Showing posts with label Cayman Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cayman Islands. Show all posts

August 4, 2014

Farming For Sea Turtles

The Cayman Islands are kind of like Chick-fil-A.  Everything is closed on Sunday.  However, one of the few attractions up and operating is the Cayman Turtle Farm.

Impatiently waiting for the shuttle to arrive

The farm is part conservation, part water park, and part...umm...farm.  Turtle is a traditional dish in the Caymans, and it's gotta come from somewhere.  Although the farm does not directly serve or make it available for sale to tourists, restaurants on the island certainly do.

That bit of knowledge aside, it was a rather fun way to spend an afternoon.  We were able to feed some giant "breeding" turtles that were the size of Volkswagen Beetles...




View some medium sized turtles...my guess is these are the "eaters" if you know what I mean...


As well as handle some of the small turtles.  You could get inside these knee deep tanks if you wished...but we just stayed on the outside.  Much like her phobia of handling hooked fish, Lilly didn't want to pick up the turtles...but it didn't stop K.C. or I.  

(By the way, these suckers swim fast...they'd be a blast on a 3-weight.  That was a joke by the way, well, sort of).


Catch...

...and Release!

In addition to the turtles, there was a large saltwater lagoon where you were able don snorkel equipment and swim around and explore.  There were small fish and turtles in the water, so lots to see.  We didn't do this, but it looked like it was a neat experience.


There were other non-turtle exhibits as well.  A small nature trail with local plants in the rear of the park, an aviary with various island birds, and a nice sized aquarium tank with indigenous fish.




Notice the resting nurse shark to the right of Lilly


We closed out the afternoon cooling off in the freshwater pool adjacent to the fish aquarium.  There was a water slide, and Lilly went down it...oh, about 1,000 times.

In all, a neat little afternoon activity.  Well worth doing...even if it isn't on Sunday.

August 3, 2014

An Attempt At DIY Flats Fly Fishing

I love family vacations.  There's nothing better than getting away and spending time with my girls.  As you might suspect, we tend to do things that (hopefully) will be enjoyable for all...and for Lilly, that usually means swimming.  Ocean, pool, it doesn't matter.  The kid loves the water.


Now, while family vacations are pretty much packed full of things to do, I usually get a morning to sneak away and get a line wet.  This year's vacation was no different, as I toted my rod and reel up to Barker's National Park in the hopes of finding a DIY bonefish.


Barker's is pretty remote to say the least.  No buildings, no "facilities," no nothing.  Barely any roads at all to get you to the various beach pull-ins, and those that are there are a mix of packed sand and stones and riddled with pot holes.  In retrospect, I'm not really sure how the tiny rental Kia successfully ran the gauntlet. 


Anyway, I arrived fairly early.  Maybe not at sunrise, but not that long afterward.  It was my understanding that the best shot at bonefish at Barker's would be in the early hours.


Luckily, after a half hour wading out into the turtle grass flats, I did see some tailing bonefish.  It was my first time seeing them in person.  I actually had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't seeing things.  Low tide was about an hour before I arrived and they were extremely shallow.  The water was hardly calf deep.  

A not very good picture of a tailing bonefish, a bit to the left of dead center

I wish I could say I had an epic day of catching bones.  I didn't.  I spooked a few on my first nerve-ridden casts and then just couldn't get them to take my flies afterwards.  I can't complain though, I waded the flats for about an hour and a half intermittently taking my shots until things really quieted down and pretty much went dead.

Another bad picture of a ray

Otherwise, I saw a ton of rays, a few barracuda (which I wasn't going to cast to, didn't want to lose my flies), and other assorted small fish.  I happened to avoid a skunking by catching a bluestriped grunt, which made me happy.  Yeah, it's kind of the equivalent of a saltwater bluegill, but something is better than nothing.  It's always an adrenaline rush when your line goes tight, even if you don't really need to crank down your drag to slow it down. 


Living in Florida, trips to the Cayman Islands really aren't that far or exotic as it may sound.  Flights regularly go out of Tampa & Miami (even though the island itself is expensive), so I figure if/when next time I head back, I'll look into getting a guide.  I always like to at least try the DIY route, as I really enjoy the challenge of scouting a new area myself, even though I know the odds of getting into fish would be much better with someone showing me the ropes.

In closing, here are some other pictures...