Cayman Islands: Quiet, but Friendly and Welcoming
Helpful officials, friendly people, great diving and not many other cruisers make the Cayman Islands worth a visit, according to Keith Pomeroy who visited there in early 2023. However, you need to keep an eye on the wind and weather as he details in this report.
Published 3 weeks ago
CAYMAN BRAC (CB)
Kookaburra sailed to CB from Jamaica and enjoyed four days of settled weather. The Caymans supply mooring balls free of charge and you are required to use them. There are plenty around and not that many cruisers come through.
The problem with CB is there are no harbors to hide in, so you are going to need NE-SE winds to stay any length of time. We were chased out after four days by a Northerly wind.
Clearance at CB
Check in at the Scotts Dock on the NW side of Brac, call them on VHF Channel 16 as you come into the island, they will tell you to grab a mooring and dinghy to the concrete pier, they are not interested in getting on your boat. You will check out here as well.
When entering the Caymans they will offer two weeks or a month, both options are free but evidently there is more paperwork for a month. We took the two weeks then had a friend visit, so we had to ask for an extension from immigration that cost us $50/person and three hours at the Customs & Immigration office (so take the month when you arrive just in case!). When checking out of CB they request you call on VHF Channel 16 with 24 hrs notice – very easy.
We then walked up to the road and had a wood-fired pizza and a beer at Barracudas Bar. If you want to go to Little Cayman you will have to come back to CB to check out before going to Grand Cayman. There is a good lagoon on the SW corner of Little Cayman about 10 miles west of the Scotts Dock, but we did not go.
We rented a car, $30 a day at the airport, which is a 15 min walk from the Scotts dock, and toured CB for a day. There are three roads that run the length of the island. Start on the North road, go all the way to the east end, park at the parking lot and walk to the cliffs. Come back down to Bluff Rd and cross over to the Middle road and take that all the way to the North end and you will be at the lighthouse and at the top of the 150 ft tall cliffs with a good hiking trail.
Come back down the middle road to Bluff Rd again and drop onto the South road again, take it all the way to the north until it ends. There’s a parking area and a great cave, then head south on that road with other stops to the bat cave and Jessica’s cave. We ate lunch at Coral Isles restaurant (South Road).
The two dive shops on CB are on the southwest corner of the island and there are some bird watching platforms opposite them. Very nice quiet island with good grocery stores and bakeries. There is a nice little grocery store just past Barracudas.
After leaving Cayman Brac, we sailed to Georgetown, Grand Cayman (90 miles). The harbor patrol were looking for us and were very pleasant on arrival. They directed us to a concrete dock for check-in. Again no one was interested in coming on board, but we did do ALL the paperwork again for customs, the immigration clock was still ticking though. It is recommended on some pages to fill out Sail Clear before arriving, we did so in Jamaica and never was it mentioned or acknowledged.
When finished, the harbor patrol escorted us to a mooring, then had me jump on their boat for a tour of the harbor showing us the dinghy dock, grocery store and providing us with some basic info about the island – extremely nice!
Great diving – but expensive food
We went diving with “Living the Dream” dive shop, right at the dinghy dock, rated #1 on island and I can see why. Lots of diving in the Caymans is shore diving, but we opted for a boat dive as we were snorkeling lots of the shore dives.
Food prices are high in the Caymans and their KY dollar is based on the Euro, so a 20% exchange rate is added to everything. They are used to dealing with Americans so their cash registers convert it automatically.
Remember your next destination will be much cheaper, but not as good a selection. There is a Cost-U-Less for bulk US brand buying if needed. The Kirk Grocery, across from the dinghy dock, is pricey but staples such as fruits and veggies are fairly priced with excellent bakery products, meats are expensive! DYI, True Value & Ace hardware stores are walking distance up the road from the grocery.
Downtown Georgetown is a cruise ship port (enough said) and you will have lots of company in the harbor. Seven mile beach is to the north of Georgetown and a nice walk. Local buses (vans) are $2 KY and convenient. We rented a car ($140/day) at the airport and toured the eastern end of the island ending with the bioluminescence tour at Rum point that evening.
You can boat around to Stingray city (grab a mooring) then anchor off Starfish Point for a northerly wind or Rum Point for a southerly. Georgetown is always rolly which usually is fine. but we had three days when everyone was playing with their bridle angles.
Jaime & Keith Pomeroy
About the Authors:
For the past 15 years, Keith and Jaime Pomeroy have been full-time liveaboards on their 2001 Island Spirit 37′ catamaran SV Kookaburra.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Noonsite.com or World Cruising Club.
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Related to following destinations: Cayman Brac, Cayman Brac (Creek), Cayman Islands, George Town, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Little Cayman (Port)