Three on a boat in Little Cayman | March 19, 2013

Position: 19°39’N, 80°05’W – Little Cayman

Our unpredictable schedule makes it difficult for friends and family to meet us along our adventure but one was not to be dissuaded. It has been a reunion planned for months, with many changes along the way. First it was Hawaii, then Panama, then Cuba, even Miami but finally, last weekend, we picked up our german friend Monika at Grand Cayman airport. 

Keeping it simple at Little Cayman airport
The Skipper took her through usual safety briefing and showed her ropes. Monika listened at first and then started to ask questions, very much like the First Mate did when she was at the same early learning stage - Why do you do it that way? Have you thought of doing it another way? Would it not be better to do it this way? For the first time, it dawned on him just how and why the two of them are such good friends! By Day Two, the Skipper had resigned himself to Ashling becoming a ‘German Boat’ for the duration of Monika’s vacation. Monika also learned to preface her questions with “That’s an interesting technique”, a signal that a suggestion was on the way. With what looked like an interesting two weeks ahead, we stocked up in Georgetown and set sail for the island of Little Cayman.

Meeting the locals
Little Cayman is a little island (surprise, surprise!) located about 100 miles north-east of Grand Cayman. The 200 people living there are well outnumbered by iguanas, large prehistoric-looking lizards who sit so still in the sun that they look like statues, and then scamper away when you come close. Tourism is the main source of income for the island so everything is tailored to give visitors all they need for the perfect island holiday. The pace of life is slow and relaxed, and everyone knows everybody – five minutes after asking the lady in the dive shop for directions to the Customs Officer, he had heard we were looking for him and pulled up beside us on the road to give us a lift!  

We stayed for a few days to snorkel in the clear water, relax in the beach hammocks and take a bike ride around the island. One of the island’s proudest sites is the Booby Pond Nature Reserve. The Cayman Islands are a popular stop for thousands of migratory birds on their annual journey north. In particular Little Cayman is home to one of the largest breeding colony of red boobies - of the bird variety, no offence intended to any local sunburned ladies - in the world. The white heads of the young chicks looked like little bits of cotton wool among the trees and the skies came alive at sunset, when Mummy-birds and Daddy-birds returned with dinner, dodging the nasty frigate birds who lay in wait to steal the catch of the day. 

Happy St Patrick's Day!
Like many other ocean-going sailors, we considered a third crewmember on board for our adventure and decided against it. Apart from personality differences, another person on board means carrying more food, more water and having to generate more power. However with Monika on board over the past week, we have seen the advantages of having another person, a different perspective and a third set of hands.  We have laughed until we cried. We have learned new recipes. Even the Skipper has taken on board a few suggestions for improvements, especially for the annoying or arduous tasks that we have just got used to. Ashling may not be yet a Mercedes but after Monika’s stay on board, she’ll be a pretty good Volkswagen.

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