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.
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.
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!