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Cayman Blog from The Reef Resort in Grand Cayman

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Too rent a car or not ? That is the question.

Apologies to William Shakespeare… but anyway, the answer is a big YES!

Hi, and welcome to my first “Concierge Column”, be gentle with me, this is my first blog !

Many guests ask the concierge, “Should we rent a car?”.

I say ; “Well, it depends on how you want to spend your vacation. If you want to stay on the resort and “Chill” for your entire vacation then perhaps you don’t need a car. On the other hand if you want to visit other restaurants in the area or to see some other great sights of Grand Cayman such as Rum Point or Pedro’s Castle then you will need a car. There is limited public transportation on this side of the island at a variable schedule. The public bus sticks mainly to the major roads which could leave you with a long walk from the drop off point. The other tidbit to note about the bus, is that it runs only during the daytime hours. There are taxis on the island but they are in most cases more costly then a rental car. To put it plainly, for the cost one taxi to Georgetown and back and one taxi to dinner and back you could have a rental car for an entire 7 days. “

Boy, that was a long “spiel”, but you get the idea… rent a car ! :) Hey it’s quite at our end of the island, if you are not sure whether to drive on the left or the right (umm.. it’s the left), we just say “drive in the middle” :)

Seriously though, the concierge team here at The Reef has connections and special rates with car rental companies in Grand Cayman so before you arrive contact us about your car rental options, simply email us at

Cayman Rose & Ms. Sheila

This is a lovely and ongoing story (see blog Jan 6, 2006) that illustrates why so many of our repeat guests and owners feel that they are “family” at The Reef.

The lovely little girl in the picture is called Cayman Rose, and yes, she was named that after her parents love for Cayman.

After their visit this spring, Cayman Rose’s proud Dad sent this picture down for us to give to our gardener, Miss Sheila (pictured), along with this message (edited only to remove family names) :

To: Sheila, Cayman Rose wants to thank you from bottom of her little pretty heart for the special flowers you gave her each morning during her stay. She learned to say “They are so beautiful”. Everyone at The Reef makes our whole family feel so at home. We are so fortunate to be owners of “The Reef”. Thank you again Sheila, you are so sweet. CaymanRose’s Dad

Coconut Ice Cream Recipe, As Requested!!

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream Ingredients:

1/2 cup young coconut jelly
1/4 cup grated coconut (toasted if you like)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs with a hand held mixer until thickened and pale yellow.

Beat in the cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

Combine the half-and-half with the coconut milk in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Remove from the heat and slowly beat the hot liquid into the eggs and sugar.

Briefly rinse your saucepan and rub dry with paper towel or cloth. Pour the eggs, sugar, etc mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.

Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, about five minutes, then stir in the coconut, heavy cream and vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate until cold (about 5 hours) or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Enjoy it!!

Beach Fitness at The Reef.

We have added another wonderful fitness activity here at The Reef -Beach Fitness. Not only are you having fun, but you’re getting a great work out too!! Classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am -10am. She requires a minimum of 5 people signed up for the workout. The cost is a mere $15 per person, per class or $30 for the whole week!! Sonjia is a burst of energy and will make sure you are getting a great workout as well having loads of fun!! When you come down make sure to see either of our concierges, Ethel or Leona, and reserve your spot for the week!

Coconuts 101!!

Here are some pictures of some of our owners enjoying a sample of the coconut water as well as the jelly. Our own Mr. Clair came along with his trusty machete and chopped down some coconuts to share his knowledge and the wonderful flavours of the coconut.

Did you know that a coconut has many uses?? Let me name a few of them. The water is used for drinking, and is excellent chilled as well as right out of the coconut. Here in Grand Cayman it is said that it also offers medicinal solutions to minor infections.

The nut shell (the part that holds the meat)of the coconut has been used for various things, including a drinking cup, or bowl. The most recent use that I have seen is as a base for scented candles!!

The husk (the stringy part of the dried coconut ) was very often used for scrubbing the floors to make them shine (then along came “Mr. Clean”!!). But we also use it here as a natural deterrent to mosquitoes. Basically we use the dried husk of the coconut, and burn it, and the odor keeps the mosquitoes away. Its amazing!

The “meat” of the coconut can be used for many different things depending on its texture. A young coconut where the meet is only jelly, can be eaten raw or if anyone likes, I have a GREAT recipe for a homemade coconut ice cream, mine doesn’t even get to really freeze before its finished!! Then when the meat is more firm, but still soft, it’s used for making coconut drops (candy) and a variety of other candy items. Then there is when the coconut is hard and dry, that meat is what is grated, and that’s what you can buy in the store as coconut flakes. It is also the harder meat that is used in the process of making coconut oil milk and coconut oil.

I think that’s enough about the coconut! Thanks for reading!!

New York Direct with Cayman Air!!

You read correctly!! Starting on June 23, 2007, Cayman Airways will once again be flying direct to New York City. The best part? The introductory fare is US$388 ROUND TRIP(taxes not included), as long as tickets are purchased before April 15, 2007.

The airline plans to offer flights thrice weekly as follows.

JFK to Grand Cayman:- Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays departing at 9am.

Grand Cayman to JFK:- Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 4:00pm

Have a look at for more information and to book your flights!!

Spirit Air & Ocho Valentino

“Meet Ocho Valentino
Setting hearts on fire with low fares!
Romance is in the air and Ocho Valentino makes it more affordable to plan a special getaway! Plan a trip for you and your sweetheart or with family and friends with fares from $8* each way based on roundtrip purchase. Taxes, Fees & Restrictions Apply. “
Book Your Next Trip ››

Spirit is doing it again!!! They are offering that wonderful US$8 airfare from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman. Fare is based on a roundtrip purchase and certain taxes and restrictions do apply. The fare is valid on the following dates from Fort Lauderdale 02/10/07, 02/17/07, 02/18/07, 02/24/07. There is one main catch of course, tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm tonight (Jan. 31, 2007). So if the winter weather is getting to you, take a look at to book your seats, pack your bathing suits and come on down. We look forward to seeing you soon!!

Hello from Calgary!!

Hello everyone!! This is my first blog from the great white north!! Just in case some of you have forgotten, I am in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) A lot has happened in the past few months, a few which I wish to just forget, a few which will follow me for life, but school is great. The teachers are excellent, public transport is great, it only takes me 20 mins to school. For shopping and such, well, that’s another story!! Was thinking about getting a car, but as I have never driven on icy roads, decided against it!!. Oh, and by the way..I’M LOVING THE COLD!! It took some getting used to at first, but I think I have acclimated pretty well (yes I know it will get colder!!). As promised, I have included pictures of my first snowman!! This was harder than I thought, as it all looked sooooo easy on tv u know, but I discovered that picking up a snow man sized ball isn’t as easy as it looks!!! No worries, in the end, I accomplished the task, and for my first one, I must say I did a great job!! The snow was only about 8-10 inches deep, but it was a great experience.

I will blog more later. I will be attending the Presidents Ball at the university on Thursday Nov. 9th. I won the ticket for being one of the top employees ( I work part time as well), so that is all exciting. I will post photos in a few days. I am also looking forward to more snow (I know I know, I must be sick!! LOL), but don’t forget, I am not driving, so I don’t have to deal with the car not starting, or the traffic on the road. I just sit nicely on the bus/c-train, and let them do the driving. I just loving watching the snow fall, it so beautiful. Ok everyone, thanks for reading!!

Farewell Reef Resort, Owners and Past Guests!!

Today – Friday July 14, 2006 – is my last day here at The Reef Resort. I have had a memorable 2.5 years here, and it hurts my heart to leave. Yet, I am happy as I will be leaving to further my education. They all think I am nuts here, as I am going to be studying in Canada. Basically, leaving the warmth for the cold. But I am sure I will manage, and besides, I love challenges!! Also looking forward to being a student again.

Even though I will be physically leaving The Reef, the memories will always follow me wherever I go. Especially Phil’s daily phone messages, or Leona’s artsy crafty days, and of course Castro as well. I’m gonna miss watching the crew at the bar on a Sunday, and I will definitley miss helping guests plan their vacation. Speaking of which, my replacements will be Shankino Ebanks, Nelesa Connoly, and a lot of you are already familiar with Leona Baker!! They are more than capable on helping you plan your vacation, so don’t hesitate to email them at
I have also gotten to know many of the owners here at the resort, and will definitely miss seeing you all each year. All I can say is that I will be back!! I will come home for summer break and maybe winter as well, but this year, I am looking forward to experiencing my first white Christmas!! Looking forward to building my first snowman, and throwing my first snowball!! If it’s ok with The Reef, I would like to blog on my first snow experience!!

So, farewell my friends, but do not be disheartened, as the memories will continue to live on!!

New Attraction to the East End??

This is a Cuban refugee boat that arrived on the island about 2 weeks ago. It had some damage, and had ran aground, and thus was surrendered. It has been rescued by some locals from the district of East End( my mom and stepdad actually!!). It has taken them 3 consecutive days to get the boat off of the shore, into the water and then onto the trailer. I am glad I was just the photographer, that boat ways a ton!!!

Many thoughts are flying on how to make it a local attraction. It is something you have to really see with your own eyes!! I will definitely keep tabs on this, and update the blog accordingly!!. This will be a great new popular attraction !!

Anyways, gotta go now , camera in hand, photos to follow!!

Drum Roll Please…

… Fosters Food Fair is NOW OPEN.

This comes as great news to the districts of East End and North Side. After many months of anticipation, Fosters Food Fair (across the street from us) will be officially opening their doors today, April 21, 2006. Now our guests, as well as us locals, will be able to do their grocery shopping right across the street, instead of back in George Town!!

And as if that wasn’t enough good news, there is an added bonus….(another drum roll please!!)….There will be a Cayman National Bank ATM set up there as well. That should be completed by the end of next week!!! That is REALLY big news for this end of the island. We are all so excited!!!!

Check back soon for more detailed updates!!

Sports Day

Just keeping you in touch with what is going on in the community. Over the past month the different primary schools have been having their “sports day”. Many parents take off an hour or two, or even the full day, to go watch their child “compete” within their school. Granted, everyone sees it more as fun than competition though!! The above photos were taken at the North Side Primary School Sports Day, which was held at The Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town. It was a great event, activities ranging from bean bag races, to 800 metre races!! Exciting to say the least!! This week the “Inter-School Sports Day” is being held. This is where the top winners of the different primary schools compete with each other, I guess you could call this “Nationals!! ” In any event, it was a fun day for the kids, a nice break before their exams!!.

Castro has left the building………..

But no worries, he is in the very capable hands of Gerald Dilbert. Gerry will be opening an aviary/parrot Jungle within a few months. He will have 1 acre of land under netting so that Castro and his new found friends can fly to their heart’s content!! Gerry said he was taking Castro home to meet a female bird, her name is Cheetah!!. I will go visit him later this week, to take pictures of him in his new home, and will of course blog them for you all to see. Since the aviary is not yet ready, Gerry has built a temporary aviary behind his house where he will keep Castro and the rest of his birds.
We are all excited for Castro, as now he has the opportunity to meet friends of his own, of course he has “people friends”, but he was lacking in “bird friends”!! He will be greatly missed by the staff and the owners of the resort, but the good thing is that the aviary will be located behind the Frank Sound Fire Station, near the Mastic Trail . So in reality he is only 15 minutes away!!

Annual Agriculture Fair

This was an exciting event as usual. This took place on Ash Wednesday. It’s a day for all of the local crafters and farmers to come out and display their goods for sale. There were also booths where they sell local food, cooked the good old Caymanian way!!! Things like cassava cake, stewed turtle and a whole lot more!! This is a great stop for visitors to the island, to get to know the culture a little more. They also had activities to keep the kids entertained, like cake walks, and horseback riding. It’s a fun event for the whole family!!

The Sun, the Sea and…..Stingrays!!

For those of you who have not yet visited us here in Grand Cayman, the sandbar at Stingray City is a MUST do. Our trip goes out every Tuesday afternoon. For those of you who think you wont get in the water, no worries, you can see them as clear as day just sitting on the boat (I should know as it took me my second trip before I got in!!). Nothing to be afraid of though, as Leona puts it, they are like great big tame cats!! Just remember to let go of the bait otherwise you’ll get a stingray hickey from the suction!!

A new addition to The Reef is “Leona’s World of Art”. Leona, our activities director, is seen here painting her new arts & crafts room. Behind this door lies all kinds of crafty ideas, from painting to making refridgerator magnets . She does a variety of crafts with the guests from Tuesday through Friday. Make sure when you come down you sign your kids (and kids at heart) up for a few days of arts & crafts!! :o )

Fish Feeding on the Dock

Feeding the fish is a fun, new activity here at The Reef. This project was started by John Peart (one of the gardeners), Michel (one of our F & B servers), and John Eden (one of our concierges). It usually draws quite a crowd!! The photos do not give the proper visual, but the fish swarm in to the food, whether it is squid, bread or lettuce. Fun to watch!! We get tarpon, as well as a variety of smaller fish enjoying the leftover goodies….
So, whenever you get here, and you hear a whistle blowing in the afternoon, fear not, as that would be the call for anyone interested in watching/feeding the fish, to head out to the dock!! Make sure you find yourself there at least one afternoon!! It’s a show NOT to be missed.

Happy Holiday!! :o )

Vacation Chill Pills!!

Everyone is in the Christmas Spirit!! Here is Annette, who works at the Front Desk, displaying her “Chill Pills”!! These were a great hit with the guests (and the staff as well). The bowl was full, and was emptied within an hour or so!!! Most of you know these “Chill Pills” as Christmas Coloured M & M’s!! Great way to decorate the desk, and satisfy chocolate cravings at the same time!! Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Grocery Store and so much more!!

We are all excited here at The Reef, as the hopes and dreams of having a supermarket out on this end again is fast becoming a reality. The Morrits plans on having the structure completed within the next 3 months, but we are all hoping that Fosters Food Fair will at least come out sooner. It is also rumored that there will be a Pizza Place, a Car Rental agency, as well as a souvenir shop, amongst other stores. This strip mall is a great addition to the district!! Will keep you updated as the names of the stores are confirmed.

Have a great day!!

Busy week for the kids and Leona!

It’s been a busy week for the activities director. Leona has been bombarded with kids from all ages. So far she has done 2 days of t-shirt painting and today the kids are doing deco-podge with cigar boxes, and there will probably be another arts and crafts day tomorrow!! This photo shows a few of the kids wearing their hand painted t-shirts of yesterday and decorating their cigar boxes, looks like fun!!
Last night (Wednesday) was karaoke night, took a little while for the crowd to warm up, but once they did, boy did we all have fun. Karaoke was also led by our activities director, Leona Baker – the tallest one in the photo :o )