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Private Boat Charters in the Cayman Islands
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Project Description

Eco Tour Grand Cayman

An Educational Tour of Grand Cayman’s Most Valued Ecosystem

eco tour Grand CaymanSlow cruising through the red mangrove forest as the sun begins to set is the perfect way to end any day. These mangroves play a vital role in our ecosystem and are essential for the islands well-being. During your eco tour of the mangroves, our educated captains will teach you and the little ones all about our ecosystem as we journey through these enchanting forests.

What are Mangroves?

Mangroves are groups of trees and shrubs that live in saltwater and can only be found growing along tropical coastlines. They have an intricate root system, called prop roots that look a lot like tentacles giving the trees a very exquisite look. These striking roots are often submerged in the water, while the rest of the tree lives above the water line. This structure makes for a very unique habitat for all different kinds of island wildlife.

Why Mangroves matter?

“If there are no mangrove forests, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea.”

Mangroves provide the foundation for the food chain that feeds all marine life found in the Cayman Islands. They act as an important nursery area for small fish and invertebrates. The roots provide a shelter like sanctuary to protect these fish from hungry predators while also providing a rich source of food – creating an ideal environment for these juveniles to grow and thrive. The waters of Cayman are teeming with vast aquatic wildlife because of the essential functions these mangroves provide.

As you travel around the Cayman Islands you will find yourself surrounded by crystal- clear waters – this is thanks to the unique and complex root system of the mangroves which filter out sediment and other pollutants. This amazing root system also helps prevent shoreline erosion, protects against coastal storms by reducing the impacts of waves and distributes important nutrients for surrounding ecosystems.

Mangrove wood is resistant to rot making it great for creating furniture, building boats, houses and fishing gear for the surrounding coastal communities. Medicinal plants can also be found within the mangrove ecosystems which communities use for their healing properties.

Red Mangroves

All plants need fresh water to live but not the red mangroves, they make it themselves! Adaptation allows them to desalinate seawater through reverse osmosis—taking in water and leaving the salt behind.
Another distinct feature of the red mangroves is that they actually grow in the water. When it comes to reproduction, mangrove trees do it like no other. The red mangroves have very large seeds which is actually a small plant with roots that are already growing. When it falls from the parent tree it can grow on the muddy sediments below the tree or float in open water for many months until the roots find a suitable spot to grow.

Black mangroves

These grow where there is shallow water during high tides. Since they thrive in shallow waters, their roots are modified to act as snorkels to help the plants breathe since the soil is normally too thick. Unlike their red counterparts, the black mangrove does not have the salt excursion technology but passes out the salt through salt glands on the leaves. You can actually see the salt crystals forming on the upper parts of the leaves, or if you don’t have a keen eye, you can always give it a taste!

White mangrove

This is the distant cousin of the mangrove family since it normally grows on dry land. White mangrove trees have straight trunks covered Sulphur yellow lichen which makes it appear pale at a distance.

Learn about Biodiversity in the Mangroves on our Eco Tour

After learning how this magnificent mangrove forest provides an extensive food web and shelter from predators, it comes as no surprise to discover wildlife of all kinds thriving within this environment. This complex ecosystem provides a home for iguanas, parrots, juvenile sea turtles, crabs, mussels, snails, shrimp and a variety of fish, bird and insect species. Here you will also find some of the most unique species of aquatic wildlife that include: octopi, sea horses, starfish, floating sea anemones, orange sponges and even upside down jellyfish! The mangrove forest is a dream come true for all nature and animal lovers!

Adventures


Shane Myers
Shane Myers
13:29 24 Aug 22
We were on a 7-day cruise and this excursion was the highlight of our entire trip. Can't quite put into words the experience but will say it was AMAZING!!! Swimming with wild sting rays, snorkeling... the reef, walking around Star Fish Point, all in 3 hours, was the perfect day and memories. DO NOT take the tour boats that pack in tons of people. This is well worth the extra money to have your own personal experience and you get to take in so much more of what Capt Vernon has to share with you. He was so knowledgeable about the sting rays and was able to find all kinds of sea creatures while snorkeling. Can't say enough good things about this trip.On a side note, I'm sometimes a little nervous on some of these islands and not knowing what you're getting into but I felt safe and secure which really makes it more enjoyable. It was just my daughter and me so I did appreciate the professionalism, safety and quality of the Captain and the boat.read more
David Begley
David Begley
18:15 02 Aug 22
Great experience with captain Vernon. He snorkeled with our 8 year old at the barrier reef and made her feel really safe. Even got to see a sea turtle for good measure. Really good value if you want... a private charter but don’t want to spend a ton of money.read more
lc reece
lc reece
02:19 26 Jun 22
Our trip was postponed in March 2020 so this day was a long time coming! We loved our boat, our crew and our whole experience. We didn’t estimate our arrival time correctly due the difference in... ship time vs local time but our crew came a half hour early to accommodate us so we didn’t have to wait too long. Oz and Joseph were both personable and fun. We had three generations with us and they were great at connecting with both our young adult kids as well as our parents. Our daughter was hesitant to get near the stingray but ended up kissing and holding her! Oz used the perfect amount of encouragement and persistence in getting her to do it. And she was so pleased that she did! Loved seeing the mangroves, snorkeling and the beach bar. Beach bar was great! The bartenders were personable and the beach beautiful! Not the best time to fish but we managed to catch a couple which was great fun for our older daughter! Starfish point was wonderful and we were treated to some delicious wings. Then to top it off, our younger daughter got to be the captain for a part of the ride back! She LOVED it! As we got close to the dock Oz called for our taxi and entertained us by driving amongst the beautiful homes so we didn’t have to wait on the hot dock. This was a very memorable day for our whole family. We appreciate the professionalism and the fun! Fantastic!read more
Yvonne Cumpian
Yvonne Cumpian
15:35 06 Aug 20
My husband and I, along with another couple used Crystal Charters highly recommended by my brother!! This was the best private charter and the captain we had was Canyon; he and his partner were... amazing!!read more
Crystal Lynch
Crystal Lynch
00:59 28 Apr 20
From our initial phone call inquiring about services to coordinate with our cruise ship arrival to our actual boating day, Crystal Charters provided all around top notch service. Alex and Ricky made... our 4 hour outing one to remember. Our family of 3, including our young daughter, were made to feel in good hands especially in the middle of a sudden rain storm on our way to Sting Ray Point. We realized once at Sting Ray Point that we had a special crew when they would find sting rays and bring them to us to enjoy and hold. Other charter groups were left on their own and it was clear while a fun experience for those groups, our experience was a bit more special.Thank you Crystal Charters! We are counting the days until our return to Grand Cayman and another Crystal Charters outing.read more
Kin Lee
Kin Lee
10:17 18 Mar 20
The best way to angle. Our Captain Michael was pleasant and the most supportive chief. He is the best.!!! The Get Hooked Characters is the best approach! Much obliged to you Captain Michael .

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