A Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: Not Your Average Review

A Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: Not Your Average Review

What does luxury look like to you? When I was playing college soccer I considered the continental breakfast at the Mankato “Amerc-Inn” to be completely lavish. (They had French Vanilla coffee creamers). Travelling about Europe, finding a hostel whose storage lockers actually worked represented total indulgence. Throughout my life I have always basked in the joys of mini luxuries. That is why staying at the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel whose name alone incites feelings of extravagance, was truly an experience like no other. Keep reading to hear about my weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. I promise it’s not your average review!

The Room

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The view from an oceanfront room at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is truly what dreams are made of. Every time we returned to our room after being out for a while, we had to go out on the balcony to relive the experience all over again. Looking out over the shimmering pool and expansive turquoise waters was all I needed to feel I got my money’s worth. I went a little bit crazy on the Nespresso machine in the room, raising countless coffee cups over the balcony like a caffeinated Gatsby.

I achieved the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long while in the King bed. With its perfectly fluffy white duvet and heavenly pillows, it was like sleeping on an expensive cloud. Floating about the room in my hotel robe and applying my makeup in front of the bathroom’s double vanity really served to remind me of my life goals. All together, the room gets an A+ for its mesmerizing seascape and bliss-inducing ambience.

The Pool + Beach Activities

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman caters to a wide range of luxury interests. For many people, vacation means piña coladas delivered to your lounge chair. For others, vacation requires a bit of action in the form of exercise or activities. Whatever type of vacationer you may be, the Ritz has you covered. Bryan and I dabbled in both the lazy and active lifestyles by dividing our time between the lounge chairs and water sports. On Saturday we enjoyed a poolside drink and snack from Bar Jack. We then rented some complimentary paddleboards. They turned out to be a great workout for me and a little nap for Bryan. (He just treated his as a makeshift floatie — no judgement whatsoever).

I highly recommend the water sports, but be careful with Bar Jack. We paid US $60 for our two drinks and a tiny side of fries — GASP! (The price of luxury, I guess?) Sunday we switched it up with lounge chairs on the beach. We much preferred this as there were far less screaming children on the beach. (Not what a teacher needs on her vacation) NO RUNNING! We also committed a little “whoopsie” by bringing our own cheap wine to the hotel lounge chairs. We most likely would have have slipped under the radar had we not requested an ice bucket for said wine. Ah well, a little opportunism never hurt anybody.

Featured below: Blossom Village by Collective Swim

In-Room Dining

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After feeling gypped by our “light” refreshments at Bar Jack, we were a bit wary when it came to room service. That being said, I went on a short walk to pick us up some Island Naturals for lunch. (Zen Buddha Bowls with vegan chorizo YUM!). In the evening we discovered our amazingly thoughtful friends had ordered us a cheese plate. It was delivered to our room along with a cake to celebrate our anniversary, compliments of the hotel. We certainly felt very special and grateful to our friends and the hotel staff. We took all this deliciousness out to the balcony and enjoyed an anniversary “dinner” that couldn’t be beat.

Since our faith had been restored in the idea of room service, we dared to order breakfast to the room on Sunday morning. I ordered the Cayman Continental (a bit different from the continental breakfast in Mankato). It consisted of a large French press, juice, a bagel, a beautiful yogurt parfait, and a fruit “plate.” (More like a small fruit cup through my American eyes). It was all delicious! This costed about US $28…not great but not ghastly. As for Bryan, he ordered a more traditional breakfast (eggs, meat, hash browns, toast). At first he was wildly disappointed because they botched the order but quickly recovered as they brought us a brand new breakfast. In the end, we were quite happy campers. Eating anything with that kind of view — who could be upset?

Resort Dining

If you’ve read the review thus far, you can probably guess Bryan and I are not really what you would call epicureans… nor are we foodies. That being said, if you’re looking for a well-informed fine dining review, I suggest you look elsewhere. This particular weekend, we actually didn’t eat in any of the restaurants. (Unless you count our exorbitantly-priced sweet potato fries from Bar Jack). However, I have eaten at both Taikun, the gourmet sushi lounge, and Seven, the illustrious steakhouse, and obviously both were ridiculously delicious and expensive. For a much more thorough and helpful review, I suggest you consult The Island Epicurean who offers reviews on all four of the Ritz-Carlton restaurants.

Spa & Fitness Center

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of the major selling points for us was the fact that we were allowed free reign of the spa and fitness facilities. The complimentary section of the spa includes a steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi. Of course I meandered my way through each area pretending I was a well-seasoned spa-goer who doesn’t panic the minute they sit down in a 160 degree Fahrenheit room (nightmares from Final Destination — the indoor tanning scene). Despite my initial hesitation, I felt very relaxed and terribly sophisticated after my first spa session. My only complaint was that there was no tea being served in the changing room and I just feel that was a grave mistake.

Next up is the gym which to our satisfaction we found virtually empty save for a couple valiant weekend warriors. The ultimate sign of luxury for me was a basket of new (or at least clean) headphones for gym-goers. I gratefully “borrowed” a pair to use on the TV attached to one of the the ultra-chic and stealthy ellipticals. Yes, ellipticals can absolutely be described as chic. (The elliptical at my apartment gym sounds like it’s about to fall apart at any moment and certainly does not have a TV attached). By the time all was said and done I felt like a proper Victoria’s Secret model leaving the spa/gym; my face glistening with the expensive kind of sweat only the Ritz-Carlton can produce.

Service:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As mentioned before, my lodging experiences throughout my life have entailed college soccer road trips, $15/night Euro hostels, and even a rodent-infested quarantine facility. BUT, I do come from the Midwest and let me tell you that people are NICE in the Midwest. (Not talking about you, Illinois) That being said, I have high expectations when it comes to customer service and I would say, although unsurprisingly, the service at the Ritz-Carlton met and exceeded my expectations. It’s pretty wonderful that this experience is available to island locals during COVID and the fact that the hotel staff upholds the same service standards even for local “small-spenders” speaks well of their company’s culture and values. From the rum punch welcome drinks to the kind anniversary gesture, we truly felt special throughout our short stay.

To bring this most unconventional review to a close, here are my final thoughts on the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and on luxury hotels in general. As someone who is perfectly content to spend a week sleeping in a camper or a hostel bunk bed, I was surprised at how much I relished the luxury experience at the Ritz-Carlton. I believe it is something that everyone deserves to enjoy at least once in their life. Now that I’ve opened this door and have had a taste of the good life, I already am feeling the need to repeat it in the near future. I would recommend a stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman to vacationers and locals alike. But whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasures in life just as much as the luxury ones!


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11 Most Instagrammable Places in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman, with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, is a paradise for serious photographers and Instagrammers alike. This island’s backdrop offers a blend of luxury design, tropical locales, and natural Caribbean beauty. Taking pictures is fun and a great way to explore both new and familiar places. Find your photo inspiration today with this list of the most Instragrammable places in Grand Cayman!

#1 Palm Heights

A boutique hotel on Seven Mile Beach, Palm Heights has no shortage of stunning vistas and picturesque corners. Explore the tranquility of the Turtle Pool, take in the sunset from the wellness rooftop, or snap some spontaneous shots at one of their iconic Sunday brunches.

#2 “The Swing”

A robust tree with branches that extend out over the shore, this natural spot is home to a swing perfect for a playful photo-op. Located just east of Sunset Cove near Margaritaville, its an unassuming location for an effortless picture in paradise.

#3 The Kimpton Seafire Resort

A luxe hotel with trendsetting design, the Kimpton is Caribbean indulgence at is finest. You do not even have to book a room to enjoy the amenities of this opulent hotel space. Rent a cabana or a pool chair, stop by for a coffee, or simply take a walk along the periphery. You are sure to come across many beautiful photo spots.

#4 Stingray City

A dreamy sandbar in the middle of Cayman’s beautiful, crystalline waters is home to a large population of wild stingrays. This spot is easy to visit by booking a tour or attending a boat party. The tour guides or boat captains will assist you in holding one of these gentle giants. Feeling brave? Give one a kiss for seven years of good luck!

#5 Starfish Point

A less intense alternative to holding stingrays is holding a starfish. Starfish Point can be visited while on a tour or a boat party. You can also drive to Starfish Point and enjoy the area of Rum Point while you are there. Savor the sunset surrounded by starfish and then make your way to Kaibo for dinner and some drinks.

***If you choose to hold the starfish, do keep them submerged underwater!

#6 Barefoot Beach

On the north side of the island exists a small beach marked only by a makeshift road sign. It is very easy to miss! Barefoot Beach is known for its seaside staircase and unexpected cliff (the island is so flat). I wouldn’t recommend it for swimming but it makes for a great photo op and could also be a lovely place for a picnic or reading sesh.

#7 Grand Cayman Marriott Resort

Another hotel in Grand Cayman with a trendy backdrop and relaxed vibe is the Marriott. Curl up in a secluded corner of their palm-filled courtyard or enjoy a daquiri beside their Endless Summer swimming pool. Situated on Seven Mile Beach, this hotel is a great destination for coffee, drinks, and dining. And of course, for the ‘Gram!

#8 “The Pink House”

Located in Savannah on Pedro Castle road, this hidden gem is a prime spot for a candid capture. Keep a close eye out on your way to Pedro St. James where you can enjoy a meal or explore the natural topaz swimming hole. Not feeling quite as adventurous? Swing by after a coffee run to Café del Sol. Your Insta feed will thank you!

9. A Very Photogenic Palm Tree

Feeling adventurous? A shot with this mind-bending palm requires patience and coordination. Located in front of Grape Tree Villas (by World Gym), this tropical wonder is hidden in plain sight. Find a narrow dock extending over the Ironshore and you’ll know you’re close. Stop by for a quick capture before Happy Hour at the Wharf!

#10 Camana Bay

A gorgeous waterfront community, Camana Bay is known for its shopping, dining, and modern design. What many people don’t know is that it’s an absolutely stunning spot to experience the sunrise. Drink in the sorbet skies and then make your way over to Starbucks or Jessie’s for your caffeine fix. (You deserve it after getting up that early!)

11. Seven Mile Beach

Although a bit obvious, Seven Mile is truly the crème de la crème when it comes to idyllic Insta backdrops. Shades of blue and swirling crepuscular skies; the captivating colors of this vast seascape are constantly changing from sunrise to sunset. Throw on your go-to bikini, pack your favorite floatie and get ready for a seaside photoshoot.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE GRAM

Zarella, AKA @zare_lovecayman, is a breath of fresh air both on her Insta feed and in real life. This Peruvian-born beauty is a world-traveler who showcases the allure of every place she visits through photography. Having lived in Cayman for 4 years, she has curated a stunning collection of island captures for which she is both the model and creative eye. While picture-taking began as a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home, her Instagram account has grown to inspire thousands of locals and travelers alike. She loves Cayman for its richness in culture and diversity in language, referring to this tiny island as a “mini-world.” Her favorite day-off activity is going to the beach with her watermelon floatie. When it is safe to travel she is most excited to visit Cancun and Yucatan in Mexico. Follow Zarella on Instagram from your daily dose of paradise and tropical inspiration!


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Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

What kind of crazy person gets up at 2:30 am to run a marathon on a Sunday? The answer, of course, is ME! Well, me and a thousand other Cayman residents. And although I believe the use of ‘crazy’ here is somewhat justifiable, I have to say to you, don’t knock till you try it…there may just be a method to this madness!

PRE RACE

My Sunday did in fact start at 2:30 am. That is what time I rolled out of bed and began my race day preparations. I would be running the Intertrust Cayman Islands Half Marathon, an event I had trained for throughout all of November. I was ready — nothing could stop me! Not even the ungodly start time. 

The day before the race I stocked up with all my supplies — organic running gels and electrolyte drink mixes from Be Well Pharmacy and most importantly, coconut water (from the not-so-fancy gas station). My breakfast consisted of Ezekiel sprouted flax bread (AKA magic bread) and a fried egg. While this was being prepared I started in on my liquids — black coffee and a lemonade electrolyte drink. I know what you’re thinking…that combination would probably land you straight in the porta-potty. I know what works for me but that does not mean it will work for everyone! We must tread very lightly with our pre-race meals…

Tip: The morning before a race you want to stick to foods you KNOW you digest well…likely a familiar food in your diet. If you’re going to consume as much as I did, you need to get up early enough for your body to digest it! (2-3 hours prior to the race)

By 3:30 am I was loading up my scooter getting ready to hit the road. Under the seat I stored by race day bib along with my running belt and bag. I laced up my Asics, fastened my helmet, and eased my scooter onto the empty highway. I felt like Will Smith in I Am Legend as I cruised down a eerily silent West Bay Road en route to Georgetown waterfront…not a vehicle or pedestrian in sight.

Upon arrival at the waterfront, I was still getting ghost town vibes, but as I turned the corner toward the start line I began to hear and feel the unmistakable race day buzz as fellow runners and volunteers milled about to DJ beats. The clock counted down to 4:30 am, the official start time for all marathoners and some halfers. Despite the absence of spectators (due to COVID restrictions), everyone was in very high spirits, ready to race against the sunrise along the Ironshore. I checked the zipper of my running belt, adjusted my Bluetooth headphones, and queued up my unbeatable motivational Spotify playlist. Time to do the damn thing!

Tip: If music motivates you while running, make a playlist that lasts as long as the run itself. Give yourself a little leeway, but not much. I made mine exactly 2 hours in length. I told myself I HAD to finish in under 2 because god forbid I run without music. Song choice is everything! I choose only music that has meaning or pumps me up (ideally both).

THE RACE

At exactly 4:30 am our large running pack pulled away from the waterfront and started down South Church street with direction to Sound Sound. Lighting was sporadic, leaving stretches of darkness illuminated only by the starry sky. Luckily, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed the slightly cool morning air…(I’m still a Midwesterner, so cool to me means 40 degrees).

While there were no spectators allowed at the start and finish, the volunteers at the refreshment stations and the die-hards standing on the side of the road at the crack of dawn really made up for it. After a few miles of people yelling “Go Kate!” I realized that I was not as popular as I thought and that my name was printed large and bold on my race bib.

We ran all the way through South Sound, past Hurley’s, and finished the loop at the end of Old Prospect Road, actually running right past my school before hitting the halfway point. I did not think I would be a fan of back-tracking the whole course, but actually it was fun to be able to see who was leading the pack and who was following closely behind. 

If you have never taken part in an organized running event, it is something you absolutely have to attend. Either as a runner or a supporter. There is something so completely unifying about the experience. Endurance running is an activity that we have been taught to dread but  it is actually one of the most natural instincts we have as humans. It brings us back to our hunter-gatherer days when we had to chase prey over long distances without a break. While a marathon is not nearly as purposeful as what our ancestors had to do, I believe it still brings us closer to our roots and helps to eliminate social divide. As corny as it sounds, it feels so good when a random stranger cheers you on and says YOU CAN DO IT! No joke, I got goosebumps probably ten times throughout the race…the runners high is a real thing.  If you don’t believe me, go experience it for yourself! At the very least, you will get some free food and beer at the end. 

POST RACE

With amazing supporters, a straight fire playlist, and quite favorable running conditions, I was able to maintain my goal pace of 8:30 miles throughout the whole race, putting me in a position to break my personal best! Winding through the streets of Georgetown, under a cotton candy sunrise, I neared the finish feeling exhausted but elated. I crossed the finish and was immediately adorned with a finisher medal. Just like that, it was over!

I made a beeline for the free food, selecting without any hesitation a bag of Famous Amos cookies. Nothing ever looked as heavenly. I ate my cookies with the satisfaction that I had definitely earned them. I mingled about with some other runners and tried not to fall over. Because of COVID restrictions, we couldn’t stay at the finish for long. After snapping some pictures and finishing my snacks, I made my way back to my scooter and cruised away toward Seven Mile. I looked at my watch…it was only 7 am. 

In true Cayman fashion I went straight to the ocean after my run. The water is actually “chilly” at the moment as temperatures have dropped a bit and we are experiencing what the locals call a “Christmas Breeze.” I’ll take what I can get. Anyway, this cool water felt pretty much amazing on my muscles and joints. 

After a morning of running and swimming, I basically felt like Iron Woman. This feeling didn’t last for long as I collapsed into bed and slept for 2 hours…getting up only because we had brunch reservations at the Kimpton. 

If ever there is a day you are entitled to an overabundance of fancy food, it is following a full or half marathon. It is essentially the 21st century equivalent of catching and eating your prey after a 13 mile chase. (I am only kidding, of course.) The other girls at brunch had also run the half marathon and we took our brunching very seriously that afternoon. 

All in all, it was one of the best days I have spent here in Grand Cayman. If I haven’t convinced you to run in the next Cayman marathon…or any marathon at all…hopefully I have at least convinced you to come cheer on the runners! Or at the VERY least not call us crazy 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about running in Cayman or running in general I would be so happy to answer! 

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How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

While Thanksgiving 2020 was a strange one for many around the world, it was a particularly interesting one for me as I celebrated it away from my family for the first time ever in the least thanksgiving-esque setting you can think of…the Cayman Islands. 

To be honest, Thanksgiving was not even really on my radar. Living on this island is like Groundhog’s Day in the weather department. I realize that to most people 86 and sunny every day of the week sounds pretty darn good. No need to cuss at the weatherman with a forecast like that. And of course, it IS wonderful. However, for someone who is used to extreme seasonal changes, this Groundhog’s Day vibe has me very mixed up.

The other reason Thanksgiving wasn’t totally on my radar is because it is not really celebrated here. Cayman is a British territory and we know of course that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Whereas in Wisconsin I would have enjoyed Wednesday thru Friday of vacation, here I had to work the whole week! (Poor me).

Alas, despite my lack of seasonal awareness, I must accept that the holiday season has arrived. However strange this year may be, 2020 has taught me to stop wishing for a different reality and simply make the most of what I have. While I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was able to take part in the next best alternative: Friendsgiving…Cayman style!

While I have participated in a few small Friendsgivings while living in the Midwest, Cayman Friendsgiving 2020 definitely will go down as the most special and memorable one to date. What really gave it WOW factor was the amazing lady who made it possible…my good friend and fellow American, Christine! I cannot tell you how many people I have met in Cayman that I initially suspect to be American but then later find out are Canadian. (Classic mix-up). The fact that Christine “sounds American” and IS actually American (New Jerseyite to be more specific) is such a comfort to me. Not to mention she is one of the most warm, kind people you will ever meet!

Christine hosted Friendsgiving at her place on Black Friday. When I walked into her apartment the first words out of my mouth were OH. MY. GOD. I thought for a moment that I had driven myself to the Ritz Carlton by mistake. She had rented banquet tables complete with linens, table settings, lights, and candles. She lined the living room with fresh flowers and added a finishing touch with name tags at every spot. While helping her with the final details, I spotted her open excel spreadsheet complete with guest names and their respective dishes. (Yes, she is an accountant…and also basically the Martha Stewart of Cayman).

I had signed on to prepare apple crisp (to honor my family’s tradition) and an autumn salad to add some green to the line up. My autumn salad called for sweet potato, a product I KNOW they have in Cayman. However, on the particular day I went to the supermarket they informed me they did not have the AMERICAN sweet potato but they DID have the JAMAICAN sweet potato. This was a learning moment for me as I never thought of the sweet potato as being classified by country. My ALDI days did not prepare me for this. Anyway, dazed and confused I purchased the Jamaican sweet potato as recommended by the produce man. Upon cooking it, I realized it does NOT provide a pretty orange color pop, but rather has an ugly yellowish, gray-speckled color. NOT something I wanted to put in my autumn salad. So, with a sigh of defeat I decided not to add it to the salad. But upon trying it a bit later, I can report that it DOES taste a bit similar to the “American” sweet potato and is rather yummy.

ANYWAY, back to Friendsgiving. Thanks to Christine’s spreadsheet, we all prepared something a bit different and had a wonderfully delicious variety for our Thanksgiving dinner. We were greeted at the door with welcome shots which we renamed “Gobblers” as their original name was a bit too explicit for a Thanksgiving celebration. They are made from Kahlua, Irish cream liqueur, and whipped cream. This really set the tone for the evening as we mingled about among our group of 14 friends. I even got a bit crafty myself in the mini bar department (AKA the washer and dryer covered with a festive sheet), preparing my brother’s Negroni recipe for a few people to try…shoutout Chase!!

After we had finished eating we migrated to our gender role areas: the men outside on the patio smoking cigars, the women sitting on Christine’s king bed in slumber party mode. In typical Thanksgiving fashion, we were too tired to move but were very happy to be chatting away in each other’s presence. And yes, that is a cup of coffee in my hands in the picture below as that is exactly what I would be drinking after Thanksgiving dinner at home 🙂

In total, there were 14 guests representing 8 countries: USA, Spain, South Africa, Slovenia, France, China, Canada, and England. I am so grateful to have shared Friendsgiving with this amazing group of people. We were first and foremost incredibly lucky to have the freedom of getting together freely and safely due to the near non-existence of COVID on the island. I also feel very fortunate to have made such good friends in my short time living on the island. Sharing with them the sentiment of togetherness and family that Thanksgiving brings during a time when I can’t see my own family was something I will never forget.

Thank you so much to Christine and to all the other lovely people who have made Cayman feel more like a home to me. 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next edition of Island Diaries by Kate!

Happy Holidays!

The Cayman Coffee Crawl

The Cayman Coffee Crawl

Many of us have embarked on our fair share of pub crawls — but what about a Coffee Crawl?

It’s time to mix up our routine with a new non-alcoholic event that can be enjoyed while basking in our lonesome or surrounded by our friends.

How does it work you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. You start by picking three (or more) coffee destinations. Luckily, if living in Cayman, this step has already been completed for you compliments of Island Diaries by Kate! You must then consider a time frame. Do you want to visit all three coffee venues this month, this weekend, or get super hyped on caffeine and visit all three in one day? 

Follow me on Instagram for my free Cayman Coffee Crawl itinerary or a customizable coffee crawl template (see left) that works anywhere in the world. This is a fun way to remember your favorite drinks and food from each place you visit and share your picks with friends and family!

Read about my first ever Cayman Coffee Crawl below and get ready to embark on your very own coffee adventure!

https://www.instagram.com/island_diaries_by_kate/

Stop Number #1: Bluestone Lane

Location: 51 Fort Street, George Town

Located only a few blocks from the waterfront in the heart of George Town, you will find Bluestone Lane on an adorable street corner across from George Town public library.

Seating: There are many seating options available both indoors and outdoors. Even during peak Sunday breakfast hours we were able to find a table within a few minutes of ordering our drinks. 

Beverage: As recommended by a friend, I ordered a Flat White with almond milk. It arrived in the most picturesque manner with the steamed milk design etched on the frothy surface. Bryan, a man who favors consistency in his coffee drinks, ordered an Americano served strong and hot in blue porcelain. Both drinks were rich in flavor and kick started our day in a perfectly caffeinated fashion. 

Bites: Unsure of where my appetite was when I arrived, I ordered their Vegan Keto PB Cheesecake. (I mean, who knew such a thing existed). It was delicious and large in portion, pairing wonderfully with the Flat White. Bryan went for a more traditional start to morning, ordering an Egg and Bacon Croissant Spiral. (Sunny side up egg, bacon, spinach, tomato chutney & roasted garlic aiolil). Overall, YUM. 

Thoughts? I would definitely recommend trying out Bluestone Lane for a quick breakfast or coffee while in George Town. As someone who spends much of her time around the Seven Mile area, it is nice to change up the vibe and head “downtown” to grab a coffee. Nice people, upbeat ambience, and a tasty menu. Definitely check this off your next Coffee Crawl!

Stop #2: Tillie’s, Palm Heights

Although Tillie’s would not be considered by most as a place to stop for coffee, we argue that it is one of the best and should definitely be considered on the crawl! Keep reading to find out why!

Location: 747 W Bay Road

Located on the coveted white sands of Seven Mile Beach, Tillie’s provides breathtaking ocean views in a captivatingly elegant dining space. Many Cayman residents and visitors have experienced such ambience at their iconic Sunday brunch but have you ever considered stopping by for something as simple as a coffee or juice?

Seating: We arrived around 11 am on a weekday It was incredibly quiet as the staff were just starting to prepare for the day ahead. We selected a table in the sandy area under the awning, as close as possible to the pristine waters as possible. We sipped our drinks with toes in the sand and only the ocean waves as background noise. Name a better place to enjoy a late morning coffee.

Beverage: I ordered a delightfully refreshing green juice and Bryan ordered, you guessed it, an Americano. 

Bites: I chose to enjoy my green juice in and of itself while Bryan ordered a small plate of empanadas. Of course, this was not the most conventional of coffee hours, but hey, anything goes while living on a Caribbean island! 

Thoughts: Unexpected but optimal venue for a coffee date. We will definitely be back for more green juices and americanos. Many people frequent Tillies for their elaborate brunches and cultural nights, but I think there’s something to be said for the simplicity of ordering a coffee and juice on the beach. You could even throw on a swim suit for a post coffee dip!

Stop #3: Jessie’s Juice

Location: Market St, Camana Bay 

Cafes don’t get much cuter than Jessie’s Juice in Camana Bay, a vibrant waterfront community in the heart of Seven Mile Beach. Jessie’s is the perfect place for a post workout juice, a mid shopping spree coffee, or a quick and healthy meal while out on the town.

Seating: Jessie’s, being the cute little place that it is, has very limited indoor seating. The main draw of this juice bar & café is the vibrant outdoor seating options perfect for meeting up with friends or people-watching in solitude. You can even bring along a furry companion!

Beverage: If you are one of those people who are overwhelmed by “too many” amazing options, you may have a tough time at Jessie’s. One look at the menu and your eyes will go wide with wonder. We came for coffee but as usual were tempted by the wide variety of smoothies, juices, lemonades, and kombucha. After trying a couple samples, we ditched our coffee plans and settled on two tall glasses of peach kombucha. Even people who are a little bit on the booch fence will love Jessie’s version. It is fresh, fizzy, and has virtually none of the vinegar flavor that some brews seem to contain. I totally recommend this drink especially because they let you taste it beforehand!

Bites: We settled on Bryan’s favorite pastry — the banana nut muffin. This muffin has been known to help the accountants of Camana Bay survive through the busy season! It is a light and delicious option if you are not super hungry! 

Thoughts: All around, Jessie’s is one of my favorite places to go for a coffee or smoothie. If you haven’t been yet and would like to try it out, you should definitely go when you have time to sit for a while outside. Bring a book, meet a friend, or people-watch to your heart’s content. (Wear sun glasses so people don’t think you’re creepy.)

Cayman Coffee Crawl in Review:

This island offers many exciting events… but if you aren’t interested in drinking alcohol or spending a lot of money, I think the Cayman Coffee Crawl is an excellent activity to try out! Please stay tuned for future coffee crawls as I know I am only scratching the surface and there are so many places to be explored! (In Cayman and world wide!)

Connect

If you decide to try my coffee crawl or design your own version wherever you are in the world, please share with me! Also, if you have any recommendations for cafes to try in Cayman or around the world, send them my way 🙂

As always, thanks for reading! Subscribe below to receive new content to your inbox every Wednesday!

Tillies: The Brunch To End All Brunches

Tillies: The Brunch To End All Brunches

Brunch has become something of a universal Sunday celebration. We’ve all been to one. We’ve all drank the mimosas. We’ve all had to rescue our dill pickles from the bottom of watered-down bloodies. But until you’ve attended a brunch at Tillies in Grand Cayman, consider yourself deprived of the complete brunch experience.

Let me preface this by saying that brunch at Tillies is not for the faint of heart. When you make a reservation for this event, you are making a commitment to a minimum of 4 hours not just eating and drinking, but also dancing and socializing. Consider it the brunch olympics. Each month Tillies announces the Sunday brunch theme. October, for example, is an homage to the 90’s. Given that I spent all of the 90’s either in diapers or in my cousin’s hand-me-downs, my understanding of 90’s fashion is lacking a bit to be desired. Lucky for me, this past weekend kicked off with “90s in the Hamptons,” which apparently means dress in all white. For me, it meant an easy theme to follow, sparing me a trip to the thrift store.

Arriving at Tillies brunch is like stepping on to Grand Cayman’s very own red carpet. Everyone is dressed to the nines, including the wait staff and hosts. There is even an award given to the “best-dressed.” We haven’t won it yet — we seem to have a lot of competition. Seeing the many unique interpretations of the theme is entertainment in and of self. Of course, there is still a fair share of people who arrive in casual dress. One legendary brunch-goer in particular can be seen at Tillies every single Sunday sporting a different sarcastic graphic tee. Even funnier than his shirts is the fact that he is known to make frequent costume changes in between stints on the dance floor. I think we should all aspire to be more like him!

The themed ensembles definitely contribute to the extravagant brunch vibe; however, the real glamour of the event lies in the location and design of the restaurant. For one, Tillies is situated quite literally on the beach. Whether you choose to sit inside or outside, the ocean is just a stone’s throw from your table. If you are really planning ahead, you could even come equipped with your swimsuit for a little mid-brunch dip. Besides the unbeatable location, Tillies has a design team that elevates the experience to a whole new level. An Aperol spritz fountain made entirely of fresh, local fruit…a golf cart elegantly piled with pineapples and flowers… a pyramid of a hundred champagne glasses… You name it, Tillies can make it happen. That is one of my favorite things about them — they always keep it fresh and aren’t afraid to take risks. 

Of course, while many are enchanted by the aura of Tillies, artful fruit arrangements alone cannot guarantee a gold star review. That is where food and drink come in. Another area of this brunch that seems to be in constant flux is the menu. Last weekend the menu was “90’s Pan-Asian Craze.” I am sure this has meaning to someone out there but to me it just meant “Yay, Sushi!” The brunch menu is set for each table with vegan options available. The appetizers, seafood tower, main course, and dessert are brought to you in four waves until you find yourself completely surrounded by food and prosecco wondering for a brief moment if you have died and gone to heaven.

Of course, while many are enchanted by the aura of Tillies, artful fruit arrangements alone cannot guarantee a gold star review. That is where food and drink come in. Another area of this brunch that seems to be in constant flux is the menu. Last weekend the menu was “90’s Pan-Asian Craze.” I am sure this has meaning to someone out there but to me it just meant “Yay, Sushi!” The brunch menu is set for each table with vegan options available. The appetizers, seafood tower, main course, and dessert are brought to you in four waves until you find yourself completely surrounded by food and prosecco wondering for a brief moment if you have died and gone to heaven.

At an event that honors socializing and dancing as much as they do food and alcohol, it can be a challenge to find the proper balance between calorie consumption and physical exertion. What happens when the sushi is delivered at the same time that your favorite song comes on? To eat or to dance? The key, like most things in life, is to go with the flow and see where the afternoon takes you. Choose your brunch adventure! This is one of the reasons why no two Sundays will ever be the same.

You may be thinking…that’s great Kate, but how much is it? Well friends, in the world of materialism, you get what you pay for. If you want unlimited low-quality food as cheap as you can get, then sit yourself down at Paul Bunyan’s cook shanty in the Wisconsin Dells and eat flapjacks to your heart’s content. But if you want to experience something original with amazing quality on an iconic Caribbean beach, then reserve a table at Tillies! Most people working and living in Cayman would not bat an eye at the price of brunch — $75 CI per person ($92) for unlimited food, drink, and entertainment. However, I know all of my teacher friends from Wisconsin are having heart palpitations just thinking about spending that amount on BRUNCH. 

Look, we all have our priorities, but in my opinion this is something you have to experience at least once if you are visiting or living on the island. Once you do, you will be hooked. It is truly the brunch to end all brunches! See you at Tillies! 

https://www.tillies.ky/

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

How does a girl go from gulping franzia from red solo cups to swirling biodynamic Portuguese wine at Grand Cayman’s only natural wine club? This Cinderella story is brought to you by none other than Paradise Pizza, a deceptively sophisticated pizza garden that is brand new on the Cayman restaurant scene.

Trust me, I know the kinds of ideas that can be conjured up by the words “Biodynamic Wine Club.” Maybe it sounds pretentious….or like an event that would be put on by organic yuppies who frequent Whole Foods. But trust me when I say that attending a Thursday night wine club at Paradise is one of the best things you can do in Cayman — and I am going to give you 5 reasons why. 

Reason #1 to join the club —

THE PEOPLE. 

Where else are you able to share a table with fashion designers, architects, chefs, teachers, and lawyers from all around the world? (Oh wait, who invited the accountant??) Even more importantly, when have you ever been able to do this without feeling the pressure of labels and status? This club is a place where all walks of life come together and talk over wine and pizza like old friends. You will learn not only about the wine you are drinking, but even more interestingly, about the people with whom you are sitting and how their experiences have landed them on this island.

Reason #2 

THE WINE.

Although currently unable to travel in the literal sense, we can still take our taste buds on a trip through international vineyards. Every Thursday Paradise chooses a region. For example, we have already explored Spain and Portugal, Eastern Europe, and California. They select three to four wines from the region which are presented to you by the coolest lawyer turned sommelier you have ever met. She totally won’t even judge you for your dark days of drinking franzia straight from the box. After one or two Thursday nights you may even be firing off wine vocabulary you never knew existed like skin contact, tannins, and acidity. But if you’re not into that, you can just smile and nod while downing your glass. Each wine selection is paired with a unique Neapolitan style pizza such as the Habibi, Cayman Veg, or my favorite — the Mr. White.

Reason #3

THE VALUE.

Anyone who has visited or lived in Cayman knows that good deals on this island are few and far between. I stopped looking at most of my receipts because they were breaking my frugal little heart. So when I come across a hidden gem like Natural Wine Club, it’s hard to keep it to myself. For just $30 you will try three or more high quality natural wines and at least three pizzas with the freshest ingredients all while mingling with some of the most interesting people on the island. Of course, as with any successful dining establishment, you come for the food but you stay for reason #4…

Reason #4 

THE ATMOSPHERE.

The friendly and open environment is what draws people in at Paradise. Upon arrival the hosts and club goers greet you with open arms and warm smiles. You will not escape without at least a few hugs. It’s kind of like a family reunion…but one that everyone is excited about. Once seated, you will find yourself in an outdoor pizza garden surrounded by vibrant colors and bursts of greenery. The intimate picnic table seating creates a sense of immediate inclusion and all around good vibes. All that is left to do is sit back, relax, eat some ‘za and drink some vino! 

Reason #5

Did I mention the PEOPLE?

I mean…they are truly one of a kind. You could come in with zero friends and leave with ten. On an island that is so transient, it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community. That is what the Paradise Pizza Natural Wine Club has become for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is craving wine, pizza, and good friends. I mean, WINE NOT? 

See you at Wine Club! Cheers!

https://www.paradise.pizza/

A Uniquely Cayman Summer

A Uniquely Cayman Summer

There ain’t no summer like a teacher summer. And there ain’t no teacher summer like one that is spent marooned on an island in the Caribbean amidst a global pandemic. Where to even begin? 

This summer has presented me with some experiences I would have never imagined I would partake in. Between getting stung by jellyfish in bioluminescent waters, suffering a turf burn while playing Gaelic Football, and accidentally becoming a “VIP” at one of the hotels on island, I barely had time to process! 

Let’s start with the jellyfish fiasco. In the northern part of the island around Rum Point, there is a bioluminescent bay. Bioluminescence is the emission of light from the high concentrations of bioluminescent phytoplankton that live in the water. When you move the water (with your hands, feet, or a paddle), they activate and emit a beautiful blueish-green light. There are professional,, organized excursions in Grand Cayman that take people kayaking and snorkeling through these waters at night so as to experience the amazing glow-stick-hued water. But why pay for a tried and true, organized excursion when you can go on a DIY bioluminescent tour on a friend’s inflatable raft? 

We set off after sunset with our two friends from Argentina; drinks, sandwiches, and our inflatable raft in tow. After driving around 40 minutes to Rum Point we unloaded and proceeded to douse ourselves in bug spray as the mosquitos had graduated to the level of “savage” as we like to say. With the raft inflated and refreshments on board, we flopped ourselves onto the raft sporting our sexy water shoes and headed out to sea. With only 3 paddles amongst the 4 of us, I found myself in the “princess role” sitting at the top of the raft looking out at my dark ocean “kingdom”.

Our DIY excursion started out beautifully with all crew members in high spirits. Our friends showed us how it was done and took the first turn snorkeling in the bioluminescent waters. Amazing, I thought. Can’t wait! Once they had climbed back into the “boat,” it came time for Bryan and I to take the plunge into the night sea. 

Showing no fear, feeling on top of the world, I curpluncked myself into the water and as soon as I did, my feet abruptly hit the ocean floor. What! It’s so shallow! I had been warned about the jellyfish that lurk near the ocean bottom in this bay so I immediately bounced up, lifting my feet to tread water. Nope…too late. Ahhh! I screamed out. The jellyfish had gotten me. I felt a shooting pain up my leg and immediately propelled myself forward wanting to swim in the other direction as quickly as possible. I was afraid I would encounter more of them in my path.

I yelled for Bryan a few times, trying to get his attention, thinking maybe it had happened to him too. Bryan was unreachable, he had his head in the water as happy as a clam and totally oblivious to my sudden distress. I swam to the raft and let our friends know I was coming back on board. Hurling myself onto the raft, I exhaled and shivered at the breeze –our friends deeply concerned, me deeply embarrassed, and Bryan deeply enthralled by the bioluminescence without a clue that I had left the water (at least one of us had fun in there). Finally, Bryan got light of the situation and boarded our “vessel.” He had mistaken my thrashing movements for me having so much fun with the bioluminescence that I wanted to create as much light as possible. Ay-yay-yay. 

After my traumatic run-in with the jellyfish, I resumed my princess duties of sitting at the front of the raft, nursing my “wound” (a few angry red slashes on my calf) and waving at the village people. (Just kidding, we were the only crazy people in the bay that evening — there was no one to wave to.) There we were, in the middle of a dark bay, wet from snorkeling in the jellyfish infested waters and hungry for our gourmet sandwiches. We began eating them there on the raft when suddenly we realized we were being blown away out to open water. The wind, while subtle, was powerful and if we didn’t act quickly, we would be well on our way to Cuba. 

The three amigos jumped into action with the paddles (the princess poised at the front of the boat) and booked it back to shore. An easy task it was not…at least I don’t think. I did not partake in the paddling. After a hard fought effort, the raft bottomed out on the sandy shore and the now disheveled members of the DIY bioluminescent excursion deboarded onto solid land. 

Thankful to be alive we celebrated our return to the shore with more sandwiches, a round of sparkling seltzer (for badasses only), and some more bug spray. We made ourselves at home on someone’s dock and parked our butts there to drink in the starry night sky and glassy black water…a peaceful end to an exciting night! 

In reflecting on this experience, here is what I will tell you…if reliability and safety are your top concerns, you should probably pay the money for the organized bioluminescent tour. BUT, if you want a kickass story and some hilarious memories, find someone with an inflatable boat and have yourself an adventure! Major thanks and shoutout to our friends Pablo and Lu for an unforgettable night!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more stories from this Summer 2020! 

9 Things To Do for FREE in Grand Cayman

9 Things To Do for FREE in Grand Cayman

Being a teacher with summers off (and no children of my own) means ample time to explore interests and hobbies. (So many people just rolled their eyes at me). It also means ample time and opportunity to spend more money than a teacher salary really allows for. Especially in Grand Cayman. Land of the $10 bell peppers. That being said, I have to be mindful of my spending habits and creative in my daily activities. Luckily, this hasn’t been too terribly difficult living on an island in the Caribbean. In this edition of Island Diaries by Kate I will share with you 9 free (or nearly free) activities to be enjoyed in Grand Cayman! (This list is absolutely not exhaustive). Please note you are about to see a common theme of beach-related activities. I wonder why…

  1. Enjoy “Poor Man’s Happy Hour”

There are definitely some occasions in which you want to go to a beautiful ocean-front restaurant and spend $10 on a glass of wine. But don’t forget, for that same price you can buy an entire bottle and sit your butt down in the sand for hours of enjoyment. Take a towel, a couple glasses, and pick any spot on Seven Mile Beach. All set!

Price: $5-10/person 

  1. Go on a beach walk

Not much to explain with this one! Take off your flip-flops, put on your sunscreen, and get to it! I myself like to bring along some coffee. Splurge at one of the many Cayman coffee shops like Jessie’s Juice or Paperman’s, or just bring some good old Folgers in your travel mug. 

Price: FREE or the price of your coffee 🙂

Sunday morning coffee beach walk
  1. Take a beach nap

Very similar to Beach Walk (see above) but for this one instead of walking you just take a nap on your towel! Any questions?

Price: FREE

  1. Treat yourself to a sauna session or hot yoga

Right now in Grand Cayman, it is 90 degrees almost everyday. With humidity, the real feel is around 100 or more. That being said, the second you step outside you are sweating. For this reason, any space you occupy can seamlessly become your own personal sauna. If you so choose, you could even do some yoga poses…say in front of the ocean or by the pool, and you find yourself in the middle of your own free hot yoga class. People pay the big bucks for that you guys. Take advantage. Sweat it out!!

Price: FREE

  1. Take part in anthropological observation (AKA people watching w/ the occasional eavesdrop)

This is a fan-favorite worldwide. All you have to do is post up somewhere (on the beach or at a coffee shop), and watch the people go by. I will say, however, that people watching in Grand Cayman is a little boring and normal compared to, say, the Wisconsin Dells with its concentration of Illinois tourists in a constant state of discontent and family dysfunction.

Price: FREE

  1. Have an impromptu photo shoot

If you do choose to people-watch in Grand Cayman, you will more likely than not see Bryan and I somewhere on the beach or around town taking an obscene amount of photos. Walk toward me. Smile! Look that way. Okay, now jump! Oh CUTE. Take off your sunglasses. NICE. Great way to pass the time and you may just end up with one winning photo out of the 100 that you took!!

Price: FREE (with your mobile device) WARNING: may come at the price of judgement from others but haters gonna hate.

  1. Treat your apartment amenities like a royal palace

Obviously, this one does not apply to the general population. But come visit and you can enjoy all that our new apartment complex has to offer! Choose from the following activities: swimming or relaxing by the pool, playing tennis, drinking coffee or reading by the canal, working out at the gym, botanical garden tour (walk around the facility and look at flowers…use your imagination), pet the neighbors dogs, and try to befriend the neighbor’s cats (good luck, they play hard to get).

Price: Not cheap for me but FREE for you if you come visit!

  1. Become a dog owner for the day (or just an hour)

The Humane Society in Grand Cayman is so different from those I have visited in the Midwest. One day I went there to see if I could hang out with the cats and 5 minutes after arriving I was alone with a pitbull named Gloria. We went for a walk. We had fun. I liked it so much that I came back the following week and took another dog out for a drive and a walk (smaller this time because Gloria would not have fit in the Fiat 500) This one was named Mika. At the Humane Society in Cayman they let you take the dogs to the beach or anywhere you want really as long as you bring them back at the end of the day. Helping dogs + exercise = an afternoon well spent! Before or after picking up your dog, you can visit the upstairs Book Loft that has a great selection of used books for dirt cheap!

Price: FREE, but warning — you may become attached!! ($2-4 for a book)

  1. Join Wednesday Night Running Club

Many people just stopped reading because they despise running. And the rest of you who do run are probably thinking you prefer to do it alone. But let me tell you, in this Caribbean heat, running with a group has been my saving grace. And it has been a great way to meet people from all over the world who love to run! WNRC meets at the World Gym (yep, you guessed it — every Wednesday) and the run takes off at 6 pm. Most people run 5k, some run a bit longer. 

Price: FREE (but T-shirt was 25 CI)      Note: $1 CI = $1.2 USD

Well, my friends. There you have it! 9 amazing activities you can do for free in Grand Cayman. Don’t write off this island as an excessively luxurious dot in the Caribbean. There is no doubt you could blow a lot of money here, and I am not saying that I don’t splurge from time to time, but most often the best parts of our day and the best parts of our life are born out of simplicity and are totally priceless. This has been true for me this summer in Grand Cayman! I hope you are all enjoying your summer and its priceless moments wherever you may be! 

Ok, but no one mentioned sharks

Ok, but no one mentioned sharks

If you have been keeping up on my blogs, you know wildlife has been front and center during the larger part of my island adventure thus far. Between mice, lizards, chickens, crabs, and the many colorful reef fish, I have truly bore witness to the good, bad, and the ugly of this island. However, just as I would have never anticipated seeing mice inside my hotel room on Seven Mile Beach, I also never anticipated what I am about to share with you in today’s blog. Keep reading for an exciting installment of Island Diaries by Kate. 

You could say I am becoming something of a snorkeling enthusiast. I actually went to somewhere other than the supermarket to purchase a new mask and flippers. They still are not what you would call the top shelf when it comes to snorkel gear, but they are a step up from where we started. Anyway, I have been doing a bit of research online on what spots on the island offer the best snorkeling conditions – pretty reefs, lots of marine life, safe for beginners, etc. One such place is Eden Rock that can be accessed from Eden Rock Diving Center in the center of Georgetown. They rent scuba and diving gear but anyone can go there with their own equipment and use their ladders for water access. This is where I decided to go one Monday afternoon around 3 or 4 pm. I swam out about 5 minutes from the shore toward the buoys and quickly found myself in an underwater maze of coral formations, dark, eerie caves, and impressive drop offs. I was surrounded by a wide array of fish, some more intimidating than others. Barracudas and tarpon, as cool as they are, are still not my favorite sea critters to hang with. But they do take my breath away when they enter my field of vision.

With no real end-goal or sense of time, I flippered aimlessly, suspended over the stunning coral formations. I peered down into the dark crevices and grottos with a twinge of unease as I imagined what could be lurking in their depths. Can you imagine that people willingly swim down into those passages? There are freedivers who even go without oxygen. I can’t even watch that play out in the movies. I still feel a sense of panic when I think about that scene in Miss Congeniality two when Gracie is trying to save Cheryl and Stan from the sinking Treasure Island pirate ship and they all go like 10 minutes without breathing somehow. 

As I was swimming, I could see a point in the distance where the coral dropped off and formed a deep and dramatic cliff. I neared its edge and marveled at the contrast of the jagged coral and the smooth sand some 30 feet down. I ended up being very grateful for this space that separated myself and the sand below. As I scanned the ocean floor, my eyes caught something dark and rather large. A barracuda? Another massive tarpon? An inoffensive sea turtle? No, no, and no. Kate… that is a goddamn shark.

I froze. I yelped into my scuba mouthpiece. All alone, “far” from shore, just me and the shark. This is where an experienced snorkeler would have gotten excited or curious and stayed to investigate and take in the scene. This is also where I, Kate, someone who can count the amount of snorkel sessions she has completed one one hand, booked it out of there as quickly and stealthily as humanly possible. Before turning to flee, I was able to make out the shape and size of the shark. It wasn’t huge but it was significant in size. It had a wide head and long body, maybe 5 o r 6 feet. My brain did what it could to record a mental image but all my energy was focused on “escaping.” 

My flippers started pumping, my freestyle arms were put into action (thanks Reedsburg Raging Rapids for preparing me for this day), but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I swam smoothly and quickly, constantly checked over my shoulder to ensure this aqua beast was not actively pursuing my human flesh. Of course, this shark most likely did not even see me and if it had, it would not have been the least bit interested in eating me. But try telling that to sole-snorkeler Kate who had been immersed in anti-shark jaws culture from a very young age. The Kate who is scared of swimming alongside muskies. On my way back to shore, about a 5 minute swim with flippers, a couple more barracuda darted in front of my strokes and I mentally communicated to them “don’t f*ck me with me guys, I am very fragile right now.” 

Finally, I made it back to the ladder, climbed up, and saw another group of snorkelers. I went to chat with them and timidly broached the subject of sharks. “Oh yes, of course. Many sharks have been spotted in this area.” As if it were the most obvious and well-known fact. “In fact, someone just spotted a hammerhead here the other day.” I described to them what I saw and they responded with “Wow, you are so lucky!” What? Did they say lucky? What are these people smoking? 

After the conversation with the other snorkelers and a little search on Google, I tried to figure out which shark it was that I saw at Eden Rock. Honestly, it very well could have been a hammerhead as I noted how wide its head was and its overall size. However, It is probably more likely that it was a nurse shark which is commonly spotted around coral reefs. While these two types of shark look nothing alike, my memory is already so warped from this little traumatic siting that I honestly couldn’t tell you for sure. Next time, I will bring my GoPro and try to capture one on camera! 

You may be thinking, “What? You’re going back there?” On my frantic swim back to the shore I thought the same thing, that I would never go snorkeling there again. But after a bit of research, it is clear to see that these sharks are not dangerous. As long as you don’t do anything stupid like try to feed them or touch them, you are more than fine to share the reef space with them. While I was mightily terrified by this experience, I also felt excitement and exhilaration. I totally get the appeal. While snorkeling (and hopefully one day while diving), I totally lose sense of time and stream of thought. It is as if I am operating solely on instinct and curiosity…just like a fish! I am exploring an underwater world that would otherwise be completely unknown to me. I have to understand that if I want to be a part of that world, I have to accept that sharks are sometimes included in the deal (but only for the lucky ones!) 😉

Thanks for reading and keep swimming people!