Well, I finally made it to Cayman Brac (aka : The Brac). It only took me 10 years.  Quite pathetic I know considering its only about 25 minutes away by plane. The main attraction in Cayman Brac, which is one of the two “sister islands” is The Bluff.  The Bluff is essentially about 1/2 of the island that is elevated and at the far end of the island is a 140ft cliff into the ocean.

So arrival in Cayman Brac at the quite small but nice airport.

Upon driving around, I saw right away that this place was different from Grand Cayman.  If you have been to Grand Cayman’s East End, driving around the Brac is a very similar experience.  Here the locals painted their palm trees.

Julie agrees with this sign 🙂

Some of you may remember my posts from November 2008 where Hurricane Paloma appeared out of nowhere, south of the islands.  Well, that Hurricane hit the Brac as a Category-4 and although much has been rebuilt, there are still signs & scars around from that storm.

This odd house likely did quite well in that storm. Quite an odd looking home.  🙂

In the bluff, there are numerous caves to visit.  Although I took pictures, they do not do justice and also are quite dark.  Here is the entrance to one of the most popular caves. What is great is that entrance is free and the areas were all nicely maintained.  These caves have been used in the past as hurricane shelters.  Probably not too comfortable, but definitely safe.  It was also neat to see the bats hanging from the ceiling in many of them.

On to the Bluff.  The picture below is not mine, just one I grabbed on the Internet. What you are looking at is the eastern part of the island where it is a 140ft cliff.  Back towards the other end, you can see on each side, at one point the Bluff retreats inland, which is where the caves can be found.  This is the most eastern part of the Cayman Islands and closest to Jamaica which is only a hundred and fifty miles or so away.

This is Long beach.  If you look at the picture above, this picture below was taken from the beach you see on the right side. Note that large rock/island in both pictures.

Now we went onto the bluff.  Once again, see the overhead picture above. You can see there is a road in the middle. At the end of that road, there is a path that goes towards the right.  The next set of pictures are from that path.  Really spectacular!  The ocean was very choppy but made from great pictures.

The Bluff is also know for the Boobie birds. We were lucky; we saw a lot of them and it was nesting time.

Here is a lovely Boobie couple.  We were able to get within about 1oft or so ; they seem like they were used to seeing humans.

Kissy-Kissy 🙂

A mommy nesting. At one point she stood up and we could see the egg.  Not long enough to get a picture though. Really nice birds, about the size of a “slim chicken”.

And of course, the Bluff from the South side. (Right hand side on the overhead picture above)

Lastly, here is some video footage from the top of the Bluff.   As you will see, it was REALLY windy. I dont know what speeds they were, but I can easily imagine they were close to tropical storm force.  What was amazing is that it was constant.  As you will see, I had trouble holding the camera still.   If you feel for some of the footage I was a bit close to the edge, I had a long selfie stick so was not all that close. 🙂  Note the nesting Boobie bird in early part of the video.

In closing, if you are in Cayman and have an extra day or so, Cayman Brac is well worth the trip. I was there for one day only (+-12h in all) and got to see a good amount of the island.  However, if you want to snorkle and/or dive, one day is definitely not enough.

 

I am having trouble believing that I have ran this race (the half-marathon) 7 times now.  It seems like just yesterday when I was the newbie running the first time, all the way back in 2011.

Same course and always at 5am which I love since I get to run in the darkness (minus street lights) for the first 80 minutes or so. I even have my little routine.  I get up at 3am (yes i’m nuts) and immediately jump into my car and drive to my office (of course my gear is ready and in a bag) and get there around 3:20.  Then I have a coffee, surf the Internet and take it easy till around 4:40.  Then I walk towards the start line and get there about 10 minutes before 5am.

The race bib this year changed – for the better with a lovely picture of Stingray City.  Note the “beer ticket”.  For runners who need a drink after the race (on an early Sunday morning …), local brewery Caybrew provided everyone with a cold beer.

At the start/finish line, the same MC we have had every year for as long as I can remember did as always an awesome job.  Its always a nice feeling to have your name called out when dashing towards the finish line.

At the finisher area ; all chatting and in good spirits (some surely on a runner’s high!) while having water, fruit and a Caybrew.

On my way back to my office for a quick shower, I saw the Cayman Compass photo booth.  Of course I stopped in for a funny picture 🙂

Back from the office & shower, I went to the Intertrust VIP booth – not sure how I got on their list, but I am not complaining. Coffee, awesome breakfast, mimosa’s & the likes. Putting back all those calories I guess.

The course! We were lucky it was cool-ish and not humid. As for results: I finished the half marathon in 1h42min – I am very pleased.  That places me 32nd in a field of 613 half marathon runners.  Not bad for an old guy 🙂

One last item of interest. On November 29th,  the population of Grand Cayman went from +-55,000 to 75,000. Around 20,000 people came ashore on 6 cruise ships. Glad I did not need to go to the harbor area that day.  Great for tourism in Cayman though!

 

This morning I needed (and wanted) to run +-15km in preparation for the 1/2 Marathon in 2-weeks time.

Instead of doing my regular run, I drove to the East End, while it was still dark, to see the sunrise and then my run.  It was a bit cloudy (and quite windy) but still managed to get some nice shots.

I also tried my hand a doing a time capture.  Not bad!  Its a bit shaky but with the wind it was difficult to keep my phone standing up.  Decent result for a first try.  As you can see, quite a bit of cloud cover and the wind was moving them along swiftly.

And then the run, mostly along the Queens Highway – the end and the northern side of Grand Cayman and past the Reef Resort & Morritts. Only saw a few cars, 1 cyclist and one other runner.   Nice & quiet run.

 

Well, this summer & fall, the Caribbean sure has been getting it! In the Cayman Islands, we have been very fortunate not to have a hurricane come too close to us.

That being said, Tropical Storm Philippe came quite close to us this week-end. In fact, we got something like 50mm (around 2 inches) of rain on Saturday alone.  The ocean was also very rough as you can see in the video below, which I took near the Burger King in George Town.

On the road on Sunday morning, blue skies, but BIG puddles everywhere.

Definitely no boating or snorkeling today!

But, in an amazing 180 change, Sunday, less than 24 later was blue skies and fabulous weather.

So this week-end was the annual 10-10-10 relay race in the East-End. I really like this event since running in the East is peaceful and always different from running in town.  I usually opt for the last leg since its the most scenic, even though by the time I get to run the sun is up and it is quite hot.  But, nothing a white hat & shirt cant help manage.

So I started at the Green spot and ran till the … Red.  My two team mates also had 10k each to complete the loop which started at the Red spot and went counter-clockwise.

My colleague Dan and I at the finish (the 3rd runner had to go home)  We did get a bit of a chuckle today. Although we won 2nd Corporate team (yay!) and did quite good, Dan had a small incident.  He arrived at +-6:45 at the location to start leg-2 and realized he forgot his running shoes.  So he ran 10k in socks & flip flops.  Amazingly, he ran the 10k in around 53 minutes which in my opinion is nothing short of spectacular all things considered.

On the way back I took a few pictures.  Here is by far my favorite house in Grand Cayman.  Its on the North Side and is currently for sale for a cool 4.2M$US.  It is on a “bluff” and there are stairs down to the ocean where you can go snorkeling in a reef protected area behind the house.  Pretty neat.

This Spanish style house is being built near Bodden Town.  The picture does not do it justice, but its massive.  No idea who is building this house which I would guess will cost north of 5M$US.  Still a few months to go before it is finished.

One more month till Hurricane season is over.  Lets hope that is the end of it now.  Looking forward to going diving soon 🙂

So Hurricane Irma is now in the history books and we will never see her again.  In fact, when a storm is catastrophic, the name is “retired” and will never be used again.  Hurricane Ivan and Katrina are good example of this.  Good riddance.

So Irma caused major damage on, by my count, 8 nations/states.   Barbuda, Anguilla, BVI, USVI, Turks & Caicos, Cuba & Florida.  That is quite a destructive system, so many lives have been upended.   A number of friends from BVI are in the process of leaving the island due to not having a place to live and some, who work in the tourism industry, simply have no work/job since it will be months before tourists and hotels are able to welcome guests again.  In the TCI, where I “escaped” 24h before Irma, there are over 500 utility poles down on the island of Providenciales, so recovery will take a while. On the island of Grand Turk, sadly there is still almost no news 4 days after the storm.  It looks like Irma leveled all communications there.

On that, here are some more wave videos from this week-end in Cayman.  On Sunday, the waves were spectacular.  I felt lucky that was all we got and that I got out before the storm in TCI, all while thinking of my friends who were not so lucky.

Here was the scene in West Bay at “Macabuca” – always a favorite to see big waves.

This one is from Smith Cove.  I had never seen such big waves at this location.


So that was Irma.   Lets hope the rest of the 2017 hurricane season is quiet.  The statistical peak of the season was … yesterday Sept 10th.

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