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Private Boat Charter Adventures in the Cayman Islands

Mangrove Tour.

Project Description

Crystal Charters Cayman

Eco Tour Grand Cayman

An Educational Tour of Grand Cayman’s Most Valued Ecosystem

eco tour Grand Cayman

Slow 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.

Plan Your Adventure

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


C Handley
C Handley
23:45 15 Oct 19
We had the best time as Sheldon and Mikey gave us the tour of a lifetime. They were approachable and professional as they guided us to see the stingrays, eels and starfish. They made a special stop for us on Rum Point so that we could see a part of the island we had not experienced. Hats off to our friends at Crystal Charters. Thanks for a great day!read more
Michael Kirchner
Michael Kirchner
20:47 15 Oct 19
We had a great day on the 45 foot boat with Sheldon and Mikey. We didn’t think we needed to feed the stingrays, but we had a great time there. Mikey introduced us to a stingray that he has been friends with for many years. We went snorkeling in several locations and saw beautiful fish and a moray eel. They also took us to Rum Point and Starfish Beach. They were very relaxed and not concerned about time. Sheldon was an excellent captain as well. Crystal Charters was very easy to work with. We highly recommend them.read more
Colleen Lex
Colleen Lex
16:55 01 Oct 19
What an amazing experience Crystal Charters, Captain Sheldon and crew provided for our group of 14. We booked directly through them instead of an excursion through the Disney cruise and it did not disappoint. We visited Stingray City, Star Fish Beach, coral reefs and a great local lunch spot. Sheldon had the forethought and experience to order our lunch prior to arrival so we didn't have to wait when we got to the beach restaurant, allowing us more time for our snorkeling experience. We had 8 children with us ages 6-14 and I was incredibly impressed with the level of attention the crew paid to ensuring their safety as well as a memorable experience. The crew was mindful of the well being of the environment, sting rays, reef and starfish as well, reminding the kids not to take starfish out of the water etc.. We had plenty of room on the boat, cold bottled water was provided and their was a small store at the marina where we were able to purchase some snacks and adult beverages which we were invited to bring on board. The charter also provided squid to feed the stingray and showed us how to properly do so. They created a lifetime of wonderful memories for our families. I would recommend this charter for adult groups or families!read more
Kelly Lynch
Kelly Lynch
22:21 27 Aug 19
The 1st time we took this leg of the Disney Cruise 2 years ago, we opted to find our own charter options vs. going with the Disney Cruise excursion options. We were lucky enough to find Chrystal Charters and they did not disappoint! This 2nd time we of course went back to Crystal Charters and had another great time. Our guide Duncan and his 1st mate Cassie were AWESOME!!! We had a great time the the stingrays and starfish and they took us to a great local place for lunch. Thank you Crystal Charters for a great time in the Caymans! You're the BEST!read more
Lois Robbins
Lois Robbins
01:12 27 Aug 19
Crystal Charters is awesome!!! On a recent trip to Grand Cayman we booked a half day Excursion with Crystal Charters. The crew was amazing! There were 15 of us including children. They made sure all of us had everything we needed. They took us to Stingray city and then on to snorkel.. our day could not have been betterread more
Krystal Dry
Krystal Dry
18:42 24 Aug 19
We had a great 4 hour tour with Duncan and Cass that was fun for everyone in our group - from ages 3 to grandparents. First we went to Stingray City and played with the gentle giants, then we were off to a beautiful beach for lunch, then off to see and hold the starfish. Even though we didn’t have the best weather, we had a GREAT time, and highly recommend this company to anyone.read more

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