Our Family Cruise: [Part II: Jamaica & Cayman Island]

After 2.5 days at sea we arrived in Jamaica. The sky was dark and foreboding as we disembarked. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it through the day without getting rained on.

The excursion we chose in Jamaica was a Dolphin Encounter at Dolphin Cove then some time at a local beach. A bus picked us up and we met our tour guide for the day.

Jermaine. The kids love him. He taught everyone about the Jamaican dialect.

When he asked if anyone had questions about Jamaica, E raised his hand and asked, “What is the primary source of income for the Jamaican people?” We all chuckled, as did Jermaine who didn’t know the answer to the question other than tourism.

Oh how I love that smile. This is the uninhibited smile we only see regularly away from the camera.

This is just fantastic compared his last encounter with dolphins….

Peter, the most hesitant of all, pulled through without any freak-outs.

After the dolphins we headed to the beach. The kids were hungry but we didn’t want to buy lunch when food on the boat was already paid for (don’t judge my frugalness.) We did conceded to buy them a smoothie, however.

Everyone scattered to their favorite activities (eating) and new friends they made once we got back on the ship. Ryan and I enjoyed a quiet (and delicious) dinner alone while the kids ate more burgers, pizza and chocolate cake.

The next day we arrived at Cayman Island.

I chose not to bring my Canon “big” camera due the fact we’d be doing water activities all day. Instead, I brought my underwater camera.

Our excursion for the day was Kayaking and Stingrays.

E kayaked with me so this is the picture of us: his distorted upside down body and my feet.

We stopped a learned a lot about the mangrove trees they had there. Super fascinating (for some of us, at least.)

And we learned about their iguanas and how the government paid people to kill off an entire type of iguana that was threatening the mangroves and vegetation on the island.

I can’t believe I got this good of a picture of the iguanas with my underwater camera. We kayaked by them so fast I thought for sure the pictures would be a waste.

So cool.

After kayaking we got on the pontoon boat to head out to the stingray sandbar. It was about a 20 min boat ride there which would have been no problem except the foreboding clouds over where we headed.

Our tour guide asked if we all wanted to dare the storm. We voted to go for it and we headed out into the rough ocean waters just as the rain began to fall.

It was cold.

And the rain and water hitting your skin was painful.

Which was a really a bummer because these waters were absolutely gorgeous. The kids didn’t get to take in the beauty, they just wanted to survive the ride.

This was the last picture I took because the rain, kids, and stingrays were all too much to handle without worrying about pictures.

So here’s how the stingrays went down:

They were amazing. Ryan and I got off the boat first then helped E and Peter down the ladder. Immediately, they were freaked out by the shear number of WILD stingrays among them. (I had told them this would be more an “exhibit” where the stingrays don’t have stingers…oops! Definitely not an exhibit.) We literally had to carry each boy as we would babies on our hips. They refused to get down. After 5 minutes we grew weary and carried them back to the boat.

Adam and Lance were still standing there. With ZERO intention of getting of the boat. The wanted nothing to do with the stingrays.

X and Lily did manage to get off the boat but they held on to one another for dear life. Every time a stingray would swim by them they’d screech and laugh – undoubtedly worsening their safety in their freak out. They lasted longer than all the boys but still did not (intentionally) touch stingrays. The stingrays did, however touch them.

Ryan and I loved it. It was totally amazing to be standing in the middle of the ocean surrounded by stingrays. And honestly, they were friendly. We loved the way they felt.

The ride back to shore was as equally painful as the ride to the sandbar. Then, still wet and freezing, we had another 30 minute bus ride, 20 min line for a tender boat, 5 min tender boat ride back to the ship, and 30 minute wait to get off the tender and on to the ship.

Needless to say, no matter how much we loved kayaking and how much they wanted to love the stingrays, everyone was done.  After some hot showers and warm clothes (me) we settled in under some blankets for the night’s Dive In Movies.

Then we rested up for the day we had be anxiously waiting for in Cozumel!!

Stay tuned….