This post is not about the diving! Sorry about that, but only one of us is a diver and he does not write for the blog. There was a diver with the camera so, if there are fun photos shared there might be a short post with those photos in the future!
After our eventful travel day we started our great week at Pirates Point Dive Resort. It is a 10 room resort that cooks great food and serves it family style, offers well guided diving and a very relaxing environment. You can find out about it at http://www.piratespointresort.com
Views like this from our room and the sound of the ocean crashing through the windows. The resort has a “Resort Manual” in the room that gives the guidelines, but also the history of how the resort got started and great bios of everyone involved from the owner to each staff person. It is a family affair as the current owner is the daughter of a legendary innkeeper who bought the resort and became an institution on the Island. Really, the number of things named after Gladys Howard around the Island is notable. Her daughter Susan now runs the resort and is a gracious and charming host to guests. Many of our fellow guests were repeat customers who knew their way around the bar! The staff came from many interesting places, including Portugal, England and Canada and Susuan is from Texas! The team is awesome, but you won’t be mollycoddled here. You bus your dishes at breakfast and lunch, you deal with your own gear and the bar is self service! You will be spoiled though!
When we arrived part of our orientation was to tell us where the bikes were, and Ed announced proudly that they were new just in September! That was something we did not appreciate until another guest talked about riding one of the old bikes about 8 miles up the island only to have the chain fall off in such a way that it was not going back on! We made good use of the new bikes and took them out a bunch, mostly acting like we were off to do some good exploring but really just headed out to the Hungry Iguana sports bar for some beer on tap and a chance to check the scores. There were other rides, including to the other side of the island to see that shoreline. Don’t be too impressed though, the island is only a mile wide.
Breakfast and lunch are enjoyed outside under some lovely shade with a view of the ocean, but that is not really the show – it is the hermit crabs that roam all over the resort. Pay attention to where you put your feet because you don’t want to step on one. The first morning we noticed a few of them walking by the patio, then we noticed a few more, then we realized there were a lot of them. They are on the walkways and in the sand, but when you walk by one on the walkway, they will likely curl up in their shell so that something that was moving along the walkway all of a sudden just stops and collapses on itself!
The hermit crabs were not the only animals at the resort. They have cats! One morning as we were gathering for breakfast one of the cats was playing with something. It had caught a lizard and seemed to be toying with it, that is until it decided to eat it for breakfast! That sight did not keep anyone from enjoying their breakfast, but I think our mango pancakes were better!
There are also iguanas all over the island, in fact Little Cayman and sibling island Cayman Brac are the only place you will find a Little Cayman Rock Iguana. And they are well treated there, having right of way on the roads.
We went looking for them near the museum one afternoon and ran into Tanya, the naturalist on the island who tags the iguanas and is working to manage an invasive green iguana problem. She introduced us to several of the island iguanas, including Gerry – who we saw taking advantage of his right of way a few days later!
One animal that went unseen was the Cayman Racing Snake that took up residence under the tank the divers use to rinse equipment. During lunch one day a dive master came over to warn everyone that the snake was there, but “they are harmless, so don’t worry, but if you startle it they are really fast!” No one was able to see the snake after the warning though.
Little Cayman is also home to Magnificent Frigate Birds and Red Footed Boobies. In fact, one of the places named for Gladys Howard is the National Heritage Building at the Booby Pond. There were lots of boobies nesting along the pond by the road and they make a kind of growling, grunting quack as they glide into the nest. The Frigate Birds soar above you in a very graceful manner. One morning while the divers were out I went exploring and found myself at the Bobby Pond observing all of the action. There was a helpful sign that pointed out that male Frigate birds have a red gland on the neck that they expand during mating season. I looked up and could see some red on the neck of the bird right above me and I thought that was pretty cool. Then I looked across the water about 100 yards and I could see red in the trees. Using the view finder I discovered that those Frigates can blow that red pouch up quite a bit!
We ended our fantastic week like we started it, with an interesting travel day that included a late plane, landing in the pouring rain and needed to walk, outside in the rain to get to the terminal to be escorted through the security line because our plane should have been loading only to discover that we couldn’t load because of the rain we had just run through! Everyone got where they were headed though and we are already planning our next trip!