Grand Cayman 2023
Day 2: From hot to cold: beaches, caves and hell
I was up bright and early at 5am only it wasn't bright at all. It was still dark out and it had been one heck of a confusing first night in the condo. I was up 5 times to go to the bathroom for some reason. The first time I had forgotten that I was in a new place. I was sleeping on the side of the bed I always sleep on and my memory went to home. Get up and walk straight, past the foot of the bed and into the bathroom. So, this is exactly what I did. Then turn left to head to the toilet, which is what I did next. I'm feeling around for the toilet but I can't find it anywhere. Touch, touch, swoop arms around, nothing there. Someone stole my toilet!!! As I'm waking up a little more I come to realize I'M IN THE CLOSET!!! Ohhhhh, that's right, we're in a new place and on vacation!
Ok, since I figured that out and I remember where the bathroom is...I come out of the closet and head to the left. Dang nabit someone closed the bathroom door (it's a pocket door). I'm feeling around trying to find the handle and pushing sideways....only it wasn't the handle but the light switches and trim around the door leading out of the room. Geesh!
I moved to the right a little and almost fell into the bathroom because I'm still thinking the door is closed and it wasn't. When I told the hubby what happened that morning he also admitted he had some difficulty as well. Not to the extent of my difficulty but non-the-less. We both agreed that tonight we were leaving the bathroom light on and closing the pocket door. Tee hee!
I sat outside waiting for sunrise at 6:04am and sipping on a luke warm nasty can of pop that taste like straight carbon patiently waiting to capture that moment. It was a little cloudy out, so no gorgeous sun rise ever came but I did get some pretty pictures.
Off in the distance you could see that it was raining
This will give you an idea of how hot it was outside at 5:12am already...84 degrees out and look at those temps during the week predicted. Just to let you know, they were all off. It was over 90 degrees every single day but maybe once.
Hubby was up a little after sunrise and we hung out on the patio until 8am waiting on Sakari to get up. We decided to try out our new keto cereal we had brought with us and it wasn't bad at all (we've had bad tasting keto cereal in the past). I packed bags for today and at 9am I decided it was time to wake up the not-so munchkin...I mean come on girl...you've had 12 hours of sleep already. You should be good to go by now. She ate her cereal and ask where we would be going today. I told her we were headed to the caves since it was right down the street from us and then probably head to some of the beaches on the other side of town and work our way back. Yep, sounded like a plan to us and we headed out and down the street.
When we arrived they ask if we had purchased tickets online and I told them no. I guess you are supposed to do that but they ended up booking it for us. It would cost us $127.20 US ($40/pp) for all 3 of us. This is a guided tour.
We were told to park in the back and that is where the meeting place was for the tour. They also have restrooms there if you needed to go before the tour.
There was an older gentleman that came out and gave a speech. His family owned the land and he gave the history of his family and the original 6 families there and the property. His dad was still alive and started this business and just turned 99 years old. He was very passionate about their land and the caves. Then we were told they had 2 vans that we could get into and it was a short ride on the property to get to the cave entrance or we could drive if we wanted to. We ended up in the 3rd row and the a/c wasn't very good. Now I'm wishing we would have taken our own car.
It was a 5 minute ride to the parking where the caves were located. It was all graveled roads and winded around with some hills. When we arrived we split up into 2 groups with a guide for each group and started following our guide on the gravel path.
The walk was very pretty and reminded me of back home at our caves, only on a much much smaller scale. Sakari loves these kind of things. Anything involving nature so I knew she'd like this tour.
We came to a very large area with a deck and multiple area's with tables and chairs. I guess this is a restaurant of some sort but they informed us it was closed for the next 2 weeks.
Our tour guide said that she had worked for the company for 5 years but had only been a guide for the last 1 1/2 years. She was funny and great.
They did provide you with bug spray and also had a water tank you could fill up your water bottles. We had filled ours up prior to leaving the house so we were good to go.
We continued on, heading toward the first cave (we were informed there were 3 of them we would be visiting).
She stopped to tell us about a tree that was poisonous. I'm pretty sure it was the Manchineel tree, which we had already learned about in St Thomas. She said it was full of sulfuric acid and if you got it on your skin there was no way to get it off. It would look like black oil and no amount of cleaning would take it off. It would make you very sick, you would break out and blister and feel like you were on fire. There is no antidote to get rid of it. You would have to wait it out for about 2 weeks to wear off. The place was full of it so we needed to be careful about not touching the trees along the path.
We had finally arrived at the first cave and there was a set of stairs leading down to it. Now even though I'm walking good now, stairs are a little difficult for me still. I think I now have a bad knee (opposite leg) from depending on it the most for the last 4 years during my leg injury. It's popping and grinding and hurts going up stairs now. These stairs are the winding stairs and you have to be careful because of the shape of them. At least there's handrails so I went slowly.
We entered the big open cave and our tour guide gave a speech about the cave. There were several ways to go in there and she told where each would lead you to and how long it would take to follow them. She told us it was the "hottest" cave of all 3 of them and it was about to get really hot in there. Wait, say what? Caves are always cold. I've been in a lot of caves and they're always cold. I'm confused. But man she wasn't kidding. It was super hot in there.
We were told we could go off and explore on our own, just don't go too far because she would not be able to hear you if you screamed. One cave would take 8 hours to go through and it would put you behind the gas station down the road if that told you anything. Yea, we won't be going very far for sure. They also didn't have any lights in them so you had to use your phone lights. I didn't have my phone on me because I carry so much equipment (camera's and gopro and a large water bottle on top of that) so she handed me her flashlight to use.
Now I will warn you that I didn't realize I had my camera set on "landscape" photographs, which meant when I'm walking along and snapping and the pictures did not turn out crystal clear. I wouldn't discover this until (I think) the last cave, where I would switch the settings to motion. Ugh! So there's that!
Now there are places that are pretty low (the cave leading into the 8 hour walk) and you would have to crawl on the ground to get in there, but once you did that, it would open up and you could stand up. The guide didn't think anyone would do it, but here we are....climbing under these stalactites and making our way into the open area.
Some places had openings in the ceiling and also vines growing down into the caves. It was real pretty and real hot.
There were also little green frogs in the caves.
We were allowed to stay in the cave as long as we liked and once we were done we could head out. Did I mention how hot it was? Whew!
Then we were on our way to the next cave, which was a short distance away.
Notice the name of this cactus....lol
Now this cave had a few more bats than the other cave. They won't hurt you and have no interest in you. They only have fruit and insect eating bats in Grand Cayman.
There was a neat looking stalactite hanging down that at a certain angle it looked like a blanket hanging down. It was so cool.
This cave was really pretty and had paths to walk on, which made it much nicer than the other cave. It also had lights showing the stalactites and stalagmites.
Outside of this cave were some really pretty colors as well.
We headed to the third and final cave. Tree roots were growing over the caves and hanging down toward the path we were following. So pretty!
Up next was the Lake Cave. It also had paths to walk on as you maneuvered around the cave system viewing all the beautiful scenery. It was at this point I finally discovered I had my camera on the wrong settings. But, at least it was corrected here.
Some cute little bats hanging above...just watch where you decide to stand because they are not selective where they potty at. And whatever you do, keep your mouth shut...just saying.
Then all of a sudden we hear someone yell in the distance. It wasn't a "hey come look at this" it was more like a "yikes, what did I just step in to?" Everyone went over to find out that one of the guys on the tour had went into the "lake" portion of the caves. He didn't realize it was water because it was so crystal clear. We all laughed and our tour guide told us all to gather around and she would show the lake with different lights. Each light display something different...the clarity of the water, the sulfur on the top of the water and something else that I don't remember.
The purple bat family. I'm honestly not sure why they turned out this color but hey, why not.
The tour was over and we made our way back to the parking lot. I snapped a few more pictures along the way.
We took the van back to our starting point and when I got out, I ask our tour guide if it was possible for us to get in our own car and drive back to the caves to get video along the way and turn around and come back. She said she would ask the owner. I explained to the owner that I had a travel website and I would just like to get a video of the ride there and back and that's all we wanted to do. He did act a little perturbed about it and as if he didn't want us to. I wasn't really understanding why since we could have opted to do this during our tour anyhow. He said "Well, you'll have to get security to go with you." I figured this was too much of a hassle and we got in the car and went out front to do a few clips and was just going to leave and call it a day. I mean I didn't want to put anyone out and I would be fine without it I guess.
Then I get a knock on my car window and he said the security guard was waiting on us. So, I guess we're doing this after all. I drove back and the guard got into the car and off we went.
Along the way, we had a little surprise in the road...you'll have to watch the video to see what it was. Tee hee.
Once we were done, we headed out....again.
Here's my video from our visit to Crystal Caves today.
So what to do next? I decided we should head over to the opposite side of the island (since it wasn't a cruise ship day and it would be less crowded) and find some snorkeling and beaches to go to. I put the directions to Macabuca in my MapsMe and off we went.
Everything was going well and then we hit the roundabouts again. Woo wee! I had a few mishaps where I was in the wrong lane and was forced to go a different direction than what I intended to but the good thing is, even if you make a wrong turn, it will reroute you and you still end up in the same place you needed to be. It will just take you down a different street. No worries.
Once we get into town, we hit a....wait for it....stop light! Say what? There's actually one here? Who knew?
As we were on the way to Macabuca, out of the corner of my eye I spotted something and pulled in real quick. Guess where we are going...we're going to HELL! Yikes! I know this is a big tourist stop on excursions from the cruise ship and a lot of people talk about it, so why not see what it is all about. It will make a quick pit-stop I guess.
The sign said they were open, but the doors were locked. Hmmm. We heard some voices, believe it or not over top of the roosters crowing, and it sounded like they were out back. There was an opening on the right part of the building, so we went right on in. It came out into something that looked like maybe it used to be a restaurant or bar. The lights were off and it was a bit creepy.
When we came out, we were greeted with the heat of hell. Man it was hot out so that intensified the experience.
The voices we were hearing came from the guy who ran the place and a couple of other people there visiting. When he noticed us, he welcomed us and then handed us some "props" to take pictures with. Cayman Kindness!
It's just a small little area and takes just a few minutes to admire and you're done. There's a store inside, no a/c, but interesting souvenir memorabilia to take home. I picked out Kendra a shot glass since she collects those and I had to get a post card to mail to myself back home. I've heard it can take a few weeks to arrive and others have stated months. So, it will be a surprise when it arrives I guess.
This is the postcard I picked out and what I wrote on it. The guy stamped the card and told me that he would send it out tomorrow from the "Hell Post Office" next door and that they take mail over daily to send out.
When I got to the counter, he informed me that he accepted cash only. So, if you ever go here, keep this in mind. I had to run out to the car to grab a few dollars. Good thing that I had some small bills on me or this would not be happening. I imagine he must lose a lot of sales by not having a card reader.
Then we were off again and on our way to our first snorkeling stop. We made it to Macabuca and got a table right by the entrance of the snorkeling area. They brought over some menu's and Sakari immediately knew she wanted some ceviche. I told the hubby to get us a bowl of that and we would share. I was thinking about getting a cheeseburger, but would order that once we got back from snorkeling.
Here was our view and the snorkeling cove area:
I headed back out to the car to grab our snorkeling things and decided to look around the area first.
You could see rain out in the distance. I think this looks so neat when it does this and you can tell it's raining. Now if only I could see a waterspout. My life would be complete.
Looking back toward the restaurant...yea, it was pretty crowded.
Even though there was a sidewalk leading to that area, it really didn't go anywhere. There was a cove there but there was no way to get in and out of the water. So maybe it was just a "picture opportunity" type of area.
I grabbed my things from the car and headed back to grab Sakari to snorkel then off we went. There is a ladder to get down into the cove. There was lots of coral and fish but the further you got out the better it was. There were a lot of little coves and rock formations with gullies that was really neat.
Sakari and I went out of the cove and around the edges at the corner. I normally like to snorkel where the water is not as deep because I can't get down close to the fish for pictures. But Sakari is my diver and can hold her breath for a long time so I usually hand her the GoPro and let her do her thing.
Then I spotted a stingray with a friend.