Sunday, December 4, 2005

Cayman Brac – A Jewel in the Sea.

Cayman Brac is the furthest of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. The islands are located at 480 miles due south of Miami. Grand Cayman is the largest with Little Cayman and Cayman Brac to the east.

The Brac is approximately 11 miles long and about 2 miles wide at the center, with roads around the coastline and linking roads through the middle. There is little nightlife on the island, so visitors should expect to keep themselves busy sightseeing, eating, drinking and diving. For birdwatchers, the island hosts more than 200 species of birds. The parrot sanctuary is well worth a visit. Although we were not able to actually set eyes on a parrot in its natural habitat, we certainly heard their screeching, so knew they were watching us.

Besides having some of the most beautiful reefs in the world, the island has several interesting caves. Islanders have taken refuge in these caves during hurricanes, especially Peter’s Cave which is located high on a cliff overlooking Spot Bay at the East End. Half Way Ground Cave and the Bat Cave are also worth a visit. As water drips through the limestone, holes appear in the rocks. At certain times during the day, the sun streams through the holes and provides enough light for small plants to grow.

The lush, green tropical forest of the interior of the island compliments the rugged coastline, but there are few places for the diver to access the water easily from the shoreline. On a scheduled dive, we were taken to the Cayman’s version of the Lost City of Atlantis. A local sculpture known as “Foots” is in the process of creating a likeness of the mythical city of Atlantis. To date, he has assembled several columns, a sundial and a statue. We were pleased to note the site can be approached by land from Stake Bay and then of course a short swim to the underwater site.

Stake Bay is also great for those visitors who merely like to snorkel and free dive. The reef has an abundance of fish and coral and it was literally like swimming in an aquarium. Every fish imaginable can be seen from the tiny, iridescent beauties to the quite large, barracuda and stingrays.