December 2013

The Sun in Cayman is so predominant in our daily lives, that I seem to forget its beauty and importance.  Maybe i’m getting a bit sentimental here, but we are so lucky to have an abundance of it here that we sort of take it for granted.

I read somewhere recently that the Cayman Islands get on average 300 days of sunshine a year; I have no problem believing that.

Anyway, so to keep on my sun theme, here are what i think are some really neat pictures I recently took of the sunset.  The first two were taken from what is becoming my favorite spot on the island ; Spotts Beach.  Even though the clouds were blocking the sun, the light came though and gave us an amazing show.  A note about Spotts beach ; the last time I went snorkeling there I saw 8 turtles.  If you want some awesome snorkeling experience, this beach is worth driving out of town a bit to.



At Rum Point.  This is a picture with Julie’s friend (who has since gone back home) taking pictures of the sunset.  This picture came out quite well.


On one of the days, the ladies made a pick-nick at Smith Cove. I joined them over my lunch hour.  Of course a typical awesome December day ; plenty of sun and calm sea.  Of course since this was during the week and it’s not yet peak tourist season, the beach was not busy at all. Gotta love the massive contrast ; ocean/beach and business attire! It looks like a picture they could use to get people to come live & work here.


My final though of this post about what is going on in the East End.

Here it is:

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Cayman Health City will be opening sometime in February 2014.  This brand new facility (140 rooms) is a project by Indian doctor Devi Shetti, a world renowned heart surgeon. This facility will be for “medical tourists” from around the world to come to Cayman and have cardiac surgeries at better prices than in countries such as the US.   The building of the facility is definitely a boost for the local economy, not just for building staff, but for the island as a whole.  Medical tourists = individuals who will comes for weeks at a time, which brings in a lot more revenue than for example a cruise tourist.  In any case, it should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

A few posts ago I mentioned “The Reef Resort”.

Well, Julie and I had the opportunity to spend the week-end here, a sort of “Staycation”, a term used very liberally in the Cayman Islands.  Very nice place.  In order to give you some context here is where the resort is located ; all the way at the north-eastern tip of the island.  (Note the green “A” on the map below) Its a good 45 minute drive from George Town.  A lovely 45 minute drive might I add!


So here was the view from our room.   I think we can all agree that is was pretty awesome.  We had perfect weather the whole week-end we stayed here.  The beach is protected by a reef which is about 1000ft out. (note the while line of crashing waves in the ocean – that is where the barrier reef is)  Inside the reef the water is mostly under 10ft deep and great for snorkeling.  The best snorkeling though was near the pier where I estimate there were 500 fish hanging out.  Under the pier at the Morritts (the next door hotel) there were about 2x the amount along with a family of large Tarpons.  Lots of great stuff to see.  I also saw a stingray right near the pier.

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On the pier directly in front of the complex (can also be seen through the palm trees above) a pelican landed for a brief visit. As I have posted in the past, there seem to be very few of these birds in Cayman for a reason I cannot explain.


These Sandpipers kept me amused while I was lounging in a beach chair 50ft or so from the ocean.  They would run up & down the beach in groups of 10-20 looking for food and quarreling amongst each other.  Not to mention i found them to be quite cute. Definitely lazy Saturday afternoon beach entertainment!


Julie was more amused by her Kindle than the sandpipers 🙂  Note that in the east end of Cayman it can get quite windy hence she covered herself up a bit.


A nice shot of the beach while we took a walk from one end to the other.


This was our first stay at The Reef resort and I must say it was very enjoyable.  At night the surroundings are pitch black and do not be surprised if you find yourself falling asleep early ; its also very quiet due to there being almost no traffic, music or any other source of noise outside of the waves crashing on the shore and the distant reef.   I have always liked the East End of Cayman and now having spent a whole week-end here like it even more.

Once again this year I took part in what is quickly becoming a tradition, in the annual Cayman Islands Marathon.   I do not run the full Marathon (26.2 miles) ; I run the 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) which I am sure you will agree is more than enough.

As always, the race is on a Sunday morning and it starts at 5am!  So I got up at +-3am, went to my office for 3:45am (its close to the start line) and “took it easy” till around 4:30 and then walk to the start line to get there 15 minutes or so before the start.  The running in the dark is really enjoyable.  Of course much less hot than in full sun and adds a bit of mystique to the whole event.

So, here we are at the start line ; Julie’s friend Valerie also ran it. It was her first 1/2 Marathon.  Julie was supposed to run, but a nasty cold got the best of her and it was probably better not to run that kind of a distance when sick.


Note that i have 2 bibs on my shirt.  Here is the story.  The top one (green lettering) is for the 1/2 Marathon.  The lower one (red letters) is for a 4-man team relay.   On Thursday a friend of mine called me and told me that they needed a runner due to a cancellation. (needs to be a team of 4 and they were 1-down)  The organizers allow runners to run the 1st leg of the relay + their own race; so essentially you are not running any more than you would be already. The only difference is at the halfway point of the 1/2 Marathon I had to hand over the “chip” to the next relay man, he starts running and I also continue on my way to finish my 1/2 Marathon.  Was that clear? 🙂

Anyway, so we are off into the darkness!  I am somewhere in this mess. The first 200-300 meters are a bit chaotic but very quickly people find their pace and it thins out.


Here is one of the water stops. All of them are staffed with volunteers and many of them are corporate groups.  My favorite though is the water stop of the Indian community.  They have traditional music and clothes and all kinds of cheering going on.  Very fun to run by their stop and get a drink.


After the run, runners have access to a well deserved food area; lots of fruit, granola bars, water, Gatorade, etc.


What I assume is somewhat of unique to the Cayman Marathon … Caybrew is there to serve up some of their great tasting beers for finishers.  Many of us are done before 7am so its an interesting concept.  That beer the gentleman is pouring is mine.   I just burned a ton of calories before most people got out of bed on this Sunday morning, so why not right?


Here is the finishers medal! I also got one for the team relay.  This medal is really heavy and of nice quality.


So, how did I do?  I am pleased to report that “quite well” would be an appropriate answer.  Out of 726 runners, I came in 35th overall at a time of 1h41 minutes.  A bit better than in 2012 and almost identical time (few seconds difference from 2011).

On the relay part, this is where I am getting a bit of a kick.   The team I ran for (and was a replacement runner as explained earlier) was a team of guys from Kenya – if you know anything about running in that part of the world is that the runners are really fast.  Well, I “beat” my 3-teammates (I got the best time of all 4 of us) and our team finished 10th out of 108 teams. Not bad at all.  A very successful day I would say.

Julie’s friend Valerie also did well.  She placed 128th overall and 34th women (out of 418) which is excellent, especially for her first 1/2 marathon.

Here is the course! The whole bottom part is essentially two directions.  You go along the coast all the way to the right, then back toward town and then up Walkers Road (the path not on the ocean) and then to the Start/Finish.



What does one do after such a run: Hit the beach of course.  We all went to Cemetery beach for some much deserved sun bathing, snorkeling and relaxing.   The day was lovely.  Just 2-3 days ago, there was good chance that we would be running in the rain. I was not thrilled by that idea.  Anyway, the awesome Cayman weather came though and so did the afternoon at the beach.