April 23, 2021

Writer conquers fears to enjoy Cayman Island stop

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bilde-1 bilde copy bildeBy John Ceballos From Polk Life

When Christopher Columbus first caught a glimpse of the Cayman Islands in 1503, he referred to them as “Las Tortugas” because of the abundance of sea turtles in their surrounding waters.

So when I first caught a glimpse of Grand Cayman — the largest of the three Cayman Islands — on the itinerary for my Western Caribbean cruise this past January, I knew there was only one place I had to visit during my single day on the island.

The Cayman Turtle Farm: Island Wildlife Encounter houses more than 11,000 green sea turtles, an endangered species. Each year, more than 200,000 people visit the world-famous park, which functions as both a wildlife conservation facility and a commercial-breeding enterprise.

Even if I hadn’t been sound asleep when my Royal Caribbean “Navigator of the Seas” ship docked near the Port of Grand Cayman, I doubt I would’ve witnessed any Columbus-style turtle sightings in the water.

Fortunately for me, the green sea turtle is pretty impossible to miss since it adorns the Cayman Islands’ flag, currency, and seal.

After rediscovering my land legs following two days at sea, I grabbed a taxi and set out for the Cayman Turtle Farm with my girlfriend, Katie, who’d previously visited the park a few years earlier. She’s also the reason I have my first reptilian pet, a Greek tortoise named Cornwallis. We were accompanied by our lovely married friends Dan and Rachel, who were also turtle farm novices.

IMAGES: Credit – John Ceballos
The green sea turtle, an endangered species, is prominently featured on the Cayman Islands’ flag, currency and seal.
Writer John Ceballos scoops up a green sea turtle from one of the turtle touch tanks at Cayman Turtle Farm: Island Wildlife Encounters in Grand Cayman.
The 23-acre Cayman Turtle Farm was established in 1968 and hosts more than 200,000 visitors each year.

For more on this story go to: http://www.theledger.com/article/20160526/POLKLIFE/160529589?Title=Writer-conquers-fears-to-enjoy-Cayman-island-stop

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