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Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 521 - Grand Cayman

Today was quite possibly the best dive day I’ve ever had. It was certainly the best dive I’ve done in the Caribbean this year! The dive was with Don Foster’s Dive Company. I went with Casey, the Videographer from the ship. It was her first dive since certification, so she was pretty pumped!

I was nervous, as I seem to get horrible headaches after each dive, which is VERY frustrating. Today was no exception on that note! The diving, however, was phenomenal. We saw 4 turtles & 6 barracuda on the first dive. There were tons of fish everywhere, great visibility & the coral was very much alive.

The second dive was even more incredible. It was called Devil’s Grotto & had these beautiful swim-throughs. The coral rose up, nearly meeting the surface. The formations created nooks & crannies, bridges & gaps – some wide & some narrow. We swam through several of them & I was quite nervous, as they were small in places. My tank actually bumped a few times as I went through! It was eerie & beautiful at the same time to see the way the light filtered through & the bubbles rose up. Of course, the large fish just chilling out, staring me down, didn’t make things any less eerie! They were surrounded or followed by a school of smaller fish. We also saw a HUGE turtle! I’ve never seen one so big! He was just chillin’ out. Unfortunately my ears acted up on the 3rd swim through & for the last half of the second dive I had an expensive snorkel. I just could NOT descend deeper than 14’. It was so painful! I’ve never experienced such horrific pain! It was brutal! Thank goodness there was still plenty to see near the surface!

After the dive I headed back to the ship to meet Jaco. The dive had run a little later than planned, so I was hurrying to get back. When I did, I found a note from Jaco. He’d left the ship half an hour ago. Bummer. We were supposed to meet Lindsay, Lawrence’s daughter, & go to the beach & Butterfly Farm. I phoned Lindsay & made plans to meet her in half an hour. I hopped on the tender & was at our meeting place 20 minutes early. I waited & wandered around the area to pass the time. I’d never met Lindsay before, but I had seen photos of her, so I had an idea of what she looked like.

While I was waiting, I noticed some local shop staff standing on the sidewalk taking photos with their phones looking down the street. I finally got up to go & see what the commotion was all about. When I got there, there were 2 police cars turning the corner. I figured someone had an accident & returned to my waiting spot. Not two minutes later, I noticed a commotion coming towards me. I looked a little harder & amongst the buzz of people, I spotted a white-haired fellow who looked a lot like Bill Clinton. Wait! It is BILL CLINTON! No way! I started chuckling to myself & dug my camera out of my bag. It was still in the underwater housing from the dive – a bit bulky, but I didn’t have time to rinse & dry it! So I hoist it up & snap a paparazzi photo of Bill. I notice people shaking his hand, so away I go. I thrust my hand out to shake his & give him a big grin. I said, ‘Hello! Nice to meet you!’ He said, ‘Hi there. Nice to meet you.’ And then I said the most hillbilly thing I could have possibly come up with. ‘Well. Fancy meetin’ you here!’ And away Bill & his plain-clothed bodyguards went, followed by a buzz of tourists & fans.

About 1 minute later, I spot Lindsay. I call out her name & we introduce ourselves. I tell her that I just saw Bill Clinton & she’s flabbergasted. She tells me that she’s lived in the Caymans for 2 years & she’s never met anyone famous! We march around the corner to try & find Bill, but he’s long gone. Oh well. We tried.

We returned to our meeting point, she had her parking pass validated & we went to her car. Neither one of us was very decisional, so we just got in the car & started driving. Once we were on our way, driving down the road parallel to 7 Mile Beach, I noticed that we were following a cop car. Wait! Another cop car! And 2 black SUV’s in between! We were following Bill Clinton! Next thing we knew he was pulling into the Ritz-Carlton. So, I got my camera out again – still in the housing – and we pulled over on the side of the road & waited for Bill to get out. The bodyguards were there again & sure enough, there was Bill! I no sooner snapped my photo when another police car behind us honked the horn & we knew we had to boogie! Bye bye Bill!

Lindsay & I went to her place & had lunch at the outdoor restaurant on the complex where she lives. It was a great meal & great surroundings – wet bar, 2 pools, on the ocean – and the company was great! Lindsay & I enjoyed a wonderful visit getting to know each other.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ship. She whisked me back to the terminal & we said goodbye. I crossed the street & no sooner turned around & there was Jaco! He’d been to the beach & walked most of the way back. (He was at 7 Mile Beach, remember!) I told him of my excitement for the day & he was disappointed that he’d missed Lindsay & Bill!

We were slightly delayed on the tender heading back to the ship. It was the last one & they didn’t have the right passenger count. There was one passenger missing. I think they finally realized that I was a passenger & not a crew member!

Jaco headed straight to clinic & I went to help my friends at the Shorex desk. They were just finishing up for the day & didn’t have any work for me to do, so it was a quick visit.

Becky found out she was going to be sent to another ship on the same day as Jaco & I were leaving, so she asked me to go for a drink with her at one of the passenger bars. We had a lovely visit & I’m going to miss her, even though I would have been leaving the ship anyway! I know there are many others on the ship that will also miss her!

Since she’s leaving in less than a week, I thought we ought to give her the birthday gift we bought for her sooner rather than later, as it’s a spa voucher for this ship! Her birthday is 2 days before she leaves the ship. I asked Jaco to call her into the Medical Centre after our drink, as the other 2 Nurses were also there. She was tickled pink!

What a day! Enjoy my crummy, but authentic photos of Bill! And Lindsay!

 I always loved these random signs pointing towards home... or elsewhere!

 Inspiring plaque at the bottom of the mooring line
 Lion Fish - Not native, no predators & very poisonous!


 Funky & friendly little fish

 Yes, It's really Bill Clinton
Just before I shook his hand
Just after I shook his hand

 Following Bill's convoy! (by accident! I'm no stalker!)

 Pulled over for a quick Paparazzi style photo before we were honked out of place! 
My partner in crime & fellow stalker/paparazzi/getaway driver - Lindsay. Oh & lunch date too! :o)


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