We arrived at Grand Cayman just after sunset and the light was failing fast. Fortunately, we had friends already there to help us out. Chris on Aeolis met us in his dinghy and escorted us each to a mooring ball (we arrived with Vidorra and Slow Flight). It was absolutely amazing to arrive in a new country and be greeted by friends! Grand Cayman, at first glance looked very American and manicured, the most benign looking island we’ve visited to date. However, a nasty surprise was awaiting us.
Speaking of meeting up with friends. Recognize these faces? Blue Moon was also there. Jason was in the states when we arrived and flew back shortly after, but Brita greeted us with her bright smile and big hugs. We arrived on a Friday night, cruiser night at Rackam’s Waterfront Restaurant & Bar — where free food and drink specials draw all us cheapie travelers in.
We spent the weekend getting situated and moving into Governor’s Creek. Access to this VERY protected anchorage required crossing the North Sound, which is very shallow (6-8 feet deep). However, for my cruising friends that can make it, we highly recommend anchoring in beautiful and calm Governor’s Creek. The city-side mooring can be very rolly and uncomfortable at times. However, you can dive off your boat at the moorings to see coral and fish, but there is no swimming in the Creek. This cool looking pirate ship was docked at the yacht club in the Creek. Visitors to Grand Cayman loved going for a booze cruise on it, but it is currently out of service for renovation. We found out it is for sale, if anyone is interested in a business venture. But buyer beware, we also learned that this all-wood boat is infested with termites! Yikes!
Brita let us know that there was a local hash on the Monday after we arrived. What better way to get acquainted with an island than to walk around different parts of it? We were excited at this prospect and joined in, meeting up at the golf course. This was the flattest, cleanest hash ever as we just circled the golf course and crossed the road to the after party.
The golf course was conveniently located right next to Governor’s Creek. Easy was nice for our first one, but it meant we wouldn’t explore a new area.
It looked beautiful as the sun started setting, but suddenly we were attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. Now we couldn’t finish the hash fast enough. We sprayed repeatedly with bug spray, but it did no good at all. We picked up our pace, swung our arms around us, and swatted mosquitoes off each other. I felt something sting my leg and immediately swatted it off. The runners met up with the walkers back where we started and Steve said he felt he had been stung by something as well. The mosquitoes were still out at the after party, so we bailed out and sought refuge on our boats. Wow, we never experienced anything like that in any of our hashes through the remotest parts of Grenada! I did get three leeches biting me in Grenada once and the occasional biting fly in some locations, but nothing as bas as we were hit with at the golf course. As it turned out, it was even worse than I thought. Remember those stings?…
My calf formed an odd sore with a white middle that ended up scarring. I am pretty sure it was a spider bite. Having been bitten by a brown recluse spider in Alaska, I know what it looks like. I think I got it off before much damage was done. Steve, however, did not fare so well. When he showed me his “sting” a couple days later, I had no doubt he was the victim of a brown recluse spider bite. I suggested he get it looked at, but he figured it would go away. For the record, if you suspect a spider bite, DO get it looked at right away! Steve ended up a mess. It became badly infected.
Dave kidnapped him and took him to the emergency room, where it was misdiagnosed and mistreated. The wound grew steadily worse and became a solid mound bulging from his side with an open white oozing wound in the middle. On a return visit, someone finally recognized it for what it was (now a dangerous staph infection not the bite), performed a culture test to confirm it, and properly treated it (in this case with Ciprofloxacin). Steve was restricted from water activities (including kiteboarding and swimming with the stingrays) for around a month! I will not post a picture of Steve’s injury, but I highly recommend you Google staph infection images, so you know how to recognize it. Google brown recluse spider bites for that matter. Staph infections can be deadly and recognizing it early could save a life and a whole lot of discomfort. Once you see it, you will know it if you come across it.
Needless to say, we were all freaked out by this turn of events and didn’t participate in any more hashes. Who knew Grand Cayman would be the most deadly place we visited? Crazy! I’ll end this blog on a happy note. Once Steve was properly treated, he did eventually heal up. It took a LONG time! He has a pretty good scar to show for it, but he is back to kiteboarding and other water activities. On an even higher note… Of course, as soon as we heard there was a local brewery, we had to check it out. Caybrew is pretty good beer. I liked the light, Dave liked Caybrew, and Steve preferred the darker Ironshore Bock. Something for everyone. In the next blog, we explore the island more in our rental car, Delphinus arrives, and Paul joins the races. The fun really starts to begin.