A Flight to Grand Cayman

I worked a trip to Grand Cayman last week, and let me tell you, the weather was absolutely perfect.

The trade winds blow northeast 15 to 25 knots in the winter and that is why they’re nicknamed “Christmas winds.” So when we landed, it was very windy and ideal sail boarding/windsurfing conditions.

The Cayman Islands happen to be one of the warmer Caribbean islands in January; days are balmy with an average temperature of 84 degrees.

Backstory: Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) in 1503 when his ships were blown off course by strong winds. He saw two of the three small islands full of turtles and named them Las Tortugas, Spanish for “the turtles.”

The airport and resorts are on Grand Cayman and the main town is George Town which is also the capital.

Coral reefs ring all three islands making it a paradise for divers and snorkelers.

Like most Caribbean airports, The Owens Robert International Airport is small on Grand Cayman. It’s too small to accommodate large aircraft with a gate and jet bridge so a movable ramp is attached to the aircraft door for passengers to walk down and onto the tarmac. They file into the airport and through customs.

Here are a few tips if you plan a trip to Grand Cayman. We vacationed on Grand Cayman years ago and had a great time.

Keep in mind Grand Cayman is generally a more expensive island to visit but well worth the extra expense. Seven Mile Beach is usually free of roaming beach hawkers. There are plenty of water sports such as renting a hobie cat or parasailing off the beach.

Where we stayed: The Hyatt on Seven Mile Beach which was destroyed later by a hurricane. There are a few resorts to choose from on this beautiful white sand beach that feels like talcum powder; it’s actually 5.5 miles in length. U.S. News & World Report rated it as the ‘Best Beach in the World.’

One of my passengers told me that her husband got 5 nights for free at The Marriott with Marriott rewards. This is one of the resorts on Seven Mile Beach. There is also a Westin and a Kimpton.

Must-Do: The first fun thing we did–which almost everybody does when they visit Grand Cayman–is swim with the stingrays in shallow water at Stingray City. It’s one of the nation’s top tourist attractions.

TIP: A passenger on my flight last week said that she was told to BOOK the stingray trip in the afternoon because cruise ship passengers arrive in the morning, flood the area and then get back on the ship and leave. So afternoon is the best time to book your Stingray City.

We went to Grand Cayman in August/off-season (hottest month in the Caymans and least wind). At that time there wasn’t a cruise ship in site–it was also hurricane season and we had to evacuate the island on the fifth day because a hurricane was headed our way.

Must-Do: Rent a car and explore the island. We rented our car at the hotel.

Must-Do: Drive to Cayman Turtle Farm–You’ll see 500-pound green sea turtles and have the opportunity to pick up small turtles in a tank or wading pool.

Even though Grand Cayman is expensive, you will get a huge price break on jewelry (Island Jewellers is in the heart of George Town and has a shop at the airport too). Head to Georgetown for duty-free boutique shopping and to take a look at the gold-plated banks that you hear so much about.

Drive to the north coast and visit the tiny town of Hell; there are black rock formations and a place to buy a t-shirt and a tiny post office to send postcards.

To escape cruise ship crowds, drive to the East End where you’ll come across blowholes and secluded beaches. Head to the Northern tip, Rum Point, and relax in a hammock with a book.

We did all of the above over a period of four days.

 

 

 

Before Video & After Photos: Original Master Bedroom

While John continued priming walls in the rooms I took a 2-week blogging break. He finished priming the walls in the original master bedroom which is on the 3rd level of the house. There are 3 bedrooms and a hall bathroom on this level. As most of you know, the original part of the house has been rebuilt.

Below is a photo that I took in the summer of 2014; it’s the hallway which leads to the three bedrooms and bath. It was taken before we bought the house, but we had already begun a major clean-up outside.

At the time I never thought that I would start a blog about buying a house from a hoarder and rebuilding it. Otherwise I would have taken more interior photos. Regardless, it would have been difficult taking more photos due to the fact that each room was packed so tightly from floor to ceiling that it was impossible to get perspective.

I started taking most of the photos after John broke through walls of heavy boxes and books, among other things.

The door on the right is to the original master bedroom.

Here is the master bedroom during the spackling phase.

The walls were primed last week. Click here to see what the room looked like when we first cracked the door open (video).

John started priming the bedroom/bathroom west wall first. Over a year ago, he framed this wall out in order to fit a 36-inch shower. It previously had a 34-inch shower which was a tad too small so he took 2 inches from the room to allow for the larger shower. He also framed all the other walls to create the deep window sills and bays for the insulation; he did this throughout the house.

There’s nothing like new drywall and a fresh coat of primer to brighten things up and make a room look more spacious.

I have ideas about how I’ll be decorating this room which will be a guest bedroom.

The window that faces west…

The entrance to the bedroom–the door in the first photo is long gone!

Almost Finished…

By last night, the master bedroom was close to being finished. Today the south wall will be primed followed with the hallway and walk-in closet.

Click here to see addition when it was being framed. 

The east wall…

The north wall. Of course, the leaking French doors have put this wall on hold. We have to remove the doors and install them correctly.

The door manufacturer, Feather River, does not fix the sloppy installation job that the installers did and who were provided by the business owner who framed the addition. And, no, I would never call this individual up to tell him to correct several problems with his work–not worth it.

The west wall…

Right Now…

I just snapped theses photos a minute ago…

The master bedroom sanded and prepped for priming…

Primed the ceiling first…

A minute ago…

Angled ceiling next…

We’ll be using Sherwin Williams paint on the walls.