Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grand Cayman Island

Our final stop of the cruise was Grand Cayman.  This is a well known upscale resort island.  It is also well known for its offshore banking industry, which was very evident as you walked around the town center. 

This time we decided on a little different tour.  We signed up for the Atlantis submarine tour.  We double checked to ensure that it was in fact a submarine.  In some places, the advertised submarine is really a boat made to look like a sub, but is actually a surface vessel with a sea thru hull.  Since this was a tender port, we took the tender to shore and then another boat out to the submarine buoy.  As we approached the mooring, the sub was not in sight.  When we were within a 100 yards of the mooring the submarine surfaced in front of us, as it was returning from the previous tour. 

The tour lasted a little over an hour and took us over one of the reefs near shore down to a depth of 120 feet.  The reef was not in the best condition but the visibility good given the thickness of the glass viewing ports holding the water out.    At one point, we hovered over a trench that dropped over a thousand feet down. It was a very enjoyable trip.

Back ashore, we toured some of the downtown area, but soon it was time to board the tender for the trip back to the Coral Princess. 

The end of our trip was in sight.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Costa Rica

Our penultimate port stop was in Costa Rica.  I have to admit, this small country was not anywhere to be found on our must visit list.  It is known for two things  bananas and  lush rainforests.  We opted to take the aerial tram tour of the rainforest and did get to see many of the banana farms as we drove into the countryside.

Before we started the aerial tour, we took a short walk with our guide through the floor of the rainforest to get some experience from the ground level.  We learned about how the rainforests grow and the many types of plants and animals that live in this environment.  Right away we had an exposure to the wild hogs that roam the forest.  The group ahead of us had a few of these pigs run through their tour.  This surprisingly had large impact on our young guide, who was clearly concerned about their aggressive behavior and began to explain how we might protect ourselves if they returned.  I quickly shifted my camera to the sports mode in hopes of getting some good pictures of the pigs.  I suppose, luckily, they did not turn in our direction and we continued the tour with only be able to smell some of the stink we were told was common with these animals. One of the many interesting things that was pointed out was the way the plants in a rain forest have their roots at the surface to take the best advantage of the water and nutrients. I would never want to take an extended hike in the dense forest after hearing the explanation concerning the large number of snake species that inhabit the area, many of them poisonous. Sure enough, we came upon a reportedly very poisonous small one laying quietly on a leaf on top of the trail.

The aerial tram tour lifts you from the floor and travels through the layers of the forest up to the top.  Our guide did a great job of explaining how the forest changes and adapts to survive.  It provided some great overviews of many square miles of the forest.  This is definitely a must see experience.