A Travellerspoint blog

January 2018

Bob & I did 3 dives at Public Beach on Cayman Brac

This Goliath grouper was my best friend on two different dives; he followed me the entire time and allowed me to pet him; he stuck close and Bob thinks he probably just wanted food

This Goliath grouper was my best friend on two different dives; he followed me the entire time and allowed me to pet him; he stuck close and Bob thinks he probably just wanted food

Bob captured this great photo of me and my best Caymanian friend

Bob captured this great photo of me and my best Caymanian friend

This is typical underwater topography off Cayman Brac; lots of variety with so much to investigate

This is typical underwater topography off Cayman Brac; lots of variety with so much to investigate

This turtle was the only one we saw on three dives at what is called Public Beach on the south side of the island

This turtle was the only one we saw on three dives at what is called Public Beach on the south side of the island

Groupers are known as being very diver-friendly but this one kept me entertained throughout dives two different days; I couldn't believe he'd let me touch him

Groupers are known as being very diver-friendly but this one kept me entertained throughout dives two different days; I couldn't believe he'd let me touch him

We saw quite a few large lionfish; this invasive species is venomous and has very few predators

We saw quite a few large lionfish; this invasive species is venomous and has very few predators

I look like I'm skydiving in the water in this photo Bob took; the deep blue color happens outside of the reef where the depths are much greater

I look like I'm skydiving in the water in this photo Bob took; the deep blue color happens outside of the reef where the depths are much greater

Bob took this photo of 3 lobsters; unfortunately I didn't see them

Bob took this photo of 3 lobsters; unfortunately I didn't see them

Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators that can have short bursts of speed up to 27 mph

Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators that can have short bursts of speed up to 27 mph

Bob and I explored the reef wall off the south side of the island; I was wearing only one flipper to prevent injury to my bad foot which kept getting infected last year after it was rubbed raw (I couldn't feel it) by a flipper

Bob and I explored the reef wall off the south side of the island; I was wearing only one flipper to prevent injury to my bad foot which kept getting infected last year after it was rubbed raw (I couldn't feel it) by a flipper

Two huge coral pipes had been knocked over somehow; sad

Two huge coral pipes had been knocked over somehow; sad

My attempt at a selfie with my friendly grouper

My attempt at a selfie with my friendly grouper

Finally saw a lobster but this large fella was dead

Finally saw a lobster but this large fella was dead

The second half of the week we had ferocious winds which made snorkeling impossible and diving quite difficult

The second half of the week we had ferocious winds which made snorkeling impossible and diving quite difficult

Really enjoyed communing with nature as sea life welcomed us to their world

Really enjoyed communing with nature as sea life welcomed us to their world

1953 saw the airport open on Grand Cayman, the first hospital and the first bank, Barclay's; the first scuba diving center was opened in 1957 on Grand Cayman

1953 saw the airport open on Grand Cayman, the first hospital and the first bank, Barclay's; the first scuba diving center was opened in 1957 on Grand Cayman

The Caymans is a popular tax haven because it has never levied income tax, capital gains tax or any wealth tax

The Caymans is a popular tax haven because it has never levied income tax, capital gains tax or any wealth tax

My grouper did feel slimy but was like a cat that keeps brushing up against you

My grouper did feel slimy but was like a cat that keeps brushing up against you

Mosquitoes were a big problem on the island initially but today they have largely been eradicated

Mosquitoes were a big problem on the island initially but today they have largely been eradicated

Country has 55,000 people but 100,000  businesses are registered here

Country has 55,000 people but 100,000+ businesses are registered here

The same grouper from 2 days before followed me around again on another dive

The same grouper from 2 days before followed me around again on another dive

Considering the excellent visibility I was surprised the fish population seemed so low

Considering the excellent visibility I was surprised the fish population seemed so low

The first hotel on the Cayman Brac was built in 1953; the island has a small hospital, 2 gas stations and only one ATM

The first hotel on the Cayman Brac was built in 1953; the island has a small hospital, 2 gas stations and only one ATM

Bob and I used Nitrox (air with higher % o oxygen) when diving rather than regular air so we were able to stay down slightly longer

Bob and I used Nitrox (air with higher % of oxygen) when diving rather than regular air so we were able to stay down slightly longer

Giant brain coral; these can reach 6 feet high and are often a bright green

Giant brain coral; these can reach 6 feet high and are often a bright green

Cayman Brac is 450 miles south of Miami and northwest of Jamaica; the national dish is turtle stew

Cayman Brac is 450 miles south of Miami and northwest of Jamaica; the national dish is turtle stew

Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean; in 1970 there were 403 visitors to the islands, today 2.1 million people visit every year

Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean; in 1970 there were 403 visitors to the islands, today 2.1 million people visit every year

Bob and David have looked at buying a house or property on the island

Bob and David have looked at buying a house or property on the island

Posted by RNRiggins 12:52 Comments (0)

Good snorkeling in George Town harbor, Grand Cayman

Juvenile green turtle after taking a breath; there's a turtle farm on the island that is trying to increase the turtle population after decades of decline

Juvenile green turtle after taking a breath; there's a turtle farm on the island that is trying to increase the turtle population after decades of decline

Sea fans were common on both islands and at different depths; visibility was good despite 2 cruise ships just having left

Sea fans were common on both islands and at different depths; visibility was good despite 2 cruise ships just having left

The next day pouring rain and 5 cruise ships (only 3 visible here) didn't make snorkeling practical in the harbor

The next day pouring rain and 5 cruise ships (only 3 visible here) didn't make snorkeling practical in the harbor

A Caribbean reef shark was the only shark I saw during 9 days in the Caymans

A Caribbean reef shark was the only shark I saw during 9 days in the Caymans

These fish traveled in schools so it appeared like there was blue confetti in the ocean

These fish traveled in schools so it appeared like there was blue confetti in the ocean

I think these are 2 tarpon; I saw several together but they were on the bottom and difficult to photograph

I think these are 2 tarpon; I saw several together but they were on the bottom and difficult to photograph

I stayed 2 nights in Grand Cayman in order to get a cheaper airfare; these yellow apartments were the cheapest lodging I could find and they weren't cheap

I stayed 2 nights in Grand Cayman in order to get a cheaper airfare; these yellow apartments were the cheapest lodging I could find and they weren't cheap

Snorkeling was quite good in the harbor but there was plenty of boat activity as well; the reef is called Cheeseburger Reef because it sits offshore from the Burger King

Snorkeling was quite good in the harbor but there was plenty of boat activity as well; the reef is called Cheeseburger Reef because it sits offshore from the Burger King

Organ pipe coral; Southwest will start service from Houston Hobby to Grand Cayman in June

Organ pipe coral; Southwest will start service from Houston Hobby to Grand Cayman in June

A blue-spotted stingray is well-camouflaged; the island is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point

A blue-spotted stingray is well-camouflaged; the island is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point

First time I've seen a juvenile green turtle; he was about half the size of an adult

First time I've seen a juvenile green turtle; he was about half the size of an adult

The parrot fish tended to stay towards the bottom making them tough to photograph; they eat the coral and excrete it as sand

The parrot fish tended to stay towards the bottom making them tough to photograph; they eat the coral and excrete it as sand

Yellowtail snapper in front of elkhorn coral; 95% o the territory's population lives on Grand Cayman

Yellowtail snapper in front of elkhorn coral; 95% of the territory's population lives on Grand Cayman

There are 600 banks on Grand Cayman including 43 of the 50 largest in the world

There are 600 banks on Grand Cayman including 43 of the 50 largest in the world

Grand Cayman has about 55,000 people, half of whom live in the capital, George Town

Grand Cayman has about 55,000 people, half of whom live in the capital, George Town

Posted by RNRiggins 08:14 Comments (0)

Fun week on Cayman Brac with great friends

Bob and David were very nice to invite me to join them on their vacation; the guys are also good cooks which was great since there are very few restaurants of the island

Bob and David were very nice to invite me to join them on their vacation; the guys are also good cooks which was great since there are very few restaurants of the island

I had to take a selfie after climbing up in this tree for a bird's eye view

I had to take a selfie after climbing up in this tree for a bird's eye view

This luxury cruise ship visited one day; it can hold 170 passengers; couldn't find out how much it costs guests

This luxury cruise ship visited one day; it can hold 170 passengers; couldn't find out how much it costs guests

We enjoyed pleasant temperatures while our friends suffered with snow and sub-freezing weather back home

We enjoyed pleasant temperatures while our friends suffered with snow and sub-freezing weather back home

The critically endangered Cayman Brac parrot lives only on this island; their population is estimated at 400

The critically endangered Cayman Brac parrot lives only on this island; their population is estimated at 400

Enjoying afternoon beverages and playing bingo; the Cayman Islands is the 5th largest banking center in the world

Enjoying afternoon beverages and playing bingo; the Cayman Islands is the 5th largest banking center in the world

The largest hermit crabs I've ever seen!; island was full of them

The largest hermit crabs I've ever seen!; island was full of them

Because of the cliffs on the east end of the island there is no road encircling the island

Because of the cliffs on the east end of the island there is no road encircling the island

Our rental house was on the north shore; we had a great view of the water from our porch but the water was unusually rough so snorkeling or diving in front of the house wasn't practical

Our rental house was on the north shore; we had a great view of the water from our porch but the water was unusually rough so snorkeling or diving in front of the house wasn't practical

Bob served as dive master for our dives and did his best to keep me in line; his experience was extremely helpful

Bob served as dive master for our dives and did his best to keep me in line; his experience was extremely helpful

One of the few sandy beaches on the island at Public Beach

One of the few sandy beaches on the island at Public Beach

The eastern side of the island ends with 140 ft cliffs; the other two islands in the Caymans are basically flat

The eastern side of the island ends with 140 ft cliffs; the other two islands in the Caymans are basically flat

Trees on the bluff have branches that have been twisted into bizarre shapes by the strong winds; there are few tall trees on the island

Trees on the bluff have branches that have been twisted into bizarre shapes by the strong winds; there are few tall trees on the island

The center of the island is a plateau about 150 feet high with narrow bands of land on either side which is where most of the development is

The center of the island is a plateau about 150 feet high with narrow bands of land on either side which is where most of the development is

There are only 2 dive shops on the island; their boat dives were fully booked so one shop had no equipment to rent while the other typically doesn't rent to shore divers but thankfully they made an exception for me

There are only 2 dive shops on the island; their boat dives were fully booked so one shop had no equipment to rent while the other typically doesn't rent to shore divers but thankfully they made an exception for me

Nice pool at the only dive resort on the island; we didn't stay there but rented a house nearby

Nice pool at the only dive resort on the island; we didn't stay there but rented a house nearby

The brown booby has a wingspan of almost 5 feet

The brown booby has a wingspan of almost 5 feet

Posted by RNRiggins 07:44 Comments (0)

Diving Russian warship on Cayman Brac

M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts was built by Russia for the Cuban Navy in 1984; it was later purchased by the Caymanian government (and given its current name) and intentionally sunk in 1996

M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts was built by Russia for the Cuban Navy in 1984; it was later purchased by the Caymanian government (and given its current name) and intentionally sunk in 1996

This is the resident Goliath grouper that lives at the wreck; he followed us around the ship perhaps thinking we would feed him

This is the resident Goliath grouper that lives at the wreck; he followed us around the ship perhaps thinking we would feed him

Bob's photos are infinitely better than mine; our first dive together was a big success

Bob's photos are infinitely better than mine; our first dive together was a big success

My photo of giant tube sponges was photobombed by this fish

My photo of giant tube sponges was photobombed by this fish

The occasional barracuda was spotted; Bob wore his shorty wetsuit and got chilled while I went without a wetsuit and was never uncomfortable

The occasional barracuda was spotted; Bob wore his shorty wetsuit and got chilled while I went without a wetsuit and was never uncomfortable

The wreck is the only Russian warship that divers can explore in the Western Hemisphere

The wreck is the only Russian warship that divers can explore in the Western Hemisphere

Cleaner fish accompanying a stingray along the sandy bottom

Cleaner fish accompanying a stingray along the sandy bottom

Barrel sponge; the wreck was torn in two by a Norwester in 1999; the bow sits in about 100 feet of water

Barrel sponge; the wreck was torn in two by a Norwester in 1999; the bow sits in about 100 feet of water

In addition to these tube sponges there were lots of sea fans and even a camera-shy turtle

In addition to these tube sponges there were lots of sea fans and even a camera-shy turtle

The Tibbetts is the most iconic wreck dive in the Cayman Islands; Hurricane Ivan in 2004 did further damage to the wreck

The Tibbetts is the most iconic wreck dive in the Cayman Islands; Hurricane Ivan in 2004 did further damage to the wreck

The barrel sponges came in a variety of vibrant colors; shore diving is very popular on the island

The barrel sponges came in a variety of vibrant colors; shore diving is very popular on the island

The Tibbetts wreck is 330 feet long; visibility was very good with a few areas inside of the ship open for exploration

The Tibbetts wreck is 330 feet long; visibility was very good with a few areas inside of the ship open for exploration

Large barrel sponge; the Tibbetts sits about 200m offshore making for a long swim, especially in choppy seas

Large barrel sponge; the Tibbetts sits about 200m offshore making for a long swim, especially in choppy seas

I had trouble distinguishing sponges from corals; thankfully saw no jellyfish or lionfish

I had trouble distinguishing sponges from corals; thankfully saw no jellyfish or lionfish

There are only 2 dive shops on the island; their boat dives were fully booked so one shop had no equipment to rent while the other typically doesn't rent to shore divers but thankfully they made an exception for me

There are only 2 dive shops on the island; their boat dives were fully booked so one shop had no equipment to rent while the other typically doesn't rent to shore divers but thankfully they made an exception for me

Posted by RNRiggins 18:13 Comments (0)

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