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Grand Cayman 2023

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Day 4:  Under the sea, that's where we'll be...

Goooood morning Grand Cayman! I'm up at 6:30am and I missed the sunrise. Oopsy! Either I was completely worn out last night or I knew I needed my rest for today. I'll take either excuse. 

I headed out to the patio and the heat immediately hit me. There was no escaping the humidity at all this vacation...even this early in the morning. Sakari was up at 7:30am and ok...I need to know how you're getting up this early? This would never happen at home unless 1) you have school or 2) you have work...none of which are happening this week. She said she had been setting her alarm, which has never happened on any other vacation so I'm puzzled. 

It was time for some breakfast and I threw together some keto french toast for the fam and they gobbled them up like we were not going to be eating today. I promise, I feed my family ;)

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After breakfast we all went outside to the patio and it was raining. But, when in the Caribbean, everyone knows that it always rains for a short period of time and then clears up...well, that is unless there's a tropical storm or hurricane headed our way. Speaking of that, my husbands weather app decided to let us know that there was a hurricane on the way, but it would be the week after we returned home. Whew! I do remember the tropical storm we were in when we went to St Thomas a few vacations ago. That was interesting!

I was right, the rain only last for about 15 minutes and as we were sitting on the patio Sakari heard a noise and looked over and say "WOW! Look at that crab!!!" It was HUGE! Like the King Crabs you get to eat at the restaurants but maybe even bigger. I ran and got my phone and snapped a picture of it sitting at the doorway beside our patio (as you can tell by the picture, we were behind the screen on the patio). 

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Of course the minute I opened the screen door to get a better picture, it ran off and I wasn't able to locate it after that. 

I decided to walk down to the beach and see if I could find any goodies washed up on the shore and managed to find another small sea urchin shell. Ok, I'm starting a collection this vacation. I've only found one in the past from our many vacations and it managed to get smashed in our luggage on the plane ride home. I'm going to take extra precautions this time around!

On the way back to the condo, Steve was now out and heading to his sea shell by the pool. See, bright and sunny today.

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Today there were no cruise ships in port so I decided we were going diving today!! I wanted to dive early in the week this time so that IF we enjoyed it, we could maybe squeeze in another dive later in the week. I contacted dive companies and picked one, which happened to be the cheapest for some reason.  But the reason I picked them was because they offered something NEW! Something no other dive company has EVER offered. They had contraptions that TALK TO YOU UNDER WATER! How cool is that? They advertise by saying they are the only dive company to use these and they can tell you all the cool fish you will be seeing under water. Well, I know the names of most of them but still I thought this would be so neat and I knew I had to experience it!

Our dive wasn't until 2pm and it was on the other side of the island, which meant around an hour drive. We were diving...get this, at Macabuca! You know, the place we paid $79 for 3 extremely small plates of ceviche? Yea, that place. Well, one things for sure, we won't be staying for lunch!

The name of this reef was called "Turtle Reef". I wondered if we would see any turtles while diving.

Since we had a lot of time on our hands, Sakari and I decided to break out the games I brought with us. You have to keep these teens busy all the time.

We started out with a little Yahtzee. She had never played before even though it's been in our house since she was very little. 

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Then we moved on to "Pass the Pigs". Has anyone ever played this? It can be quite hilarious. My older kids love to play this game and actually Kendra and Kolin came over one night recently and played. It's been a few years since I had played it and Sakari was confused as you can see by the look on her face. I'm honestly not even sure if I remembered it correctly. Oh well, make the rules up as you go along when in doubt...

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That didn't hold her interest for very long and I guess I'll have to save that game for my older kids instead from now on. 

Next up, I broke out the Carnival deck of cards. We were going to play go fish!! Now she was loving this! I think we must have played about 5 games of whoever gets to 1000 points first wins. This would become our new "go-to" game during this vacation. 

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Well, it was time to get our gear packed and get dressed for our adventure of the day then off we went.

I only messed up once in the round-about and we managed to still end up where we should. I think I cleaned my windshield a few times...it can never be clean enough right?

We arrived at Macabuca and our instructor was already there sitting at a table. He had us sign papers for the dive and another paper that let us know that he was renting our dive equipment from the dive shop there. He said anyone who comes here to dive must rent from them. 

The owner, that I had been talking to online, showed up and said he at least wanted to meet us but wouldn't be staying. 

In our paperwork was the Discover Scuba "test" they always have you do at the end of class. He did not do a class with us and was aware of just how many dives we've been on before. The hubby starts filling out his test and I told him "You were not supposed to do that because he said to wait for him to give a speech." Our instructor looked at us and said "If you know the answers, I guess go ahead and do the test...you guys have done this plenty of times before". Of course we all aced the test and was ready to get fitted with our equipment.  I love it when they ask us how many weights we use for diving and both the hubby and I can proudly say "We have no idea because we have both lost a little over 50#". Whew, what a feeling!

Before going in, he told us that we all had 3600 bar/psi to start with so "This was going to be a nice dive". I was really hoping that he would keep us out there a little longer than usual with this amount of air. 

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Ok, it was time to go diving! I remembered the ladder to climb down to the water and wasn't sure if I would be able to do this. I ask if he could carry my tank and bcd down for me and he had no problem with it. I told him about my injury. No problem. 

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Down we went, did our skills and he motioned to us "Let's go!" Woo hoo...and we were off!

Hubby got a new hair style...whaddaya think? I thought the mohawk days had passed a long time ago. Maybe it's coming back? He's such a trend setter.

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I had the newest Olympus Tough camera, Sakari had the older Olympus Tough, and the hubby had the Gopro. I had made a decision before we started that I was just going to let him do all the filming this time around instead of switching back and forth. I was really nervous about this because I do know that he misses a lot of the things that I see...but it was going to happen...at least that's what I had thought in my mind. Deep breath Kim, deep breath. Have trust!

 

We immediately seen a whole school of tangs in front of us. We didn't even make it out of the cove area at that point. They were so pretty!

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Immediately I'm flailing my arms around and jabbing my fingers in a direction toward him...he didn't see the Spotted Trunk Fish beside him and was missing it. I'm pretty sure I came up with my own dive hand signals this time around. There were actually two of them...he finally seen what I was pointing at and managed to get some video of them. Whew. Ok, he's understanding the frantic Kim hand signals.  I gave him the "ok" signal after that to let him know I was fine after that little tantrum I had just thrown at him.

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Banded Butterfly fish

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Sakari was busy with her close up pictures as we headed out to deeper water. She loves her micro and macro photography. 

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Then we see our instructor over in the sandy area and pointing. We went over to explore. Whatever it was, it had to be little because from where I was at, I couldn't see anything but sand. Sakari was busy taking pictures of it so I was hoping once I got back home, I'd be able to see what it was. I'm looking very puzzled and he started "talking" with this equipment they had. I could only hear mumbling. I couldn't tell what he was saying. He tried adjusting my ear piece. Still nothing. I gave another confused look. He did say before we left, when he talked we'd have to "hold our breath" (one of the first no-no's in diving but it was the only way to hear). I still couldn't make out what it was and decided to move on. 

But...what it was (after getting home and looking at Sakari's pictures) was a beautiful nudibranch bluish lettuce sea slug!! I'm not sure I have ever seen one before (and I certainly didn't get to see this one either). It is so pretty!

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Isn't it beautiful? I've always wanted to see one. Yep she was proud of that moment. 

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Then all of a sudden we approached a drop off. YIKES! Everyone knows those drop offs usually scare the bejeebers outta me. I don't know what it is about them. The big blue hole to nothing. I picture myself drifting over top of it and someone with a needle coming along and popping me like a balloon and I start zooming all over the place as I sink to the bottom of no return. 

I creep up to the edge and peek over.

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Our instructor went over the edge like he was dropping from a boat into the water to dive. He just kind looked like he was falling into the big blue hole.

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Ok, I can see a sandy bottom. I'm doing this! Over I went slowly as the hubby looked on. He knows my fear of walls but I have managed to do them plenty of times in the past. But, this one had a bottom and it didn't look so scary after all. Over I went and I made it to the bottom safely. There was no deflating this balloon! Not this time around. 

At his point the instructor was busy blowing ring bubbles. 

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Ok, time to explore the depths of the ocean...

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Then I spotted a rather large Nassau Grouper. They tend to be around 1-2' with a max of 4' long. I always get super excited when I see groupers because we don't see very many and only see them when we are diving. 

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Sakari was busy exploring so she could pick out the best macro coral she could. 

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She also spotted a Nassau Grouper.

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Ok, that was just a little side track and she went back to taking her amazing pictures. 

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I couldn't believe how pretty it was down there. Such brightly colored corals. I guess I didn't really expect it because of the sandy bottom. But the wall....oh em gee the wall! We went along the side of it and under it and there was nothing but coral everywhere in every color. It was gorgeous!

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There was just so much to explore down there from the wall to under the wall and area's of coral in various places in the middle. It was so pretty and we were just all over the place. 

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I cannot even begin to describe how huge these tube sponges were. The just kept getting bigger and bigger!

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Sakari was still off doing her thing...

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She's always looking in every little crevice she can hoping to spot all the things that we don't see by being further away. She found a Squirrel Fish hiding out in a tube sponge. 

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Our instructor had a dive light and was busy looking in all the holes and came across a large Lobster and pointed it out to us. Not gonna lie, I was hungry all of a sudden. 

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These sponges really were HUGE! Like I can't even describe just how big they were. I wish pictures could capture the size. If we weren't so split up, we could have been beside it to show for reference. 

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We spotted a large Midnight Blue Parrot fish. These species of parrot fish are pretty large and can get up to around 3' long! This was a beauty, even though you couldn't tell the size compared to the wall it was under. Our instructor spotted him too and shined his light on him as he went by. He had a smaller one following him.

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Squirrel Fish

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It was so neat to see the coral and sponges hanging upside down under the wall. I would even see the fish swimming upside down. It was weird to see that. Even when I startled them, they would swim upside down into the holes and come back out the same way. Confused much?

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We spotted another grouper and the instructor put his light on him as he went by. 

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We spotted yet another grouper. I think this may be a Black Spotted Grouper.

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Schoolmaster Snapper

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Another Spotted Grouper spotted by Sakari. They were just everywhere!!!

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We were really down there. Our equipment kept giving us a notice that we were deep and it wasn't liking it. The screen turns a reddish color and warnings keep coming up. The Olympus Tough TG6 is rated to 50' if that tells you anything.

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Stoplight Parrot Fish

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Squirrel Fish

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Then she waited patiently and it paid off. She had this little Goby peep its head out of the sponge.

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Sakari found a Trumpet Fish. I don't even think I spotted that.

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Yellowtail Damsel

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Of course another one of my favorites...the Black Durgon Trigger

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Bermuda Chubb

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Blue Striped Grunt

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These gigantic green sponges really fascinated me. 

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Would you just look at that face? This is a Reef Parrotfish and he was happy to see me so much that he smiled for the camera. Those teeth are perfect. 

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Swimming in an aquarium I tell ya...it was amazing.

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Another Spotted Grouper

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