Sunday, December 25, 2011

Graduation Present

For my graduation present, my parents wanted to finally take advantage of my mom's flight perks and go somewhere as a family. My vote was for Mexico so we could have warmth, a beach, and maybe see some ruins since I've been studying them so long. First destination was Cancun, second was Acapulco.

Unfortunately my dad only had enough vacation days left for Christmas, so on Saturday the 17th my mom and I hopped on a plane and made it down to Houston. From there, we were on the standby list down to Cancun and ended up getting bumped from 3 flights. At that point we started looking at other options but every single flight to anywhere coastal in Mexico was overbooked by like 8 people. Who knew so many people travel there right before Christmas? Either way, we switched gears and hopped on a plane to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

We got in just before sunset and headed to the Comfort Suites, right by the water. The first night was low key; drinks at the hotel bar and dinner at the Guy Harvey restaurant. We shared the Red Snapper, Cayman style. Yummm.

Day two we woke up, got breakfast and headed down to see what the water was like. What was initially a brief look at the perfect blue water turned into a 2 hr beach stroll without sunscreen and we both got a little pink. But it was worth it.

First walk on the beach!
Our Hotel
Cool floating table I want to make!

That afternoon we hopped on a "bus" to the northern end of the peninsula to the Green Sea Turtle Farm. We went expecting to see a few turtles but man were we plesently suprised! The first area we walked up to was their breeding lake with a beach adjacent to it. They had over 400 adult turtles 20-45 years old in there and all about 3-4 ft in length. It was packed and they were so big!
Already impressed. we started wandering around this big lake area, and one of the tour guides came up to chat with us. Because the place was having a slow day (no cruise ships at port) he guided us around the whole place. He took us other to the handling ponds and showed us every age from 5-7 months up to 3 years. After those ages, we couldn't really hold any because they'd be too big. He also showed us one name "Sparky," the oldest at the farm, who had laid over 100,000 eggs in her day! All in all, it was an awesome experience to visit the facility. They even had additional attraction that we didn't pay to see like a snorkel lagoon to swim with turtles and other fish plus a window into the predator tank and a water-park for the whole family.

Mom and I both really loved the patterns on the backs of the turtles at their different ages. They were so pretty and unique. Plus the designs on the backs on their heads and fins were neat too. The surprise at the end of our little tour was awesome. They brought our a bucket of the babies hatched over the summer so they were all about 5-7 weeks old and so cute!


That night we watched the sunset on the beach in front of our hotel and wound up in the hot tub. There we met a family who had just landed and were getting excited about all their plans for the week. We told them that we were going snorkeling in the morning and they decided to join us.

The next day we woke up, ate breakfast with our new friends, rented gear and a car and headed to one of the beaches. The great thing about the Cayman islands is that the reefs are only about 100 ft off the beach so you can swim out and all the wildlife is nice and shallow. You can see everything or swim down and get a closer view without actually scuba diving.

My proud moment of the trip was finally learning how to pop my ears. I had to do it while sky diving a few weeks ago so i got my confidence up. I was always scared to do it but now i can finally learn how to scuba! and to think that was the only thing holding me back from doing it.

Halfway through the day it started to rain so we snorkeled a while longer then called it a day and went into town for lunch and shopping. Again all shops were open but not busy because no ship were in. We got went to one of the many jewelry stores and just had some fun trying things on. I found the gift i'm going to give myself after a few years of working. A gorgeous right hand ring in the shape of two leaves as pictured here. In LOVE with this ring!

At night we decided to take a drive around part of the island and go out to Rum Point. On the way we got some Jerk Chicken from a roadside stand and stopped at an outlook on the south side of the island. Rum point was quiet but very beautiful and would be tons of fun during the day.

Our final day we got up early and went snorkeling again before we had to have the car back. We went to this little cove and swam around for a while but there wasn't much to see under the water. So we hopped in the car and went to Cemetery beach which had a great close reef. Plus it was sunny again and was perfect snorkeling. I totally need an underwater camera.

The rest of the day we spent on the beach and flew out later that day. All in all a great mini vacation with my mom!

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