Cayman Brac is one of the three islands that make up Cayman Islands. Despite being a mere 30 minutes away, we had never been there until this week. It was the cheapest getaway option that we could find for the three day March Break that we get at CIS, and Pam found us a very reasonably priced cottage right on the water with enough space for us and Tom and Jana Hartley who shared the expense and the cooking.

We were met at the airport by Hecton, who waited while we picked up a rental vehicle and escorted us the three miles down the road to the rental and walked us through the appliances, fans, and TVs. Tom was still in Dallas seeing his ailing Dad, so we got the place to ourselves for one day, which allowed us to snag the master bedroom with the ensuite bathroom and the patio door opening on the ocean.

Once we had unpacked, we went for a little reconnoiter of the area, picking up a few groceries and some charcoal at a very well equipped local market and checking out the local public beach for further exploration. We then took an extensive tour of the 12 mile long island, stopping frequently for pictures. We had a late lunch/early supper at the Star Island Café and retired to our idyllic little deck overlooking the ocean in time for drinks at sunset and lingered until Orion came clearly into view.

I would like to say we were up early enough to catch the sunrise, but we both slept in until 7 and with no real idea of what to do for breakfast, decided to go out and explore the local options. We ended up at Pat’s Kitchen, decorated in bright Jamaican yellow, where Patrick offered us his Jamaican specialty of Akee and fried codfish. We opted for the scrambled eggs and Irish (fried) potatoes instead before we headed back to the airport to pick up Tom and Jana. We met a German couple waiting for their flight out who had come all the way to the Cayman Brac for the diving, it is that world renowned.

After Tom and Jana got unpacked and settled in we decided it would be a good afternoon to explore the east end of the island and the brac (Gaelic for bluff) for which it is named. Along the way we discovered what looked to be the retirement home of some artistic former hippie from the sixties with his homage to the work of Led Zeppelin and the lingering effects of LSD.

After a short stop for pictures we continued on our way to the brac and were not disappointed as the cliff overlooking the ocean on that end of the island rose 150 feet above a brilliant sapphire blue sea. We looked in vain for the brown boobies that were said to use the cliff for nesting, but the view was most spectacular. Less impressive was Peter’s Cave on the north shore, used by locals for a hurricane shelter and decidedly mundane after the caves of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.

Another short drive took us back to the cottage in time for an early supper. We had brought some decent steaks with us in a cooler from home and barbequed them outside and ate them along with an excellent avocado salad and some baked potatoes while we listen to the surf pound the shore outside the window. A short drive along the beach road brought us to the western end of the island from which we could see Little Cayman, just five miles away and afforded us a lingering sunset over the Caribbean.

Once again we lingered too long in a far too comfortable bed and missed the sunrise, but during morning coffees we were treated to a view of a dozen brown boobys and a few frigate birds out skimming the waves for their breakfast. We had an excellent breakfast ourselves of leftover steak and potatoes and scrambled eggs. We followed that up with a splash in the surf at a local beach and after a quick clean up headed back out to explore the south shore of the island. We drove as far as the road allowed and then hiked along the shale beach to where the brac falls into the sea. There were climbers on the cliff above us and massive breakers in the sea beside us. Pam got a little too close to a blow hole, and ended up drenched to the skin as a huge wave exploded through the hole.

We had already determined to try the local jerk chicken and Barry, who has a little stand by the airport, was happy to oblige. The portions were enormous and very tasty and the chicken and some rice and beans got us comfortably into the evening. Tom and Jana were game to learn how to play Rook, and we had a most pleasant evening together laughing our way through that. Some late evening stargazing over drinks was a perfect way to end that day.

On our last morning I was up shortly after 5 with my binoculars and StarChart App looking at the stars of Scorpio and the three planets visible in the morning sky: Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter. Saturn’s rings were clearly visible, as were two of Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, the largest, and Callisto, the second largest. I have seen the two inner so-called Galilean moons Io and Europa in a very clear sky, but they were not visible on this occasion. Pam and I had a very pleasant morning nursing our coffees and getting caught up on some reading.

After another leisurely breakfast we packed up and tidied up the rental place, leaving in time for Tom and I to play three games of pool back at Pat’s kitchen while the ladies chatted. I had already filled the car with gas, so there was nothing to sort out with CB’s rentals and while the plane coming from Miami was late, the waiting room was comfortable and the flight was short. It was a joy not to have to go through customs or immigration as we had not technically left the country, and we had left our own car in long term parking, so we were out of the airport in George Town and back in our own little condo in no time flat.

It was a wonderful little holiday: the maximum of rest with the minimum of fuss. As Tom and Jana split the cost of the rental, we ended up paying $60 Cayman a night for a fabulous spot right on the ocean with all the amenities. Airfare and hassle to one of the “sister islands” is cheap and easy. I just don’t understand why we haven’t done this more often!