Weekend Trip to the Brac
14.02.2014 - 16.02.2014
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Moving here from the U.S., we knew we'd be around our kids a lot of the time without any significant breaks for just Nadine and I. After many gracious offers from the kind elementary school principal to watch our kids for a weekend (I don't believe weekend babysitting is in her job description), we finally took her up on her offer. Since we have been on island, our entire family has considered Angie and her husband, Kevin, to be our kids' surrogate island grandparents. They seem quite willing to fill that role.
The Cayman Islands consist of 3 total islands. They are Grand Cayman, and the 2 sister Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Grand Cayman is the big city (pop. 60,000). Cayman Brac is the country town (pop. 2,000). And Little Cayman is a ghost town (pop. 150). Upon further research of our trusted Lonely Planet, neither one of the Sister Islands have much to do other than scuba dive, and neither one of us dive. We decided to go with Cayman Brac for our surprise Valentine's Day weekend.
Even though the Cayman Islands receive cruise ships and cargo ships, there yet isn't any type of ferry/boat service between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands. Even though they lie 65 miles apart. So we took my favorite form of transport. We boarded the large plane destined for Kingston, Jamaica with a very brief stopover on Cayman Brac.
We sat next to a very nice lady from the Brac (that's what the local call Cayman Brac). She asked us our names, where we were from, had we ever been to the Brac before. She then resumed talking about her sick husband, her knitting business in Grand Cayman, and the state of affairs in the Cayman Islands. Everything was fair game. When the plane was 45 minutes late, she transformed from a nice, gentle soul into a very jaded, opinionated one. She then attacked Cayman Airways inability to leave on time, count the number of passengers onboard correctly. She was on the verge of counting all them herself. Eventually we took off and her hand sewn bag broke. Karma?
Fortunately for us, a student of mine has a grandmother from the Brac and they graciously offered to allow us to stay at their little guest house for only $25 a night. For the Cayman Islands, that is a bargain!
For the first time in a long time, Nadine and I felt like a pair of tourists. No kids. No responsibilities. Just throwing our backpacks in our little white Korean rental car, and exploring the 12 by 1 mile area of Cayman Brac. There are some similarities between to the two islands. The west end is the more populated side of both islands with the east end being sparcely populated. The one attribute that the Brac has over Grand Cayman is elevation. The highest point on Grand Cayman peaks at a lofty 75 feet, and that may be the island dump Mount Trashmore. The Brac on the other hand soars over Grand Cayman, its' highest point is 149 feet.
The Gaelic word brac means bluff, and the brac starts emerging from the sea as you head east. The bluff continues elevating until you abruptly hit the the Lighthouse on the eastern most point of the island. Drastically, 149 feet drop smack dab into the Caribbean Sea below. It's a great place for rock climbers. Yet the edge is not roped off, so if you explore too close to the edge, you may become a cliff diver. Or even a cliff cannonballer.
People on Cayman Brac are just as friendly just like the rest of the country. While driving around the Brac, folks would simply give each other the Texas wave from behind the steering wheel. This isn't the one you see in New Mexico where you solely flash the middle finger, rather this consists of raising your index finger. Now if we could just get them saying y'all.
Last tourist excursion was a visit to the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve, the only place in the world where the Cayman Brac parrot lives. As Lonely Planet proudly explained on page 282 of their Caribbean Islands guidebook, "you should not have no trouble spotting one of the 400 remaining Cayman Brac parrots that are slowly reestablishing themselves." First of all Lonely Planet, 400? I only counted three. Secondly, no trouble whatsoever spotting them? As we walked over the raised wooden walkway over the limestone bluff, we were skilled and fortunate enough to only hear two or three of these 400 parrots. Never saw a single one.
Until next time, ¡hasta pronto!