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Brac Gypsy

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The perception perpetuated by the media is that the entirety of the Cayman Islands has been devastated by hurricane Ivan. That is simply inaccurate and very irresponsible reporting from a quite a of news media! The country consists of "THREE" islands. It is the main island of Grand Cayman that was directly hit by Ivan and which suffered widespread devastation and is in relative chaos. However, approximately 90 miles to the east-northeast lies the other two Cayman Islands: Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The island of Cayman Brac has suffered no, I repeat, NO catastrophic damage and very little damage in general to speak of. Ivan missed us far enough to spare us from catastrophe. I hear that Little Cayman is equally unscathed and hope that is true. It is Wednesday evening and Ivan has not long passed us and Cuba. Ivan is heading for the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and all is quiet now. I am sitting very comfortably in my home on the island of Cayman Brac, the second largest and easternmost of the three islands as I write this. I, and my fellow Brackers, have access to fresh water from our local and fully operational Water Authority desal plant; we have power, we have telephone service and even my 528K ADSL broadband Internet connection is back up, as is my Cable and Wireless cellular telephone service. The stores here are all open, the airport is accepting aircraft and the cargo dock is ready for supply ships that are soon to arrive. The schools are open. The hospital and fire services are all operating as normal. The police service reports no incidents, and law, order, security and serenity prevail. Ironically, our little island, which is about 12 miles long and 1.5 miles across, has become a haven for people coming from the havoc of Ivan-torn Grand Cayman.


My home is approximately 120 feet from the sea and about 13 feet above sea level. My family and I comfortably rode out the storm here and had a very good night's sleep as 90 mph peak winds howled. We were without power in the height of the storm because the utility service shut off power to their lines to minimize damage to their transmission system in the event of downed lines. However, there were no power poles down and no power transmission lines downed that I could see on my all-island drive yesterday and power was back on a few hours after the worst winds past us. A handful of the "drop lines" - both electrical and telephone - from the utility poles to the buildings were pulled away from a few buildings, but Cayman Brac Power and Light are restoring them even as I write. During the storm we even had telephone service. It was not until Grand Cayman got hit that our international telephone and Internet service was disrupted, but was quickly restored, much to the credit of Cable and Wireless Ltd.


Virtually 100% of the homes and buildings here are completely intact with no damage whatever. The brunt of the hurricane's force was aimed at the sparsely populated South side of the island. Some of the houses on the South coast which are very near the shoreline or very low to the sea had some sea water wash in, but I neither witnessed nor have I heard of any structural damage. The worst damage was to a small bar/restaurant and adjacent cottages overlooking the sea on the South coast. The sea gutted the bar as it was situated DIRECTLY on the edge of water. The adjacent cottages were on very low lying land, extremely close to the sea, and were of less than robust construction. Even in summer wind squalls the sea will break over the low seawall behind the bar and occasionally wet bar patrons, so it was not any surprise that it was destroyed in Ivan. That is quite unfortunate, as it was a favorite "watering hole" for many locals and visitors alike. There are also reports that some of the dive boats and private craft that fled from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman as Ivan bore down suffered damage. Plans to repair or replace the damaged dive boats are already under way.


A couple of the boat docks situated inside the reef on the South side of the island of Cayman Brac were either washed away or damaged. However, they were of simple wood construction and it was expected that they would probably suffer damage just as some of them did in other forceful hurricanes in the past. The lumber and debris and litter from the docks strewn over the shoreline makes things look grim indeed, but the rubbish will be removed and the docks will be rebuilt in short order and things will be back to normal on Cayman Brac. I am so sorry and so sad that the same cannot be said for our big sister, Grand Cayman.


It was a beautiful day here on the Brac. As the sun sets here I sit and reflect on how blessed we were to have missed the ravages of Ivan the Terrible. All the Brac people I know consider ourselves fortunate to live here and are supremely thankful we escaped Ivan's wrath. We here on Cayman Brac count our blessings and keep our fellow islanders on Grand Cayman in our thoughts and prayers. They have been through Hell and back and have much hardship yet to face. Some people from Cayman Brac are flying to Grand Cayman to help in the emergency relief effort, and many here are gathering up clothing and other supplies to donate to the huge need on Grand Cayman.


Since our little Island depends so much on tourism it compounds our distress over Grand Cayman's plight to read and hear all the headlines indicating that the entire country is a wasteland. It is equally unfortunate that thus far the only pictures that I have seen posted on the net are of areas of extremely localized damaged in and around the bar I mentioned earlier. The myth that the entire country is devastated could severely and negatively impact Cayman Brac's tourism industry, especially for the coming winter season as people are making vacation booking decisions now. While not minimizing the horrible plight of Grand Cayman, the truth needs to be proclaimed that Cayman Brac - thank God - faired Ivan well and is just fine, and is still beautiful as ever. Cayman Brac stands ready to welcome those wishing to visit here as soon as airline flight services and reservation services for local resorts normalize.


It is reported that a representative from the Department of Tourism in Grand Cayman has flown in and is in the process of fleshing plans to ensure that the destruction Ivan visited on Grand Cayman will not compound itself here on the Sister Islands and negatively impact our tourism industry due to association of Grand Cayman?s damage with the Sister Islands. It is thought by some here that the Sister Islands will be an alternative destination to those who are planning vacations on Grand Cayman and who are now facing cancellation of their plans due to Ivan. According to the manager of the Brac Reef resort here on Cayman Brac, they are making due preparation and will be quite ready for the upcoming tourism high season.


The Brac Gypsy.


Cayman Brac

Cayman Islands

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Can cruise ships go to Cayman Brac? They have to tender in GC so maybe they can go to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.





I was wondering the same thing. Of course excursions might be hard to do (if possible at all) but it might be a great beach day.



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No I am sorry cruise ships can not come into Cayman Brac or Little Cayman. We do not have a port to support a ship of that size. In Grand Cayman before Ivan, they were going to arrange day trips for cruise ship passengers to the both the Brac and Little Cayman. Since Ivan I am not sure how and when that will be back in their plans. I would say since I live here on the Brac that flying in would be the only way to come here. BUT now everyone will have to wait for Grand Cayman to reopen their airport back up for tourist flights to the Brac. WE do not know how soon that will be at this time.


Brac Gypsy!!

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