Grand Cayman is the first port of our 110 day voyage. We were to land in Georgetown but because of high waves and little to no protection from the rough seas our captain Olav van der Waard elected to anchor at Spy bay. He apparently jumped through hoops to get this accomplished so thank you Captain Olav . Because the island is only 22 miles long by about 6 miles wide, the tour busses made the transition easily as well.
Less than 10 years ago Grand Cayman was a sleeping British Colony, it only trademarks were its peaceful way of life and its magnificent beaches. Another distinction for the island was its freedom from taxation; this was granted by King George III as a reward to the people for the rescue of everyone famous “Wrecking of Ten Ships”, which took place off the east cost of Grand Cayman in 1788. This tax exempt status has attracted over 600 banks to the island with a population of approximately 44,000. Many of the banks are indistinguishable because the majority are not “full service” but are dedicated to “off-shore banking” only. And you really can’t tell the banks from the outside. Georgetown is the capital and stands at the west end of the island. This is where the main concentration of restaurants and shops are. The island is listed among the top four diving locations in the world.
Today we’re off to Seven Mile Beach – it is undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in the world with crystal clean water. Because we’re on the other side of the island we have to wait until all the coaches are re-directed. The Caymans also have a very strong union of taxi drivers so initially we’re unable to get a complimentary bus to take people, not on tour, to the town to shop. We’re still not sure how he did it but Captain Olav managed to get several complimentary buses for his passengers and the day is saved.
Although there is no taxation, prices of items are very expensive due to import duties. $1 Cayman Island dollar is $1.25 US. So a beer on the beach is $5.00 (which is expensive for the Caribbean area).
We had a few outbursts of rain but still managed to enjoy ourselves. Gerrit went swimming and snorkelling and had great fun.