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Cushion Stars in the shallow waters at Starfish Beach, Grand Cayman
While there may be more famous and prolific "starfish" beaches in other parts of the world, I am more than content with Grand Cayman's own little Starfish Beach just down the street from our home. There is no guarantee that you will find any of the large orange Cushion Stars "sunning" themselves in the shallows, but I have been able to come across them more often then not. If out exploring Rum Point and the Eastern Districts or having lunch at the Kaibo Yacht Club, be sure to set aside some time to hunt for starfish.
Please remember, Cushion Starfish are living organisms and are protected in this Marine Replenishment Zone on the North Sound. These beautiful, but fragile creatures should not be handled or removed from the water. Take enjoyment from observing them in their natural, unmolested state. The more they get handled they less they visit. Yes, you will pick them up to look at them, everybody does; but please be a conscientious admirer and let them be after your investigation.
*** PLEASE NOTE: The Ivory Kai peninsula entranceway is/may be closed to the public. If this is the case when visiting, you will need to walk along the beach (look for a nearby lot to park) or visit by boat. ***
LOCATION DETAILS (19°21'22.07"N 81°17'0.38"W): To reach this tranquil spot, follow posted or written/map directions to Rum Point on the North Side. Just prior to the Rum Point Club "barrels" entrance sign you will see a large posted sign for the Kaibo Yacht Club and Restaurant, make a left onto Water Cay Rd. Follow Water Cay Rd. for 1 mile and make a right at split, towards Kaibo Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant. Take road to end (Kaibo will be on your left), you will soon see the entrance to the idle development of Ivory Sands at Ivory Kai Point. Follow the paved entrance road down the palm tree lined promenade to its end. There is a lip of asphalt down to the sand of a few inches where the pavement ends, so slow down and take one of the sand road trails towards the water and find a parking space. I usually head to the left, and park near the spit of sand at the head of the point.
If you reached this, you missed the left turn off Rum Point/Sand Pointe Rd. to Water Cay Rd.
Follow the signs towards Kaibo, bear right
Entrance to the stalled development - Ivory Sands at Ivory Kai Point. If the entrance is closed-off, park in the cleared lot to the left and walk along the public beach to the point.
Drive on through the covered entrance This entrance is now sometimes gated and locked.
Head down the palm-tree-lined promenade (look out for fallen trees)
Pick a Parking Spot (look out for all the trash)
Make your way towards the spit of sand at the point
Also a great place to watch the sunset and enjoy a nice bottle of wine
Join in the search for starfish
If the main entrance is closed-off, park in the cleared lot by the pine trees at the far end of this picture and walk along the beach. Starfish can be found in both the sandy and grassy shallows.
Some days there are quite a few, other times not a creature to be found
Wagering on the fastest starfish is a favorite past-time
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Starting from the point of sand, head in either direction searching the shallows for dark spots that look like they might be starfish. The floor of the sound is sand and turtle grass, so bare feet or reef shoes are fine for wading. If you cannot locate any close to shore, you may have to wade out a little ways. Out by the point of sand, the drop-off is very steep, but if you snorkel I have usually been able to find some starfish where the base of the sand meets the grass on the sound floor. The waters around the point are a nursery area for stingrays and many species of fish. So keep one eye focused on the water for interesting marine life and the other focused to the sky for some friendly (hungry) terrestrial ones as well...This poor little birdcage escapee came looking for some food
Close-up of a Cushion Star
Great spot for a sunset viewing as well