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West Bay Wench!
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The View from West Bay!
as seen and reported by the West Bay Wench
from North West Point, West Bay
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, BWI
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In addition to the continuing series of articles about her perspectives on Cayman (which she has named Pirate Poop), the West Bay Wench also posts short notes here, looking at Cayman happenings from her View from West Bay:

The West Bay Wench prattles on . . . (latest comments on top)

Summer's Here, and it's Hot as ...
- Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Spring has sprung, fall has fell, summer's here, and it's hot as ... it was last year at this time!

Regardless of what the calendar says, summer starts in Cayman in April, so it is well underway by the time the first official day of summer rolls around on the 21st of this month.

Daytime highs are running in the upper 80's and occasionally into the low 90's, and humidity is in about the same percentile range. The sun is shining, the seas are calm, and there can't be a better place to relax on the beach or enjoy the water.

It's summertime, and the livin' is easy, as the song says.

Come on down and see for yourself!

West Bay - Tuesday, June 2, 1998

It also rains in Cayman ...
- Tuesday, May 26, 1998

This week in Cayman is a great week for West Indian Whistling Ducks and cisterns. Yes, you guessed it! The rainy season has begun in earnest.

It generally does kick off sometime during the month of May with the better part of a week of rain. (We're on day #3 as I write.) Thereafter, you can expect rain at some point during the day somewhere on the island, but it is generally brief (under 30 minutes).

If you're coming to Cayman during the rainy season (May through November), bring a lightweight rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella, and carry it with you at all times! Otherwise, be prepared to shift into "island time" and wait out the shower. The sun will be out again soon, and in the meantime, there is plenty to do on a rainy day.

Don't you wish you were here to enjoy it with us?

West Bay - Tuesday, May 26, 1998

Spring has Sprung in Cayman ...
- Thursday, May 21, 1998

Spring has sprung, fall has fell, summer's here, and it's hotter than ...
It was last year at this time too!

Actually, it's about standard for this time of year (highs in the upper 80's to low 90's and nighttime lows in the upper 70's), but a little dryer than usual. Summer always takes me by surprise, even though I know it starts heating up in April every year.

The rainy season usually starts in May, but so far it has yet to make an appearance. (The Flower's Water truck is getting to be a common sight for those of us who depend upon cisterns and rainfall for our water supply.)

If summer hasn't quite made it to your locale, come on down for a "summer fix". The sun is shining, the seas are calm, and the natives are friendly.

See you soon.

West Bay - Thursday, May 21, 1998

High Season Ends in Cayman ...
- Sunday, April 19, 1998

Last week in Cayman looked like a repeat of March. It roared in with 16-20 knot winds and actually got a bit chilly at night. Humidity was down, and unless you were on top of a two-story building attempting to put the roof on, as I was, it was all rather pleasant!

The winds had calmed down a bit by week's end, daytime temperatures were in the mid-80's, and the humidity was back up to it's normal April level.

Most of Cayman enjoyed a 4-day weekend, as Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays here. The "Round the World at Rum Point" event was a huge success on Easter Monday, and Cayman geared up for a 4-day work week on Tuesday.

The "High Season" is now officially over, so look for the price of accommodations to drop 40-60% for the "Low Season," which runs through December 15th. The Batabano Festival starts this Friday. It's a great time to come to Cayman!

Hope to see you soon.

West Bay - Sunday, April 19, 1998

Spring breaks out in Cayman ...
- Sunday, April 5, 1998

True to form, March roared in like a lion and sidled out like a lamb here in Cayman, leaving behind calm waters and sunny skies.

And the butterflies are back! I saw a single pair a few weeks ago, but today there were dozens of them dancing their intricate minuet two by two on pale yellow gossamer wings. Spring has truly arrived!

And if that weren't enough to prove it, just take a look at all of those young faces enjoying Spring Break on Seven Mile Beach. I tell you, it's enough to make an old wench feel REALLY old!

The sad news from Cayman, however, is that the Holiday Inn will definitely be closing its doors on May 1. Employees were given notice this week, so if you're a fan of the old "Inn on the Beach," you have just one more month to enjoy it.


West Bay - Sunday, April 5, 1998

Explosion at Parrots Landing ...
- Sunday, March 22, 1998

Last week in Cayman was marred by a tragedy. At approximately 2:00 PM on Friday, March 20th, a high pressure air storage vessel at Parrots Landing Watersports Park exploded, killing one employee. According to a Saturday news release, six other persons were injured, four of them seriously. The cause of the blast, which reportedly blew out one wall of the compressor room and damaged the main building at Parrots Landing, is unknown. Windows of cars and buildings in the vicinity were also shattered by the concussion, and debris covered a wide area. Parrots Landing is closed at this time, but their news release indicates that they expect to reopen on Monday. In the interim, those who were booked to dive with Parrots Landing are being accommodated by other dive operators. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and to the family and friends of the deceased and injured, as well as to those who witnessed the explosion.

West Bay - Sunday, March 22, 1998

Unsettled Weather this week in Cayman ...
- Wednesday, March 11, 1998

The best word I can find to describe the weather would be "unsettled."

We've had wind; we've had rain; we've had cloudy skies; and we've had sunshine. All of those wicked highs, lows, and various fronts that have tormented various portions of the United States in various forms have all headed south and affected weather conditions in Cayman as well.

The good news is that the highs are still in the low 80's during the day, the lows are in the low 70's at night, the diving is still good on the south side of the island, and I'm still seeing plenty of sunburned tourists.

Bring a jacket or sweatshirt and leave the snow, torrential rains, and tornadoes behind!

West Bay - Wednesday, March 11, 1998

The 1998 Solar Eclipse in Cayman ...
- Thursday, February 26, 1998

Today in Cayman between noon and 1:30 PM, it was common to see folks peering skyward through funny-looking cardboard glasses with mirrored lenses.

No, it wasn't some sort of holographic invasion from outer space that they were watching, it was a solar eclipse - the last one visible in the western hemisphere in this century.

The local radio station says we'll have to wait until the year 2017 for the next one. Even though we were expected to witness shadowing of only 70% of the sun here, it was a big event.

Local companies gave away "eclipse glasses" and scheduled "eclipse parties" with refreshments during the event, and children were issued the special glasses at school, too. Residents and visitors alike watched as the moon blocked out the lower portion of the sun, turning it into a fat crescent shape that seemed to slowly change attitude. The highest percentage of coverage occurred at approximately 1:00 PM and lasted about 3 1/2 minutes.

It was difficult to determine whether it was more interesting to watch the eclipse itself or the folks watching the eclipse, but we'll be ready to do it again in 2017!

West Bay - Thursday, February 26, 1998

This week in Cayman ...
- Wednesday, February 25, 1998

Today is Ash Wednesday, a public holiday in the Cayman Islands and the day that the Annual Agricultural Show is held at the Agricultural Pavilion in Lower Valley. There will be livestock exhibits, agricultural and horticultural exhibits, handicrafts, furniture, and school exhibits.

It's the Cayman equivalent of the county fair, without the midway. There will probably be a bouncing castle for the kids and lots of food and drink, but no Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, or Tilt-a-Whirl. There will be no carnival hucksters, no games of skill or chance, and no house of horrors.

What you will find are families and friends viewing the exhibits, visiting with each other, and enjoying the gorgeous weather and a day off in mid-week. Prizes range from CI$2 to CI$50, so it certainly isn't the prize money that brings the exhibitors out in force. It's the pride in what they have grown/raised/made and the recognition they get for it from their friends and neighbors.

It's simple old-fashioned fun and values, and if you ever happen to be in Grand Cayman on Ash Wednesday, you should check it out. You may find it very refreshing!

West Bay - Wednesday, February 25, 1998

This week in Cayman ...
- Tuesday, February 17, 1998

The winds of change are once again blowing - this time from the southwest at the moment. It seems even the Caribbean is affected by El Nino. The good news is that those storms that are dumping record levels of precipitation on portions of the United States are merely blowing themselves out by the time they reach Cayman.

After a gorgeous Valentine's Day weekend of daytime highs in the mid-80's(F), along with 75% humidity, and nighttime lows in the mid- to upper 70's, another front is blowing through the Cayman Islands.

There is still plenty of sun, but the seas on the west side of the island are getting a bit choppy, with wave heights of 3-5' predicted. If you're diving or snorkeling, just be prepared to move around to whichever happens to be the lee side of the island at the moment, and bring along a jacket or sweatshirt to keep those breezes away from wet skin.

If you're sunning or shopping, you'll appreciate nature's fan blowing!

West Bay - Tuesday, February 17, 1998

Last week in Cayman ...
- Monday, February 16, 1998

The front page of the Thursday, 12 February, issue of the Caymanian Compass featured an article by John Higginson entitled, "It's getting warmer, stats show." The gist of it is that Cayman is cooler and dryer than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

The average annual temperature in 1997 was 82.5(F) degrees, compared to 77.5 degrees in 1971, and total rainfall is down to 54.06" from 83.49" in 1961. Last year the hottest month was July, with an average temperature of 85.6 degrees. The highest temperature recorded in any one day was 92.1 degrees. January was the coolest month, with an average of 78.7 degrees and included a particularly cool day by Cayman standards, when the highest temperature reached was only 66 degrees.

The wettest month last year, according the Higginson, was June, with a total of 6.71 inches of rain, and the driest month was January, with a total of only .01 inches. The most rainfall in a 24-hour period was 2.37 inches, which fell on 7 September, 1977. (We have already exceeded that with over 4 inches in 6 hours on February 3rd of this year.)

And there you have it: Cayman is getting hotter and drier, or at least that's what current trends indicate.

West Bay - Monday, February 16, 1998

This week continues ...
- Tuesday, February 3, 1998

The Cayman Islands were visited early Tuesday morning by a storm bringing gale force winds and torrents of rain. In other words, the Sou'wester has become a Nor'wester.

Although the front has now moved through the immediate area, seas are running 3 to 12 feet and small craft and severe weather warnings have been issued through Wednesday. Grand Cayman was without power from 6:07 AM until approximately 9:44 AM, when power was restored to the grid. Flooding has occurred in low-lying areas (including the West Bay Wench's apartment!), and a number of trees are down.

The good news is that the rain stopped early Tuesday morning, and the sun even made several appearances throughout the day. Puddles are drying up, and diving is expected to resume on the South Side and East End of Grand Cayman on Wednesday.

Soggy West Bay - Tuesday, February 3, 1998

This week in Cayman ...
- Monday, February 2, 1998

Many of the participants in the DEMA convention in Los Angeles returned to Cayman last night to begin the week with a mild Sou'wester blowing.

Temperatures here are warmer than what we experienced in Southern California, with daytime highs in the mid-80's and nighttime lows in the mid-70's. The Sou'wester is producing breezy conditions and scattered showers, with plenty of sunshine mixed in.

Although the Seven Mile Beach side of Grand Cayman is a bit rough, the conditions on the Northside and East End are fantastic. Surf's up, dudes, and the diving is still terrific, so come on down!

West Bay - Monday, February 2, 1998

This week in Cayman ...
- Monday, January 19, 1998

As we prepare to head out to California for the annual DEMA convention being held in Anaheim next week, we've been keeping a close eye on the weather in other parts of the world. The news coverage of the severe cold and ice storms experienced by Quebec and the northeastern U.S. have made us extremely grateful that in Cayman, the only ice we see is in our drinks, and the only snow here exists in the snowcones sold downtown by the cruise ship landing! For those of you less fortunate, come on down! The sun is shining, the daytime highs are in the mid-80's, and the nighttime lows dip all the way down to the mid-70's. The diving is great, and the traffic isn't a problem these days, so what are you waiting for?

West Bay - Monday, January 19, 1998

Last week in Cayman ...
- Monday, January 12, 1998

The topic of conversation turned from the traffic problem on West Bay Road, which seems to have resolved itself (although we're still not sure exactly what caused it or fixed it) to the rejection by the Cayman Islands Government of the application by Norwegian Cruise Lines to land approximately 900 gay men in Grand Cayman for a day. Although the Cayman Islands are technically a democracy, please understand that the Government does not always represent the will of the people. No common vote by the people was taken prior to this decision, and all of those with whom I have spoken in the past week are appalled by this action and the statement made by Mr. Thomas Jefferson, Minister for Tourism.

Meanwhile, the skies are clear and sunny, and daytime highs are running about 85 degrees, with nighttime lows in the mid- to upper 70's. Seas are once again calm on the west side of Grand Cayman, and the sun worshipers, snorkelers, and scuba divers truly believe they have found Paradise. Come join us!

West Bay - Monday, January 12, 1998

This week in Cayman ...
- Saturday, January 3, 1998

The talk of the island is centered around the traffic problems on West Bay Road. Since a few days before the Harquail Bypass opened, the southbound traffic on West Bay Road has slowed to a crawl between West Bay and the intersection of the Bypass just north of the Marriott and south of West Shore Plaza. At first, the one to three hour transit time (all day long during weekdays) was attributed to construction at the intersection, but now that the Bypass is complete, the delays are inexplicable. Although completion of the Bypass included the installation of a new traffic light on West Bay Road, the movement (or lack thereof) of the traffic does not reflect stop and go times necessitated by the light. We are hopeful that a solution to the problem will come once Government employees return to work on Monday.

In other news, Cayman is still under the influence of a passing frontal system that disrupted diving on the usually calm west side of Grand Cayman for a couple of days. Diving had resumed on all sides of the island, but visibility is reduced from the usual 100+ feet. Although skies are mostly cloudy and temperatures are low for Cayman, the islands are still enjoying highs in the upper 70's and lows in the mid- to upper 60's. It's breezy, too, so if you're headed this way, be sure to pack a windproof jacket or sweatshirt for after your dive.

West Bay - Saturday, January 3, 1998

Please send your comments and/or suggestions for future articles to the The wench apologizes that, as much as she'd like to, she really doesn't have enough time in the day to answer personal requests for recommendations on where to stay and what to do in Cayman. She does want you to know that she reads all of her e-mail and welcomes comments and questions that might make for good future topics here.

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In addition to these short postings above, the wench also posts longer essays about her perspectives on Cayman. She calls these articles Pirate Poop and they're all available at the Wench's West Bay Home Page.
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