Posted by: ktzefr | January 20, 2010

Close to perfection…

“When I consider everything that grows/Holds in perfection but a little moment.”  ~ Shakespeare


Itching to travel, I left this behind…

and headed with family to…

7-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

…from temps in the low 20s to temps in the low 80s, from snow and ice to sand and sea.  It was a busy trip taking part in the annual Cayman Cookout and visiting the bird sanctuaries and botanical gardens to search for blooms and critters.

The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is the largest native land animal on the island.  This giant, dragon-like blue lizard never stops growing!  They can be nearly 5 feet, weigh 25 pounds, and live as long as humans! 

This fellow was enjoying the warm stones of the patio.  Another iguana seemed to be following me along the woodland trail at the botanical gardens, but we were simply headed in the same direction.  He had come to have lunch in the shade of a tree that produced hundreds of small oval-shaped (and, obviously, tasty) berries that looked a bit like black olives.

The Cayman Blue Iguana is the most endangered iguana on earth.  In 2002 there were only about a dozen of them left.  But the Caymans’ conservation efforts — the Blue Iguana Recovery Program and the protection of almost 200 acres of shrub-land habitat — are working.  Each year brings a bunch more hatchlings.  On our hike we were lucky to see three in the wild!  If you love these ugly creatures as much as I do, check back in a day or two and I’ll try to do a photo gallery of the big lizards I’ve met in other countries.

Another day, another iguana enjoying the warmth of the rocks.

On this small island (covering only an area of 76 square miles), there are seven protected bird sanctuaries that provide habitat for 200 different species of birds!  Some live in the islands year round, but others are migratory.  In autumn they follow the sun…living in protected aviaries, the mangrove lagoons, the botanical gardens, and in the tall trees along the Mastic Trail, a woodland trail that runs through one of the last remaining dry, subtropical forests in the Caribbean.

Getting up close and personal with the red and white ibis…When I squatted to take the photo, a second red ibis came over and started pecking on my handbag!  The birds in this particular aviary are quite domesticated as they are lovingly cared for by Geddes, a young fellow from Trinidad.

I met several parrots…and one striking blue bird called a Red-legged Honeycreeper…

And one “bird of a different feather” the Travel Channel’s Tony Bourdain!

At the Cayman Cookout he shared tales about his travels to exotic places — the people, the food, the adventures.  If you haven’t seen the show (No Reservations), be sure to tune in to this new season for a taste of many different cultures.  Every time I see an episode I want to pack my bags!

The blooms were beautiful…

Lobster Claw Heliconia

More red…

A very TALL Poinsettia!

And still more red…

Indonesian Ginger hidden in the foliage.

And some pretty white bells…

Foxglove?

I loved the houses…

The walkway to the house is lined with conch shells!

the tiny white churches against the blue, blue sky…the fun signs…and, especially, the sunsets…

...maybe as perfect as it gets!


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Responses

  1. Nice change of temperatures :). I like how the snow was pilled on your table 🙂

    Lots of amazing animals in the Cayman Islands it seems!

    • Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yes, there are interesting animals/birds in the Caymans! I am always intrigued by the plants, animals, people, and the culture of the places I visit.

  2. Your photos are wonderful. You should submit your stories and photos to National Geographic. I look forward to the next blog. Thank you.

  3. Hey, Katie! Your keen observations and sharing of your experiences make me feel as if I were there! Thanks for sharing.


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