NEWS FROM CAYMAN...
1. On Grand Cayman, there is now a new dive site in North Sound called "737 City". Last friday night (11 October 1991) the Cayman Airways flight from Miami to Grand Cayman had an accident upon landing (no reverse thrusters suspected). Two people injured (one of which was the pilot?), noone killed, as the plane didn't stop on the runway but slid into North Sound.
All this info is "word of mouth" only....
Sarah Layman, daughter of Len Layman, who used to work at Divi, was onboard the flight and she filled us in on what happened when she finally got to the Brac very very late that night. She said that one of the wisecracks a passenger made was "...stewardess, can I have my flippers so I can swim to the terminal?..."
...As of last night when I saw it, the plane appeared to be in 5-10 feet of water (hard to gage, but there was water lapping up on the lower side of the hull, so it was more than just landing gear) and less than one "airplane length" offshore. They had just brought a crane in to pull it out. On top of this, Cayman Airways is managerially messed up big time; a major director has just resigned as part of it. All this means to confirm your flights more stringiently than usual.
2. On Little Cayman, there's going to be a (gasp!) Hotel opening "soon". They also now have centralized power & telephone. I'll have to see if I have an article on this one.
...we know today that this was the Little Cayman Beach Resort (LCBR), paid for by Linton Tibbets and owned/operated by his son Dan Tibbets, who while he's technically Caymanian, grew up in Tampa, FL. The Tibbets family also owns the Brac Reef Beach Resort (BRBR) on Cayman Brac, Reef Divers on both islands, Tibbets Square mall on Cayman Brac, plus the Cox Lumber chain of stores in Florida and reportedly a bank in Atlanta. Linton was in the Merchant Marines during World War II and got his start after the war in shipping (concrete). The LCBR officially opened in June 1993; we stayed there in April 1993., while Donna and Paul Ingles were still there..
3. On Cayman Brac, they've just broken ground for its first centralized potable water supply. More central to us is that the long closed Bucanneer Inn is being renovated and is looking for a December '91 opening. The 'Buc will be Cayman Brac's third hotel and will increase the total hotel rooms on the island by around 50%. They're going to be getting some dive boats and other stuff. Again, I'll have to see if I have an article with info.
That project has fallenthrough....twice! The rumors for why this attempt did was that the bank financing the project was tied up in the BCCI scandal somehow and got pulled under. A later attempt to rennovate the 'Buc happenedback in 1997, but as of the fall of 1998, the property was again silent. But there was the Carib Sandsproperty that was being built on the Brac's north side, just west of the Brac Caribbean condo's. They were due to open December 1998, but the current date is April 1999 ...maybe the Beneath the Sea dive show will have some info this weekend? (today is March 1999)...and FWIW, its managers are, intrestingly enough,Donna and Paul Ingles....although you do have to realize that Donna and Paul have also worked at Pirate's Point on Little Cayman, at the Brac Reef Beach Resortand also at Rum Point on Grand Cayman, so they're not strangers to Cayman or to the Sister Islands.
4. For those who never trust Skin Diver, per Geri Murphy's SD article (in this last month's issue; Divi Tiara Hotel writeup).....YES, there is a manta ray plying the shallows of Little Cayman. I saw her twice, both times at "Eagle Ray Roundup", the 2nd tank of a 2-tanker AM trip and both times it was within 10 minutes of the boat arriving at the site. This means it was before we had sufficient surface interval to go back in the water, so no tanks, just lots of snorklers jumping in like mad. Both times she swam within 30 feet of the boat. I'll see if any of my photos are worth posting...
...there's some interesting history here. Initially, the Manta was named "Matilda" by either Donna Ingle or Donna McLaughlin, but not much time later, it was known by the name of "Molly". Some say that there were indeed two different mantas...a few claim that there were three of them around (April 1993). The photographs that I alluded to above did come out pretty well and one of the better ones is on my photography page. Unfortunately, Molly has since disappeared....rumors for why vary from her going off to find a mate to hooked & accidentally killed by a local fisherman.