After the non-responsive port officials in Jamaica I got positively surprised by the greetings I got 10 NM of the coast of Cayman. As we had been doing great speed we arrived to Cayman on a Sunday. To arrive on Cayman on a Sunday cost 70$ more than on any other day, but there is nothing to do about that. But this really set the tone for the rest of our stay, Cayman = expensive. The tax-free money haven that Cayman has become has really pushed the prizes through the roof. But they do have free moorings.
We spent our first night in the mooring field outside of George Town (marked on the map with a red cross) and compared to Kingston’s water quality this was a swimming pool. George Town is the biggest city on the island and it reminded us more of a European city then the Caribbean. The roads are well paved, there are stop lights and walkways. There is 100000 companies registered in George Town, one would think that that creates plenty of work opportunities but most of this companies is sharing the same address and their offices isn’t bigger than a shoe box. During the day the town is crowded with cruise ship passengers. At the mooring fields, we were often accompanied by at least three ships a day.
After George Town we went around to the south side of the island for a few days. Mostly to be protected from the northerly winds during the holiday. The mooring field outside of Spotts (marked on the map with a red cross) was not a well-protected one and the waves kept rolling in from all directions. But we got in to festivities mode and created a traditional Swedish holiday on our own. We went over the top this year with home baked gingerbread and Vörtbröd homebrew Glögg, Janssons, meatballs and Röbetssallad. Easy to say we successfully ate our way through Christmas. After a couple of nights on the pretty deserted mooring field south of spots bay we headed back to George Town.
Cayman Island claims to have 365 dive sites, one for each day of the year. One of them is situated right outside the mooring field so we decided to have a look. From the surface it looked like there were small coral heads all over the bottom. When we dove down we realized that the small coral heads actually were quite big and we ended up being able to swim between them. It turned out to be a decent dive but it felt a bit like an extra one just to get the numbers up to 365.
Since the wind once more were supposed to pick up we wanted to get in to Governors Harbor (marked on the map with a red cross). Governors Harbor is a part of the man dug channel system on Grand Cayman. The main purpose of all the channels is to create more beach front property. We set of early in the mooring to be able to stop at the wreck of Doc Paulson on our way and have an amazing wreck dive with a lot of corals and fishes living in and around the old tug boat wreck.
After the dive we continued around. The north sound itself is quite shallow and Chibidarra being an old steady lady gives her a pretty deep draft of 2.35 meters so according to all the maps we couldn’t really make it unless it were high tide. We deployed Caribirra (aka the dinghy) to be in front of Chibidarra and monitoring the depth. Well it was quite nerve-racking being forced to navigating and constantly looking at the screen of the echo sounder. I occasionally saw 2.4m on the screen in the dinghy but reports from the mother ship stated 2.6 as the shallowest value. So we slowly continued towards the channel entrance. Well inside the channel it became deep again and we anchored right outside the yacht club. The water wasn’t too nice but it was a really protected spot close to supermarket and a good free Wi-Fi. We liked it. Since a couple of other boats were anchored right by us we decided to celebrate New Year’s together. I invited them (www.sailingchilli.com and @sailingintofreedom) for dessert at our place. We later went down to the beach and joined in on a bon fire when the new year arrived.
Since the wind had picked up and become favorable for kite surfing that became what we were doing the following weeks. The first two times we took the dinghy up to Barkers nature reserve (marked on the map with a yellow cross) but then we started to take the bus. Well at least we kind of tried to take the bus but we experienced that the kite community on Cayman is very good and as soon as people saw us standing with our boards by the road they were kind enough to take us either home or to the beach. The kite beach is protected by a reef that stops all the big waves without affecting the wind. The protected area between the reef and the island were waist deep and in other words perfect for beginners. We started out a bit novice but in the end of our stay all of us had made big improvements in our riding.
One could easily say that we kind of skip out on other adventures and focused on the kite surfing. There were still a couple of places (marked on the map with pink crosses) that we wanted to see. But we had to wait for the weather to allow us. Our last day in Governors Harbor the wind calmed down enough for us to be able to have a semi-comfortable dinghy ride in the sound. Our first stop were the over fed stingrays in Stingray City. We didn’t expect much but where happily surprised by the massive rays that peacefully came right up to us. The next stop where to the bioluminescence bay to see apparently one off the strongest bioluminescence in the world. That turned out to be quite neat.
The next morning we set of at high tide and at immigration we met up with Martin on Chilli again. Well it wasn’t much more than Hello and Good Bye of a very tired sailor after a 4 days solo sail from Jamaica. We set of in the afternoon and had a calm start of what would become one of our worst sails so far. This was the first time we’ve been using the reefs in the mizzen sail and when the wind picked up so did the waves. And before we know it a big one flushed us thoroughly. We took in water from above in both the saloon and in my cabin. After that we felt a bit soaked but no big harm done. Luckily the weather improved and we arrived with a smile and relief to Honduras
Over and out Anders