesque!
This is how paradise looked like in my dreams.....
Mario helped to take a photo of us with the starfish, love it!
Mario's yacht - "Big John"
Hubby pretending to be the captain, where are we heading next captain? Hahaha!
I forgot to ask his name but he's Mario's crew who made a delicious fresh and spicy conch salad, it was very good!
We just love the ship!
I was standing on the ship and took a pano of Starfish Point, it would be perfect if it was blue sky and white clouds all the way, dark clouds were coming from the left :(
Another jetski tour arrived and we left to Stingray City Sandbar!!!
We had pizzas for lunch :)
We arrived at Stingray City, spotted a stingray already!
It was my first time seeing a stingray besides on TV and they were a lot bigger than I thought!!! I heard that they are friendly so I wasn't afraid to get on water and I stuck my GoPro underneath to get some videos and photos! They must know we have food; they swim to us like crazy!
It was an unique and amazing experience to be so close to the stingrays! They were very soft when gliding pass me!
Their faces were just like cartoons LOL so cute!
This fish kept following the stingrays lol probably for food but I doubt he can fight with the rays :P
Those 100+ lbs stingrays bumped to me like bumper cars LOL!
Afterwards, it started to rain really hard too and we headed back! It was an awesome day, the time we arrived the dock was like 2:30 pm so the 3.5 hours tour ended up being 4+ hours totally worth the $50 (husband felt so too)! We tipped $20 since Mario and his crew were great, they were very professional, helpful, and fun. I did not felt like I was in a tour; no rush at all, I was very impressed and appreciated their excellent service! I would not hesitate to recommend Acquarius Sea Tours to everyone!
While on the way back, hubby asked me how and why did I chose Acquarius Sea Tours! I told him I searched the top rated Stingray City tours and ended up with top 5 choices. Then I compared the number of stops; I looked for tours that offered 3 stops: snorkeling at the reef, Starfish Point, and Stingray City with the longest duration....ranged from 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours. Although Acquarius Sea Tours was the most expensive of the 5....$50 per person but it was the longest duration and with free photos to download. I picked the right tour this time and ended up very lucky on choosing the right date with only 6 of us! Mario said the tour tomorrow have 30 people! If you are going to stay for a week like us or even longer, I recommend first to check the Cayman Port website for ship schedule (http://www.caymanport.com/shipschedules.php) pick a date with no cruise ship or the least cruise ships. Then, email the tour and request a day with less people, that would give you the best chance of having a small group :) Of course, I would recommend Acquarius Sea Tours!!!
We got back to the hotel, shower and rest. We had used up our energy for the day LOL so we decided to stay in our hotel to have dinner tonight. Sunshine Grill ranked #2 in TA so we must try it, it would be a shame to stay in Sunshine Suites and not have a chance to try out Sunshine Grill! We ordered the fried shrimps and calamari for appetizer, they were yummy!
I ordered the shrimp tacos since I am not a fish lover and hubby ordered the famous fish tacos!
Both were excellent, we preferred the shrimp tacos :) This was the cheapest dinner we had in Grand Cayman - $52 USD included tips!
This was our best day so far in Grand Cayman, good night!!!