Monday, November 10, 2008

Vacation in Grand Cayman with Hurricane Paloma

Super Long post with Pics - A Vacation for the record books!

Our vacation last week was supposed to be relaxing and stress free with beautiful clear waters, exciting snorkeling trips and non-stop water activities. Instead...we spent alot of time watching TV and watching it RAIN. Yes, it rained ALL week long ending with Hurricane Paloma. We began our vacation with a cancelled flight. We were supposed to fly out Sunday morning however the flight was cancelled because they didn't have a crew (what kind of excuse is that!?) and they put us on the next available flight - Monday. They then extended our trip one day to make up for the lost day so we were scheduled to come back on a Saturday flight instead of our original Friday flight. So here is the breakdown - - -

Monday - We finally arrived just before dark is at 6pm there. Everything except for grocery stores, restaurants and bars close at 5pm...so there was nothing left we could do that day but go eat.

Tuesday - Rain, Rain, Rain. We toured town darting spotted showers and window shopped.

Wednesday - Rain, Rain, Rain. We decided to go to the Turtle Farm which is fascinating when it is not raining. We only spent about 15 minutes walking around and the rest of the time under cover. Since there was nothing else we could do but drive around and sight see, we did exactly that. However just around 5pm when we got to the very tip of the island where all you can do is turn around and come back, I got sick and I mean sick!!! It was horrible, I was miserable. It ended up being a 16 hour bacterial food bug (food poisoning) from something I ate at the restaurant the first night.

Thursday - Rain, Rain, Rain. During the morning we took it easy as I was still recovering. We snorkeled out in front of our condo during a break in the rain and my favorite part of that was seeing a flounder. Later that day we were catching news blurbs about the newest hurricane brewing in the caribbean and it was headed right for us. They were estimating its landfall to be Saturday morning so we got on the phone and moved our flight up to Friday to get outta there before it hit. With that in mind, we shopped in town Thursday afternoon knowing we would be leaving soon.

Friday - Rain, Rain, Rain & Wind, Wind, Wind. Paloma decided she was coming in earlier than projected so our flight which was supposed to be at 4pm was moved up by the airlines to 10:30 am. We found this out at 7am and needed to be at the airport 2 hours ahead to clear customs and immigration. Yikes! We call for our taxi and get loaded up and on our way to the airport. We were drenched, still raining, traffic is horrible and its getting worse out. About 2 minutes from the airport, the taxi dispatcher tells the driver turn around and take your guests back to their condo. What!!?? The airport has been closed and all flights have been CANCELLED. Here we go back to our condo - no food, drinks or supplies for the hurricane and nowhere we can get them. City wide curfew at 10am. Geez - could it get any worse! We waited it out, pics below. We rationed canned goods for lunch and dinner that were already in the condo and filled glasses with water to have something to drink. The water supply was being shut off at 11am. The storm progressively got worse. I wish pictures could actually show the true picture that we experienced. I was SCARED. Cried several times. Paloma made landfall somewhere between 8 and 9pm and was over between 1 and 2am. She hit our island as a category 3 and is known as the strongest hurricane in November because she went on to hit the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman as a category 4 on Saturday.

Saturday - Finally, good news. The airport reopened and our flight leaving at 5:55pm had not been cancelled. We arrive at the airport at 3:15pm to check in so we didn't have any chances of being bumped off the flight because it was FULL. We met a nice young couple from Minnesota that we chatted with while we waited. More bad news...The flight coming into Cayman that we were to be leaving on was 1 hour late. So we waited some more. We finally boarded and headed for our layover in Miami. More customs and immigration to deal with. This flight only departed 10 minutes late, so our wait in Miami was virtually non existant. We got our baggage and while there some old man knocked into me as he was trying to get his luggage off the belt. He hit me so hard I fell forward and dropped everything in my hand. Fortunately, I didn't fall to the floor. I caught myself on our luggage. We then went through all the security, etc., rechecked our baggage, got a slice of pizza for dinner and by then our flight was boarding. Our flight arrived in Houston at 11:45pm. By the time we got our luggage and was delivered to our vehicle in the pay to park lot, it was 12:30pm. So glad to be on Texas Soil!!!

Here are some pics - - -
We started our week with skies like this and rain...
We ended our week with Paloma. I am taking these pics standing on our 3rd floor balcony that Friday watching the waves get worse...
Here it is full downpour with waves crashing the shore (these pics really don't do justice to what we actually saw)...

Aftermath pics taken Saturday morning - - -
Debri next to our condo...
First floor boarded up their glass doors. We were on the third floor...
The outdoor bar and grill at our condo, flooded...
Debris in the overflowing pool (they had already started to drain some of it) and if you look real closely at the edge of the pool you will see several patio chairs. These were from vacant condos that no-one was staying in that could prepare for the winds...

3 comments:

Jenn Greeley said...

So much for a nice relaxing vacation. I'm so sorry it was such a horrible experience. Who would have thought a hurricane in November. Well I'm glad your home safe and sound.

Emily said...

That is insane! So sorry to hear about your bad experiences! One thing after another. I guess these types of experiences make home sweet home even sweeter.

MommaJen said...

wow, what a drag! you'll never forget this trip. glad you're home!