Disney Cruise, page 2
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Great Snorkeling on a Dime on the Disney Magic, page 2
By Tom Ryan

One of the largest financial hubs in the world, with tourism making up 75 percent of its gross domestic product, today Grand Cayman is filled with banks, jewelry stores, and souvenir shops. I’ve been to a lot of Caribbean islands, and nowhere have I found islanders to be as friendly as they are in Grand Cayman.

Sure, the locals congregate by the port, hocking their wares and services; but here, if and when you decline, they are still very polite and respectful. Take some time to explore George Town. It’s small, but a lot of fun!

While here, you may be tempted to book an excursion for Stingray City, and if you do –you won’t be sorry. There, hundreds of friendly stingrays swim among you, looking for free food handouts. This is a great trip, and really allows you to interact with wild animals with relatively little danger. The whole experience takes place on a sandbar, and most of the time, visitors can stand rather than float. If you’re a certified diver, consider booking a two-tank dive excursion to the famed Grand Cayman Wall.

That being said, paying top dollar for guided tours isn’t what this piece is about. You want to know where you can get some fantastic water time for free, right? Look no farther; Grand Cayman has just what you’re looking for! In 1944, a 220 foot, four-masted steel schooner called the Cali ran aground in 25 feet of water. Today, the wreck lies just off the rocky shore of the port of George Town, and only a few minutes’ walk from your cruise drop-off point. Story continues below photo


Photo above - The Disney Cruise Ship, The Magic

Upon arriving in Grand Cayman, and after your buffet breakfast at Topsider’s, you’ll take a short boat ride onto the Island. George Town is a shallow port, so all cruise ships anchor in deeper water, and guests must take a tender. Make sure to take all your snorkel gear with you, so you don’t have to re-board the ship before your water plunge. Once on land, explore some of the wonderful shops in the area, then head north on North Church Street, just a couple blocks above the tender drop off point. Next to an outdoor bar and restaurant you’ll find a small scuba store and diving school with a newly-built wooden dock behind it. Just one hundred feet off the dock lies the Cali wreck, identifiable by a buoy and the mass congregation of snorkel boats. The operators of the dive store are very friendly and will allow you to leave your clothes in their shop if you ask. You’ll most likely be told, “no worries!”

The wreck itself is in 15 to 30 feet of water, so you’ll be a somewhat distant observer to the marine life below. Here you will see large tropical fish of all varieties, including tarpon, barracuda, grouper, and maybe even a moray eel. The view of an old, mysterious shipwreck from above is exhilarating, and the Cali is an easily-accessible, inexpensive snorkel trip not to be missed.

Cozumel

True Story: once while on another popular cruise line (which will remain nameless), I booked an excursion for a drift snorkel along the coast of Cozumel. I boarded the snorkel boat, and it proceeded to take us just a few hundred feet from the cruise ship, where it dropped us off in about ten feet of water and 20 yards off the coast of a popular Cozumel beach. As I floated amongst the fishes, one word kept repeating over and over again in my head – “sucker.” If memory serves, it cost around $50 to do something that, had I done a little research, I could have done for free. Se la vie.

Continue to page 3 of Disney Cruise - Castaway Cay, your whole snorkeling life has led to this moment

 
 
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