Grand Cayman | Day 3

Our second full day in Grand Cayman, we woke up to that gorgeous calm water that I remembered (the wind had stopped and it would be back to normal as usual for the rest of our trip - you could tell the difference immediately, the umbrellas were up, paddle boarding lessons were starting and water sports were back on - it was like a whole different beach this day). We were out on the sand around 8AM again thanks to this sweet guy! The beach food and beverage service at the Westin didn't start until 10:30AM, so I popped over to the hotel's cafe for bagels and chocolate croissants to bring back to the beach, and came back to find my boys in the ocean!

I was so excited I swam out to join them and left our breakfast on the beach chairs. Unfortunately, it turned into a bird's breakfast (he ate right through the bag) and we had to go back for another round of bagels and chocolate croissants 😂

We headed to the pool around 11:30AM for a quick and early lunch.

I know lots of people prefer to stay in condos, but I love hotel amenities! Fresh towels and a clean room every day, and food whenever I press a button on the beach or at the pool? Sign me up!

Around 1PM we drove over to the marina for our boat ride to Stingray City! We booked seats on Red Sail's 60 ft catamaran - I made sure to check the cruise ship schedule to avoid big crowds (the cruise ships had all left or were leaving port at this point). The ride out to Stingray City was fabulous!

My research paid off - when we reached the sandbar, there were only three other boats out there! (At peak times, it can get super crowded).

Stingray City was one of the big draws of going to Grand Cayman for us. It's such a unique experience - Max and I loved it when we went in 2011 and really wanted to introduce it to Parker. The island of Grand Cayman is surrounded by a reef, so this sandbar sits just inside of that. Years ago, fishermen would clean their catches here - and the local stingrays caught on! They continued to return to be fed, and it's now a "Marine Life Interaction Zone" - boats are licensed to visit and even bring squid for the stingrays. I believe they said there are about 100 that regularly come, and several even have identifying features and names. When you hop off the boats, you literally head right into stingray water (you can see them as the dark spots in the water below). 

We prepped Parker this summer by teaching him to snorkel in the pool, and even had him wear a wetsuit since he's such a tiny guy and chills easily. Still, we had no idea how he would do with seeing stingrays in the water... but he was awesome!! The water is so salty it helps with buoyancy (and Parker's wetsuit contributed to this as well so the snorkeling was technically easier than the pool, though he did have to deal with some small waves).

Y'all, we were beyond proud of our little guy. Max is already counting the days until Parker can SCUBA dive (4.5 years and counting!).

Our second stop was a nearby reef with tons of fish. I had forgotten what SCUBA diving was like since it's been a few years, and this was the next best thing (notably because SCUBA while preggers is a big no-no).

The water here was quite a bit deeper than the sandbar (though still relatively shallow), and Parker was Max's buddy the whole time.

Back on the boat, the crew put up the sail for the ride home.

And Parker got a quick try behind the wheel!

Back at our hotel, we showered and looked at pictures from our snorkels, and watched the prettiest sunset from our room. 

For dinner that night, we headed back to The Cracked Conch where their outdoor bar area was finally open! (The bar area is actually a separate kitchen called Macabuca, but it was easier to just keep saying The Cracked Conch.)

Since the water was once again calm, the area was open for diving and we saw two groups come and go on night dives! Side note - while I've gone SCUBA diving with sharks and would totally do it again, I tried night snorkeling once and it was enough to tell me I will never do a night SCUBA dive. Or go night snorkeling again. Twelve kinds of scary, y'all! 

Parker was stoked to see mini cheeseburgers on the menu, while Max got the cracked conch again.

And I had my favorite dish of our entire vacation - linguini with fish, shrimp and Caribbean lobster. Oh my word, it was amaze. 

Day three in Grand Cayman was an exhausting one for us!

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