Traveling with friends can be risky move! It’s only my opinion but I think it takes a special kind of chemistry to travel with friends, and all of the little ones and teenagers in tow!
But, thanks to Mr. Chicken Fry and his 27 year friendship with these guys…our family vacation hit the MARK!
Once upon a time, three knuckle heads won the lottery when they met and married these three chuckle heads! Enter the birds and the bees and the baby carriage and together the three couples produced seven knuckle chuckle children between them.
Last Wednesday, we ALL boarded a 737 and took off for the Cayman’s.
Why didn’t we do this before now I’ll never know because as far as I’m concerned this was one to re-do a hundred times over. Introducing the Stewart and Elliott families.
If you been following my blog for a while you may recall a story I wrote about my dear freind Joy! Check out the inspiring post.
While in real day to day life our three families don’t see each other near enough, our friendship is rich with love and laughter. Whats more…we are great travel companions and that’s saying A LOT!
From sun up to sun down we never stopped joking, smiling and laughing. Even our pesky eye rolling teens got in on the action and from what I can tell, actually enjoyed our company.
Hands down, the most favorite part of the trip was the 8 hour cruise on a power CATAMARAN from Cayman Luxury Charters!
I cannot recommend this charter service enough. Our private boat had a crew of four which consisted of a captain, two deck hands and a professional photographer/ hostess. Making the arrangements was simple and done mainly via email. The ammenities to choose from were first class. We opted to not order for their robust menu and dine off the boat beach side. Each family came loaded with light finger snacks which we purchased from the Bay Side Market at Camana Bay where the boat was docked. Bottled waters, sodas and snorkel gear were included.
First stop Sting Ray City. Before a single toe is allowed to touch the water we were summoned up to the Captain’s deck for an informative but speedy lesson on The Cayman Islands and sting rays. Using a toy model sting ray, Captain Adam thouroughly explained the anatomy of a stingray. He told us how to shuffle our feet, hold and touch these friendly sea creatures. He also warned us about a stingray HICKEY…mine was more like a long french kiss but more about that in a minute.
I coudln’t get in the water fast enough. Show me the stingrays! Previously I have swam around stingrays in the Exumas, but have never been brave enough to actually touch or get personal with them. With Sergio in the water as our guide, I was brave and confident that these stingrays are in fact “fully domesticated.”
Y’all, the texture is amazing. I was surprised how soft and slippery they feel. The fluid motion of the sting rays is mesmerizing. These fish animals literally swim up into your arms. It was an exhilierating experience to swim with dozens and dozens of all sizes but it’s not for everyone. If your not an ocean lover I recommend hanging back on the boat. Star Fish Fun. There is a mossy spot just off of Grand Cayman where Starfish burrow.
They are delicate and alive in every way. It was at this protected smooth point where we dropped anchor to lower the jet ski into the water. Many of the teens took it out for a salt water spin while others snorkeled, relaxed on the boat or marveled in the water with the starfish.
We stopped for a leisurely lunch at a remote beach side restaurant. Kaibo is a fun eclectic beach bar open air joint with great grilled burgers, french fries and cold refreshments.
Kaibo is located near RUM POINT which would be our next stop for a snorkel adventure. I stumbled on an old rickety foosball table which made waiting for our delicious meal a blast.
THE REEF! There is a reason why the Cayman Island is known for off the chain diving and snorkeling. On one side of this ginaromous reef is a shallow crystal clear water, bright coral with fish of every color. On the other side of the reef wall is a 20,000 foot plus drop into deep blue ocean water. It’s incredible.
While snorkeling with my buddy…I noticed a very familiar face. A rather inquisitive BARRACUDA was mirroring our every move. This is not the first time I have been eye to eye in the oceans water with a large barracuda. But it was the first time me and the teen queen were in equal danger. LOL. SAVE THE YOUNG!
From what I have been told, a barracuda is more interested in what it thinks you might kill to eat. It’s supposedly less likely to attack a human unless it senses danger. Nice fishy fishy…Nice baraccudda…we come in peace…we friendly humans mean you no harm…wave bye to the barracuda.
Snorkeling is not every persons cup of tea and for some people, this was the final act of their snorkling tour. Me…Heck, why not take my chances, after all I had already practically been French kissed by a stingray…so I felt my odds were decent. So about the hickey. I was in the water waiting for a sting ray to make its way up to my chest for the money shot. (see pic of the teen queen below). Waiting my turn patiently, when the sting ray finally made it’s way up into my chest cavity I guess I was so overly excited I was almost trying to lift it out of the water instead of allow it to settle and shift in my arms. When trying to control it for a photograph, I stood up and the rays bottom gills were out of the water and the ray was unable to breathe. Grasping for air the gill in contraction pinched the fire out of my bicep. What did it feel like you ask? It didn’t tickle!
It felt like slamming your arm in a car door! A BIG ouch matched by a huge blood blister and sting that lasted for three plus days. Thankfully I travel with my trusty BLUE -EMU which helped easy the swelling and bruising and Chicken Fry’s chaffing!
Allow me to add how first class this experience was. Every time we got back onto the boat from the ocean, the crew would shower or spritz each individual with fresh water to rinse the salt away. We were greeted with a bottled water and a fresh towel. We were offered food and drink like queens and kings.
The sunset ride home was one for the record books. Feeling relaxed sun kissed and water logged, we all settled in to enjoy our last hour. There was much snacking, laughing, picture taking and dancing. At one point we were forced to highjack the teens horrendous rap music blaring through the speakers and rock out to some classic 80’s. Parents must do what parents must do!
There were no melt downs, no yelling at kids to behave, or threating spankings or taking technology away. It was a drama free, get along, go along vacation. It was a blast. Pure all AMERICAN fun! UNTIL…
The depression set in as we pulled into Camana Bay Marina. REALITY SUCKS!
For me, life / vacation on a boat is the ultimate ticket. I love everything about boating and floating. The five star service was a huge boost. I was so grateful for this day with the ocean, the fish and my amazing friends.
Stick around because there is plenty more to come this week including my swimwear, where we stayed, what we did while on Grand Cayman, my workout routine and all the places we wined and dined. If you are entertaining the idea of a trip or vacation, check back in for some groovy details from out family vacation. Also see my Travel Tab for other exciting places to visit.
Love, grab a fin and swim!