Surgery in Grand Cayman; my experience

I can’t really compare my experience here with surgery in Canada, as I was only a child when I had a tonsillectomy. I wasn’t present for my father’s surgeries, so I only have my own experience in Cayman to talk about.  I’m sure it’s a mix of British and American style procedures. My surgery was in a private, for-profit hospital, but the team was completely British or Caribbean.

I thought I would describe in greater detail what it’s like to have surgery here, at least from my point of view.

After ten days of having no ibuprofen or aspirin type medications, and 3 days of no alcohol, I checked into the hospital. I’d had breakfast at 6 am as my surgery wasn’t scheduled until 2 pm. I’d had nothing to eat or drink since 6. I arrived at the hospital at 10:45 where they took me to my room. For my first surgery I had a room to myself. This time I had a roommate, also waiting for surgery.

I was given a hospital robe to wear; yes the glamourous kind with the open back. It makes it very easy to go to the bathroom, but awkward for getting in and out of bed and up and down off stretchers without baring one’s butt.

I was also given some disposable foot covers and hat. I put on the hat and one foot cover, leaving one foot uncovered for the bathing that was to come. I was started on an intravenous drip to keep me hydrated. I would have nothing else to eat or drink before evening.

Unfortunately, even though I wasn’t drinking anything, I had to walk my IV pole to the bathroom with me at least 3 times, all the while trying to keep my robe from opening wide at the back.

The nurse came in to wash my foot very carefully for 3 minutes. Those were her instructions. She then put the disposable slipper on that foot. Not long before my surgery she came in to put the antibiotic dose through the IV. In the meantime, my surgeon popped in to say hello, give me post op instructions and make sure I had my post op shoe from last time. That saved us $45!

Not long after my antibiotic dose, someone from the anesthesiology team came in to wheel me to the operating room. There I met my OR nurse, an older lady who was very kind and very thorough. She checked and double checked my file to ensure everything was ready and I was ready, etc.

One thing I noticed at my first surgery was that everyone in the OR was male. I have seen many more male nurses here than I ever worked with when I was a dietitian in a hospital. I don’t know if that’s happening everywhere, but I like the balance. This time, the first nurse I met was female and the member of the anesthesiology team who did my pre op interview was female. The anesthetist was a man, as is my podiatrist.

Once in the OR, I felt something happening to almost every part of my body. I was getting a clip on my finger and a blood pressure cuff on my right arm, while the anesthetist was putting something into my IV that made my left hand feel temporarily frozen. My surgeon was preparing my foot and I was also getting little snaps put on me in various places, I assume to connect to sensors to keep track of my heart rate and breathing. I was given an oxygen mask to hold over my nose and mouth, and I took deep breaths while I listened to the sound of my own heartbeat in the room. Occasionally, the blood pressure cuff would inflate. They started the anesthetic and I was feeling very calm and very drowsy.

I woke up in the recovery room with someone removing a tube from my very sore throat.  I had those little nodes in my nostrils connected to a tube leading from an oxygen supply. My foot hurt more than the first time. I was very sleepy. They wanted me to wake up, and I did, very slowly. I was taken back to my room. My roommate had returned while I was gone, but the curtain between us was closed.

The nurses must have had a shift change on the ward, as they had last time. I had a new nurse. I had been given something for pain in the recovery room, so my next dose would be at 8 pm. They brought me a meal of soup and crackers and ice water. Oh, I was thirsty! The soup wasn’t exactly clear, but it was ok. The crackers were dry and flavourless, so I broke them up and put them into the soup. That made both soup and crackers more palatable.

My husband texted our family to let them know things had gone well. I got some nice texts back from them full of love and good wishes.

Before I could eat, my nurse came back to take me for an x-ray of my new foot. That went fairly quickly. I’ll need another x-ray in a few weeks.

I was still sleepy, CNN was on the tv, my husband was sleepy, and we were both dozing off. My roommate was told she could go home. She just got dressed and walked out. I wonder what kind of surgery she had!

I finally got another dose of painkillers and another dose of IV antibiotics. As soon as the antibiotics had run through, I was allowed to get dressed. I’d kept it simple with a dress, but I still had some difficult moments trying to keep my weight off my foot while I went to the bathroom and changed into my clothes. I discovered those snaps all over me. I was tempted to keep them and take a picture. I felt sort of cyborg-ish! They came off easily, though, much more easily than the adhesive tape holding my IV line in place in my hand!

The nurse helped my get my things all into my bag and helped me into the wheelchair while my husband brought the car to the front door of the hospital. I got into the back seat so I could put my foot up on the seat, buckled up and away we went.

It was pouring rain when we got home, so my husband had to get a bag for me to put over my foot. I have to keep the dressing dry! I hobbled up the stairs and into the house in the pouring rain.

I had instructions to keep my foot elevated above my hip and no weight-bearing. That was a little difficult going up the stairs to our condo. Later on, my foot swelled up so much I thought it would burst, even though I immediately sat down and raised it onto a pillow.

I had meds to take before bed which helped with both the pain and swelling.

I will describe in future posts what it’s like to recover from bunion surgery, but I’d love to hear if other hospital surgery experiences are similar. I found the first surgery to be a little easier on me, although the surgeon said the second one was easier for him. The staff was busier this time and I didn’t have a private room. I also had more experienced staff on the ward last time, but I have no complaints about the care I received.

 

 

 

 

 

Away from the madness

We often read the local news and shake our heads at the decisions made by those in power. I lament the inclinations of some politicians to create an “us and them”mentality between the Caymanians and the expats. I often wish I could vote so my opinion would count for something when local surveys are conducted.

Then I have days where I am happy to sit on my island, under the world radar, far from the madness that has taken hold in many parts of the world. I am grateful for the fact that although we share influences of both, we are not American or British.  We also share influences of Canada, Jamaica, Central America and Italy, as well  as many other countries. Our population, now at 60,000, is a sort of “united nations”, muddling through and trying to find the balance between issues like immigration and employment, tourism and the environment.

When I watch the news on the US networks I want to weep . I see posts on Facebook that have gone viral, often titled “Meanwhile in Canada”  or something similar, showing happy mixing of races and harmony in the streets. I feel momentary pride in my country, until I read about police shootings in Toronto, or hateful tweets from a special interest group. All lives matter.

Our children attended a high school  in Calgary where they were colour blind.  They would come home and talk about friends and classmates by name. They never felt the need to describe them as “my Chinese friend” or “mixed race Irish-Indian classmate”. They simply talked about them as personalities who had been part of their day, perhaps to joke around with in class  or possibly as part of the group working on a project together. I like to think that the products of these high schools represent our future.

Recently we attended a major sporting event in California. I looked around the stadium at the spectators and thought, this is America. The crowd was not white or black or yellow or brown. You could say it was all of those, or you could say it was just a crowd of people, watching their favourite athletes.

Where does the hate come from? I want to believe that we don’t have the race problems in Canada, but I know that’s not quite true. However, we don’t have the problems that seem to be taking over the news in the US lately. Their country seems to be imploding. Britain has their own problems, too. One thing I believe, is that for all our problems in Cayman, race is not one of them.

Last night we heard of the attack on people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. More madness, more hate.

So while the world goes mad around us, let’s enjoy our beautiful island and the people we encounter every day; Caymanian, Canadian, British, American, Jamaican, Filipino, European. Let’s set an example for the world.

A Personal Mechanic: What a concept!

Have I raved about our mechanic yet? I know I’ve told all my friends how amazing and awesome he is. When I rave about him, it’s because I’ve never had a “personal mechanic” before. The closest we came was the neighbourhood mechanic where we used to live in Calgary. He rocked! He was honest and if he couldn’t fix something he’d look it up or just tell us and refer us to the dealer. That happened once. He actually did fix the problem at a much lower cost than we were quoted by the dealer, after studying a you tube video.

That was a bonus, because that mechanic was so close we could drop off our car and walk home. We knew he’d charge a fair price. However, I would never go so far as to call him a personal mechanic.

I think of the many personalized services we use. We are both known to become attached to our hair stylists. I was very sad when my dentist retired, and I’ve only just found a dentist since we’ve moved. (Scratch that off of the “to do” list.) I was devastated when my doctor quit her practice, and thrilled that I’ve found a doctor I like on the island.  Now I can add “personal mechanic” to the list of services.

I don’t know about in your country, but in my country the mechanic fixes the car and services it when needed. The mechanic doesn’t return the car to you washed and detailed. I’ve never before had a mechanic drive me to the airport, complete the service while I’m away and pick me up at the airport when I return. The mechanic doesn’t stay late at work to finish up with my car because he knows I need it the next day, then return it TO MY HOUSE when he’s finished the job. Apparently, in some countries, this is what you can expect from a personal mechanic. In my new country, that’s what I’m getting from a personal mechanic.

To say that I think our personal mechanic walks on water would be incorrect. He would drive on water!

 

Why I Love Cayman

I’ve been thinking about all the things I love about Cayman. The most obvious one is the climate. Sure, we have a rainy season and a hurricane season, but it’s pretty nice here almost all the time. The summers are hot and humid and can be unbearable, but that’s where being surrounded by water is a blessing! It’s always nice enough to go for a swim.

Speaking of weather, I love how people talk about the weather here. I thought everyone talked about the weather because we certainly did in Canada. Apparently it’s not so, but here, people love to talk about the weather. Right now it’s still hot and humid, so we’ve heard locals complaining about summer going on too long. It’s the opposite of Canada, where we wonder when summer will begin.

I love the diversity here. We’ve met people from Ireland, Italy, Costa Rica, Canada, the United States, Columbia, Honduras, Jamaica, Britain, Phillipines, India, Scotland, Bermuda…the list goes on. In our little complex alone, we’ve known people from six different countries in eight units!

People here are mostly friendly and open. We love to try new restaurants to support the efforts of the new owners, and almost without fail we end up chatting to the owner and getting to know them.  People are welcoming and open to new friendships.

Speaking of diversity and restaurants, I love the wide variety of foods available. The restaurant scene in Cayman is very impressive. It’s a tough business so we’re happy to support it. We can get Thai food, Indian food, Caribbean food, Chinese, Italian and best of all Fusion!

I love conch! Conch season opened on Nov. 1 and I’m looking forward to the fresh conch on restaurant menus.

I love mangoes and we had an amazing mango season. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much over now. However…we have coconuts! I didn’t like coconut flavoured food as a child. I think I objected to the sweetened coconut flakes that were often used in cookies and bars. Now I love coconut! I can’t get enough. I love coconut milk, coconut curry and I’ve developed a taste for fresh coconut water straight from the coconut!

I love to snorkel and dive. We have so many wonderful options of where to go. If it’s too rough in our back yard, we can try Eden Rock or one of the spots along Seven Mile Beach, like Cemetery Reef. Occasionally we’ll try the North side and combine it with lunch at Over the Edge.

I love the spontaneity! If there’s a movie on at the theatre that we want to see, we go see it. If we find out at 2:45 pm that today is the last day the movie is here, we can still make it in time for the 3:30 showing! If we’re home on a Friday at 5 and the weather is fine, we can join the neighbours by the pool for a happy hour before our respective dinners.

I love being by the sea. The colours change throughout the day, from the muted tones of early morning to the brilliant shades of blue and turquoise later on. When the sun is high it glistens on the water like millions of diamonds. The sunsets offer up varying shades of pink and red. The full moon casts it’s own brilliant light.

The public buses here are great! For only two dollars C.I you can flag down the bus and take it right to your destination, as long as it’s on the route. The buses are small enough that sometimes they’ll even take you right into your driveway, provided they aren’t busy and the driver is feeling particularly helpful. You can get anywhere on Seven Mile Beach on the bus!

I love the resident discounts! After years of playing tourist here and in other tropical locations, it’s nice to actually get a bargain. I can even use the discount for my guests.

I could list a few things that I don’t like about Cayman, but the good things outweigh the bad in my opinion. I miss a lot of things about Canada, but my life is here how and we’re going to make the most of it.  Every day I think of new things to love about this beautiful island I now call home!

 

 

Lazy Sunday in Cayman

When you retire in a place such as Grand Cayman,  the way you approach each day differs from when you’re on vacation. After we bought our condo and started to visit more often,  I started to notice the subtle transition from vacation mode to living mode. We now seem to be approaching full-blown retirement mode.

When you’re on vacation, you want to do as much as you can each day; dive or snorkel almost every day, try out all the restaurants, fit in a couple of beach days. Now that we live here, we spend more time at home on our own deck, watching the world go by. I swim in our pool, snorkel in our backyard, and think about diving some day soon. I’m more likely to dive when my husband is away. We go to movies at the theatre. We go for groceries and cook meals at home. We shop for household necessities. We rent dvds from the local video store, something we’d been sorely missing in Calgary.

We are trying more and more to absorb local culture. We are more likely to check out the Island Living show than go to Stingray City. We try to get to the Wednesday market before all the good produce is gone, rather than trying to get to Sunshine Grill before all the outdoor tables are gone. We go to the National Museum on the first Saturday of the month because it’s free for residents. Part of local culture we were more likely to take part in as tourists, is the Sunday Beach Day.

Traditionally, stores and businesses are closed on Sundays. Caymanians spend the day at the beach. It’s their tradition. As more and more tourists come for longer stays, and with many flights arriving on Sundays, that tradition is being challenged. To those in the know, there are places to shop for liquor on Sundays, and our local video store just happens to have limited Sunday hours. Someone needs to work at the car rental outlets on Sundays. If Caymanians aren’t willing to work Sundays, it limits their job opportunities in the tourism industry.

I have mixed feelings about the potential changes to Sunday shopping hours. I grew up in a small town and lived part of my life in the former Temperance colony now known as Saskatoon. Sunday shopping is something I saw introduced as an adult, but that I now take for granted. How much more convenient it is to be able to run out for a bottle of wine or for some forgotten grocery item on a Sunday, than to try and plan ahead on Saturday?

A part of me likes the idea that Sunday comes and this is it. If we don’t have anything to cook we go out to dinner. If we feel like a drink, and on the rare occasion that our wine rack is empty, we can go enjoy a drink on a seaside deck at one of our favourite restaurants. I like the idea that Sunday is not for running errands, it’s for relaxing. I think it’s a reminder to me of what it was like to vacation here, and why we decided to live here.

I like that if someone flies in or out on Sunday, the trip to the airport is quick and free of traffic congestion. (I talk about the traffic here but my big city friends laugh at me. I know it’s not Los Angeles, but the limited number of roads make the traffic unreasonable for a place this size.)

Don’t get me wrong. Some Sundays I spend cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry or baking. This past Sunday I did none of those. I did’t go to the beach, but I had a lazy Sunday. I enjoyed a morning swim. I sat on our deck at home, reading and using the internet to keep in touch with friends in Canada. We Skyped with our son. I kept a watch for iguanas.

I will admit that I wasn’t as lazy as I would have liked. The iguanas were very active and I had to make several trips down to the pool to chase them away. That was probably healthier for me than sitting around all day, but it was pretty time consuming.

The funny thing about my lazy Sunday is how quickly it went. I thought of suggesting a trip to Eden Rock to snorkel, but the day was already half gone. It was a restful and stress free day.

So now that I’ve had a lazy Sunday, I need to have a productive week. The laundry pile is getting bigger and the bathrooms won’t clean themselves. I’m not on vacation.  That can wait for next Sunday.

 

Constitution Day Fireworks; Soon Come

On our first visit to this beautiful, lovable island, we went to a fun sort of community beach day and jet-ski races in East End.  We had heard of “Soon come..” the Caribbean equivalent of “mañana“, but we lived it that day. I recall that we had a wonderful time on the beach, tasted local foods, listened to music and got a free beach ball from one of the local radio stations. We didn’t, however, see a single jet ski race. I’m sure they started eventually, but our kids were young and we were all tired and had enough sun when we decided to head back to our temporary home.

Things have changed since then. I haven’t been to many events that didn’t start pretty close to the scheduled time, with the possible exception of a boat race. Generally the festivities start on time.

Tonight we thought it was another case of “soon come” when we went to Camana Bay for the Constitution Day fireworks. I had no reason to believe there wouldn’t be fireworks. Last year I enjoyed the fireworks immensely! Having missed the recent Canada Day and July 4 fireworks, you could say I’d been saving myself for the Constitution Day fireworks.

I looked up the times for the anticipated occasion and with some difficulty, on a local moms’ website, I found the time of 8 pm. I’d also seen on the Calendar of Events that the fireworks would again be in Camana Bay. Somehow, I never clued in that the Camana Bay website had made no mention of fireworks.

We went down to Camana Bay early, so we could sit in a good spot. We found chairs, quite far from the main area, but hey, the fireworks would be in the air, right? There are no bad seats if you’re beside the water!

We waited patiently, chatting and watching the people and boats coming and going. 8 pm came and went. We started to think “soon come”, surprising as that would be in a place as well run as Camana Bay. Another half hour and we started to wonder if there was a problem with the wind. I have to admit, it was lovely sitting by the water with the breeze to keep us cool and to keep the bugs away!

Eventually, the wind changed. The distinct odor of the dump wafted over us while we (much less patiently now) waited for the fireworks. We noticed fewer people over in the main viewing area. Our bums were getting numb and we’d already stood up several times to stretch. It was 9 pm.

We walked over to the central area by the fountains. There were still people at the outdoor restaurants, but there were definitely fewer people seated around the harbour. We decided to leave, thinking that if the fireworks started, we’d still see them. We returned to our car and drove home, checked the internet and realized that almost everyone BUT Camana Bay expected Camana Bay to stage the fireworks. I don’t know why they didn’t do it this year, but they just didn’t.

On a much more positive note, when we parked our car at Camana Bay and started walking, we saw two Cayman parrots. I was thrilled! I usually only see them on the east or north side or in the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Garden. We stayed to watch them and I even had my camera for photos. It was a moment of serendipity that more than made up for the absentee fireworks.

It was also a lovely evening in Camana Bay. We don’t often sit outside at night as I seem to be a bug magnet, but with the breeze over the water, it was a perfect evening, with or without fireworks.

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Market Madness

Today was a market day here. The market at Camana Bay is advertised to run from noon to 8 pm. Any time we’ve arrived at noon or later, we are sadly disappointed, because the best of the produce is long gone! The only exception is one of the mango stands. Charlie has to set up another fruit stand in Grand Harbour before making his way to Camana Bay to set up in the thick of things.

There are days when we really don’t want to be at the market in the “thick of things”. The first time we went, I thought I’d never seen so many strollers. I had to fight my way through the nannies to get some good Japanese eggplants. If you want the variety of local greens; spinach, arugula, callaloo and lettuce; you need a combination of polite assertiveness and patience. People are polite and patient here. I haven’t really seen some of the aggressive pushing and shoving that we’ve seen on other islands, which shall not be named here.

Sometimes I’ll buy a bag of fresh greens without even knowing what it is. The market greens stay fresh so much longer than anything we can buy in the grocery store. Today I bought four different bags of greens from two different vendors, just because I could.

I finally bought some local bananas and plantains. When we buy bananas here we buy them green. By the time we get home they are ripe. I’m kidding, but it’s only a slight exaggeration.

We didn’t see as many strollers today, but there were a few wee babies. This island seems to have a large number of young families. Instead, today, there was a professional photographer with a very large camera. I tried to stay out of the way. I wasn’t looking my best!

So it turned out that our strategy to go to the market a bit earlier, but not too early, paid off. I didn’t buy any eggplants today, though, as I thought I’d give my husband a break from my eggplant obsession. I’ve been trying different types of eggplant and a few different recipes. My new project will be to try eggplant recipes from around the world!

Today was about salad greens and mangoes. It was also about trying to stay cool. Since the rainy weather has stopped, we’ve had temperatures around 30 Celsius and 75 to 85 percent humidity. So, even though I can’t really stay cool, I am trying to stay relatively dry. My face was dripping by the time we left the market. I blasted the Amigo‘s air conditioning to the maximum for the ride home. I know, it could be hotter, or worse, it could be cold outside!

In addition to the humidity, we have huge waves. I guess we are into the hurricane season, so maybe everything is just a bit steamier and more volatile. We watched the waves come right up over the beach at the nearby shopping corner, known to locals as the four-way. Even in our air conditioned home I couldn’t cool off. I finally went for a swim,( in the pool, not in the wildly rough sea)which seemed to do the trick. I’m still hoping for some calmer days to get my sea swim fix.

As for the market purchases, the variety of greens and the local baby cucumbers made a nice salad for our supper. There is a different flavour to everything here. The spinach is stronger tasting and thicker. The arugula is large and has quite a bite. The tomatoes have a thicker peel. I haven’t tried the local bananas yet, but I bet they’ll taste different, too.

Then we have the mangoes. Enough said.

 

 

 

 

How to truly retire and not become a full time volunteer

The island’s first ever International Film Festival is going to be on in a week! I was so excited when I first heard of this event! We have our passes and we are studying the schedule to maximize our time and enjoyment!

When I first heard about this I wanted to help. It seemed like a natural; I have time, I love film, I’m not allowed to have a paying job here, and everyone needs volunteers.

I emailed the organizers and voila! they asked me if I’d be interested in coordinating the volunteers. Now that seems like it would be a pretty daunting task for someone who had just moved to the island and hadn’t even volunteered here before. Not to me it wasn’t! Well, maybe a tiny bit. At risk of giving away my secret identity, I’d have to say that event planning and volunteer coordinating were my super powers. I’ve been involved in the planning and coordinating of several national level competitions, hosting athletes from all over Canada at some of them, and from all over Western Canada at others. This involved arranging the venue, organizing the necessary officials and all support volunteers, booking hotel accommodation for visiting officials and for the higher level competitions, planning receptions and awards ceremonies. We sent out notices to participating clubs with all the necessary information and processed the entries and seeding. We planned the food for volunteers and officials and ensured there was emergency medical staff in attendance.  The list goes on. It took a team to organize this level of an event, but I do know a few things about volunteers.

I went to meet the organizers, having just returned from a vacation and finding our car in urgent need of a service, in a bit of a flustered state. Our internet wasn’t working when I arrived at home and I was making daily trips to the coffee shop to check my email in a car that I was more than a little concerned about. I must have made a really bad impression. In retrospect, I wondered if I was expected to bring a resume or references, or go over my past experience. That hadn’t occurred to me because it was for a VOLUNTEER position. I have never felt the need to sell myself on a volunteer job before. On the contrary, it took me and my co-planning/organizing superwoman partner a couple of years  to train people to replace us.

When I say partner I mean that strictly in the sense that we worked together on several events! She was amazing with the small details of planning and contacting the outside support people, and with coordinating our committee. I coordinated, contacted and confirmed all the volunteers, and knew where and for how long they’d be needed, who had the skills for certain positions, and how many “back up” people we should have, and how we would keep them hydrated and fed.

So at this film festival meeting, it’s quite possible that my own reservations about taking on the job gave them reservations about trusting me to take on the job. I don’t exude confidence, especially after a harrowing trip across the island in a car that is trembling. Perhaps I had a moment of  “Can I do this without my superwoman partner who is so good with the details?” So after I thought about the job for a couple of days and contacted them, offering to do it, I understood their decision to hire an event planning company instead of having little old unknown me do it for free. I was probably secretly relieved, even though I’d been drawing up sample spreadsheets of the various screening locations and positions that would need to be filled.

As much as I understood the “rejection” of my services, which they had asked for in the first place, and as much as I’ve enjoyed some time to settle in without the added stress of being part of a major event involving hundreds of volunteers, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit like I’d lost my mojo.  I hope I responded graciously although I thought,”It’s your loss because I would have done a fantastic job even if it killed me!”. I was just a little disappointed that I hadn’t even been asked to be a worker-bee volunteer. Apparently this island has a phenomenal volunteer force and they didn’t even need me to be an usher or take tickets or clean up garbage after the shows. Maybe I made a really bad impression!

Wait, who am I kidding? I was once again relieved that I hadn’t been called upon to volunteer. My enthusiasm for the project had come from a sincere desire to work with the organizers. You see, they made a very good impression on me! I would have done this major project if it killed me and in truth, it probably would have killed me! In retrospect, I realize that my favourite volunteer moments have come doing the small jobs that use my technical skills; the jobs I can go in and do well and go home later and forget. I only became a volunteer coordinator extraordinaire out of necessity.

Then I got an email, presumably from someone at the event planning company, asking for volunteers. She didn’t say what the volunteers would be doing, but the shifts were during festival screenings. I had to say no. I’ve been available since April, and I’m available almost all week, but once the screenings begin, I’m no longer available. We have our festival passes and we’ve been studying the schedule. There are a lot of films to see and it’s going to take some serious planning and organization to maximize our time and enjoyment!

You could say that I’ve discovered a new super power; being able to say “No”.

 

 

Destroying Paradise, one reef at a time

I always thought that the long term Cayman tourism plan was to entertain the cruise ship guests for a day, but to convince them with our hospitality and services, to return for longer stays. Divers return here over and over for the amazing reefs. The Cayman Magic Reef Recovery project alone is bringing together divers who want to help restore a reef damaged by a cruise ship’s anchor.(https://caymannewsservice.com/2015/03/cruise-line-coughs-up-100k-for-reef-damage/  ) Anyone we know who has arrived here on a cruise has been impressed with the crystal clear Caribbean blue sea.

We often recommend Eden Rock as a really great place to snorkel, and the Devil’s Grotto and Eden Rock dive is very popular. If I had a dive buddy I’d be so ready to try it out. Instead, I snorkel there whenever I can. In fact, we try to combine that with a Saturday in George Town: National Museum, lunch at the Paradise Grill, snorkel Eden Rock.

Imagine my horror at the idea of attempting to “move the reef” to accommodate a huge pier for cruise ships.

http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2015/06/08/Reefs-could-be-relocated-to-make-way-for-cruise-pier/

There are some suggestions to build the dock elsewhere on the island, such as West Bay. Are you kidding? The reef  that we look out on in West Bay is a very popular spot for dive boats! The reef surrounds the island and any pier built in West Bay would only increase the traffic into George Town. The shops in George Town are probably where the majority of cruisers want to be, or at least where the powers that be want them to be. Honestly, as someone who has been on a cruise ship, the last place I want to be in a new port is in the duty free shops and stores that look like they could be anywhere. I want to experience what little I can of the culture for the limited time I have, but to each his own. I’ve seen evidence of that when I find myself accidentally in town on a cruise ship day.

I get that it’s time consuming and unpleasant to have to tender into port from the cruise ship. How many cruise ship passengers, if they knew of the damage it would cause to the reef, would still ask for the docks to be built to do away with the tenders? Okay, maybe I don’t want to know the answer.

I was a little relieved today to read that The Cayman Compass has not yet endorsed the plan.

http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2015/06/10/Cruise-berthing–Pros-and-cons-begin-to-crystallize/

There are  arguments on both sides, but with no guarantees from the cruise lines that there will be more ships coming, why not invest in the overnight tourist trade? Why not invest in preserving what we have?

One thing I know for sure is that we’ll be going to Eden Rock to snorkel as often as we can, while we still can!