Monday, 25 April 2011

Sunburnt Knees

I have sunburnt knees, burnt below the line of my shorts as they hung over the side of the yacht as we tacked our way along Seven Mile Beach, out to sea, in through the reef to the sandbank and then home through the sheltered waters enclosed by the reef to the mooring. What a day out, fantastic!

Jo asked if I wanted to join them returning the yacht to it's mooring after they had raced her on Friday and left her off Seven Mile Beach. Bruce and his dad and son Alex who is 8 welcomed us on board. Jo is a seasoned sailor and I just kept out of the way where possible as ropes were pulled and sails were hoisted. When we tacked, we dashed over to the other side as the sail swung and the yacht turned, zig zagging to our destination. I got a little wet at times, legs hanging over the side, as we hit the choppy swells. There was good wind and plenty of swell so the trip was exciting.

It was great to see the Island from out a bit further. It gave me a good perspective on where I was and how it all fitted together. We sailed into the reef through the channel and Bruce carefully steered us over to the sandbar, a treat for the tourists on board. Nicholas, a Canadian on holiday from Montreal and his friend who lives here were the first in the water when we stopped. The treat was swimming with stingrays, enormous stingrays and small stingrays in fact whole families of stingrays who come to be fed by the tourist operators, attracted by squid, so tourists can swim with them.

I watched others touch them but I must confess that I had a few moments of panic as they made a bee line for me. I may have squealed a little, I certainly lifted my feet to the surface so they could swim past. It was amazing to see them so up close and personal and Alex kindly loaned me his mask so I could see the rays underwater. This made me less afraid for some reason and less disconcerted when they rubbed up against my legs. I thought about the ones in the Atlantis Aquarium, these stingrays certainly have a better life. Fed and petted by tourists.

Stingray city is a huge tourist attraction. I'm not sure about some of the images in the link, it seems immoral to lift these magnificent creatures from their home for a snapshot. Underwater they are graceful, gliding along the sandbank, flying. We spent enough time there to have a swim and to experience the stingrays, very special and very generous of Bruce as to travel there risked running aground on the coral heads and sand just below the draft of the yacht.

After mooring, Jo drove us home and I got to see the different areas of the island. I had seen some houses to rent on the internet, now I was seeing the big picture and the pitfalls and pleasures of various places. Jo has been here 8 years so knows the island well. There are some lovely apartment blocks, some with a beach, some with a pool too. Her advice is to rent on the second floor or higher in some areas as they are prone to flooding in the rainy season and when there are hurricanes. Reassuring.

So my second day on the island has been very eventful. I just may go to the bar and have a beer by the pool while the sun sets, sorry but does that sound like a wonderful idea or what. It would be better if I had my friends here to join me, maybe this story will inspire them. Oh and Jo is looking for crew for her yacht, think I might just volunteer although I'd need some work on my upper body to do the winding. 


TM said...

The pics of the Caymans are SO beautiful! Sounds like the place to be! Enjoy!

Jule's Short Story said...

Thanks for your comment TM. Yes, enjoying it so far although it's a bit stressful finding places to live and buying a car. I've got good people helping me so I'm lucky!