Category Archives: Grand Cayman

6th January 2018 Grand Cayman

Let me start by thanking you all for the wonderful messages and comments that you sent, it gladdens my heart and renews my enthusiasm to write about our travels around the globe. 

Having made our transit towards Grand Cayman, battling the adverse Gulf Stream, rounding Cape Antonio on the westernmost tip of Cuba, the Caribbean was not her usual sun and azure blue seas.  We went south under scudding, low cloud and rain showers, pushed along by a  strong north-east wind. 

The Georgetown forecast did not look much better, more of the same.  There are no berths off the town, at least not for cruise ships and as a consequence any visiting vessel has to anchor.  In fine weather, this can be a pleasant experience and the operation is overseen by the local pilot.  Approaching the island, less than ½ mile from the beach, one is in deep water, hundreds of feet deep; as one creeps closer, one comes to the ‘wall’, a vertical cliff which rises from the depths to about 60 feet from the surface, thence it gradually shallows.  The pilot stays in a small boat, ‘hovering’ over the patch of sand where he wants us to drop anchor, thus avoiding damage to the delicate coral. 

Today, however, no prudent seaman would have dreamt of anchoring; strong winds and rain squalls were forecast and us ‘hovering’ in position, using our joystick, was the prudent option.  Finding a spot close enough to tender, away from the worst of the wind and (optimistically) in calmer seas was the name of the game.  So, we ended up with a Costa ship on our port side and the reefs of Georgetown to starboard, (cunningly using the Costa ship as a lee, she breaking up some of the swell before it reached us)  😆 

Arriving at 9 a.m. we stayed until 5 p.m., the Navigating officers managing the joystick with deft professionalism, (it is a manual operation, not Dynamic Positioning, where a signal is feed into a computer and adjusts itself) .  We are now on our way to Puerto Limon on Costa Rica’s east coast, where we arrive tomorrow and thence through the Panama Canal.  I may not have time to write until that transit has been completed, a day in port tomorrow and a dash to the Canal for early the next day, will not leave time to relax here, more afterwards though, have no fear!

The track towards Grand Cayman

….and our ‘hover’ position

A radar shot. We are in the ‘box’; Costa to the north, Aida further north and slightly to the right of ahead, the “Berlin” a smaller cruise ship

Now the visual, Costa and Aida

The “Berlin”; at anchor she was swing in varying directions as the wind affected her.

Finally, a view of the small harbour to which our tenders took guests.