As an IT professional in late 1999, I was asked more than once what my plans were for the approaching Y2K. Presumeably, people were thinking that I'd be biting my fingernails to the nub expecting all Hades to break loose. 'But, no,' I would reply, 'I'm going to the Caymans.'
And I did! Hey, I'm a stress-free guy, and just the like the sign here from the Cayman's Rum Point says, this is a "Stress-Free Zone."
It is surprising in a way that the Cayman Islands is one of the least tourist-overrun lands in the Caribbean. Considering that the Caymans has about the best diving in the whole world (not my opinion, I don't dive, but my travel companion did), and experiences on average the least of the hurricane season's wrath, it seemed like the island-hopper's dreamland.
But then again, the Caymans are very expensive compared to Jamaica, the Bahamas, etc. If you want to play there, you definitely have to pay... and pay, and pay. Hotels, restaurants, and other tourist services were higher than one might expect elsewhere.
But then again, who worries about such things while spending a week or two on a quality island resort? Not me! Anyone with the money to go there can spend the money once there and take advantage of *everything* the Islands have to offer. Among them include the above and below pictures -- showing a submarine ride down the coral reefs and a scene from a local turtle farm.
There are boat tours galore, and by far the most popular tour spot is to Stingray City. Stingray City is a section of the bay off Grand Cayman that's just behind the breakwaters where a large number of stingrays live in four-meter deep waters. The stringrays are extremely tame around humans and will feed from your hand (but be careful, they feed by suction -- if you aren't careful you will get a hickey like never before)!
On one day, we rented a jeep and took a driving tour all around Grand Cayman -- the island is very picturesque and has a number of little-known treasures. The coastline is laden with dolomite formations. One famous dolomite formation is a moonscape-like section of the northwest called, yes officially, Hell. Hell is a real-life one-stoplight town with the rocky view as its primary raison-d'Ítre.
But if one really wants a raison-d'Ítre, what else does one need than a colorful and refreshing sunset? The Caymans have them year round.
Yes, indeed -- I was definitely experiencing the stress-free life during the onset of Y2K. So was my travel companion, who was also an IT professional. As was roughly a dozen or so fellow vacationers we encountered at our hotel. Y'all should keep that in mind when the 'UNIX clock' runs out in 2038, mon.
Trip taken 28 January 1999 - 9 January 2000 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin
Note: As of 14 May 2002, the US handled diplomatic relations with the Caymans through Great Britain. For US consular purposes, the Cayman Islands fall under the jurisdiction of the consulate in Jamaica. (per the US Department of State, http://www.state.gov )