If you missed part one: Grand Cayman Marine Life: Part I
Hopefully, you’ve just come over from the first half of this guide about Grand Cayman marine life which focused on some of the common fish you can expect to see in GC. Over on this half, I’ll show you some pictures of the plants and animals you’ll hopefully see during your time in the water. Most of these I just saw at one or two locations and were some of the more exciting finds of the trip.
These guys are why people travel to Grand Cayman, right? Stingray City is the most popular tourist location on the island and for good reason. Being dropped into the water with dozens of swarming stingrays is a surreal experience and something you’re not likely to get anywhere else. I did see one or two other rays in the wild but it was out on my Stingray City snorkeling excursion. Only one of them really acted like stingray in its natural habitat and acted as such. Other than that, the stingrays I came across were friendly and eager to be fed.
Seeing jellies out in the water can be a bit alarming. I saw a few of these little guys while I snorkeled Cayman Kai but their absence of tentacles made them altogether less intimidating. The ones I saw were only a few inches in diameter and a little curious about this rogue snorkeler exploring their reef.
Cayman Kai certainly had the most bang for your buck as far as wildlife. It was here that I saw my first conch in its natural habitat as I came across this one. You’d almost not know they’re there because they’re pretty well camouflaged. Our guides also spent some time catching them during our excursion to Stingray City.
Another win for Cayman Kai! Snorkeling around the north side of Grand Cayman proved to be exciting. It was less crowded here and I saw the most unique marine life. Here I came across two Caribbean reef squid which were really cool looking and fun to watch zip around the shore.
If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll enjoy seeing the coral along the way almost as much as the stuff that swims around it.
I love this stuff. It really looks like you’re swimming up on an open skull, which I’ve been told is creepy. I just find it fascinating. They’re formed when “a colony of genetically identical polyps…secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate,” according to their Wikipedia page. Awesome (and gross sounding).
Branch coral is a broad term for all kinds of soft corals. Basically if they’re free standing and have lateral branches, they fit in this category. And I love watching them while I swim around.
Plume or fan corals were really abundant at Eden Rock which was probably my favorite location with interesting formations. I mean, the landscape was just beautiful. There were tons of them there and watching them bend with the current was just mesmerizing.
There you have it! My complete guide to Grand Cayman marine life. What are you hoping to see when you snorkel?