After all the group participation on the Atlantis Submarine and the pirated Jolly Rogers, I found there was more than one way to commune within the Cayman's seaside paradise. My girlfriend and I looked for more romantic setting and took the Bubble Sub cruise for two and explored the Cayman's amazing reefs.
Excursions in the Bubble Sub are a totally different experience than Atlantis. While the Atlantis is similar to floating through an aquatic museum with a guide, the journey in the Bubble Sub is akin to going into the office one day and your best friend telling you he's the heir to fortune in the Ivory coast… priceless.
The surreal experience of placing the bodies of me and my love in a 10ft clear bubble, with a small yellow motor on the back, was better than any vision I grew up with watching Johnny Quest. Once submerged, our guide donned in full scuba gear, quietly piloted the sub from behind. After I became comfortable in the sub, the driving was turned over to me, courtesy of a joystick control in the cockpit. At this stage the world below belonged only to us.
Being five feet way from the coral reef and watching fish swim up is quite an eye opening experience. The sunlight dances around while a rainbow of aquatic life displays itself. As if that's not enough, we were lucky enough to see the newest member of the Cayman Island underwater community, the new three-foot baby shark. Watching him scurry away in fear during our undersea adventure, I never imagined he could harm another creature.
For those still craving even more depth, The Westin arranges a great dive package for those ready for the ultimate experience. For the rest of us, Red Sail offers daily tours to Stingray City. Once transported away from the island out to a large sandbar, I discovered Stingray City is aptly named. Once I grabbed my snorkeling gear, I found myself surrounded by stingrays!
This is of course as long as I took a handful of fish and squid to feed the sea born pups. Able to smell the food in the water, these gentle creatures with a wingspan ranging from three to six feet, surely seemed like my best friends. While the Stingrays swarmed around me, they gently suckled the food from my hands. It’s as if I were a baby, and they were protecting my fragile skin.
Their love is fickle however, and when the food disappears so do they. Constantly encountering the purr of the boat's engine, the gentle stingrays treat the sound as a beckoning to mealtime, and everyone knows the part they play in the performance.
You pet them, they look cute batting their big four-inch eyes, and they get fed. Simple. After feeding them I recommend stopping to simply observe them. Snorkeling in the underwater tranquility with this marine brethren, I was reminded why I deserved this vacation.
Written by Neftalie Williams
Photography by Charlie "Bubba" Roberts