Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cayman Islands - Swimming With The Dolphins

No trip to a tropical island like Grand Cayman would be complete without swimming with the dolphins

The Bottlenose Dolphin is an amazing creature, they learn tricks easily, aren't picky about what type of fish they eat and love people, they can also swim up to 60 mph. They have awesome eyesight but in the dark murky ocean they can't see that well, so to find there food they use echolocation. Echolocation is when the dolphins make a noise and bounces from the fish back to the dolphin. The dolphin who made the echolocation is the only dolphin who can tell what type of fish they hit, the fishes size, how far away and how long it will take to get to the fish.

At  Dolphin Discovery you don't just swim with the dolphins you can get a chance to be like a dolphin's trainer. You learn how to hug and kiss the dolphin, how to feed them and how to play with them.

The dolphins love to be pet just as much as I love petting them. When a trainer pets the dolphin its a reward for doing tricks. The trainer can communicate with the dolphin through hand motions and a high pitched whistle. I learned the hand motions make to the dolphins splash and eek. I also held onto two dolphin's dorsal fins and they pulled me through the water. We also did a trick called the toe push where two dolphins pushed on the flats of my feet so that when they started pushing me, I flew through the air. When we finished our tricks the dolphins and I had a splash fight, gave me kisses and I hugged them. 

I really like the dolphins, I hope they liked me as much as I liked them. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

Cayman Islands - Stingray City

Stingray City is a popular location in the ocean off of Rum Point. We took a glass bottom boat from Rum Point and it took us 15 to 20 minutes. The water is about waist deep, the only reason it is waist deep is because Stingray City is on a sand bar.

Our guide taught us how to hold the Stingrays, how to feed them and how to touch them without touching their tail.

Stingrays are a type of fish, related to sharks that are flat, with a bumpy spine and a barbed tail. The Stingrays favorite food is squid. Stingrays were named "Stingray" because of their poisonous barbed tail that they used to sting their prey and defend themselves from predators. They don't mean to sting people, though it does happen.

Glass Bottom Boat

I love this is small place in Grand Cayman where you get a chance to meet and swim with "the birds of the ocean."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Cayman Islands - Turtle Farm

The Cayman Island's Turtle Farm is another special attraction close to Hell in the West End. It is very large and turtles are not the only thing that you can see and do.

The first thing you see when you walk into the Turtle Farm is a mini beach with giant sea turtles. You can buy little packs of food to feed those giants. In the mini pools of water (behind the mini beach) there are smaller turtles, that you can go in the pool with, and hold them.

There is a big salt water lagoon with coral, small fish, turtles, and nursery sharks that you can snorkel in. The turtle farm lets you borrow a snorkel and a inflatable life vest. Don't be alarmed when you see the nursery sharks, they wont harm you. Even though it is a man made lagoon, it feels like I was actually in the ocean swimming with sea turtles and the other sea life.  

 If you don't like that idea, there is also a chlorine pool that has a waterfall and a slide. In this pool you don't need a snorkel. You may see native lizards on the rocks and in the water, but they will run or swim away if you get to close.

We also learned that the turtle farm has been releasing turtles to the wild, and now twenty-five years later those turtles have been coming back to the Cayman Islands beaches to lay there eggs.  

If you are in the Cayman Islands I highly suggest you visit the Turtle Farm, it's a experience of a lifetime. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Cayman Islands - Hell

The Rock in Hell
Hell (H- E- double hockey sticks), is one of the tourist attractions in the West End on Grand Cayman. The rock was made from "acid rain and consumption of the rock by carbonate-loving organisms." Hell was named Hell because when it was found, people thought that this is what Hell would look like.

When I arrived at Hell
Hell also has a gift shop were you can buy things like t-shirts, bags, necklaces, and other cool souvenirs. You can also buy post cards and send your family and friends letters from hell. There's not much to do in Hell except look a beautiful thing that nature made. 

I actually have been to Hell and back 
I really enjoyed Hell, as much as I enjoy typing it. I hope next time I go to the Cayman Islands I will be able to see Hell again.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are 3 islands that are a British Territory. The largest island, Grand Cayman is known for its beach resorts, scuba diving and snorkeling sites because it is surrounded by a giant barrier reef.

The water in the Cayman Islands is much clearer than the water in the Jersey Shore, and the sea life is very colorful. Because of the barrier reef, there are only tiny little wakes in the water so its easy swimming.

Tarpon in the water
We stayed in the East End, which is very quiet and peaceful. Close by, you can drive to Rum Point,  its beautiful, but not very populated, and has beautiful views. Across the water, you can see West Bay. George Town is very populated and beautiful. Seven Mile Beach looks like a city because there are so many shops, buildings, restaurants, bars and boat docks. Seven Mile beach also has very good snorkeling and scuba diving spots.

The Blow Hole
On our 7 day trip we went to swim with the dolphins, the Turtle Farm, Stingray city and visited HellThe blow holes were one my favorite spots to visit because when the water comes over the rocks, "BOOM" water splashes from a hole in the rocks, but if you get too close your going to get very wet. The only reason the splash is so big is because this part of the island isn't surrounded by the reef.


Hello Lizard
There were many cows, lizards, and chickens on the Grand Cayman, as well as human beings. In the water snorkeling we saw tarpon, parrot fish, baby squid, Caribbean lobster, tiger barb fish, baby green eel, huge living conch shells, clown fish (Nemo), blue tang fish (Dory) and lots of other small fish.
I had a great vacation, and I can't wait to go back to the Cayman Islands! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cedar Run Wild Life Refuge

 My grandfather, grandmother, cousin, mom, brother and I went to visit Cedar Run in Medford NJ. My Grandmother brought lunch that we ate in the picnic area. As we were eating, we were deciding what trails we wanted to walk on and what animals we were going to see. 

The first trail was the white trail, it was fun and not too long. The white trail has a story that you can read while you are walking along, but we didn't pay much attention to it. The trail also took us to the cages where all the animals live. The animals at the refuge live there because they are injured or hurt and cannot be introduced into the wild. There are 8 ducks, 2 swans, 3 wolves, 6 geese, 3 red tailed hawks, 2 vultures, 3 seagulls, 2 bald eagles, 4 owls, 2 deer, 1 blue jay and a partridge in a pair tree (Just kidding partridges don't live in New Jersey).

This guy loves kids
I really enjoyed looking at the animals, they seemed friendly. To my surprise bald eagles are not actually bald. My favorite animals were the friendly Turkey Vultures that followed me around the cage as I walked and the dancing Barn owl that made me laugh (see the video below). The most interesting thing is that both of the American Crows talked. One greeted you with "Hi" and the other with "Hello" but if you stood there too long, I could see how it would get annoying. (see the video below)

After that, we took the yellow trail, it was longer and more difficult and it went right through the Jersey Devil's home. The trail was challenging because there was a storm the day before with tornadoes so a lot of trees fell down and were blocking the trail. We had to climb over and under about 6 trees.

While we were walking my grandfather was trying to tell us scary stories about the Jersey Devil.  Then my mom tried to un-scare us by signing the theme song for "Dora The Explorer" and "Go Diego Go". At first it was funny, but quickly became annoying because she sang it until we finished the trail and went to the visitors center.

In the visitors center they have a really cool gift shop and a reptile room. There is also a little play room for little kids.

When I am 16 I hope to volunteer at cedar run wild life refuge because I want to take good care of all the animals that live there.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Love Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant is located right on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean in Margate City, NJ.  She was built in 1881 and was named a national monument in the 1900s. Lucy was also once a house before the public tours started. 

The adult ticket price is $8.00 and the kids are $4.00 (I think is reasonable) People in the military get to do the tour free. The tour through Lucy is incredible because you get to go into a giant elephant and you don't get to do that everyday, do you?

The tour is less than an hour, make sure you get a good look at everything before it is over. When you start up the steep narrow stairs in Lucy's back leg, it is a bit more tiring because there are so many thick and narrow steps. If you fall, then its a scary game of human dominoes. 

Looking through Lucy's eye
Once you are up in her belly there is a video about Lucy's history. Lucy was built by ship builders so inside her if you look up it looks like a ship's hull. Lucy's eyes will glow purple at night, in the dark and you can see them from the beach and a boat on the ocean. Inside, you can see through her eyes. In the right eye you can see the beach and the left eye, all you can see is a teal blue building. 

Lucy's Howdah
You climb another steep set of narrow stairs to get to her back, on her back is a seat with a canopy, called a howdah.  The first howdah was built in 1881 just for Lucy but, that year a terrible storm passed by and took it right off the top of her. After that the put a flat howdah on top. Around 1885 they put an exact replica of her very first howdah.

The view on top of Lucy's howdah of the Margate Water Tower.
The tour takes you on top of Lucy's Howdah where you can see the Margate city water tower that has Lucy painted on it.  You can also see Atlantic City and Ocean City. (Hey, I can see my house from here!) After you are finished sight seeing on Lucy's back you travel down another steep staircase then the tour is over. 

Every year Lucy gets her toenails painted
I think this is amazing that people take the time every year to paint her toenails a different color or different colors for the sake of it giving Lucy a little pop in color but, I wish they would use better paint because right now her french red and blue pedicure is chipping.

I would recommend going to see Lucy for kids (and adults) of all ages and also make sure you hit the gift shop right after the tour and maybe head to the beach.