Our next stop is Grand Cayman. We are going to go on an Atlantas Submarine here and Ian is very excited. He keeps making a sonar ping noise and shouting "fire 1, fire 2". He's remembering all the old films about submarines!
Our first impression of Grand Cayman is very good. A fairly flat island, colourful houses and gorgeous white beaches. It has a lot of high end designer shops selling duty free goods but still expensive. We spend a couple of hours looking around the town before walking to the pier for our trip,
We board a small ferry that takes us out to the submarine. This takes around 15 minutes, as we get to the area marked by buoys, the dramatic white submarine suddenly surfaces in the azure sea. The previous passengers disembark and then we clamber in. We climb down around 12 steep steps. Inside there are two rows of seats facing outwards each with a port hole. Once everyone is in the hatches are closed and the vessel made airtight. On the wall of the sub there is an illuminated display showing the depth below sea level, at present 2ft. We start to descend, a member of crew shouting
" Dive, dive, dive"! The display shows us going down 60-70ft. We travel along a coral ridge covered in various marine plants, sea anemones and sea cucumbers. Around them are swimming numerous fish,darting through the vegetation are flashes of iridescent blue,white,black and yellow as hundreds of fish look for food. We are lucky to see a turtle and some stingrays. There is also some lion fish, unusual colourful fish that appear to have feathers but is also dangerous because the 'feathers' hold spines that are highly venomous.
Our guide asks us if we like the islands white beaches and do we know what the white sand is made from. He receives various answers including from the coral. He points out a large green/blue fish and tells us it is a parrot fish. These fish have sharp teeth that they use to eat algae growing on the coral along with bits of coral. They also eat the sponges that grow on the coral and prevent them from covering the reef. This goes all through their digestive system and they excrete the hard parts they have consumed as white sand. So the lovely white sands of the Caribbean are Parrot fish poo! The feel of the white sand through your toes is not so quite appealing!
We continue to descend and reach 105 ft below sea level. It's like being inside a huge aquarium. After 40 minutes we surface and travel back to shore. We decide to return to the ship and just as we are about to go on board there is a flash of white light, a loud bang and the heavens open. We manage to get back without getting wet and a thunderstorm of biblical proportions starts. The rains streams down, causing flooding on some of the upper decks and cascades down the lift shafts. The lifts are put out of service and the clean up operation begins. Some people are worried but as a member of staff says if the water is coming from above we are ok. It's when if appears from below we need to worry!
Eventually about half the lifts are working although the ones that are exclusively for the grill passengers (equivalent to first class) on the top floor(11) are told these are still out. They will have to get the same lift as us to floor 10. I speculate that the Commodore has probably arranged for crew to carry them up the last flight!
That evening is party night and the group Walk like a Man( a Frankie Valle. tribute band ) perform. We go along and dance ( yes even Ian) until the small hours. A great evening..