October 24, 2020

Hot tubs, Cayman Islands, yawning hosts


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By Andrea Behling From Channel3000

The stories behind these 1980s covers of Madison Magazine

October 1980 
Our staff kept coming back to this October 1980 cover of a greasy-haired, shirtless man dressed in dirty cut-off jean shorts, smoking a pipe on a remote beach, as it seemed an interesting choice for the “Special Travel Issue: The .”

We found out this man was Jack McManus, a legendary Madison attorney who spent much of his time back then at his vacation property on — the least developed of the three Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

“People everywhere knew him,” says former editor . “He was colorful and a great quote.” McManus currently lives in Alaska and winters in Wisconsin.

Former publisher remembers the issue well. James Selk, Gail’s then-husband as well as co-publisher and editor at the time, had joined his friend McManus in Little Cayman on vacation, and the story highlighted the location as one of several Caribbean vacation spots. In contrast with the other featured getaways, Little Cayman was characterized as a place to “get away from it all.” And in this case, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

There’s no usable water on the island beside filtered rainwater, Jim wrote. For food, you could have fished for it or cracked a nearby coconut — otherwise it’d have to be flown in. And getting to the island? It took Jim a few paragraphs to explain the multiple jumps and sheer luck he needed to get to his destination. Oh, and Jim didn’t neglect to mention that this once popular headquarters for pirates had stayed fairly true to its roots. “Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac [the other two Cayman Islands] evolved into popular tourist attractions with plush hotels, tennis courts, and expensive restaurants,” Jim wrote. “Little Cayman is much the same as when the pirates were hacked to pieces at Bloody Bay.”

Vacationing in Little Cayman might be a bit more fun today, now that the island of about 170 residents has electricity (a 1990 update). It’s also still known as a great diving destination featuring the “Bloody Bay Wall,” considered the Caribbean’s most sensational wall dive.



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