Date: 21 May 97 19:50:57 EDT
From: Nellie Gruender <email@example.com>
Subject: Made It to Cayman
After our whirlwind tour of Jamaica the crew of Rainbow Chaser left our friends on Serenity, and LaVerne in Montego Bay on May 14th and headed for Grand Cayman.(CLOSE UP MAP)
From all of the forecasts we heard we expected 25 knot winds with 4-6ft seas. Neither of these conditions occurred, so we had a slightly slower passage than we had anticipated. It wasn't bad, mind you, just caaaaaaalm at times. This was a pretty straight forward passage. We set the course, and headed off.
Gene's fishing produced 2 good sized tunas for our meals. We had tuna steaks that we would have paid a mint for back in the states. The only cost was the little sweat that it took Gene to reel them in.
Once, while Gene was asleep, we hooked a fish. Not wanting to wake Gene. I reeled the fish in with Zach cheering me on. Once we got the fish close enough to haul it in we discovered we had a small barracuda. Now, while many people say that the fish is good to eat. we generally throw them back. Well, I got this fish out of the water, took one look at the teeth on this thing and decided there was no way I was going to try and get the hook out of its mouth!! Needless to say, he was not having a good day and looked as though he would have bitten any part of my anatomy I got close to him. I lowered the fish back in the water, and it trailed behind the boat until Gene got up from his nap. (Does PETA harass fish abusers??) He had been trailed a few miles by the time Gene got up, and had lost a lot of his fight. Gene was able to get the hook out, and the barracuda swam away. He was swearing about blondes who don't know how to fish......
Upon arrival at the coast of Cayman, it was apparent from the opulence of the houses on the coast that this small country was vastly different from Jamaica. When we got into George Town Harbor we contacted the Harbor Security who tried to find Customs and Immigration on a Saturday afternoon. It took awhile, but we were called and told to bring the boat over to the dock.
The Immigration official looked official in his uniform. The Customs Officer arrived with his family, had on his Saturday jeans, and a backwards baseball cap. Both men were very nice, and the Customs Officer even gave us a Cayman Island quarter to make a phone call. When the Customs Officer noticed we were from Texas he asked in several ways if we had guns... ammunition.... etc on board. It seems we have the reputation for being armed.
When we went ashore again the difference between Jamaica and Cayman was obvious in the affluence we saw. The Customs officer pretty well summed it up for us when he said there were two classes of people in Cayman. Upper Middle Class, and Ridiculous - the latter being the people that had so much money it was ridiculous. George Town is a miticulous town that has a bank on nearly every corner. Grand Cayman as a whole is 4 miles wide and 27 miles long. There are 32,000 people, and 450 banks. Discreet banks, as one local put it.
Saturday evening we went to the Hyatt Regency on Seven Mile Beach. This place, by any standard, is posh. Our e-mail friend James White (who we had never met in person) is the entertainer at the hotel. He immediately knew who we were when he came into begin his evening of entertaining. He's a really talented man, and nice to boot. ( He found a package of Tortilla Chips and a Miami paper for us!) We're now friends for life. We spent the evening listening to him sing his own material as well as doing excellent job with other peoples songs. He has a CD out, which is one of our favorites. It's mostly original music he wrote, a little of a Buffet style, Caribbean music. He appeared in the movie "The Firm", singing "Blame it on the Rum" (It's on the CD) in a scene with Gene Hackman. I'd recommend it, it's a bit expensive at $20, but includes shipping from Cayman. It's called "Life in the Laid Back Lane" and you can order it from him direct or get on his mailing list at: James White, c/o box 1588, Grand Cayman, British West Indies.
We had heard that Cayman was expensive. Our Cokes at the Hyatt bar cost almost $3.00 American. I can only imagine how much the champagne cost that one of the ladies at the bar was drinking.
Today we went.....sailing. What a treat for us to get to sail without needing to be concerned about our course. James came with us, and played the tour guide. It was a wonderful time. There's such a difference in sailing to get somewhere and just.....sailing.
Tomorrow we're off to Sting Ray City (MAP)(PIC). Zach as memorized every article in his diving magazines about Cayman and all of the places to go. Tomorrow his dream comes true to go to Sting Ray City, and snorkel with the rays.
Aboard Rainbow Chaser
George Town, Grand Cayman
(there must have been a lot of George's in the Caribbean)