Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Last weekend a bunch of us congregated at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club to board Gordy's new boat, the Aquasition. He's had it down here for a few months now, and is just getting his charter operation up and running. To celebrate the launch of Aquazure and also a warm-up, pre-going away party weekend for Sharon, we rounded up a couple coolers full of cold frosty beverages and went for a cruise in North Sound.

Aside from the usual suspects (Miller Lite for John, Kokanee for FNG and Michelob Ultra for Gordy and myself) I also brought along a little something I whipped up last Saturday: Minted lime syrup. The reasoning behind it was simple: Mojitos without all the work and utensils. Saturday afternoon I made a simple syrup and then steeped 2 packages of mint leaves in it and then soaked a half-dozen limes in it before straining it and pouring it into a Nalgene bottle to bring on the boat. 2oz of white rum (which in the end we forgot to bring) 2 oz of the syrup, over ice and topped with some club soda and a mint leaf garnish and that would be it. No muddling, no half-inch of sugar sitting in the bottom of the glass, just pure, refreshing, alcopop.

The Lido Deck

We headed out towards Stingray City to see if we could catch up with Zac, who was working that day. As we got out towards the sandbar, we saw Moby Dick was anchored at the barrier reef, so we pulled up alongside and dropped anchor. Zac was in the water with some customers, looking for the baby nurse shark that had been hanging out around the barrier reef lately, so we climbed up on the bow and cracked open a couple cold frosty beverages. Zac's boss Mark was on the boat and he jumped in the water and swam over and had a beer with us, and then later on Zac swam over to say hi, but conscientious boat captain that he is, forwent the beer. What a guy! Eventually, they pulled up anchor and headed back to the dock and we stayed there in the afternoon sun cooling our jets with dips in the water and more frosty beverages. Little Naiya Pearson was out with us the whole day and was super well-behaved. She even let me hold her without squeaking and squawking AT ALL and even posed for a few photos (soon come). Finally with the sun starting to slide past "right overhead" we decided to pull up anchor and make our way over to the Kaibo Yacht Club.

Kaibo Yacht Club

We tied up at the end of the pier and mosey'd over to the bar for some refreshments (because we didn't have enough on the boat already. Kaibo Yacht Club is a funny old place. Back in the day, it used to be THE place to "be seen" on Sundays. People with boats would go and tie up and hang out there, and people who didn't have boats suddenly wished they did. Kaibo is also the scene for Mardi Gras every year, too. Part of that draw is the restaurant that used to be upstairs. Back in the day it was called Cecil's and was a very New Orleans-styled restaurant. Crawfish Etoufee, gumbo, oysters casino and rockefeller, that sorta sorta. In about 1999 they remodeled the inside and it was really slick. Most of the tables were outside on the balcony behind mosquito netting and best of all, they had a free ferry service from Safehaven. Just before sunset you'd board the boat and have a sunset cruise across North Sound, and then dinner upstairs at Cecil's. After eating way too much and then stuffing some fresh beignets down for dessert, you'd get back on the boat and have a starlit cruise back to Safehaven, and then it was only 10:00 or so! As of right now, the restaurant is closed and the ferry is not running. Taking a page out of the Almond Tree/Treehouse book, the Kaibo Beach Bar has expanded their menu to offset the restaurant not being there anymore. We didn't eat this time around, by MJ told me that the food there at the bar is really good. I'll have to put it on my list of places to go.

Calypso Grill

As the sun started to set, we climbed back aboard and made our way into the sunset headed for Morgan's Harbor in West Bay. To drive that would take about an hour or so, barring any traffic jams. It's about as far as you can possibly drive on the island. On Gordy's boat, it only took about twenty minutes to scoot across the sound. We found space to berth at the pier and tied up. I knew beforehand that we were going to the Calypso Grill for dinner, which is a semi-fancy place, but assumed that we'd all look like we were on the water all day. I assumed wrong. :) I ended up way underdressed for dinner, but I figured I could pull it off with chutzpah and balls. I did. :) If you like seafood, you'll like Calypso Grill. If you're like me and aren't particularly big on seafood, then you'll still like Calypso Grill, although you'll have to study the menu a little harder. Freya, Gordy and FNG all put a debit in their karma bankbook and ordered the seabass. I had a little taste of it, and it was pretty good, but seabass are approaching endangerment so I wouldn't order it myself. Knowing what I know of the Calypso Grill, I ordered a salad, and then the Calypso Shrimp which is an appetizer, for my main. I was saving room for dessert! They have a few "regular" dessert items, like Sticky Toffee Pudding and their chocolate bread pudding, but I went for the dessert on the daily specials menu: Mango crepe with coconut and pineapple ice cream. Freya was sitting next to me and ordered the sticky toffee pudding on the assumption that we'd share both. The sticky toffee was good, but the mango crepe was better. Best of all was the ice cream. I'm not that big on coconut for the most part, but hot DAMN that was some of the best ice cream I've ever had! There were a couple orders of bread pudding down the other end of the table, but I'm sticking with the mango crepe and coconut ice cream as my pick of the night.

Just as we were finishing up, G-Love caught the eye of a dark-haired lass at the bar and struck up a conversation with her. As usual, women travel in pairs and this one had a friend with her as well. Seeing the opportunity for G Love, I selflessly assumed the role of Wingman and chatted up her friend. He invited them back on the boat with us and we cruised back to the yacht club where all our cars were parked. G and his lady friend were deep in discussion, leaving her friend caught in the crossfire. I suggested she ride back in my jeep and her friend could ride with G Love and they could finish their conversation in his car with a modicum of privacy. We came back to my apartment (which is right next to where they were staying, at the Westin). We went upstairs briefly and I mixed up some drinks for us. I broke out the rum and the minted lime syrup that we didn't get a chance to try and whipped up a batch of mojitos for us to take down to the beach. We sat on the beach sipping our mojitos (which turned out pretty good, all things considered) and chatted with the girls. Eventually G made his move and they "went for a walk" down the beach leaving us on the chaise lounges. We actually had a lot to talk about, as she was in online marketing, and I'm a huge nerd. We both realized we were in the wingman role, made the most of it and had a good conversation. A  little later on, I walked her back to the hotel and went home. Gordy showed up awhile later to drop off their glasses and collect their shoes.

A long day? Yes. A fun day? Definately. Monday afternoon I talked to Gordy on the phone and we laughed and said the previous night was like it was "back in the day" when we were both divemasters at Bob Soto's. The difference being that instead of meeting girls at the Seaview and giving them a ride back to our rathole apartments on the handlebars of our bicycles, we met them at a classy place like Calypso Grill, went for a cruise with them on his yacht (it went from boat to yacht as soon as they got onboard) and then jumped in my jeep and his beemer and went back to my condo on Seven Mile Beach next to the Westin and the Ritz-Carlton :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006 12:01:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Pictures#
Friday, July 28, 2006

Hallmark claims to have a card for every occasion... I dare you to go down to your nearest... whatever... where they sell cards and find one for today's VERY special occasion: Sys Admin Day.

Today is the day to be nice to the geeks at work who un-jam your printer, unplug your power strip from itself, remove your cofee cup from the CD-Rom tray, plug things in, turn things on and in general make sure that you can do what you need to do while you're at work. We also protect you from yourselves more than you probably know.

Two years ago, a special person in the Marketing department brought us a big tub of Gelato from Antica Gelateria here in Cayman. She has a nice shiny laptop now, and her system is never down for long, whenever she happens to call. Last year came and went without fanfare (or ice cream) and it looks like today has, as well.

It's not too late for those of you on Pacific Time, you still have two and a half hours to let your Sys Admin know that you appreciate him (or her). Ice cream helps, too. :)

Friday, July 28, 2006 1:29:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Misc#
Saturday, July 22, 2006
40 minutes later, after crawling back and forth to the toilet a dozen times, I just lay down on the nice cool tiles of the floor. That way the trip back to the toilet would be shorter! Don't you love the way your brain processes logic in times like this?
Saturday, July 22, 2006 11:54:20 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Misc#
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Normally SCUBA diving is a non-competetive sport. This is a different kind of contest.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 8:09:08 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Links | Underwater#
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Fortunately it's not too bad in this case.
Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:12:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I just flew in from Miami... and boy are my arms tired!

But seriously. When I'm in Miami and get stuck with the "economy car" (ie no upgrades that include Sirius or XM) I tune in to Y100.7. They used to have a morning show duo named "Kenny and Footy" or something like that who were pretty funny. Other than that, they play the top ten or so of the top 40 over and over and over and over and over again.

Today's surprise (other than hearing Shakira's latest song twice in the span of three hours) was their latest contest: It's called Made. As in "I want to be made". The winner of the contest wins free plastic surgery! Along with the promo that I heard eight or nine times, were the commercials for the "company" providing the service for the winners. They have this girl who sounds about 16 saying things like "I hate my boobs, I want to start with them..."

Coincidentally, I downloaded the first four episodes of Season 1 of Nip/Tuck to my PSP to watch on the plane today... How fitting.

And since we're on the topic of signs of the apocalypse, Cayman experienced another earthquake yesterday. I was going to post it last night but I was just too dog-darned tired. Today I forgot about it, but aside from a few hundred referral links from some jackass online poker site were a bunch of search engine results for Cayman earthquake (From the last one in December 2004). Seeing as how this post was already entitled "The Most Recent Sign of the Apocalypse" I figured it was a good segue.

This one was only 4.5 on the Richter Scale and it happened at 8:26 in the morning, so I was out on the road on my Vespa scooter and don't recall feeling any shaking. I wonder what caused this one this time? Zac was here as far as I know... :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 5:17:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants | Travel#
Monday, July 10, 2006
"Hello, Children!"
'Hello, Chef!'
"What kind of trouble are you little maniacs getting into today?'
'Chef, we heard about this fish called a Spotted Drum and were wondering what you knew about them...'
"Well, the spotted drum is born with a looooong fin and a tiny body. As they grow up, the body grows into the fin! This means that when the drum is a juvenile (that's a baby to you and me) and an intermediate-phase (that's like a teenager) they have these long graceful fins that undulate back and forth real elegant-like!"
"They're not uncommon in the Caribbean, but it also takes a pretty good eye to find them, because the juveniles can have a body the size of your fingernail!"
"The intermediate ones can get to be about the size of a goldfish like you might have in your classroom and the adults grow to be about 6" long or so at the most."
'Chef, you're the coolest... except for that whole scientology thing, you whacko!'

More pics on Flickr from last weekend. Sunday me, A and the FNG did a shore dive at Eden Rock, and then holiday monday we went out in the afternoon with Danny of Off the Wall Divers. Most of the pictures from Sunday and Monday didn't turn out too well. Thursday night we did a night dive at Turtle Reef with Seb and then finished up with another dive Saturday afternoon from the dock in front of Sunset House and I even managed to find the Mermaid, AND get us back to the dock without peeking!

That reminds me that my gear is still outside and needs to be taken care of...
Monday, July 10, 2006 6:16:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
FORZA ITALIA! OK now that that's out of the way...
Monday, July 10, 2006 1:08:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Sports | Soccer#
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