THE TURTLE SANCTUARY

Another overdue Grand Cayman post. As previously mentioned there isn’t a lot to do on Grand Cayman, but there are a few places to see including the Turtle Farm.

We took the “full tour” which includes access to all parts of the sanctuary/farm and the ability to swim in their interactive pool – which is a small winding man-made lake with a few turtles and fish in it. I will admit that after touring the place we were about to leave disappointed because we didn’t really understand it. That is when we bumped into the head keeper who asked us if we had questions. We had a lot – and he was very open to answering and giving us greater insight into why the farm exists.

He started to explain their conservation focus, how they are hand raising sea turtles, marking and tracking them and freeing thousands back into the wild (31,000 to date). They are doing some fantastic conservation and research work, which made the price worthwhile. In fact, the government is running it at a loss to keep up the work – the tourism angle simply offsets some costs and reduces the loss.

The turtles themselves are beautiful creatures. The first exhibit to greet you is the mature turtle pond. This picture does not provide scale, but these are HUGE sea turtles. They must be 3 feet long and there are a lot of them. In speaking with the keeper, their ages range and it is difficult for them to know exactly how old some are, but a few are in their 70’s.

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Throughout the facility they have holding tanks for turtles at different sizes. At this set of tanks you are allowed to pick the turtles up (if you can catch them, they are very fast).

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All over the farm you will find different wildlife running around or in the aviary, relaxing.

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And of course, more than a few iguanas.

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In the end, a worthwhile trip if you find someone to talk to.

TO KISS A STINGRAY

 

I have not been posting trip adventures as the winter this year was filled with beaches and water football. Not a lot of adventure. For March break we headed down to Grand Cayman for a break and much of the same, beach, swimming, great food and water sports.

The island does not have a lot to do, beyond diving and Stingray city. It was windy so the water was a little bit cloudy, but a fascinating experience. You jump in the water and stingrays come swimming from every direction, acclimatized to boats ready to dole out raw fish for them. They are beautiful animals, gliding through the water and gently nudging into you.

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We went with Dexter’s tours and I was happy to see that the different boat captains work together to care for the stingrays. While we were there another captain came over to Dexter and asked him to help him with one of the stingrays who had a hook in its mouth.

As I mentioned, not a lot to do in Grand Cayman, but this is well worth it.

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