Cayman Islands Travel Diaries Part Two | Stingrays, Starfish and the Spa

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Our weekend in the Cayman Islands was a little different to the weekends that we have back at home. Our Saturday morning was fairly free, so we lounged on the beach for a couple of hours; soaking up the warm sun and getting a few Instagram shots while negotiating the shadows. Hot sand isn’t ideal for shooting on, and cameras don’t respond too well to direct sunlight, so mornings quickly became the ideal working temperatures. After a light lunch on the beach, we then headed off for our commute that day to Stingray City with Red Sail.

This was to be one of the highlights of the trip and something we had been anticipating for a while; the chance to swim with wild stingrays in the Caribbean. Every day, apparently almost all day, the wild stingrays swim up to the sandbar that sits between Rum Point and West Bay. Back in the Sixties they would feed on the daily catch being washed in the sea by the fishermen. In a slightly more modern twist, the fishermen have been replaced with tourists and, while there is no longer a menagerie of fish to feast upon, the stingrays interact with tourist and locals alike with belly rubs and hugs. Yes, seriously…

The one disappointment for the day was, incredibly, the weather. While the sun was its usual baking self, there was a strong wind blowing across the water. Great for sailing, we reach the sand bar within half an hour or so. Not so great for visibility though; the choppy waters were a little difficult to navigate with camera in hand and a quick slap in the face with a wave signalled the moment to abandon the camera. Flying the drone was also a task a little to complex; this was a moment to enjoy without looking through a lens.

The one thing that didn’t disappoint, however, was the abundance of friendly stingrays. Often portrayed as dangerous animals due to that incident, these wild animals were affectionate and inquisitive. The ground rules were simple; stay calm and they will stay calm. Don’t approach the tail-end and if the swim backwards move out of the way. It was incredible to witness them actively approaching you for a belly scratch or a friendly hug. On the way back, we stopped off at Starfish Point which, as the name would suggest, served up a number of starfish nestled on the sea bed. Crystal clear waters lapped the shore as the sunset, and the journey back flew by (probably helped by the numerous rum punches too).

Sunday was a slightly lazier affair; the morning was spent capturing content on the beach followed by the short drive to Luca’s, the destination of choice for Sunday brunch on the island. We were greeted by a sea of dishes that pretty much ticked every culinary box; everything from beef wellington to baked eggs, all washed down with bottomless prosecco. Within minutes of the brunch starting, locals and tourists alike began to pour in and fill up every table both inside and outside the restaurant. The food was simply incredible and, although we did only manage a paltry four visits to the brunch carts, you could certainly eat here for hours without boring your tastebuds. Of course, the prosecco did probably help with this too…

If the mid-morning brunch wasn’t decadent enough, the schedule for the afternoon involved a short trip to the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. Full to the brim with excellent food, our main exertion was hitting the “Beach Access” button on the elevator to descend into the spa. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the hotel, we had a few minutes to relax in the chill out room before heading in for our couple’s massage; sixty minutes of bliss. The perfect cool-down before the excitement and drama of the Superbowl viewing that evening, complete with rum cocktails, tortilla chips, and yet another deep red sunset, all enjoyed from the comfort of the Coccoloba beachfront bar.


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