Grand Cayman 2023
Day 1: Arrival and 5 legged creatures
Well, today is the big day and we are on very little sleep at this point after last night. But, we're ready to get out of the US. It's 3am and I hear a ring ring from my phone alarm, then another ring ring from the hubby's and off in the distance yet another ring ring from Sakari's. We weren't taking any chances of not waking up or accidentally setting our phones to "pm" and missing our flight. Nope, not today, not gonna happen.
We raced around the house taking care of last minute details with packing, letting the dogs out and Sakari not even saying goodbye to her Loki-boy. Yep, she is still upset with him and I'm still feeling very somber about the event that happened yesterday as well. :(
We were out the door within 15 minutes and arriving at the parking lot to catch the shuttle over to the airport to check in by 4am.
We had issues with the kiosk, like we always do trying to scan our passports, and had to go to the counter for service.
THIS TIME...we were getting to use the TSA pre-check line and by-passed everyone in the lines at security. Only we get there and the security lady said "You can go, but they (hubby and Sakari) do not have TSA. WHAT THE HECK??? We dealt with this last time as well. She told them to go get in the long line or go back to the ticket counter to discuss. We took the later option. Back up to the ticket counter again and he quickly fixed everything and back to security we went with no issues this time around. Whew!
We used the "Early Bird" check-in again (which means Southwest will check you into your flight with the best boarding seat available and we didn't have to be up the night before at 5:30am) however, we received seats A53, 54, and 55. Not the worse, but not the greatest I guess. It was a full flight. Where are all of these people going at 5am in the morning?
We always have to stop and get a picture of Sakari touching the plane for good luck.
Ready for take off....woo hoo
It was a 50 minute flight to Baltimore and I had enough time to watch one of my tv episodes that I had downloaded from Netflix and Sakari started drawing a picture of her beloved Engus on her ipad.
They passed out the goodies and today starts the first day of cheating from our Keto diet. I warned the hubby how the next 10 days were going to go and I didn't want a repeat of our last vacation with the constant stink eye from him every time I put anything with sugar or carbs into my mouth. He turned his head and acted like he was so involved in his game of chess on his phone that he was ignoring what I was doing. LOL
We were ending our flight and Sakari had finished her masterpiece.
We were off the plane and only had enough time to stop for a potty break and was speed walking to get on our next flight that was already lining up to board. Me + speed walking = whoda thought this could ever happen again after my injury almost 4 years ago. Whew...it was a long walk across the airport but we made it! This time Southwest had gave us the "best boarding" with seats B20, 21 and 22. Ugh! Another full flight. Everyone's going to Grand Cayman today I guess.
We were off on another 2 hour flight and all watching movies to pass the time by. I was too excited to sleep despite how tired I felt.
Out came the snacks and the hubby turned a blind eye once again. Only this time, karma would strike and Remy would be the culprit.
Yep, I broke a tooth! Dang nabit! Something always has to happen to me. If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all as the saying goes.
The water was starting to look amazing and the excitement was still building.
Whew we, we are finally landing!!!
They had us fill out our entrance forms while on the plane, but they stated they ran out of another form that needed filled out (I think the declaration form) and we could get them once we got into the terminal.
The stairs were pulled up to the plane and down we went. No red carpet this time like other places we've been. Then we headed down the sidewalk to the terminal entrance and it was HOT.
Entering the terminal and we continued to walk non-stop. Everyone was moving right along. We stopped at the restrooms for a quick minute and we were handed the forms to fill out and told to keep moving to the kiosk ahead of us. I was struggling to try to get the forms filled out because they had us moving non-stop. I've never experienced this. It was amazing.
In customs, they only asked for our passports and the forms I just filled out. They never even ask for the one they had us fill out on the plane. Hmmm. Then it was time to pick up our luggage.
We came to an area that had a split and one way said you were there to claim things on your declaration and the other way was if you had nothing to claim. We headed to the right and out the door we went.
It was time to go get our rental car from Marshall's. They were located right at the airport and across the street. Easy peasy. I filled out the paperwork, gave them my credit card to hold on file (they don't charge until you return the car) and she questioned if I was positive if I wanted a right hand drive car. YEP! I'm ready for an adventure! I honestly said that and she gave me a sideways look. Then we headed out to the parking lot for the inspection and we were ready to go!
The hubby walked over to the store for pop and 3 bottles would cost us $7.50 for reference.
So, if you've never drove on the left hand side, you're in for a treat. I have done it several times in St Thomas so I consider myself a pro at this. Chuckle chuckle.
However, driving on the left hand side AND in a right hand car...well, that's a little different. My oldest son has a right hand drive car...I should have practiced before we left is all I can say.
The weird thing is, if I can explain this right, when you are in a left hand drive car, your gas pedal is very close to the middle console area. Well, in this right hand drive car, I expected the gas pedal to be up against the right side, but it was more in the middle. This would cause a few problems during the week of me putting the car in gear and "pressing on the pedal" that wasn't there and not going anywhere because in fact, I wasn't pressing on the pedal at all. Oops!
Ok, let's do this! Off we went and me studying hard which side of the road I was to be on. Yep, I'm a pro. I pulled up my MapsMe app to get the location of the home and put on my......windshield wipers. Oops. Right hand drive cars have the windshield wipers where our turn signals are located at in our cars back home and the turn signal is where our windshield wipers are. This is going to be a learning experience for sure...but hey, at least I'll have a clean windshield everywhere I go right?
My MapsMe said it was 30 minutes away, which didn't sound right to me but we were winding and twisting in roundabouts and heading into neighborhoods only to arrive at a house that wasn't ours at all. Ok, let's try this again and off we went. Back to the roundabouts and me being in the wrong lane so we went around twice before landing in the right spot. Ok, so maybe I'm not a pro at this roundabout thing. I'll have plenty of practice this week to get it right.
It was about a 50 minute drive to our condo we would be living in for the next 9 days. When we pulled up, I knew I was in the right place this time. Whew!
So, the place we will be staying at is located on the North side of the island. It's a small condo community of 3 buildings and 3 condo's in each building. But each condo is around 2000 sq ft and up. It is an ocean front property with a dock and a pool. The condo was huge with 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. The master bedroom had a screened balcony with furniture and a hammock. There was also a screen patio on the 1st floor with a table and chairs and a lot of "pool/ocean" goodies like floaties, balls and even a kayak! This place was awesome! We absolutely LOVED it!
You can check out pictures of the condo located here.....
Check in time was to be 4pm. However, I had messaged the rental company prior to coming, telling them what time our plane would be in (10am) and ask if we could possibly come earlier. They had told me to message them once we arrived and she would let me know. However, we didn't have service so I was unable to do that. When we arrived, I used the keycode they had given me (after knocking with no answer) to get in the house and shouted that we were here several times. No answer. Everything looked very clean and we were good to go. It was time to put everything away in its proper place and make this place feel like home and pretend we were never leaving.
Now we usually take "some" non-perishable food with us when we vacation but this time I had read just how expensive restaurants AND the grocery store was that I decided we would take a little more this time around and including our keto food so we didn't cheat too much. So, I decided to buy a new medium sized luggage to put all of our food in. I was going to attempt to cook every breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and most of our dinner meals. I froze everything that I could and put those items in our cooler (which we would use when we went to the beaches and places) and threw in a few ice blocks to help. I was glad to see that everything was still frozen and everything made it from the flight.
We decided to head to a small grocery store down the street, that I had looked up prior to coming and put a marker on my MapsMe so I'd know where to go once we arrived, for a few things.
I found that a 12 pack of pop was going to cost us $12.06 CI dollars. YIKES!!!! (That's $14.48 in US for those wondering the conversion). We purchased 5 cases of pop, 1/2 gallon of milk, a dozen eggs and 2 large bottles of water. This came up to $96.54 in US dollars!!! YIKES!!! So expensive but items we had to have.
We returned what we are now claiming as our home and made ourselves some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches using our sugar free jelly and keto bread. We were so hungry at this point from not eating anything all day... other than my cheating with the snack mix and cookies on the plane. Our newly bought $14.48 pop wasn't cold yet of course but we used the ice and all I can say is OH EM GEE IT WAS NASTY!! It tasted like straight carbon and no sweetness to it at all. I checked the dates on it thinking it was expired and nope, it wasn't. Geesh! Not my diet Pepsi! :(
Daddy decided it was nap time so Sakari and I played some UNO with the cards I had brought. Only it wasn't quite UNO because I had only managed to grab the yellow and red cards and were missing the blue and green cards. Oops! Oh well, we still played anyhow and it was entertaining.
Daddy's nap was short and he swore he felt like he didn't even have one. So, it was time to go check out the pool and cool off. It was in the 90's today and smoldering hot. They also had 2 areas with picnic tables under a roof on each side of the pool over looking the ocean. Also the water in the pool was HOT! Like hotter than bath water. Whew! There was no cooling down here but we did have a lot of fun on the floaties playing around. The pool was 4' to 6' deep.
I would like to introduce you to Steve. Steve is our lizard we adopted while staying here. He stays on his shell at the pool and just watches us. He was there every day and some days he had friends, but he was always there on his perch.
Sakari and I headed out to the dock to check it out. She was real excited about it because the listing said that you could fish off the dock and she loves fishing and brought her tackle box with her on this trip. All she needed was a rod because hers would not fit in the suitcases. I promised her we would find a place to rent the rod at some point during the vacation.
The dock had a thatched roof at the end with a bench and a ladder going down into the water. It was really nice.
Now there was a lot of sargassum sea weed gathered up on the beach area and in the water at the shoreline so that was a little disappointing to see. But, we knew that it was a possibility and the Caribbean has been struggling with a lot of this sewage smelly stuff since last year. So it wasn't a shock.
There were a lot of fish under the dock and a large family of about 8 needle nose fish hanging out.
The water was super clear and we could see everything around us down to the bottom, which I'm guessing was around 4' at the dock area.
Sakari and I headed back to the pool to see if daddy was game to go exploring a bit. We still had some daylight time and we wanted to make the most of it on our first day here. Remember, I have a full schedule of things I wanted to do in Grand Cayman so why not start now!
As I mentioned, we were staying on the north side of the island. We were fairly close to Starfish Point. Everyone knows Starfish Point because if you've been to GC it's one of the stops you'll get to experience if your Stingray tour includes it and many people have went there. We decided we would drive over and check it out.
It was a fairly short drive over to that part of the island (called Kai, which is right past Rum Point and located at the tip of the island) and we were able to park in a parking lot they had there and then we were off exploring. It was a large area that wrapped around the entire edge of that part of the island.
We immediately started spotting starfish. They were everywhere and so pretty. They were very close to shore.
Here is a compilation of several that we seen that day.
One thing about this island is there are chickens and roosters EVER-REE-WHERE!!!
These guys were a little cozy...just saying
They do have bathrooms here, so it's a nice place to hang out at. You will find a lot of boats here with people on tours having a good time during their stop.
We spent about 45 minutes to an hour there and seen enough starfish to say we've experienced this place and decided to head back home to make dinner since the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was not that filling to begin with.
Once we got back to the house we discovered that we had nothing to tell us how to get on the wifi in the house. I needed to check in with Kendra and see that the dogs hadn't ate anymore animals and that Loki was still on punishment and regretting his decision from the night before (of course he had no recollection and was his normal spunky old man self).
We searched the entire house and there was nothing in the home with a wifi password. There seemed to be only 1 other person in the condo complex so I decided I would go over and groval at his feet to let us on his wifi to contact the rental office.
The front door was open and I knocked. When he came to the door I told him our situation and he said "come in and I'll go get my phone". Um, ok. That was trusting and nice of him...especially since his phone was upstairs and I was left standing there in his house. Everyone refers the people of GC with the term "Cayman Kindness" and he definitely was.
He went one step further and actually called the place for me and handed me his phone. The rental office said there was supposed to be a Welcome book in the home and they would send one over. Meanwhile she gave me the wifi password and my new neighbor friend jotted it down on some of his junk mail. He told me he owned his condo and lived there. He said if we had any issues to come back and we'd try again. How nice of him! Cayman Kindness!
Before I let the rental company go, I also mentioned that the listing said it came with a hairdryer and we did not have one in the house. She said the cleaning lady would also bring that over when she came.
The hubby decided to start dinner and Sakari and I headed out to the dock to watch the sunset. It was quite glorious to say the least. Sakari is a big sunset fan and takes pictures of them all the time here at home.
When we returned, daddy was still trying to figure out dinner since he had discovered that there was no can opener in the house. The cleaning lady showed up with the hairdryer and welcome book and we ask about the can opener. She said "I'll be right back. I'm going to storage to get you one and it's right down the street." We waited and waited and I decided to head to the shower and the hubby decided to make something entirely different that wouldn't require a can opener. Noodles in alfredo sauce it was tonight... with a twist off can. Yippee! We were famished.
After dinner the cleaning lady did show back up about an hour later with a manual can opener so we would be good after that. I have to say the service of this rental company was outstanding...during the entire stay! Cayman Kindness!
I checked in with Kendra using facetime and found her laying comfortably in my bed watching Netflix. LOL Well, make yourself right at home girl. Such a Kendra thing to do.
We were so incredibly tired tonight after getting up so early, very little sleep, and a "short" travel day that we headed to bed at 9pm and I think I instantly feel asleep as soon as I got comfortable. Whew! What a day.