Cayman Time

Cayman Blog from The Reef Resort in Grand Cayman

Category: Uncategorized

NY Times comes to The Reef

Although we only got a tiny mention (about our new Hurricane proof beach bar) and this picture showing progress on the next phase of Castaways’ Cove, the condos at The Reef Resort, we did work extensively with their journalist, Michelle Higgins, as she put together her piece, published today.

You can see it here at the NY Times website. They do require registration, but it is free, and it is a great website, so we do recommend registering with them.

The article gives a good feel for the recovery of Cayman, although I was disappointed that the journalist only recommended the Westin or the Hyatt… hmm… wonder if they advertise with the Times ? :)

Mandarin Oriental – Grand Cayman announcement

Mandarin Oriental hotels now have their previously announced Grand Cayman luxury resort listed on their website here.

Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman (Opening 2007)

Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman will be an intimate hideaway, set on an unspoiled 10-acre site that features a 950-foot stretch of pristine white sand, known as Barefoot Beach. All of the resort’s 114 lavish guest rooms and suites will feature expansive outdoor terraces and balconies providing panoramic ocean views. Included in the development will be 37 private residences providing an opportunity for ownership in this unparalleled island retreat.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we are indeed flattered that a world class hotel company is building an “All Beachfront Luxury Suite” resort two miles away from us.

This will be really exciting, as this new resort will be very much at the luxury end of things… and add luxury dining and spa options to the East End.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Even though the Cayman Islands do not celebrate Thanksgiving with a bank holiday a lot of the residents will have a feast tomorrow nevertheless.

American Thanksgiving will be celebrated in homes & restaurants island wide and our own Castro’s Hideaway is already reporting a sold out Thanksgiving Buffet with the Barefoot Man for tomorrow evening!

We are giving thanks for Cayman’s fast recovery and great progress after last year’s devastating hurricane and to all who helped speeding up the process. We wish our owners, guests and friends an enjoyable holiday with friends and family and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Today on the beach…

You don’t have to venture far to enjoy your day at The Reef….

Certainly there are many things to do, from kayak tours to nature walks and the must-do trip to Stingray City of course….but what would a vacation in the Caribbean be without (at least) a day at our beautiful beach…..? Let your children build sand castles – or how about a sand castle competition the next time you visit us??

Pirate’s Week Pictures

For everybody who joined us for our special Pirate’s Week dinner earlier this month (and of course for all who missed it) – you can now view the pictures in our online photo gallery
As you can see, we had a blast :)



There is something special in the November air as Grand Cayman prepares for Gimistory, the unique and inspirational storytelling festival of the Cayman Islands.

Between the 25th of November and 3rd of December storytellers from far and wide, as well as local fablers, will perform by moonlight in the districts of Grand Cayman telling traditional stories, Anansi stories (Jamaican folklore and tales), funny stories, Duppy (ghost) stories and narratives told through mime, dance and music.

Events closest to The Reef Resort are:

Monday 28th November: Millers Yard, North Side
Tuesday 29th November: School Quadrangle, Bodden Town
Friday 2nd December: Public Beach, East End

All start at 7pm. Fish and Fritters and swankie (traditional lemonade) are available after the storytelling.

The venues have been chosen especially for their history and beauty. Admission is free for everyone – a chance for us to appreciate an endangered art-form – and not to be missed!

Remembrance Day

….is celebrated today being a bank holiday in the Cayman Islands.

Sunday, 13 November the Cayman Islands joined nations around the world in the annual tribute to those who defended their countries during times of war. Ceremonies honouring veterans, including those who sacrificed their lives, took place on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac in the annual Remembrance Day services.

Weather report for today’s holiday: lots of sunshine with a cooling breeze

Worldly Advice

I received an email today from Reef owner Mary Piretti with some amusing sayings – I thought I’d share some of these with you as well as some old time Cayman sayings to prepare you for your next visit to The Reef. Enjoy.

Cayman advice:

“Spit in the sky, it fall in your eye” (meaning, What goes around comes around)

“If you can’t hear, you’ll feel” (meaning, If you don’t listen to advice, you’ll find out anyway)

“Nuh stick yu nose in a eye hole” (meaning, do not give yourself undue responsibilities that you know you can’t manage)

One that you may be familiar with…

“Soon Come” (meaning many things: Be Patient, It will happen eventually or it may not happen at all!)

And some thought provoking ideas (as passed on by Mary)

The most precious thing we have is life. Yet it has
absolutely no trade-in value

Everyday I beat my own previous record for
number of consecutive days I’ve stayed alive.

Isn’t having a smoking section in a restaurant like
having a peeing section in a swimming pool?

Sometimes I get the sudden urge to run around
naked. But then I just drink some Windex..
It keeps me from streaking.

Feel free to add your own amusing thoughts – after all – Advice is one of those things it is far more blessed to give than to receive ;)


…to our newly weds…..

Marsha & Buddy

World Useability Day

Fumbling with a packet of ham or a CD cover has become a daily headache of modern life. And anyone buying electronic goods for Christmas could still be mulling over the instructions long into the New Year.

World Usability Day (today) hopes to draw attention to an often overlooked part of modern industry and one that is responsible for changing the way products are created.

So in the interest of improving the world, we thought you might like the opportunity to tell us about useability of our website. If you have any comments please post them here or click on my profile and email me.

With thousands of products and services to choose from, ease of use is still a bonus factor rather than a norm – when you visit be sure you’re getting the bonus you deserve (and I don’t mean having a word with your boss).

The world has so far to go in making technology usable – maybe we can help a little.

The Sky at Night

Light pollution is the bane of Astronomers. There is so much artificial light around the areas where most people live (creating an orange glow over cities and towns), that the view of the night sky in it’s natural form is inhibited.

The Cayman Islands, especially Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and the East End of Grand Cayman provide a haven from this light pollution – I was reminded of this last night at the East End Heritage celebrations that make up part of the annual Pirates Week festival. The colours are almost blinding when a firework shoots up into the darkness (This photo isn’t nearly as good as the real thing but you get the picture).

The festivities went on until after 1.30am this morning with music and a live band, displays of old relics from times gone by (like this newspaper that was brought back to share with others by a sea-faring local man), food stalls, TV crews who spent a lot of time standing near the food stalls, local crafts, a well stocked bar, and the most hearty atmosphere imaginable.

As I leave you for today and head back to the grindstone I can’t help wondering if there’s another blogger out there who’s not getting very far…

Miniature Jim Lads Invade

Guests Lorraine and Frank Maguire brought their little pirates to ‘Trick or Treat’ us in the Guest Services office yesterday. Luke (on the left) and Scott (on the right) are looking forward to the invasion of ‘Nigel the Pirate Puppy’ tomorrow evening.

The puppy ‘attack’ will happen during the complimentary face painting session (with Leona) in the lobby between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Look out for photos of this coming soon..

I hope you’re stocked up on face paint Leona as I have a feeling there may be some big faces there as well as the little ones – Pirate fun for everyone – old sea dogs included (but Leona says please have a shave as paint and hair don’t mix well unless it is in a paint-brush/paint-pot relationship).

Halloweeny Pirate Fun

Trick or Treat Team, Lyall and Michelle are ready for some spookiness today (below left).

And here is Lyall and the rest of the Guest Welcome Team (above right) at the Orientation meeting yesterday morning – greeting this week’s guests with a ho, ho, ho, a bottle of rum AND for somebody…a couple of free tickets to our Pirates of the Caribbean Buffet on Wednesday evening at Castro’s Hideaway.

It’s the annual Pirates Week celebration in Cayman, so we’re getting into the ‘spirit’ of things today on Halloween with a themed ghost story to shiver your timbers. We present:

‘The Ghost Ship of Captain Sandovate’. (As told by S.E. Schlosser)

When Captain Don Sandovate voyaged from Spain to the New World in search of treasure, he found gold in abundance. But among his crew there were many sailors who did not wish to share the new-found wealth with the monarchs of Spain. On their journey up the Atlantic Coast, the sailors mutinied and imprisoned their captain, tying him to the main mast and refusing to give him food or drink. Day after day, the captain lay exposed to the hot sun of summer, his body drying up as the treacherous sailors worked around him. Finally, his pride broken, Don Sandovate begged: “Water. Please. Give me just one sip of water.” The mutineers found this amusing, and started carrying water up to the main mast and holding it just out of reach of their former captain.

In the terrible heat of a dry summer, the captain did not survive long without water. A few days after the mutiny, the captain succumbed to heat and thirst. The new captain, a greedy Spaniard with no compassion in his soul, left Don Sandovate tied to the mast, his body withering away, while the ship turned pirate and plundered its way up the coast. But Providence was watching the ruthless men, and a terrible storm arose and drove the ship deep into the Atlantic, where it sank with all hands, the body of Don Sandovate still tied to the broken mast.

Shortly after the death of the mutineers-turned-pirate, an eerie ghost ship began appearing along the coast, usually in the calm just before a storm. It had the appearance of a Spanish treasure ship, but its mast was broken, its sails torn, and the corpse of a noble-looking Spaniard was tied to the mast. The ship was crewed by skeletons in ragged clothing. As it passed other ships or houses near the shore, the skeletons would stretch out bony hands and cry: “Water. Please. Give us just one sip of water.” But none can help them, for they are eternally doomed to roam the Atlantic, suffering from thirst in payment for their terrible deeds against their captain and the good people living along the Atlantic coast.

(Add sound FX of whistling wind and crashing waves)


Oh, and I nearly forgot to show you the cobweb and pumpkin decked Lobby: Here Leona stops by to admire her own handy-work as she takes her Karaoke show on the road (and upstairs to the restaurant).

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 )

Prime Fishing Conditions for Birds

A large, wide-winged sea bird of the tropical seas (wing span up to 6 feet), the Frigate Bird soars for hours on updrafts and may stay at sea all night or for days.

The picture of 2 squiggles is the best of a bad bunch of photos as I tried to catch a group of 7 or 8 of these birds soaring and fishing around the shore-line in Bodden Town after the storm last week.

Being opportunist in character, these birds sometimes travel great distances for food, though generally are non-migratory and stay within 50 miles of their home islands. As they are incapable of taking off from the surface of the water, they swoop down and pick fish just below the surface or leaping above the water); or they may attack other birds in flight and steal the fish that their victims disgorge or drop. The Frigate Bird nests in remote areas or islands on bushes or vegetation.

Tradionally, Westerners thought of the Frigate Bird as a bad omen; the Tahitians saw it as an embodiment of the war god ‘Oro. We see is as a sign that the storm is over and it’s time for hungry birds to fill their beaks (and Castro agrees).

Hands up, who wants to ride on a Star?

Calm seas and cool waters held strong temptation for the boys today.

As Captain Joey and Super Dave of Ecoventures tested out the brand new ‘Star’ inflatables (now available for hire from the Ecoventures beach hut along with inflatable windsurfs and 2-man-kayaks), a group of our guests, not to be outdone in the fun-stakes, gathered in the pool for a hearty game of volleyball.

We are careful to maintain the peace and quiet that our guests are used to but now offer variety for those who feel like a touch of adventure every now and again.

We’ve now seen the last few remaining grey clouds of Wilma and the start of a week filled with sunshine and relaxation for all.

Lady in Red – Wilma

“Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.” Liz Smith

I’ve got a sneaky feeling that some of the sensational tendencies of the world media has everyone wondering ‘Did Cayman sustain a lot of damage from Hurricane Wilma?’.

The good news is that Wilma missed us by a considerable distance and at worst, it was like a wet, blustery fall day in New England. Of course Hurricane Season has us on alert at the slightest sniff of a storm – but we don’t worry – we stay prepared.

We should mention for you news hounds that there has been some flooding in the less protected areas of the island – but this has no impact on The Reef as we’re standing high and proud here on the East End.

It’s not a great story (I know that never stopped us before) but we’re all still here at The Reef getting on with life as usual.

Thanks everyone for your concern and kind thoughts – now please stop worrying – we’re here to smooth out furrowed brows, not to create them!

Singing In The Rain

It’s a rainy day in the Caymans, but this won’t stop us from having fun.
While Hurricane Wilma is moving out of our area, Grand Cayman is experiencing mild to heavy rain fall and winds of around 25-35mph.
To keep our guests and owners entertained, Leona our Activities Coordinator is preparing for a fun filled afternoon in the restaurant. On her schedule is Karaoke ‘Singing in the rain’, Bingo and of course – free Rum Punch!!!
If that doesn’t chase away the rainy day blues – we don’t know what will!

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness is being commemorated for the 9th time in Cayman, with a variety of activites scheduled throughout October. On Friday, staff at The Reef wore pins in a show of support for one of our colleagues who is currently undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer and of support for the month-long awareness campaign.

The American Cancer Society says that in the 21 years that Breast Cancer Awareness has been promoted worldwide, it has boosted mammogram use and saved lives. Throughout the island, fund-raising and awareness efforts have been taking place, including the Brenda Tibbetts Lund Memorial walk/run which took place yesterday from the Public Beach on West Bay Road.

Ultimate Combo

Happy Hour at Castro’s Hideaway combined with a sublime sunset atmosphere is a winner in my book – just had to share this one. (The photo is slightly blurred to help you get the true happy hour ‘vision’ – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)

Bill and Rose Bertone from Cape Cod and their friend Joe from Minnesota are seen in this photo, taking full advantage of Linda’s hospitality (and the inviting specials between 5 and 7pm) earlier this week.

Meanwhile there’s been yet another birthday at The Reef. We surprised Barbara from housekeeping with this cheesecake but she was so busy working away that it melted while we waited for her.

Didn’t spoil the taste though. (All this birthday cake is going to take some swimming off I tell you!)

Birthday Bonanza

No it’s not a special offer – but it’s a special week. Special to us because there are an unusual amount of staff birthdays this week.

Today is Tom’s birthday (TomCayman)and Sally’s birthday (Odd Blog) – it is also Linera’s birthday (although she left the reef last month after many years of service but I think it still counts).

Tomorrow is Enrique’s birthday (he’s our own Cuban Compadre of everything computerised).

What brought us here to The Reef? Is there a cosmic birthday thing going on? Who knows!

Let us know if it’s your birthday this week – we need to know so we can consult the stars. So far it seems that Tom must be the key to the puzzle – you see, he also has another connection to a triumvirate outside of The Reef….

He has three friends with the same birthday. The youngest is John Michael Foster (eldest son of the late David Foster), at 38 today. The oldest is Dr. Gordon Smith, who is 51 today…

For years they would keep bumping into each other out for dinner with their wives on Oct 4th – they found a solution to this and organised a joint birthday dinner – each inviting three other couples.

Answers to the puzzle on the back of a postcard please….Your clues again…October 4th/5th, the number three, Tom McCallum – is there a message? And if so, who is sending it?

More Accessibility

Today’s picture shows you the newly enhanced Condo #101. We’ve added extra accessibility as a smooth concrete sloped-access now leads from the Ocean-front footpath, onto the large raised patio of the Unit.

Whilst Castro’s Hideaway (The Reef Resort’s own restaurant) and Castro’s Beach Bar were designed with access for wheelchair users, we’re always keen to improve the quality of freedom and mobility for all, and know that this will be a welcome addition.

Oh, and if you think it looks a little less bright than usual today – check out the quality of our clouds! They’re beautiful, displaying lots of silver linings – and that’s what a cloud is best for after all!

If you look like your passport photo, you’re not well enough to travel

Travel Insurance Advice

With all the money you’re saving on our Specials at the moment you might like to consider spending a little of that on some extra protection for you and your traveling companions….
Whilst we at The Reef Resort offer our excellent Hurricane Guarantee policy, you may also wish to take out a formal Travel Insurance policy to cover you for those unplanned occurrences that cannot be foreseen with any amount of trip planning. Please note that we do not sell Travel Insurance, but on this page we do offer you information to help you research and make your own decisions.
We don’t worry about Hurricanes here (we are prepared, but we don’t worry !), as even though a number of Hurricanes typically occur each year, the Atlantic basin is a big place, and the chances of any one island getting hit are remote. However, if tropical storm worries are stopping you from coming to the Caribbean at what is a great time of year to travel, then if Travel Insurance addresses those worries, we say go for it !
Travel insurance will typically cost about 4-8% of the cost of your trip, but if you factor in the great rates and special deals available throughout the Caribbean for travel during Hurricane Season, you will still save much more than the cost of your travel insurance if you choose to travel at this time of year.
We hope you find this information useful to you in planning your visit to The Reef, and, above all, as Bobby McFerrin says, “Don’t Worry, be Happy” !

Go to our Travel Insurance web-page here to read more

Romance at The Reef

Well look who’s dancing now!

We snapped Jonette and Gary from California (staying at The Reef this week) enjoying a smooch on the patio at Castro’s Hideaway.

Who said romance isn’t alive in 2005?! (We’ve got a habit of bringing that out in people).

Moos Flash

Cows in the mooood for an adventure on the loose this morning outside The Reef Resort.

As you can see the farmer in his truck was already on the case by the time the camera was ready for this shot, but the ladies were milking it for all it was worth ; )