A guidebook to Grand Cayman will invite you to “Go to Hell” but Hell is a place to avoid.
It consists of only blackened but eroded limestone rocks and three terrible gift shops. One
visit to Hell was more than enough for me.
By the grace of God, on the other side of this island, I have discovered Heaven – just off the
coast adjacent to a reef resort. Before I visited this British colony for the first time about ten
years ago, I had found out that snorkelling in clear tropical waters of the Caribbean can be
exhilarating. Here by the reef, though, I have seen Heaven on earth. One of its nicest features is that
it is entirely natural, with no noise except from one very happy snorkeller.
Mother Nature created this paradise. The ancient coral reefs are only a hundred yards
away from the coastline but shaped by centuries of fast-moving tides, currents, and winds. They
provide the natural habitat and shelter for many different fish and other maritime creatures, and
marine plants. Some large blue parrotfish chomp their strong beaks into hard corals, converting them into clean sand that helps create our sandy beaches.
On arrival, I rush into the water with my fins and mask, dreaming of meeting some old friends
again. Soon I am floating in Heaven, quickly spotted by a golden Queen angelfish with dark
blue skin speckled with yellow crown spots and a bright orange tail. She sees me at a safe distance
and resumes eating and swimming. I just love the feeling of being accepted into their world. As I
move over to another part of the reef, I manage to disturb a group of colourful snappers, grunts, and
groupers. They swim, feed, and return to their heavenly homes around the reef. With the waters
so calm and clear, and the sunlight so helpful for visibility, I even see a green plant later identified as
‘Green Mermaid’s Wine Glass’. I try to manage two daily visitations. On my final visit one evening, I
am surprised by the sheer number of so many different fish. I can only assume this is a farewell party they have organized for me as I prepare to leave their/my Heaven on our/their Earth!