September 26, 2020

Lifting the veil on Grand Cayman


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image_640x640_open-uri20130424-6954-fr3hjmFrom AFAR

is not all offshore banks and transplanted NYC fund managers in Teva sandals and bad Reyn Spooner shirts. Nor is it purely the monolithic mega-resorts dotting the well known Seven Mile Beach. Fortunately for the experiential traveler, outside the tourist hot zone and toward the laid back West Side, this all transforms to the soul of the Caribbean: pastel colored clapboard houses, beachy resort apartments, half built tennis courts, dreadlocked locals drinking Cay Man beer on seaside walls at 9 am and the exceptional local food shack Heritage Kitchen.

At Heritage, you revel in such local delicacies as ox tail soup (reputed best hangover cure ever), turtle soup or the sublime “cayman-style” grouper. Order anything “cayman-style” on Cayman and you will receive your dish covered in a deliciously spicy, vinegary sauce-blend of tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, onions and bell pepper.

image_640x640_open-uri20130522-10383-f2bfd5As if you need another reason to come, The Heritage overlooks one of the best beaches on all of Grand Cayman. Snorkel straight out from the beach into 80 degeree pale blue waters, floating over pearl sand and coral reef while still salivating about, or expectantly of, the viscerally tasty offerings of the Ebanks family. For history fools like myself, it is indeed exciting to know the kitchen is run by this family; the Ebanks are one of the first families to ever settle in Grand Cayman.

Oh, did I mention this trip was also my honeymoon with the love of my life? That was pretty cool too.

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Stepping back in time in Grand Cayman

The year was 1794. A British convoy of ships coming from , to points afar in America and Britiain, ran aground on shallow reef and sank off the of Grand Cayman. Legendary British Naval Captain John Lawford thought the fleet had successfully passed the island and outlying reef of Grand Cayman, he was dead wrong. A group of brave Caymanians living on the and Bodden Town came to the rescue of the ten ships, saving all the crew and passengers except only eight poor souls.

Lawford proceeded to Georgetown and apprised his Commander-In-Chief based out of (the infamous port in Jamaica) of their ill-fated journey. Within a few weeks, Lawford and much of his crew were “rescued” and brought to the British colonized . Lawford was initially court-martialed but eventually acquitted of all charges in regards to “The Wreck of the Ten Sail.”

The reason this event is so poignant in history is simple: the genesis of the Cayman Island’s well-known tax status. King George III heard of the Caymanian’s heroic deeds and decreed all of Cayman to be free of taxation. In 1994, Queen Elizabeth bestowed a plaque and memorial near the wreckage site commemorating this historic event and its effect on the history of Britain and the world as a whole.

Few people visit, and even fewer rent a boat to view the wreckage up close that still exists on the reef, and appreciate how history and present day so closely intertwine on the beautiful island of Grand Cayman.

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