Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ultimate Cruise Day 4 ...

Scrapmap's Ultimate Scrapbook Cruise's fourth day was Jan. 14 and we docked in Grand Cayman around 6:30 a.m. I know this because, our cabon being as aft as aft can be and only as high as Deck 2, our room vibrated and shook with the noise of engines working, shaking so much that stuff fell off the counters and table tops. This turned out to be a trend any time we arrived in or left a port (usually early in the morning or in the afternoon, when I was trying to catch a nap before dinner or classes!). Needless to say, midway through the cruise, I was seriously needing to catch up on some sleep. But today wasn't going to be it!

Because Georgetown, Grand Cayman (the largest of the three Cayman Islands) did not have a deep sea port, we took tenders, or smaller passenger boats (think floating open-air busses), in to port.

Michelle and I procrastinated in getting excursion ickets from Carnival, so everything we wanted to do was sold out. But that turned out to be OK. We found a great tour guide, Christine, a native of Grand Cayman who was easily able to give a history of the island because she has lived it. Basically, Grand Cayman is a British colony and voted to stay that way a few decades ago. They have enjoyed prosperity from the banking industry and tourism. Well, until Hurricane Ivan came to call four years ago, when the island was nearly wiped off the face of the map, with roofs to large hotels tossed in to the main streets of the island and homes destroyed. But now, with the exception of a few buildings not yet open, Grand Cayman is back to being a bustling success story, yet with a rustic appeal.

Grand Cayman doesn't pay any sales or income tax. Apparently King George revoked taxing the people after they risked their lives to save the lives of Englishmen whose ships wrecked off the Granbd Cayman coast. Above is the Governor's home. The governor is appointed by the Queen of England.

This is one of a handful of remaining original homes built before Grand Cayman became prosperous.

Hell is on Earth and it can be found on Grand Cayman. This is actually a rock formation that got its name when a British Prime Minister toured the island and made a comment about this surely being hell. These rocks are not volcanic, but are actually formed by coral. The only other thing here are three tiny gift shops and a post office. Yes, I did mail my obligatory postcard from Hell home.

One of my favorite stops was the turtle farm. While I cannot stomach the idea of eating turtle, I understand that it is a Grand Cayman tradition. But not all of these sea turtles are raised for slaughter. Some of them will be released in to the wild to increase the endangered sea turtle population. It is illeagal in most waters to hunt them now. But these turtles were fun to watch and feed. The farm had them broken out into different concrete tanks, depending on their age and size.

We got to carefully hold some of the younger turtles. The parents were the size of a round coffee table. The one I am holding is only about a year old.

Michelle and I made it back to the ship in time for another late lunch aboard. Then we toured the decks a bit since, with our full schedule, we had not yet had a chance to take a look of the forward decks.

That afternoon, before supper, all of the scrappers stopped by the ScrapMap headquarters to vote for their favorite postcard contest entry. There were 45 entries (nearly half of the scrappers entered!). There were so many great entries! Table centers, layouts, mini books, a mobile and so much more! Mine was there, of course, a 4 x 4 paper and plastic box reminiscent of a "Crazy 8 Ball." When I was in grade school, I loved creating 3D paper shapes. The 4 x 4 plastic sheets Grafix donated in the goodie bag inspired me to go with my inner child and create a paper die inside a box. Here is a close up:

And of course, no evening is complete without a towel animal:

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, here we come!

Oops! Forgot this photo - I don't know how! Tablemates Jen and Janice from Beach Scrapbooks in Virginia, roommate Michelle and I had a little fun with our "casual portrait."