Position: 19°35’N, 81°37’W – Governors Harbour, Grand Cayman
There’s always something to watch out for or worry about on a sailing passage. And it’s always something different. From New Zealand to Tahiti, we watched for any damage to the boat from strong winds. In French Polynesia we worried about running aground on the shallow reefs. From the Marquesas to Panama, we kept a close eye on rationing our supplies to make sure we didn’t run out of food or water. And from Panama to the Cayman Islands, we had offshore banks – and I’m not talking about the financial hideaways where certain Irish politicians stashed taxpayer’s money over recent years.
The Caribbean Sea consists of over 7,000 islands, reefs and cays. In between these, there are several ocean banks – large expanses of rock lying under the water and reducing the water depth from 2,000 metres to just 10 metres within minutes. Boats can run aground on the shallowest parts of these banks or capsize in the turbulent waves caused by the disrupted flow of water. On our way to Grand Cayman we navigated through two sets of such ocean banks. We passed the first during daylight without any incident, and breathed a sigh of relief.
|Something to raise the heart rate|
|Grand Cayman on the horizon|
After completing the usual customs and immigration formalities, we anchored in Governors Harbour on the north-west of the island and dingyed ashore to see our first familiar faces since leaving New Zealand last September. Friends from Ireland Cara, Justin and 5-month old Eden were waiting excitedly on the dock to greet us with champagne and so many hugs that we were almost winded. We were tired from our five day sail and they were tired from a week at work but somehow we found enough energy for a delicious steak dinner and many glasses of wine until the early hours.
Already they have gone above and beyond to welcome us to Cayman and make us feel at home in their home. We’ve had delicious home-cooked meals, walks with Bossy the dog, watched a gaelic football match, drank pints of Guinness and even enjoyed a night on the couch watching Midsomer Murders. It's hospitality at its finest and we are loving every minute!
|Guinness...it's still good for you|
|Sunday dinner: all you can eat carvery|