Disney Magic in Cayman Islands

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Photos / Lost Attractions/ Cast Mem' started by zackiedawg, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    A shot of this gorgeous boat parked in Georgetown, Grand Cayman around sunset:

  2. Paul

    Paul Member

    Would love to do Disney Cruise someday. ;
  3. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    It is so worth doing! ; I want to go on another Disney Cruise. ; I am guessing that you were on another cruise line.
  4. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Re: Wild and hairy story for y'all!

    Yep...taken from the deck of the Holland America Zuiderdam, parked next door that year.

    Caymans had been walloped by Cat 5 Hurricane Ivan the year before - our visit was in September 2005 - and there was not much left untouched. ; I remember marveling at how torn up everything was, trees all dead from when the whole island went under water, beaches removed, buildings without roofs, watermarks on the 2nd floor walls...even a year later:


    It was already a bad year in 2004 - Charley (Cat 4) pulled a nasty on Florida's lower west coast before buzz-sawing right over Disney and out the other side. ; Frances (Cat 2-3) followed that act by inflating to 10 times the size of Charley, and parking itself over south Florida for nearly 3 days. ; Ivan had torn through the islands before unleashing on Pensacola. ; And Jeanne (Cat 3) capped a hack of a year by killing thousands in Haiti before crushing ashore within literally a few feet of where Frances had come ashore. ; Grand Cayman had been closed most of 2005, rushing to get cleaned up in time for the cruise season.

    All I could think of in Cayman was how lucky we were during our hurricane run - lost some trees, no power for 7 days in Frances and 4 days in Jeanne...but nothing serious. ; Of course, 2005 had already started with quite a bang. ; Dennis (Cat 3) decided to drop in on a still recovering Pensacola to start things off. ; We all know about Katrina (Cat 4)- ironically its first US landfall was right over South Florida as a minimal Cat 1, which had us all breathing a sigh of relief it wasn't one of those nasty ones like the '04 canes...until it spooled up on the other side into a monster. ; We also pulled up to Key West right in the wake of Hurricane Rita (Cat 2-4), which left the streets 4 feet under, and the water had just cleared when we arrived. ; Boats were still sunk with masts sticking out of the water, or blown ashore, all around the bay:


    We literally were sailing around the same week Rita slammed into Texas...following her wake right through the Gulf of Mexico. ; By the time we were leaving Cozumel, we were just getting reports of the damage, and wondering if the ship would even be able to stop in Key West.

    That cruise wrapped on October 1, dropping us off at home for a week of relaxation before hearing of a new hurricane passing into the Caribbean towards Cayman, then Cozumel - Wilma. ; No threat to us, since she was headed dead west, she spooled herself into the record-breaking strongest hurricane in pressure in Atlantic season history and winds topping 185MPH that made Katrina seem gentle. ; We watched as it moved into Cozumel, ripping them hard but fortunately dropping to a 4 just before it hit. ; Still...no worries for us...until it made a U-Turn, and followed our ship's itinerary right towards Key West...and though it had fallen to a Cat 2, it headed with amazing speed right for Florida. ; First it was going to the keys, then it was going to Tampa...then it decided to barrel through south Florida. ; Those on the west coast prepared for a serious Cat 2-3 landfall, while those on the east coast prepared for a rainy windy day, and a borderline tropical storm/Cat 1...since it would lose all its strength as it crossed the Florida peninsula. ; Ummm...not. ; Wilma brought full Cat 2-3 strength right through the heart of heavily populated Broward and Palm Beach counties, to the tune of $20 billion of damage. ; 9 more days with no power, destroyed deck and back yard, trees down everywhere, blocking roads, lots of roof damage, large high rise buildings with no windows. ; Couldn't really get anywhere by car for a week or so:



    ...it was quite a send-off for 2005, hitting Florida with its 8th hurricane in just over 1 year!

    However, there was one silver lining. ; There's always an upside - Floridians living in the heavily populated south have never really seen stars before. ; Oh, one or two slip through the heavy light pollution, the smog, the marine haze, or the heavy cloud cover...but that's about it. ; Seeing an actual sky full of stars, western-US style, just doesn't happen. ; UNLESS a Hurricane blows out all the lights, shuts down all of the pollution making structures, and blasts out all of the cloud cover and haze:


    That was the first time since leaving California that I saw stars in the sky that thick. ; Oh, and the last time too!

    So, that's my cruise story to go with the photograph above.

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  5. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Re: One more starry sky shot

    Oh...forgot - one more starry sky photo - I'm not sure, but through all the noise from the camera, it almost looks like you can see part of the milky way here:


    Hard to tell. ; Sufficeth to say, the skies were unbelievable after the hurricane - crisp cool nights in the 40s, crystal clear, dead silent, and not a light to be found in 60 miles!

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  6. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    That is indeed the Milky Way that you are seeing in that last photo. ; Thanks for posting all of those other great shots! ; My dad lives in Naples, and we got some photo's from him when these storms were going through. ; i have been to Grand Cayman twice now, and it is a nice time. ; The shot with the gray building with the blue roof, is missing the new pier that they build for the cruise lines, unless it is just out of the frame. ;
  7. Coo1eo

    Coo1eo Member

    Great shots Justin. The one with the Milky Way is pretty awesome.
  8. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    The pier is just out of frame there. ; It was busted up in the storm that year, but they had worked hard to get that rebuilt so the ships could return. ; You can see in that shot behind the buildings how all of the trees on the entire island were dead, from the seawater incursion when they got the storm surge. ; The report was that the entire island was under water for several hours at the height of the storm - only 2nd floors were out of the water on the higher ground. ; Grand Cayman got hit harder than the smaller Caymans - it's lower and flatter, and doesn't have the strong high rock/coral ridges out of the water like Brac and Little do.

    On the Milky Way...I honestly had never seen it. ; Even living in California and spending nights camping in Joshue Tree (where I saw spectacular skies all the time), I never saw it - just tons and tons of stars. ; I don't know enough about ground-based astronomy to know when to look and where in order to see such things. ; I just got bored sitting in a house full of candles at night, staring at the wall for days...so I would walk around the neighborhood and marvel at the view above. ; Finally decided one night to grab the camera and photograph it (P&S model - didn't have a DSLR back then). ; I swore I saw some thin, nebulous strands of faint color among all the stars, but thought my eyes might have been playing tricks. ; But the camera picked them up too.

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