During our trip to Grand Cayman, we had the most amazing and unique educational experience we’ve ever encountered in our entire lives–a bioluminescent boat tour run by an incredibly knowledgeable and loving couple, Tom and Lisha Watling. They are the owners and operators of Cayman Kayaks.
If you are planning a trip to Grand Cayman, this experience is a must for children ages 5-105!
I must preface this by saying my 17-year-old son was with us on this trip and decided he was going to pass on this excursion, wanting to stay back at the hotel and relax for the evening. I didn’t want to give my children a lot of details about where we were going, so my ambiguity did not help with persuasion. Therefore, I had to do what parents often do–I told my son he didn’t have a choice–suck it up–you’re coming with us! Reluctanly, he obliged.
We took a shuttle from our hotel to Rum Point, about a 40 minute drive and arrived on time for our 7:00 pm tour.
We had two choices when booking with Cayman Kayaks–the kayak tour or the eco-catamaran, the custom designed electric powered boat, which was made to protect the fragile bay environment where these magical microorganisms live. We are,to this day, thrilled with making the choice to ride on the boat because we could fully focus on listening to Tom, and experience the many activities he had planned for us to interact with the microorganisms, rather than worrying about our mediocre kayaking skills. The boat was extremely comfortable, and offered such a lulling tranquility on the sea under the stars.
Tom’s depth of knowledge regarding bioluminescence and the Cayman Islands is absolutely profound. He not only educated us about the sparkling creatures under the sea, but about the multitude of constellations we were so blessed to observe in the vast night sky. We could clearly view the band of the milky way, thousands of stars, and numerous planets. I think we counted fourteen shooting stars that evening!
Because pyrodinium Bahamanse illuminate like fireflies in the darkness of moving water, we had to let our eyes adjust quite some time before experiencing the magic. Photography is highly discouraged in order to optimize viewing. At first I was a bit disappointed that I would not be able to capture these moments digitally, but putting the camera down made it one of the best experiences of my life. Knowing that there are only a few bioluminescent bays in the world, it actually gave me time to reflect on how much of life is missed by the overuse of technology and allowed my family to share a deep bonding experience like we have not had in quite a long time.
On the shuttle ride back to the hotel, Adam told Brooke that the experience had changed his life: 1. What he had studied in his biology class was actually applicable and gave him great background knowledge to truly appreciate all he learned this evening, as it came to life right in front of his eyes. 2. He had never in his life met someone like Tom, and aspires to emanate his wisdom and kindness towards humanity and nature. 3. He learned that choosing a career based on your passion is the only option for true happiness in life.
So playing the mom knows best card…..I’m quite glad I forced him to come along.
We cannot thank Tom enough for his wisdom and deep appreciation of this natural phenomenon. This is truly an experience you cannot miss if you visit Grand Cayman.
Have you ever experienced a bioluminescent tour? If so, where? If not, we’d highly recommend this tour if visiting the Cayman Islands.
All Photos credited to Cayman Kayaks unless of our family.