Saturday, 1 August 2015

Day Three: Grand Cayman and Norovirus

Raring to go and desperate to put my feet on firm ground, I was a happy girl when I finally spotted some land from my balcony window.   After a full 24 hours sailing, we’d made it to Grand Cayman.  The Carnival Victory is way too big to actually dock there, so a number of tenders were sent over to pick up the passengers and ferry them to the island.   

We arrived at roughly the same time as another 6 liners, all looking like they’d been abandoned in the middle of the water.   I spotted a Disney cruise ship parked next to us and made it my goal for the day to avoid every one of its passengers.   They were voluntarily in a boat with Mickey Mouse ears.   It’s doubtful we’d have had anything in common.    I grabbed a place on the tender and gently sailed across to Georgetown. 

Aaaaahh....
I got my toes in the water...ass in the sand (thanks Zac Brown)
The locals are aware of the timings of the ship arrivals.  And, if they’re not, they must wonder where the hell all the new people come from.   There was a lot of action and offers to take passengers to Seven Mile Beach and various other tours.   I made my first port of call the Hard Rock CafĂ© because, well...it has beer.   In my defence, it was really hot outside.   Not buying it?  Fair enough.

I once visited HRC in Nashville and was charged the equivalent of £15 for two beers, so I knew it would be a little pricey.   It cost me almost double that and I nearly fell off my seat.   It wasn’t even particularly good.  The only consolation is that I got to keep my glass as a ‘souvenir’.  This would only really a bonus if I could resell it for £30.   I didn't really have space for it and don’t like carrying glass in my case, but I was taking it home regardless.  And, boy would I be using it again.  Wine, beer, coffee, you name it: I’ll be drinking everything out of it for the rest of my natural life. 

After managing to leave HRC without selling off any of my vital organs, I hit up a minibus tour to take me around.  One of the main attractions on Grand Cayman is swimming with stingrays.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with a single good reason for trying it.  So I didn’t.   My tour guide was a fantastic local lady, who had the most beautiful accent and wonderful knowledge of her home.   She flew me around some of the local sights and then informed me she’d take me to Hell.   That sounded better than that whole stingray swimming idea anyway.

Hell is an area of the island famous for its rock formation and gets its name from the way that it looks.  It was certainly hotter than Hell and I spotted a few local lizards baking in the heat.   I say they were local, but for all I know they might have come off that Disney ship, I just don’t know.  Anyway, it's quite a fascinating place and well worth going to have a wander around.  

After surviving Hell, we shuttled on over to the Tortuga Rum Factory, the Sea Turtle Farm, and the fabulous Seven Mile Beach.   The bus journey gave me a great perspective of the island and how beautiful it is.  Aside from the Turtle Farm, where you look at the lovely  swimmers that are about to be mushed and made into soup, it was a great experience.
    
Everywhere was so colourful.   You don't get these in Scotland... 
I want one.
On the way back to the ship, I caught a ride with other passengers and managed to sit next to a woman and her daughter from the Disney ship.  I almost made it, people!  I spent the next 15 minutes listening to how odd it was that people on the island drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road (not to me, that’s how I always do it), and could I see the ‘dolphins’ in the bay?   Nope, all I could see was a small group of teeny tiny kayakers moving around on top of the water.   One of the other passengers told her this, but she insisted they were definitely dolphins.   I had no idea dolphins were so good with oars.   Or wore life jackets.  You learn something new every day.   

By the time I got back to my cabin, I was feeling a little under the weather.   My stomach had knotted and I felt a bit queasy.    An hour after I got back, I ended up being violently sick.  It was not a pretty sight. The only saving grace was that we were still docked. This was only a bonus until 4pm when we set sail and the sheer movement of the captain doing some sort of bizarre 3-point turn was more than my stomach could take.

I set up shop in the bathroom and remained there for the rest of the evening.  And then I just slept there because I couldn’t make it a few metres to my bed without being sick again.      

I put the TV on later that night, so that me and my stomach flu had some company, and managed to catch a news story about a ship docking in Alabama because 127 of their passengers had contracted Norovirus.  Apparently, it’s really common on cruises.   I then realised my TV had a full channel dedicated to the illness and informed me that it can last anywhere from 24 to 60 hours.  I prayed I didn’t have the extended play version and crawled away to resume my position on the bathroom floor.