Cayman In The Time Of Covid – Part 9

Since we had a delayed start with getting around to diving, we’re trying to make up for lost time -but not having much luck.   We seem to be hampered by weather, limited dive shop hours or life in general.  The other day we went to Sunset House (a 20 minute drive away), but there was nowhere to park. We think they had a local event at the restaurant there.  Leaving there, we decided to try Macabuca (about 3 miles from the condo).  When we arrived at Macabuca, the dive shop’s window was closed with a “Gone Diving -Be back in 45 minutes” note.  The note didn’t mention what time they actually left, so we had no idea if we should sit and wait or not.  We called it a day.

The next day, we went to Sunset House to try again.  Success! -but with a small setback.  As I was just about done setting up my tank, I bumped it and it flipped off the concrete wall it had been sitting on and landed basically at the spot where the regulator attaches to the tank’s air valve.  There are 4 hoses on the regulator.  Two are your air and a spare.  The third is for your dive computer/pressure gage (so you know how much air you have) and the 4th hose, which is the one that got broken, attaches to the BC.  The BC is the “life vest” (to simplify) that divers wear.  The hose that broke allows air from the tank to be used to inflate the BC when needed.  Underwater, you might add a bit of air to level out your buoyancy (to be in that sweet spot at the depth you want to be: suspended perfectly between involuntarily floating up to the surface or dropping down to the bottom).  After a dive, you might inflate the vest if you’re on the surface swimming to the ladder.

Looking back toward the dive shack from the area where we were getting ready.

At first we were thinking -there goes the dive.  But, duh!, they do rent dive gear at the dive shacks.  Mike went to rent a regulator for me, but the guy there (super nice) just put a temporary hose on mine saying I’d probably be more comfortable with my own gear.  He was right.  Without further delay we got our gear ready and hit the water.  (On the way home and $60 later, the local dive attached a new BC hose to my regulator).

The first thing we always do at Sunset House is find the mermaid.  The mermaid’s official name is Amphitrite, Siren of Sunset House.  She is found 50 feet below the surface and was placed there in 2000. She is 9 feet tall.  It probably isn’t polite to talk about a mermaid’s weight -but she tips the scales at 600 lbs (but has not yet been featured on TV’s My 600 Pound Life). We’ve seen lots of changes in her over the years as underwater life has found a home on her, especially her hair.  Here is the picture I took on this dive.


The first picture was taken in 2013.  The second one is from this dive.  You can see the changes in her hair.

We always take pictures of each other next to the mermaid.  Our pictures from this dive are on the video below.  Mike had the video camera this time.  After I took his picture, I handed him the still camera to take one of me.  While he was setting up to do that, he didn’t turn off the video camera; he just let it dangle on his wrist.  He accidentally caught upside-down video of me, which I thought was funny and so I included it in the video.

This video is about 1 minute long.  We always see interesting things, but we also always want to see things that make the dive special -like turtles or rays- but this time, the main highlight was the mermaid…and evidently me since I was in most of the shots.

Things can appear very blue down below and that is because water absorbs red, orange and yellow wavelengths much easier than it does blue.  The Go Pros have a red filter over the lenses to balance the color.  The camera I was using does not.  That is why the still pictures appear so much bluer than the video.  To the eye – what we see when we’re diving is somewhere between the two, depending on how deep we go.  For example, I saw a very bright orange coral, but the camera saw a muddy brown-ish coral.  The Go Pro would have seen more orange.

A bit blurry -but we do see fish down there.

Sunset House has a replica of Amphitrite next to the pool so that non-divers can see her too.

On Sunday, it was time to ride our bikes to breakfast again.  This time at Governor’s Harbor, the chickens were on patrol.

We first noticed two baby chicks criss-crossing the sand looking for food.  They went right under Mike’s feet.  



Then the parents showed up.  Evidently it takes a village because there were quite a few chickens/roosters out enjoying the view and looking for breakfast.


There are a LOT of chickens on the loose on Grand Cayman.  The story goes that one hurricane or another wrecked all the chicken coops on the island and once they were free…they stayed free…and reproduced. We have always wondered why people don’t try to trap them for food or to keep for the eggs.  They are everywhere.  One famous picture shows chickens hanging out around the downtown KFC restaurant!  There’s even a Twitter account called:  The Real Chickens of Cayman Island. It does seem like there aren’t as many this year as we’ve seen in the past.  Maybe the COVID shut down made them look like a good option for putting food on the table?

In 2005, fifteen iguana statues were commissioned and given to local artists to paint.  They were then set in various places around the island.  In 2014, my friend Jo and I tried to find them all.  We found 12. This is the one at Governor’s Beach.  I was sad to see the tail missing and its general sad condition.  I hope those in charge decide to refurbish the iguanas because I do think they are something unique to the island.  When I took this picture, Mike said – When you talked about the iguanas and how on the golf course I wouldn’t go after balls that landed near the big ones?  This is how big…or even bigger the big ones were! Yikes!

A few more plants from around the complex:

These are sharp and they sting if you touch them!

Bougainvillea.  This is one of my favorites and comes in a variety of colors, but I love the pink the best.  People use them as hedges or let them grow like vines (but they have thicker trunks).  Some in the complex are over 2 stories tall.

This is a small fan palm (actually 2 if you look close).  We have a really big one on the property, but there’s so much other growth around it I can’t get a good picture of that one. As it grows, each frond remains separate like ribs on a fan (hence the name, I’m sure) and it only grows up and side to side -it is quite flat front to back.

We’re officially one week away from leaving now.  There’s still things to do and places to go before we leave, so it will be a busy week.





Categories: Cayman 2021 - Part 9, Cayman In The Time Of Covid

1 reply

  1. Love the video. Scuba diving looks like so much fun. Though scary.
    The mermaid is beautiful. Love that it looks like her hair is growing..
    I can certainly see why you love it there.

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