Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vacation: Carnival Freedom day 4

We awoke once again bright and early to begin our day in Grand Cayman. Technically we didn't have to get up super early since our excursion wasn't to meet until 9:15 to catch a tender to shore, but we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time.

Taking a tender to shore is kind of interesting. Georgetown doesn't have a pier to dock at, so we have to hop on smaller boats to get from the cruise ship to shore. The whole process was tedious and time consuming, but mostly everyone around us did a good job on keeping their cool and not causing a scene. Patience is key when you're trying to ferry 3,000 people onto shore. 

We met up with our tour group and signed our waivers. We had decided to do a snorkeling excursion over the sunken USS Kittiwake ship and then on to a coral reef area. There were 14 people in our group, which was a perfect size. 

We were led from the terminal area a little ways down the street to our boat. The excursion was led by Cayman Diving, and our guides were Josh and Connor. They were both in their early 20s I would say, but very professional and nice. 
We had a 15 minute boat ride from the shore to the shipwreck. Since it is off the shoreline a little ways, the water was rougher out there because it was a tad windy. We had to swim into the wind to get from our boat to the shipwreck. It was pretty neat to be swimming along and suddenly the Kittiwake came into view. I had flashbacks of Titanic music come into my head. 

The 250 foot Kittiwake was a naval submarine rescue vessel, and it's claim to fame was being the ship that located and recovered the black box from the Challenger back in 1984. It was decommissioned in 1995 and they sunk it off Cayman's coast in 2011. It's now a pretty popular snorkel and diving sight. 

We just so happened to come upon it at the bow of the ship, so we snorkeled the full length of it and then turned and came back the full length to the bow. There were several divers down in the water, so we could see them moving around and play with their bubbles that were rising to the surface. 
It's really eerie to look down over a sunken ship. I guess if it had not been purposely sunken, it would have felt a little creepier, but still pretty eerie nonetheless. 
The highest point of the ship sits 14' below the surface of the water, so I had to make an attempt to touch it...and I was successful! Nick filmed the whole thing. I was pretty proud of myself. 
After our 40 minutes were over at the shipwreck, we were taken back near our cruise ships to a coral reef the locals call Cheeseburger Reef. It got its nickname because it sits out off the shore from
Burger King, which was the first chain restaurant to come to the island. 
We had another 40 minutes to snorkel there before it was time to head to shore. We got off the boat and walked just a short way over to Rackams for lunch. I had a jerk chicken sandwich (minus the bread) with sweet potato fries and Nick had fish tacos with cole slaw and a salad.  They had wifi so we sat there for an hour-ish before heading out. 
From there we took a 10 minute walk down to Hard Rock Cafe so I could buy a pin for my collection. Then we caught a taxi to take us to Seven Mile Beach. 

What do you think the odds would be that our cab driver would choose to drop us off at Calico Jacks on Seven Mile Beach and the second we walked into the sand I would spot Coleen, Rochard, and Mom? Probably not that great, but that's exactly what happened. 

We hung out with them until time to head back to the cruise pier. Mom and Richard both tried our snorkel masks and loved them, and I sat in the shallow water and dug around in the sand to find a few small chunks of dead coral and pieces of shells to bring home along with my baggie of sand. I even found some sort of coin that is covered in a layer of stuff, but it will look neat in my souvenir bottle.
We took a cab back to the cruise pier and did a little bit of shopping before getting back on the tender to take us to the ship. Unloading 200 people from the tender took forever, and we were all really tired and drained.

I headed straight to the room to shower and discovered the sunburn on my back. Yay. It's not terrible, but I'm definitely red. Nick showered and we dressed for dinner. We sat again in Alex's section, but since Dad opted not to eat in the dining room tonight Alex immediately asked us where Mr. Billy was. He will just have to join us again next time since Alex  missed him. I had beef tenderloin tips for appetizer and fish with plantain chips for my main course, followed by melting cake of course. I ordered a S'mores parfait to try as well, but it wasn't hear as good as the cake so Nick ate it, which he later regretted. 
We finished dinner and waited until time to go to the main lounge for the Hasbro Game Show, which is a live version of the TV show Family Game Night. Kate would've been so excited! Later in the evening was the Love & Marriage Show, which is always hilarious. Once that was over we were exhausted so we headed to our cabin for bedtime. 

Tomorrow is our last port day in Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

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