The 1st map shows the Caribbean. It’s hard to see The Caymans on it. They’re inside the red circle. Cuba is above them to the north, and above Cuba is Florida. We sailed southwest from Miami, around Cuba, then southeast to Grand Cayman, Island. We left on Thursday, sailed Friday, and landed at George Town, Grand Cayman on Saturday.
This is a shot of George Town’s Harbor. You can see the boats and the buildings that hug the coastline.
The Cayman Islands are a British territory. They belong to the UK, the United Kingdom. The UK is made up of Great Britain (England), Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
This part of George Town's harbor is for shipping. Big ships bring in cargo to supply Grand Cayman. Because everything is brought in, whatever you buy is more expensive.
This is the inside of a small boat docked beside our cruise ship. It’s called a tender. Its job is to ferry people back and forth between George Town and the cruise ships.
This is a pretty big tender. It holds about 200 people. The shot you see is from the bottom level. We climbed down a gangplank from our cruise ship, then downstairs to this level. A tender isn’t comfortable. It doesn’t have to be. You’re only aboard for a very short time.
I took this shot from the dock at George Town looking back at our ship. Can you spot the tender? It’s the small boat under that blue square.
We had about 1600 people on-board the ship. With 200 passengers per tender, it didn’t take long to empty it. We still waited in a line that threaded through the one of the decks. It reminded me of a fast-moving roller coaster line at Cedar Point.
This is a final shot of a tender from the George Town dock. This one’s pretty empty. It’s waiting for more people before it heads back to the ship.
Did you notice the fencing? It’s supposed to control people so they go where they’re supposed to, and not where they shouldn’t.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Perhaps you’ve heard of the pirates of the Caribbean. I’ve seen a movie or two about them, but I found their ship in the harbor, and a few statues around town.
I googled this link and found out the truth about the pirates on Grand Cayman
Sadly it was not a pirate hotbed. Why not? The island wasn’t on the main shipping routes for the Caribbean. Port Royal in Jamaica and New Providence in the Bahamas, those were the places a pirate should be.
Back in the days of piracy the Caymans were a quiet home to fishermen and turtlers, not pirates. Can you guess what a turtler does?
But one turtling ship had a run-in with Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard. He and his crew captured it, and its crew. Two other infamous pirates, Captain Ned Low and George Lowther took a meeting on Grand Cayman. They signed a treaty to pillage and plunder the Caribbean together. It’s good to share!. Later Neil Walker visited the neighborhood to plunder the wrecks of two Spanish ships. He liked to recycle!
But back in the day the Caymans were just a place for pirates to replenish their supplies or find a retirement home. They could earn a living by plundering and salvaging the shipwrecks along the coast.
This was my kind of plunder, a Wedge Salad and Nachos from Margaritaville. That, and three T Shirts. I knew MARGARITAVILLE from a Jimmy Buffet song, but I didn’t know he turned it into a restaurant AND resort. Who knew? Not me, not until I googled Margaritaville when I got home.
The 2 pirate pictures above came from Jimmy’s restaurant. I bet you know where I found the one below.
The resort! When I took this picture I thought it was cool to find a water slide that took you into the middle of a restaurant and shopping area, but I never dreamed of this slide…hotel to pool to restaurant and shopping. Wow! I’m glad Jimmy thought of it!
Take a Walk, and What do You See?
Talk a walk through the main drag of George Town, and it’s nothing like Ohio. Pirates, open air buildings, a mural like this. Look at the painting, the colors, the animals. They all have a Caribbean vibe.
Keep walking, and you’ll find the locals pecking out a living. In Ohio chickens live on farms,sometimes in a backyard, but never on Main Street.
On the way back to the boat I found a fish market right next to the road! In Ohio, fish is sold in grocery stores. They’re either frozen or on ice. In George Town you can buy them fresh, right off the boat, right next to the street!
Shopping in the Caymans
I spotted this sign on my way back to the ship. If you read about the pirates, then you remember that turtles were once important to the Cayman Islands. I don’t think people hunt them anymore for food, or shells, but you can meet them at the Island Wildlife Encounter. It was a rainy day in George Town so my husband and I passed on it.
I didn’t see turtles in the wild, but I found a lot for sale in the souvenir shops. I didn’t buy one. I was hunting t shirts. Unfortunately mine doesn’t have a turtle, but it does have a beach and a couple starfish. I’m all about the beach, for obvious reasons!
I also found a lot of jewelry. I love ear rings and necklaces! They call me. Really! They say buy me, but I didn’t listen, not this time!
I love the crosses in the picture. Look closely. Do you see seashells? Yes, from the seashore, LOL! I didn’t buy them, but, I have a lot of seashells from all my favorite beaches. I think it’s time for a shell project. If you have some from vacation, or the store, you can get crafty too. Good luck!
I don’t think they make t shirts, turtle souvenirs, or jewelry on the Cayman Islands. It’d be too expensive. I think those products are made in China and arrive by boat. Boats bring in everything that people need for survival. I thought maybe the islands produced goods to sell, but they don’t. The citizens of Grand Cayman make their living with service industries like tourism. The islands are also tax free so a lot of financial service providers decided to make their homes in the Caymans. Financial services deal with money, and the Caymans are are home to 70,000 companies and almost 600 banks. Wow tax-free, and great weather…sounds good to me!
The down side to living in the Caymans? Everything has to be shipped in. So when you pay for a hamburger, a soda, a toy, it’s going to cost more. Ouch!
I took this picture to show you the cranes, shipping containers, and boats sitting at one dock. This is where the products are unloaded for the people of the Cayman Islands.
Leaving Grand Cayman
You must follow rules to enter or leave a foreign country. I didn’t take pictures going into Grand Cayman, but I did when I left.
I went through 2 security gates. One was outside this buiding. The other is where the the people are standing. I showed my ship’s key card to both sets of guards. It proves that I belong on the ship. If you don’t have proof, you don’t get through. If you lose your card, I think they pull you aside and call the ship to check on your identity. When you leave a country, it’s important to follow the rules, and to hold onto your key.
Remember the tenders that took me to Grand Cayman? They took me back to the ship. The last tender was at 5:30. What happens if you miss it…you miss the boat! At 6:00 the cruise ship sails to the next port of call. Being on time is important!
In this picture I made it aboard ship. I showed my key card to someone who scanned it like the clerks scan packages at Walmart. A picture of me pops up on a screen so security can check that it’s me. If it is, you head onto the last security gate. Security’s important aboard a ship.
This is the next security scan. You put all your belongings on a belt. It runs your stuff through an x-ray machine. It checks to make sure you’re not carrying anything you’re not supposed to. As your stuff is scanned, you walk through a human scanner. It makes sure you’re not carrying something you’re not supposed to either. Then at last, you’re finally free to head back to your room and relax!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!