Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Little Cayman

As i sit to write about our vacation, I realize that no words I type are ever going to accurately describe this trip for us. 
We decided to take a vacation this summer that was just the two of us. It was a hard decision to make when we made it, but Philip was adamant that we needed some husband/wife time. And God knew way back then that this trip would be something both of us needed. 
Philip, as always, did his research and spent weeks looking up different hotels, different cities, different beaches, etc. He finally narrowed it down to either Grand Cayman or Little Cayman and asked me what kind of vacation I wanted. A hustle bustle city kind of vacation or a laid back turn your mind to mush vacation. We decided on the latter. 
view from our front door 
I'm hesitant to even tell you the name of where we went. Because I don't want all kinds of people going there and discovering our secret. I don't want it to be booked up next time we want to go back:) But the Southern Cross Club was the most amazing place we have been, and we have been to several places! 
It claims itself to be 'barefoot luxury' and that is the perfect tag line for this place. I think I only wore shoes twice the whole time. 
There are only 170 people that call Little Cayman home. The island is tiny. It didn't even get electricity until the 1990's! There is one store that sells everything from milk, to diapers, to bait, to scuba gear. and it is smaller than basement. "Downtown"  Little Cayman consists of this store, a bank and a real estate office.  The airport doubles as the fire department. The owner of the resort we stayed at has lived there 16 years and has no idea where his house keys are. they don't use keys because they don't lock anything. we didn't get a room key to our bungalow. there are showers on your front porch so you can wash up while watching the ocean. no tv, no clocks. there are bikes you can just hop on and ride around the island. the canoes and paddles are sitting out to use freely, unlocked up and with no worry of them being stolen. there isn't crime or vandalism or other silly things we have to worry about in America. 
we stayed in the pink one:) 
airport/fire department 
second time wearing shoes- to bike to the store! 
downtown little cayman :) 
It was simply just the most peaceful, relaxing slice of God's beautiful Earth. Both above and below water. 

The scuba diving was by far the best we have ever done. The reef walls, fish, water and coral were beyond gorgeous. Philip dove almost twice as much as I did. He would drag his butt out of bed early and get on the morning boat while I took my time drinking coffee, eating breakfast at the pool and reading. I opted for the afternoon dives, which he joined me on as well:) I love scuba diving with him and find it almost romantic being underwater seeing things that most people never see, together. and he knows what my favorite fish and plants are and always finds them for me:) We were on the hunt for a sea horse and really thought we would see one, and didn't:( the day before we flew out, when we couldn't dive, the morning group came back and guess what they saw: a freakin' seahorse. They all said that was just the Cayman way to make us come back. we will find you seahorse
The resort was all inclusive, of course, i mean there aren't places to go out to eat there. The chef there was spectacular. I offered him money to come live with us and cook for us, but he politely declined. Every morning you had your choice of a full buffet of fresh fruit, cereal, breads, juices. There was a waiter who made you omelets (which I never did have) and then they offered homemade french toast or pancakes. I had blueberry pancakes most mornings because they literally melted in my mouth. 
They had the lunch menu out each morning so you knew what was for lunch. I had the best cheeseburger of my life there. at lunch they came around and had you pick what you wanted for dinner. usually one seafood and one non seafood entree (i told you this place is perfect for me). so you picked your appetizer, entree, and dessert. the dinner bell was rang at 7:00 and you found a candlelit table to sit at and they served you dinner. And each night the food seemed to get better and better. 
Several times before dinner the chef would cut up some fresh tuna or fish for sashimi that someone at the resort had caught that day and people would sample it and compliment the fisherman of the day. There are only 14 cottages so those of us staying there all knew each other and would hang out at the bar chatting before dinner. Guess who came in a few days after us? Just one of the two owners of Matilda Jane clothing. no big deal. When her husband was like 'have you ever heard of Matilda Jane' I almost spit my drink out. I wanted to ask her for a lifetime discount. Luckily we didn't find this out until their second day there, so I wasn't a complete idiot the first time we talked with them. 
where I ate breakfast overlooking the ocean 
patio around the pool 
There was a private island not far from our resort. they said you could swim there, but i'm not sure I could have. on our last day there the resort packed a picnic breakfast for us and we packed up a kayak and paddled over. As if we weren't already secluded enough, now we were on this uninhabited island. begging to be explored. we first sat and had breakfast, overlooking the clearest water you can imagine. then I put shoes on and we explored. we saw all kinds of shells, corals and sea fans. we managed to bring some back without breaking! 
Also on our last day, since we couldn't dive, one of the guides took us out in the cove to go fishing. I wasn't super excited about this. First, I was afraid I would get seasick. second, I don't really like touching fish. However, after I caught my first bone fish, I was so happy we decided to do this. Our guide, Chris, loved his job and got almost giddy when we would hook a fish. He made it so fun and so easy. He even did a little write up about us on Facebook ( i shared the link don't worry). When Philip caught the first barracuda, it sort of came onto the boat a little faster than I think Chris thought it would. it was thrashing around and making such a fuss- I immediately ran to the front of the boat and jumped on the bow. Well when chris followed me, kicking the fish and telling him to get back, I thought to myself 'if he is freaking out I am definitely freaking out'. I almost jumped ship. apparently chris had forgotten his gloves and this fish could have ripped his hand off. I then told Philip i was not going to reel in a barracuda and he told me that yes, in fact I was. so I did it. and I got one! I wouldn't touch him though. Thankfully chris didn't mind and posed for a picture with me. 
mine was bigger
We were able to access wifi at the lobby and face timed with Ainsley each night before she went to bed. It literally made my heart happy to hear her say 'mummy' and 'dada'. and after staying with my parents she now calls them 'nanny' and 'pops'. and has come to love my brother who she calls 'Bubby'. 
We missed her so much. But it was also so nice to be responsibility free for a few days. To be a couple again, and reconnect. So thank you Mom and Dad for letting us do that. We know the hurricane can be hard to contain, and we truly appreciate it. 
The day we left we were both so sad to leave such an amazing place. We were excited to see Ainsley though and kiss her face off. We flew from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman where we had an almost 4 hour layover. We took a cab to downtown Grand Cayman and had lunch and got to see the 'Big Island'. We got back to the airport and got on our plane. Where we proceeded to wait 2 hours for a heating sensor to be fixed. Well, they couldn't fix it. So we all got off the plane, were handed hotel/food/shuttle vouchers and told Delta would put us up for the night and fly us out in the morning. I was devastated that we weren't going to get to see Ainsley. And would have been content to wallow in the hotel room all night. But my husband, of course, wants to seize the moment and enjoy an extra night on Grand Cayman. Which I am glad that he made me do. We walked around and ended up having dinner at a fun little place on the water in Grand Cayman. Being there also made us so thankful we hadn't chosen to spend our vacation on the bigger island. Not that is was a bad place to go at all. It just wasn't the vacation we needed. 
This vacation came at the perfect time for me. It gave me time to just be in God's presence. To see his hand at work thousands of miles away from our home. As we lay on the dock just looking at the millions of stars- more stars than we have ever seen before- we were both just in awe at what an artist God truly is. To know that if he took the time to paint coral such a beautiful shade of pink, and time to make the water the clearest green/blue, and put each tiny star in the sky-- that if He cares enough to do that, His love for us is infinitely times greater.