Sunday, May 31, 2015

{Vacation Journal} Swimming With Dolphins, Wading with theTurtles

Since this experience has been a hope and dream of Euly's for a very long time, I'll let her narrate this day:
Swimming with the dolphins
(Reluctantly) by Euly
I swam with dolphins. It was really fun. They make weird noises and feel weird.  Like a wet hot dog.
We went to this place...
Met these people...

I was four when I was first interested in dolphins, almost ten years ago.
I like the ocean. 
They are mammals of the sea.

I saw dolphins before at aquariums we visited over the years.
Saw one with a friend of my dad's in the ocean years ago. At Sea World where they coordinated dancing with gymnast swimmers and at the Texas aquarium I was able to visit trainers after a show.

When I knew we were go to the Caymans I asked if there was a place to swim with dolphins. 

I want to work with dolphins when I grow up, possibly as a trainer.

When we arrived, they told us what to do, then they took photos to remember moment.

Then we went to a big ocean water pool with two dolphins
Lucky and Luna
Luna is 34 and lucky is 2 1/2.
Luna bigger more scratched up dull teeth. Lucky was more excited and hyper than Luna who was laid back.

Initially trainers have us meet the dolphins.
Then the trainers had Ceci swim out for a ride back with dolphins.
She first didn't understand she was to put hands on each dolphin's fin to ride back, and rode back with one. The trainers had her another try and she rode it.

The whole experience wasn't scary, just weird.
Echolocation to help steer them around your body to push through the water. So they found a small point on my foot to push me along through the water.

We also had the trainers come talk to us at the hotel and we discussed all aspects of dolphin behavior. Swimming with the dolphins was one of my favorite of the trip, the whole trip was great.

Wading with the Turtles
When Columbus discovered the Islands now called the Cayman Islands, he named the bay Tortuga Bay in honor of all the turtle life on the island.

One day the girls had ridden bikes to the end of the island, but didn't want to spend the money to go to the turtle farm. Since its across the street from the dolphin park, I treated them to a visit.
Turtles have been Molly's all time favorite animal, but all four have a special place in the hearts for these animals.
Turtles were the theme of the week. Howard, the hotel doorman, gave us each toy turtles practically every time he saw us. There were turtles in courtyard of hotel the kids got to feed.
We were almost the only visitors at the turtle farm when we visited. An employee, Andrew, encouraged the girls to pet, feed, then swim with the baby turtles. When the turtles seem anxious, he taught them to pet under their chins to calm them. If they were happy they swam backwards or put their fins behind their backs, er .. shells. 
As you can see, a delightful experience.

{Vacation Journal} Kids' Activities

The Marriott resort was welcoming to children, the whole island was really. People were friendly, you feel safe traveling around town or walking late nights on the beach. It truly is a wonderful place.
The weather was perfect, a constant temperature in the mid 80's. 
Ceci and Lilly were able to participate in many of the kids activities offered:
Shrinky dinks
Foot prints in sand
Marshmallow s'mores
Treasure hunting
Hair braiding
Temp tattoos 
Dolphins class
The hotel staff greeted them by name everywhere during the week. They were delighted and Lilly didn't want to come home at then end.

Debby and Katherine were great! The kids thought they lived at the hotel just there to play and provide activities for them. They were patient and excited about every activity. Definitely a highlight to our trip!

Making footprints in the sand to take home.

Making Big Bubble on the beach

Decorating treasure chest

Pirate guiding them to the "X" and buried treasure they dug up!


S'more at the beach, a special memory

Hanging out in the Kids Club

Message in a Bottle

Saturday, May 30, 2015

{Vacation Journal} Relax Refresh Renew

My husband travels a lot and always has over and through the years that we've had children. Sometimes I feel I parent alone, other times he has to parent via telephone, but all that travel adds the consoling benefit of providing points: airline and hotel.

When we have enough banked, we get together as a family and enjoy every moment melting away the sacrifice of times apart.

This trip, Craig picked the Cayman Islands to relax and renew our family bonds for the celebration of Max's college graduation. Maybe our last family trip of all eight of us together ..? So we wanted it to include things we love together as a family- water and water sports surrounded in beauty.
Some of us scuba dived, snorkeled, kayaked, rode wake boards and jet skis, biked to Hell, Turtle Farm and around Georgetown, swam in ocean and pool, swam with dolphins and turtles, shopped, relaxed, laughed, all together! 

Warning- family vacation photo overload favorites from the trip:- with more posts to come.

We stayed at the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort on Seven Mile Beach. It is a perfect place for a family vacation, safe,clean, friendly, beautiful, with so many things to do.
It is expensive. And there is an exchange rate from the Cayman dollar to US of rate of 1.22.

The staff is excellent. We were treated so well by the doormen, the maids, the servers and especially the "teachers" who run the children's program.
My older girls rode the resort's bike up to the Turtle Farm, over twelve mile round trip.
Craig and I walked for miles after a late dinner in Georgetown.
We rode bikes to snorkeling sites, all without any negative incidents, just the learning curve of cars driving on the wrong side of the road.

Here we are, by the Grace of God, we are all Relaxed, Refreshed and Renewed!