Fat Fish Adventures gets consistently great reviews on TripAdvisor, and now I know why! Our jet ski safari with them was one of the brightest highlights of our trip to Grand Cayman, and an experience we’ll never forget! (Note: The watercrafts were Sea-Doos, to be exact. The Fat Fish website says “Jet Ski Tour,” so for the purposes of this post I’ll sometimes say “jet ski.”)
But as I mentioned in my Grand Cayman post, I was
a little scared terrified of doing this excursion. I consider myself a fairly brave person in general, except when it comes to anything related to creatures – bugs, spiders, and certain fish. (I’m totally okay with reptiles oddly enough.) After reading reviews that said the waves were huge including a few accounts of riders flipping over, I kept imagining falling off of the jet ski into the water where I’d immediately be surrounded by all of my worst sea creature fears.
That totally didn’t happen.
Not only were the jet skis safe out on the open water, they handled well and I had so much fun on the waves! Yes, the ocean waves are a bit more choppy than the sound side of Florida where I had my first jet ski/WaveRunner experience, but I wasn’t remarkably sore the next day. And you really have to be goofing off to flip the thing over. Let me start from the beginning though – I’m going to go into a lot of detail simply because I had several questions I couldn’t find the answers to when I was researching this tour like, Do we wear flip-flops or water shoes while riding? Will my sunglasses fall off? Is there a chance I might be attacked by the one stingray who isn’t tourist-friendly? Is it easy to get back on the jet ski from the water? and I wanted to answer all of those things here (no, maybe, it didn’t seem likely, and sort of).
Since Chris and I were staying in East End with a rental car, the Fat Fish shuttle met us at a designated spot near George Town and we followed them to the dock where we’d get on the skis. The free shuttle service had already picked up the other people in our group from their respective hotels. At the dock, we were each fitted for snorkel gear and life vests, and were given a brief overview of how to drive the Sea-Doos (which is fairly easy).
Each Sea-Doo had two compartments for storing stuff – one larger one that held our snorkel gear, and one smaller one where we stashed our camera while we were riding. We all left our shoes at the dock and rode barefoot. Chris and I both wore sunglasses in attempt to keep the water from spraying us in the eyes (and it worked until we were going 50 mph on some of the bigger waves), but we tucked them into the small compartment while snorkeling. If your eyes are super sensitive or if you wear contacts, wearing a pair of goggles might be helpful. Our sunglasses stayed on our heads while riding, but obviously if you hit the waves hard enough they can fall off.
Chris and I shared a jet ski for a total of $175, and that worked out well for us. There were seven other people in our group for a total of nine people plus our tour guide, Jordan, who was awesome. He was patient with the slower riders, but also gave enough freedom to those in the pack who wanted to take things at a faster pace. And just to squash any similar fears like I had, I never felt as if I would become lost at sea. (Is that not something you were worried about? Maybe I just have an overactive imagination). We could always see Jordan or at least another rider, and more importantly I could always see land no matter where I was on the tour. We were several miles out but I could still see the shoreline, so it’s not like any scene from Open Water. And the Sea-Doos were in great condition, although one rider’s jet ski did stop working toward the end of the tour so he had to hop on with Jordan for the return trip.
We left the dock and rode along the shoreline towards the mangroves where we entered and navigated slowly through the narrow waterways. To be honest I was still a little freaked out at this point, so if Jordan was giving us any background on the mangroves I didn’t
hear him. Once we were back out in the open water, Chris cranked up the speed and we headed toward Starfish Point. As you can imagine, the further we were from the shore, the bigger the waves became. I held onto Chris for dear life for the first few minutes, but I eventually loosened my grip a little, trusting in my driver’s skills. Chris and I had already visited Starfish Point the previous day since we were close by, but this is a great way to see the fascinating little creatures (just please don’t pick them up out of the water!) especially if you’re staying in George Town. We spent maybe 10-15 minutes there.
After Starfish Point, we headed to Stingray City where upon arrival we instantly saw several huge, dark shadows gracefully gliding through the water below. I squealed like a banshee in poor Chris’s ear out of combined excitement and nervousness. The sandbar was flanked on one side by several different tour operators, various boats and groups of jet skis, but we still had our own little spot in which to interact with the stingrays away from the crowds. We hopped into the water and were surrounded by dozens upon dozens of rays, all gently swarming around the tourists begging to be fed bits of squid. Jordan brought food for us to feed the rays, and also gave us the opportunity to pet or hold a particular stingray if anyone wanted to do so (I opted to pet, not to hold). Mostly I just tried not to step on one, and we made several attempts at getting photo/video. The rays do brush up against your legs, but it’s sweet and not creepy, although I did squeal again.
Our last stop included a short time at a snorkeling site near Rum Point. I’m pretty sure the spot is called Coral Gardens and our time there could have been longer, but it was incredibly fun for the 15-20 minutes that we were given. I don’t know if they always stop at the same place, but this spot was about 15 feet deep, clear water with healthy coral. I didn’t get to take many pictures, but we did see parrot fish, sergeant majors, tangs, wrasses, and other juvenile fish. My understanding is that the afternoon/1pm tour allows for more time at each stop (plus a stop at at a bar & restaurant in Rum Point, pictured below – we went there another time on our own) and we had actually originally booked that tour, but we had to reschedule for a morning tour on another day due to Chris coming down with a case of food poisoning. Fat Fish’s customer-service was outstanding – not only were they able to accommodate us on another tour, they sent emails expressing concern for Chris and offered him well-wishes to get better! Oh and side-note, getting on and off the jet ski is easy enough at each of the spots – I did have to muster up some upper-body strength to climb back on at the snorkel spot where my feet didn’t touch the bottom of the water. If you’re worried about being able to pull yourself up, you could always ride with a partner so you’ll have help.
And just for some additional visual support, here’s a video of our Grand Cayman trip where a good portion of it shows our time on the Fat Fish tour. If you have any questions about any of it, please feel free to comment below or send me an email. I’d be happy to help!