I mean, SO much awesome stuff happened on this wonderful day, that I barely even know where to begin. Last year, on my birthday, I had vowed to do something different for 2018. To avoid the annual stresses over people cancelling on my birthday plans with shit excuses, etc etc, blah blah. And I had done it. The day was finally here. So lemme break it down for you:
Cimboco is Julia’s fave breakfast place, so she took me here for a mammoth carb-fest. It’s American all the way over there, so the breakfast menu had some weird shit on it. I went for the most English thing I could find because I didn’t fancy waffles or pancakes, and even that included some mini roast potatoes. FOR BREAKFAST. But, it was delicious so, whatevs.
Grand Cayman has the largest concentration of Stingrays in the world. Hence, the name. HENCE, why I decided that THIS would be the best thing to do on my birthday…to head out and swim with a bunch of them. I was a BIT worried about the boat element of the trip, due to my bloody irritating tendency to vom on boats…but I bolstered myself up with anti-sickness tablets and prayed for the best.
I’d also been a bit worried about the stingray bit, if I’m honest…like….was I gonna die from one of these fuckers?! But, I am a worrier and so if I didn’t do the things that worried me, I wouldn’t do shit! The boat ride out there was fine and once we dropped anchor, I could see masses of people (from other boats) already in the water. The water was waist deep, so felt perfectly safe. I got in (with Julia watching from the boat) and slowly walked through the water as the male stingrays swam around my ankles. The male ones are the tiny ones and the female ones are massive (who runs da world…?…)…and when I say massive, I mean FUCKING HUGE. Our guide gently grabbed one of them and we all took turns at holding her. It was really hard because she was so big, and it was choppy that day so the waves made it a lot harder to keep her positioned. You’re meant to gently cradle her, with her nose resting on your chest. Her massive eyes stare at your while you’re holding her, and it’s quite a bizarre, awesome experience.
For some reason, all the nervousness I’d had about doing this kinda dropped away. I could see the guides were all over this shit in terms of keeping people safe…and although I was avoiding their spiky poisonous tails like the plague, the guides were literally jumping on top of them…underneath them…and they were all still alive so I figured I was cool.
I had a couple of attempts at hugging her (I called her Doris),while I thrust my Uncles Go Pro into the hands of randoms and just hoped they’d get some good footage or photos. (They did) It was, without a doubt, a once in a lifetime experience. So cool.
Once we were done, the boat took us to a snorkelling point. I’d brought my gear (well, actually it’s not my snorkelling gear, it’s my pal Megan’s gear which I borrowed in 2015 and still haven’t given back. Soz Megs!) so I was all set. However, the minute I got in the water I was like, absolutely NOT mate. It was still choppy out, but because were were obvs in deep water for this bit, I was crashing about all over the place. Even with a life jacket on (which I opted for because I’m a shit swimmer) I didn’t feel safe, so I ran back up to the deck. Now, the Gods decided at this point to curse me with the travel sickness I had long dreaded. I thought I was gonna actually vom all over my bronzed and beautiful boat-fellows. It felt horrific. Bloody catamarans. BUT, it was still worth it.
After some shopping and mooching about, post-stingrays, it was time to pick Nige up from work and head out for my birthday dinner. Julia and Nige picked the place, and LORD was it a good choice!
Cocolobas was an absolutely stunning restaurant on the seafront. Amazing cocktails, amazing food, and a fabulous vibe. There was live music from some dude on the guitar, and to top it all off, we were perfectly positioned to see a gorgeous sunset from our table. I literally cannot think of anywhere I would have rather been at that moment. It was such a goddamn joy.
When we were done, we drove home (Nige drove…Julia and I had drunk waaaaay too much to be getting behind the wheel of anything!) and en route we saw some fireworks in the distance. We pulled into a layby and just stood and watched for a while as an epic display broke out over the water.
And so ended my 35th birthday. Was a frigging awesome time I had. And it wasn’t over yet….!