Cayman Time

Cayman Blog from The Reef Resort in Grand Cayman

Category: Cayman News

Pirates Week (Opening Weekend)

ARGHHHH the pirates have taken over the entire island.

This weekend marked the beginning of the festival and it was a blast for all who participated. Friday night was the fireworks show and George Town was completely filled with families and children who came out to enjoy the show. Food was abundant as the smell of Conch, Fish, and Jerk Chicken filled the air. After the fireworks came the street dance. This was a blast as George Town harbour was completely closed to traffic and people were definitely in the festive spirit and “wining down da place”.

Saturday marked the Pirates landing in George Town aboard their pirate ship. After their mock capturing of George Town, the float parade commenced. The atmosphere was jovial as the sound of soca and steel band music kept everyone moving and grooving. After the parade was another street dance, this one included a performance by world renowned Soca artist Shirwayne Winchester. The crowd was rocking to all of his hits straight to midnight.

This was only the first two days folks. Stay tuned as i will be bringing you more reports from the District Days celebration.

Glasgow wins bid for Commonwealth Games 2014


Ok, so this is big news in Scotland today, Glasgow won the bidding for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 today.

What does that have to do with Cayman, you ask ? Well… Cayman is a Commonwealth country and always sends a solid representative team in numerous sports… but the honest answer is that this blog is another more personal one. You see, I am a Caymanian (and proud of it), but also proud to be originally from Scotland. Put those two together and I am excited that Cayman will be sending a team to compete in Scotland in 2014. I’ll be there, you can count on it !

For those of you who are not from Commonwealth countries, the Commonwealth Games are held every four years, in the middle of each Olympic cycle. They are similar to the Olympic games, with some key points being :
- 71 nations
- Make up of member nations based on the British Commonwealth, so that means (say, for swimming) Australia is there as a world power in the sport, but not the USA
- A large number of African and Caribbean nations, so track and field is very strong at Commonwealth Games
- Sports represented are very similar to the Olympics, but also include some that are well represented in Commonwealth countries, such as Squash and Rugby 7s (both of which Cayman has sent teams for in the past).

For more information, visit the Glasgow 2014 site… and if you are in Scotland right now, head to Glasgow tonight, there is going to be one amazing party !

Cayman Islands Turtle Tri – soon come !

As you might expect from a country with year round warm weather, gorgeous ocean waters and a pretty flat geography, Cayman has a buoyant community of triathletes. Coming up soon (Sunday November 25th) is the annual running of the Cayman Turtle Triathlon , a great event and worth coming down to the 7MB Public Beach to see.

Last year my family volunteered to help out at the event, and we had the bright idea to enter a family team this year. No, they have no category for family teams, but hey, it’s just for fun.

So… I thought, no problem, my oldest son can do the swim, my wife the run, and I can do the bike…. I had no idea that the bike was 25 miles !!

My son is a competitive swimmer so should be out of the water in a little over 20 minutes, my wife will do the 10k run in under 50 minutes…. but 25 miles on the bike ? Yikes ! So.. a little while after last year’s race I headed out on my old mountain bike and did a 10 mile ride… in 40 minutes… this was looking bad, very bad… I could take about 2 hours to do that Triathlon ride… they’d be sending out search parties ! Add to that the embarrassment of having such a fast lead swimmer that I’d be one of the first guys out on the bike, then seeing pretty much the entire field overtake me one by one… nah, too much for the ego !

There was nothing for it but to a) buy a better bike, and then b) umm.. ride it a little to get vaguely fit :)

I have to admit that training has been sporadic, but as I live in George Town and work at The Reef, that is a nice 23 mile distance, so I’m now riding to / from work a few times to build up the training distance.

Today though was seriously masochistic. My wife had been for an early morning run, and I got ready to jump on the bike and ride to The Reef, she smiled as she said “really strong winds out of the NE this morning dear !”. Gee, thanks… the first 18 miles of the ride are basically due East, with the last 5..yup…. N or NE the whole way.

I’m being coached by a friend, Cayman Olympian cyclist Craig Merren, and with his wicked sense of humour, he’ll get a kick out of me being mad enough to ride from end to end of the island into such a strong wind !

As you can see today from the great website of Cayman weather stations, the East End station was showing steady NNE winds averaging over 20mph, with gusts around 30mph… right in my face… I think I saw a turtle strolling past me as I laboured into the wind.

Oh well, the ride home will be easier.. I think I’ll just attach a sail to the back of the bike and let the wind blow me home !

16 days and counting to the big day, and our target is to finish the course somewhere in the region of 2’30″… wish us luck !

Support The Boobies

In the tradition of “The Calendar Girls” movie comes a brand new Cayman Calendar for 2008 called “Support The Boobies”.

Know before you get ready to send me that nasty email, you should know that the “Ladies of Little Cayman” have gone topless for a good cause. The Calendar was made to raise money and awareness of the”Red footed Booby” of which you can find the largest population in the Western Hemisphere right in Little Cayman. Unfortunately, in recent years the population has been in decline and now experts believe that the colony in Little Cayman represents one-third of population in the world.

Well that’s where the “Ladies of Little Cayman” decided to step in to raise funds for The National Trust purchase of the Red Footed Booby sanctuary land. This December 2007-January 2009 calendar features the lovely ladies topless with strategically placed items and poses that are tastefully done.

If you are interested in contributing to this project or just a fan of the booby(had to), then please support these ladies and purchase a calendar. All you have to do is send a check made out to Little Cayman National Trust to Susan Howard, 1207 North Oak Cliff Blvd, Dallas Texas 75208.

For US residents – $10 plus $2 shipping. (Canada – shipping is $4 US and England – shipping is $5 US).

Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards

Friday October 26th saw the fourth annual Stingray Tourism Awards, presented by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

The Reef’s four proud nominees were :
- Rosemarie Challenger – Accommodations Employee of the Year
- Clive Lamont – Special Contribution Award
- Sandra Rankine – Restaurant Employee of the Year
- Martena Villalobos – Accommodations Manager of the Year

Although The Reef’s own Mr. Lawrence Haughton one both Manager of the Year and overall Tourism employee of the year at the inaugural event a few years back, this year the competition was tougher than ever, so none of our nominees actually took home any of the lovely blown glass Stingray trophies… but they are all definitely winners to us !

The Reef took a table at the event to honour not just our nominees, but a selection of our Employees of the Month from 2007… and a great time was had by all !

Many thanks to the CITA for putting on this great event to recognise the fantastic efforts put in by hospitality staff throughout Cayman… and we look forward to next year.

Pirates Week 2007

Celebrating it’s 30th anniversary, this years festivities promise to be as great as its predecessors. Running from November 8th to November 18th, there will be activities such as a songfest, costume competition, fireworks, and a street dance. Did i mention that is just the first day?

Saturday, November 10th marks the traditional Pirates landing in George Town harbour. After the landing is the subsequent float parade that is great fun for kids and adults alike. There will also be a street dance at 7pm to cap the night off.

November 12th-November 16th are “district days”, as each district is given its own day to display its unique crafts and cuisine.

There are too many events and activities for me to list here, so log on to piratesweekfestival.com for the full programme of this years event, or you will be forced to walk the plank!!

The Farmers Market

Have you ever wondered where can i go to get a authentic taste of Caymanian culture, cuisine, and crafts? Well a new venue has recently opened in Lower Valley that is sure to tickel your fancy. Simpy titled THE MARKET ,this venue for local farmers and craftmakers to display their wares opened just over a month ago and has been an instant success.

Local produce such as cassavas, breadfruits,yams, sweet potatoes, and many other delicious items are for sale here guaranteed fresh, as they are brought straight from the farm, to the market. Local art such as “Thatch” baskets and hats are on sale here as well. “Thatch” items are created from the branches of the “Silver Thatch Palm Tree”, which is indigenous to The Cayman Islands.
If you come to the market hungry don’t worry as there is plenty of local cuisine there to sample.Why not sample special local cuisines such as Turtle and Conch stew, Fish dinners, and everyone’s favorite, Rundown!
The Market is open Saturday’s from 7am onwards, so get there before the rush to get a unique taste of Cayman.

RUNDOWN: Food or Fun?

Its that time of year again for RUNDOWN. No I’m not talking about food, i’m talking about the show!

For those of you not familiar with the dish “rundown”, it is a traditional Caymanian cuisine comprised of fish cooked in coconut milk and served with breadfruit and cassava. In fact, just typing this is making me hungry! However, lets get back to the topic of the day which is the show.

RUNDOWN is a once a year theatrical production that takes both a comedic and sarcastic look at The Cayman Islands and local issues from the past year.

This two hour comedy show always has the audience in stitches as the characters poke fun of such serious political issues as “the rollover policy” and government officials, to daily interactions and everyday life in cayman.

The show was created by Dave Martins in 1991 and has become a staple of Cayman theatre as both locals and visitors alike come each year for a good laugh and a good time. There are many newcomers in this years show, but some of the old favorites like Alan Ebanks (pictured on the left),are still around bringing their unique comedic skills to the stage. I have to say this show is uniquely Cayman and a must for any visitor.

This years theatrical run was so popular in fact, that they have added two more shows for October 9th and October 10th at the Harquail Theatre. Yours truly has been once already and i am definitely planning on seeing it again!



All That Jazz

For all those R & B lovers out there you’ll be excited to know that international recording artist Brian McKnight was in Cayman last week filming a preview show for this years event. Not only will he be hosting this years event but he will be performing as well. The previews for the show should be airing on BET in October and November. Its promising to be a weekend of smooth grooves and fun underneath the stars. Personally, i can vouch for this event being that i went to last years show and had a great time even though i was a bit skeptical at first about jazz and r & b. After being dragged to the event i end up having a blast, you will too.

Expedia Insiders’ Select – The Reef is #1 in the Caribbean !

Expedia has had the facility for resort guests to post reviews for some time, and these are all confirmed as having stayed at the resort through Expedia by reservation confirmation verification, so not as subject to abuse as some other review sites.

Up until now therefore, it has baffled me that Expedia has not made more of this, but now it has all changed, with the launch of Expedia Insiders’ Select.

Now, I didn’t find out about this until I received a flurry of congratulatory emails to tell me that The Reef was not just #1 in the Caribbean, but #14 of all Expedia hotels worldwide !

Book now before we put the rates up ! :)

Facebook…..the latest internet addiction

I’ll normally an “early adopter” of stuff on the internet, but I guess I can be forgiven for not discovering Facebook until this week… after all, it was originally college kids only, although now rapidly being adopted by crumbly and aged people like me !

The Cayman Islands network on Facebook has over 2,000 (and quickly increasing) members, not bad for a country of 55,000 people…. although some of those are people who used to live in Cayman, but still feel an affiliation.

Apparently it used to be used mostly for colleges kids wanting to “hook up’ (oh these kids euphemisms… I feel old…again!), but now it’s set up to keep in touch with and catch up with current and past friends and work colleagues too.

Try it…. and maybe a group for The Reef might be on the cards :)

Support the Blue Iguanas !

Friends of The Reef may be aware that we have been lending our support to this very worthy cause through our promotion of our “Adopt a Dragon” family vacation package.

Find out more about the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, and if you are in Cayman on June 29th, buy a ticket and go to the fundraising dinner at the home of our friends at Cobalt Coast

This year marks the inaugural Blue Iguana Fundraising Dinner & Auctionand we are pleased to invite you to join us for this fun-filled event in support of Cayman’s Blue Iguana-one of the most endangered species in the world. This ‘night of Blues’ will be held on Friday, June 29 at the beautiful ocean-side setting of Cobalt Coast Resort, West Bay and promises to be a wonderful evening under the stars with a champagne reception, blues tunes to dance the night away, a four course dinner and a live auction, hosted by world-renowned artist, Ron “Rogest” Steven.

The auction will feature original artwork from Rogest and other artists and also items kindly donated by Artifacts, Cayman Islands Helicopter, Courtney Platt, Cox Lumber, Every Bloomin’ Thing, Harbour House Marina, Kirk Freeport, Markson’s Furniture, Westin Casuarina Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and a host of others.

Tickets are CI$100.00 per person and all proceeds from the event will go to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. In addition, guests will receive a signed print of Rogest’s most recent work, “Baby Blue” upon arrival as a thank you for their support. There will be many surprises in store and as part of the theme for the evening guests are invited to wear blue to make it a real “blue-tie” affair! We look forward to seeing you there and hope our efforts can make a difference.

For more information and ticket sales please contact Nancy at Divetech on 946 5658 or Caroline at The National Trust for The Cayman Islands on 949 0121 or ckey@nationaltrust.org.ky

Seating is limited so please purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Sincerely, Frank Roulstone
General Manager
The National Trust for The Cayman Islands

Barefoot Night


Now you can see what Barefoot Man sees as he looks out from the stage at his adoring fans.

Ok, so no, this is not what he sees at The Reef (we have a dance floor, but most guests are sitting down enjoying the music with their meal!), this was at the annual Cayman night in Port Arthur Texas last weekend.

Barefoot Night in Port Arthur, Texas – Proclamation!

This just in (for more, see www.barefootman.com ) :

WHEREAS, THE Cayman Islands are three small West Indies island in the Caribbean, known as Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and they are a British Colony where the shipping industry has been one of the primary means of living for Caymanians; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of Caymanians settled in Port Arthur, as the primary port-of-entry for many Cayman seafarers who brought their families to this area where Capt. Harley Eddingston imported 6,000 pink conch shells on two ships in order to have a wall built on Procter Street in Port Arthur to remind him of his island home, where he constructed Port Arthur’s first apartment complex that was built in 1929, named Eddingston Court; and

WHEREAS, Cayman Night in Port Arthur 2006 was an overwhelming success with more than 700 guests from this area and from across the United States and the Cayman Islands, gathered at the Parker Center on Lamar State College Port Arthur campus, where the facility was transformed into a tropical paradise; and

WHEREAS, Port Arthur and Grand Cayman were proclaimed to be Sister Cities in 1983, and that Sister City relationship has strengthened over the years because hundreds of Caymanians still reside in this area, while many area residents annually visit the Cayman Islands for pleasure, business or personal reasons; and

WHEREAS, The Cayman Night in Port Arthur 2007 will be held on June 16, 2007 at the Parker Center, where Barefoot Man, his Band and the “Cayman Cowboy,” Andy Martin will arrive from Grand Cayman to perform on stage along with Bob Brammer and K.O. Harlow, aka The OutRigger Band; and

WHEREAS, guests should arrive wearing tropical shirts, shorts, flip flops or other casual attire and be prepared to have plenty of fun and laid-back good times throughout the evening.

NOW, THEREFORE, I., Oscar G. Ortiz, Mayor of the City of Port Arthur, Texas, do hereby proclaim the evening of June 16, 2007 as

CAYMAN NIGHT IN PORT ARTHUR

in the City of Port Arthur and ask that all citizens join me in celebrating the rich heritage of our long-time Sister City, Grand Cayman, and join visitors from around the world for a night of Cayman music, food and fun as our relationship continues to strengthen.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Port Arthur to be affixed this 5th day of June in the year of our Lord, 2007.

Oscar G. Ortiz, Mayor

Sunset at "Over the Edge"

Over the Edge is a popular bar and restaurant in North Side with a relaxed ambience, and judging by this wonderful shot emailed to our Michael Mann by someone he met there last week who was clicking away with their camera. Wow, what a sunset !

Burger King drive through

Don’t normally blog twice in one day, but couldn’t resist.

Cayman boasts possibly the most scenic drive through fast food lane in the world with the Burger King on George Town waterfront, but this morning someone went “off the rails”, so to speak !


Cayman gets a Multiplex Movie Theatre


Whilst Cayman has had a very nice two screen cinema for many years, complete with the Caribbean cinema tradition of cranking up the a/c so you need to dress like an Arctic explorer, it comes as very welcome news that in November this year we will be getting a brand new 6 screen, 900 seat multiplex.

This is just the start of the public facilities to come at the huge new Camana Bay development inland from Seven Mile Beach.


Took a quick look at their website, which should be taught in school as “how to have a website that is all style and no substance”, but trust me, they have aleady poured a huge amount of money into this project, and it is visible from space (or at least Google Maps)

**nuts, tried to set up a link to a Google Maps placeholder going to Camana Bay, if anyone can help me with that, please comment**

… (if anyone helps me with the link I’ll edit this so you can….) click on that link to see the moonscape… the satellite photo is a bit old, a lot of that space is now filled in with offices and other buildings).

Anyway, whilst out in the East End we can still remember (and resemble) when Cayman was known as the “Islands that time forgot”, the development on Seven Mile Beach means that for much of Cayman that is no longer the case…. but I like the idea of a new cinema, I love movies !

Summer is coming – but we don’t need no outdoor cooling system !

We just received an email promoting “outdoor cooling systems”, ie a fan blowing water vapour to cool off guests at a beach bar.

One of the joys of the East End of Grand Cayman is that in the summer months when humidity in the Caribbean is higher and most places don’t get a breath of fresh air to cool off…. we almost always enjoy a light cooling breeze… so we won’t need this latest “high tech” (??) innovation.

BTW, today’s weather report…. it’s HOT ! (but with a nice light breeze!)

18 hole Golf is back in Cayman !

Great news for golfers coming to Cayman, the Links at Safehaven golf course, after much renovation and upgrading (including all new turf and greens) has today re-opened to the general public.


Rates are US $40 for 9 holes and US $70 for 18 holes for all non-members who may book tee times 24 hours in advance. A 24 hour cancellation policy is in effect.

Important note : the Links does not yet have golf carts back, so golfers must walk the course.

A limited number of rental clubs area available on on a first come, first serve basis for US $35 per set whether you are playing 9 or 18 holes.

The course is still closed on Tuesday and Wednesday every week with tee times starting at 8am on weekdays (Mon, Thurs, Fri) and 7:30am on the weekends.

Golfers must have a starting time to play and we require that all players wear proper golf attire (collared shirts).

Guests at The Reef may book through our concierge, or simply call the Links at 949-5988.

Your intrepid reporter is a member at the Links and I’d note that the course is in fantastic condition, particularly the greens, which run true. One warning though, the greens are very, very fast, ice rink fast in fact !

Wikitravel – edit the East End Grand Cayman page

In playing with Google Earth (see last post), I noticed that the Wikipedia entries for Grand Cayman are a little sparse, and there was no page at all for East End (ouch!)

So, I started one off, but it is a little sparse. How about some blog readers and East End / Grand Cayman afficianados and experts updating the East End page now I’ve got it started ?

Oops… edited… a moderator wiped out my page in under 15 minutes… apparently it didn’t read like an encyclopedia and could have been edited in a less than neutral fashion (imagine, it might have been edited by folk who actually like Cayman and want to encourage others to visit ! :) )

Anyway, haven’t started one yet, but how about someone gets started with editing the WikiTravel page for Grand Cayman, and again, maybe adding one under that for East End ? I’m guessing WikiTravel is slightly less concerned about seeming neutral, and actually wouldn’t mind if someone describes the area of East End as “tranquil and unspoiled” (for example).

Ah, the wonders of the internet !

Entering Grand Cayman – Update

In the light of recent controversy over passport requirements we don’t want anyone getting confused, (or worst case – stranded at departure!).

There was word in our regional press that the US Government were about to delay the need for travellers to obtain a passport until June 2009 – which would have been a nice bit of breathing space for everyone. But our hopes of the delay have been dashed once and for all – Here’s a quote from the most up to date press release on this matter, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (looks like cruise-ship passengers are the only ones who are off the hook for now):

“(An) amendment delays the implementation of the new passport requirements until June 1, 2009 for land crossings at the Mexican and Canadian borders and for cruise passengers coming to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada or Bermuda but still requires all U.S. citizens traveling by air to these regions to have a passport by Jan. 8, 2007.

If you don’t have a passport and will be visiting Grand Cayman after the 8th of January – now is the time to apply for one – quick smart!

Be sure to contact reservations@thereef.com if you have further questions about this matter.

‘Snow joke !

This week Cayman is having the first cold front of the season. Some gray skies and high winds (they even had to close the George Town harbourfront the other day). Boy, the daytime temperature barely got above 70, and the windchill (!) must have been in the low 60s.

On the other hand, yesterday, for the first time in three years, Mickey Mouse got snowed upon. According to the Orlando Sentinal, it snowed in Orlando !

Downright strange weather for Thanksgiving week in the Caribbean, this front has dipped down as far as Panama, and they must be finding it extremely odd to feel cool in November !

Atlantic / Gulf / Caribbean Satellite Map

Sneak preview of our new website

It’s been very quiet on the blog front for some time now for us here at The Reef. OddBlog is now living in the North of England and very busy with the “good old” BBC. Coolbeans has taken the brave leap of moving to Calgary to go to University. What is it with these folks and cold weather ? :)

Anyway, in addition to key members of our team spreading to the ends of the earth (or at least Manchester !), we are also working feverishly behind the scenes on our brand new website. I’d love to give an exact date for the launch, but “soon come” is close enough !

In the meantime, we just finished an ad layout for a future issue of Caribbean Travel and Life magazine. The editors there LOVE The Reef, but we also like the magazine, hence we have decided to advertise with them next year.

The new ad gives a preview of the “look” of our new website, tell us what you think !


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!!

National ‘Talk Like a Pirate’ Day – September 19th


It appears that people all over the world are (perhaps inadvertently) preparing for Pirate’s Week in Grand Cayman. A man called Dave Barry is responsible for the debauchery. Join in the fun by visiting the ‘official’ website

Here be a snippet of what to be expecting:

How To Be Speakin’ Pirate-Like

Startin’ Rules:

Double up on all your adjectives and you’ll be bountifully bombastic with your phrasing. Pirates never speak of “a big ship”, they call it a “great, grand ship!” They never say never, they say “No nay ne’er!”

Drop all your “g”‘s when you speak and you’ll get words like “rowin’”, “sailin’” and “fightin’”. Dropping all of your “v”‘s will get you words like “ne’er”, “e’er” and “o’er”.

Instead of saying “I am”, sailors say, “I be”. Instead of saying “You are”, sailors say, “You be”. Instead of saying, “They are”, sailors say, “They be”. Ne’er be speakin’ in anythin’ but the present tense!

Don’t forget Grand Cayman’s own Pirate’s Week begins this year on November the 9th, running through to the 19th. The Reef Resort is a great place to join in with the shinannigans, so be sure you don’t miss out.

For detailed information the Pirate’s Week website is now there for the viewin’ me hearties. www.piratesweekfestival.com