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While waiting for our tour to meet, I stopped by a bar and grille right near the port of entry named The Green Parrot. I decided to try one of their traditional Caribbean meat pies and washed it down with a local beer called Caybrew. The Green Parrot also serves jerk chicken and "Parrot Burgers." Being a parrot owner, I really hope Parrot Burger is just a name for their hamburger, and not a description of the main ingredient. The meat pie was very good, and the beer was cold and refreshing. While consultants from Germany helped design the local brewery, Caybrew tastes more like an American macrobrew than anything found in Germany. However, given the Cayman Islands' hot climate, that's probably not such a bad thing.

Our tour started in the main plaza just beyond the port of entry. After a short walk, we boarded a tiny bus and headed to the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory. Tortuga Rum Cakes are the Cayman Islands' number one export, and their factory is a great place to visit. They not only offer free samples of their delicious cakes, but also five different flavors of Tortuga Rum.

 

Their mango flavored rum was my favorite, but all of them were very good. Some people seemed to have difficulties picking their favorite flavor of rum, because they kept sampling the same few flavors over and over again. Remember, this rum is offered only for sampling, and if you really like it, just buy a bottle from their duty-free shop. Their shop also has t-shirts, shot glasses, cooking sauces, rum-flavored coffee, and of course rum cakes.

After squeezing back into our little bus, we headed out for a drive around the island. We passed by many resorts, the governor's mansion, and the famous Seven Mile Beach on our way to Hell...which is the name of a small town. This town gets its name from a unique geological formation which early visitors believed looked like Hell. After taking some pictures of the hellish terrain, we visited a small giftshop where I bought some Hot Sauce from Hell. Another popular activity here it to send friends and relatives a postcard from Hell, complete with an appropriately named postmark.


Our next stop was the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. This turtle farm breeds and releases a variety of sea turtles including the Kemp's Ridley, which is the smallest and most critically endangered of all sea turtles. The Cayman Island Turtle Farm was originally built in the 1960s as a for-profit enterprise selling sea turtle products. Green Sea Turtle meat is the national dish of the Cayman Islands, and over harvesting drove local populations to near extinction.

Following the designation of the Green Sea Turtle as an endangered species by several countries and international organizations, the Cayman Island government took over the failing turtle farm and turned it into a tourist attraction and research facility.

The farm still sells turtle meat, but since the government took control, over 30,000 Green Sea Turtles have been released into the wild, and anyone caught poaching wild turtles or turtle eggs risks prison time. This farm obviously isn't an ideal solution, but at least it seems to have saved the Cayman Islands' Green Sea Turtle population from extinction.

After leaving the turtle farm we drove back to the cruise port and took a tender back to our ship.

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