We woke up very early this morning to hurry and eat breakfast so we could shop a little before we went on an excursion. We were at the Cayman Islands today. Even from the boat, the island looked absolutely beautiful. We could see the reef and the fish from our seventh story balcony on the boat! It was amazing.
To get onto the island, we had to take a tender (a small boat) from our ship to the shore. Our tender was called the Carib Temptress. Interesting.
We shopped around a little. For the first time all week, it wasn't at all cloudy, which was nice at first because of the difference, but then we realized how wonderful cloudy weather actually is. It was HOT on that island. Beautiful, but very, very hot.
After we bought a couple of t-shirts and a flute for Luke, we got on board another boat which took us a couple of miles away from the shore. The water was perfectly clear. Even from the third story of the boat, I could see straight to the ocean bottom.
I'll go ahead and admit that while we were on an excursion to go snorkeling, I didn't snorkel. I think I could have if I had really gotten up the courage, but I know I wouldn't have enjoyed myself. For those of you who are regular followers of my blog, you know that my worst fear is deep water and the ocean. I hate the look of it... and I'm also very freaked out by fish. So being right in the middle of it all is not my cup of tea. I was content to look at the ocean from the boat and watch my family snorkel.
At first, I was feeling a little bored and dismal because my family were out having a great time and I was on the boat, but the captain was a very sweet islander who was eager to help me have the best time possible. He gave me a couple of small loaves of bread to throw into the water. Literally hundreds of little (and fairly big) fish would swarm around the tiny pieces of bread, fighting each other for it. Not only did I help people get to see a lot of fish because they all came up to the surface, but I got to truly enjoy myself.
The captain also showed me that on the bottom story of the boat there were several clear panels of glass that showed the coral reef and all of the fish, so I got to see as much as anyone else, whenever I got up the courage to look. Honestly, I don't see what the big deal was. They were... fish. But I was glad that I got to see everything. I even saw a few jellyfish!
One of the best parts about the captain was his accent. He literally had an accent that sounded like Captain Barbossa on Pirates of the Caribbean. It was very difficult to understand at times, but it was quite entertaining. I loved it.
While I was sitting on the bottom deck, feeding the fish, one of the crew went up to me. He looked about my age or maybe a few years older. He was very tan and his hair fell down to his shoulders. “Hey,” he said, “why don't you snorkel with the others?”
“I don't like the water,” I explained. “I'm having a great time right now. I know I wouldn't have fun if I was in the water with them.”
“No, no, get in with me. Just right here on the ladder. We could have fun together right by the boat.”
“No, thanks. I'm really fine how I am,” I insisted.
Pretty soon, the boy climbed out of the water and leaned on the rail next to me. I kept feeding the fish, but I noticed that he continued to gaze steadily at me. “How old are you?” he finally asked.
“I'm eighteen,” I replied.
He looked surprised and then delighted. “Not so young.” Several people I've met on this trip have thought I was younger than I am. I know I look young for my age, in part because of my short stature. The boy smiled widely at me. “You're old enough to drink here, you know,” he said.
Although I'm not interested in drinking, to make conversation, I said, “Oh, really? It's illegal for me to drink in the United States.”
“In all of the islands, it's legal. You can drink as many beers as you want.” He grinned at me, as if that would be an extremely enticing suggestion. When I didn't say much after that, he tried again. “After this is over, how about you and me go to a bar and have a few beers together? We could talk and hang out.”
Great, I thought. What's an excuse? I glanced over at my family, who were preoccupied with the reef. “I don't think my dad would be very happy if I did that,” I finally said. I wasn't lying. If I went off into the Cayman Islands with a strange native to have a few beers at some bar, I'm sure my dad wouldn't be all that happy.
“What?!” the islander scoffed, looking shocked. “Your dad is here? Where is he?” When I pointed out my family, he chuckled and said, “Well, then, your dad can come to the bar with us... but only for a little while.”
I finally managed to escape from the persistent islander and resumed conversation with the sweet old captain of the ship, who told me all about the different kinds of fish and even dove under the ship to try to stir up some more kinds of fish for me to see.
As we left the boat, I again came across the young islander. At this point, I had already told my family about my conversation, so they were all poking me and giggling. He very gladly took my hand as I started to cross the gangplank (isn't that what it's called?) to get off the boat and said, “There you go, beautiful.”
I finally turned around and offered him a smile. Even if I was uncomfortable, I was flattered with his advances. He was a sweet kid.
Again, my mom and I stayed behind to shop. We went to a place called Del Sol that had some of the most amazing t-shirts I've ever seen. They start out in black and white or in a few light colors and then when you put them out in the sun, they burst into a rainbow of bright colors. It's amazing. The store also had nail polish, sunglasses, headbands, hair clips, bags, jackets, and more that all did the same thing. I was astonished.
We finally returned to the ship. Mom and I stopped at a pizzeria, where we had a couple of pizzas and some delicious white chocolate and strawberry mousse. After that, I took a long nap and then Mom woke everyone up. She was going to attempt to scale the rock wall and she wanted everyone to be there cheering for her. Sure enough, she succeeded! She made it all the way to the top of the wall and got to ring the bell.
After that, I decided I wanted to attempt the Flow Rider, which is basically a surfing machine that makes waves. Instead of an actual surf board, I opted for the boogie board so I'd only have to sit on my stomach.
The man running the Flow Rider was... let's just say... very good looking. He was tall, bronzed by the sun, muscular, and English. I was awestruck. I was already dreading the moment I knew was to come—the wipeout.
I climbed onto my stomach on the boogie board and surfed down the Flow Rider. Almost immediately, I wiped out, doing a flip and falling hard onto the bottom of the machine while my board shot out from under me. Even worse, as I got up to walk away, I slipped on the slick rubber surface and fell backwards onto my back.
I was flushing and totally embarrassed... and then I saw the cute guy, motioning for me to try it again. I shook my head frantically, saying, “No, no, no...” but he insisted. So I found myself again getting onto the boogie board while he gave me instructions in his thick British accent (which I loved).
This time, I did better, managing to stay on the board for maybe fifteen seconds or so, which is impressive for that machine. And then the British man came down next to me and said, “Try to get on your knees!” Feeling semi-confident, I did... and wiped out. Bad.
I literally did about three full flips in the water, nearly losing my shorts. For a moment, I thought, “This is it. I'm going to drown in this awful machine,” but I somehow made it back to the bottom.
I was so embarrassed. Words cannot even describe my mortification as everyone laughed and laughed. I know it was all good-natured. After all, when many of the others wiped out, I laughed too. It's funny to watch. But I fell and flipped and floundered far worse than anyone. I got several comments like, “Did you enjoy doing a 360?” and “Wow! That was the best show I've gotten all day!” And again, they weren't mean-spirited at all.
But I was still embarrassed. I still am a little embarrassed. And seeing the look on that cute guy's face was the most embarrassing part of all.
Dinner was formal night. I had salad, roasted peach soup, lobster and shrimp, and ice cream. It was all wonderful.
Dad had taken a Dramamine right before everyone went snorkeling, so he was groggy all throughout dinner. He could hardly keep his eyes open!
When we returned to the room, we found another little towel friend. It was a sting ray!
I'm in bed now, relaxing. I'm the least sunburned out of all of us ladies. Amy's the worst. Her back is as red as the lobsters we had for dinner. I'm thankfully only burned on the tops of my shoulders and my knees.
Tomorrow we will be in Cozumel, Mexico. It will be our last excursion on this cruise. I don't want to go home!