My one day in Grand Cayman should not discourage any other traveler from visiting the island. The island is a mecca for water sports featuring game fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving. If you are into these things, Grand Cayman may be a great destination for you. There are a huge number of hotels catering to the tourist trade. You can receive extensive information on these things by contracting the Grand Cayman Chamber of Commerce. www.caymanchamber.ky/visitor/index.htm.
My time there was limited by a cruise ship schedule. I, along with hundreds of other travelers, disembarked from an ocean-going behemoth onto a small powerboat and arrived at the busy dock area. Merchants, panhandlers, tour guides, and custom officials crowded the area like pigs at the troth. All were anxious to sink their teeth into Yankee wallets. Grand Cayman is not some impoverished island of goat farmers but is estimated to be the world’s fifth largest banking center and a rumored center for money laundering and drug smuggling.
Feeling duty bound to “see the island,” we took a bus tour to such popular sites as the rum factory, www.tortugarumcakes.com, a store that sold mementos of “Hell,” www.hellgifts.com, and the turtle farm, www.caymanturtlefarm.com. In all, only the turtle farm was worth riding in a small bus, surrounded by other sweaty tourists.Sea turtles segregated by size are propagated in pools of seawater. Few of them will ever be released into the wild. Even though the farm celebrates all things turtle in their gift shop and literature, most of the residents end up in a can of turtle meat.
Turtle meat was a staple of early mariners and islanders, resulting in dwindling numbers of the creatures. This farm, which is the largest land attraction on the island, does release a small number of the creatures into the sea to help bolster the natural population.
In the novel “The Pursuit of Alba,” we used the gift shop of a fictional turtle farm as the background for a bag drop. This is the point where Narvik begins to “go off the rails” and begins to thnk and act for himself.
When you visit Grand Cayman, check it out for yourself.