Cruising Day 11 – Georgetown, Caymen Islands

4 March 2015

At 8 AM we steamed into the Georgetown Harbor. Since the Nieuw Amsterdam can hover, we were at the far edge. We would be tendering in using our lifeboats. A bonus for me, I’ve always wanted to be see inside one.

Each boat is powered by two small Diesel engines and has dual props. The engines drive hydraulic pumps that control the front bow thrusters. A pretty sophisticated boat for rescue purposes. Or shuttling guests to shore.

We took an early boat to allow us to walk around town before our bus tour. There were a few of the famous Caymen Banks, but mostly gift shops for the tourists. We picked up some small items and a few post cards. There was a post office in the center of town so we got the cards mailed off.

On our walk around town we passed a submarine tour. The pictures looked like our semi-submersible so we passed. Later on we heard that it really dives under water. They dive the cliff reef nearby and do down to 110 feet below the surface. Something to do when we come back.

Our tour was ready to go at 11 so we loaded into our 20 passenger bus with our driver “Mel” McCoy. He has lived all his life on the island and kept up a running dialog for the rest of the day.

First stop was at a bakery that made rum cakes and other pastries. We were able to sample both the finished cakes and the rum that went into it. The cake was good, Susan got a small one to take with us.

They also bake meat pies, like the traditional British ones you find in England, Australia and New Zealand, etc. We shared a beef and cheese pie and a chicken pie that had island flavors. Very good a nice island lunch.

Our next stop was the Caymen Island Brewery. We got samples of their beer (they make 7 different kinds). The manager then took us on a tour of the brewery. They are very aware that they are on an island so recycling and minimizing what they need to import is very important. For example they sell the used plant material from the wort to local animal farmers. A local pork producer is their biggest customer.

Bottles and cans are their biggest challenge. They have a huge recycling effort to recapture the aluminum and get ti sent back to their can manufacturer.

Their new bottles come from Germany and are pretty expensive. To offset the the cost they have invested in a bottle washer. They get back used bottles and run it through a wash / sanitize cycle that takes about an hour per bottle. The machine is a continuous process, with about 12 cases in a group. By doing their own cleaning they are able to save on their bottle costs.

At the end of the tour I bought beer to take home. Presently their production is not enough to keep up with local demand. They are growing, but don’t think they will be exporting in the new future.

Next on our bus tour was the XYZZY Rum Distillery. Their claim to fame is they age the rum underwater. They say that the cask when loaded weighs about 700 pounds. In the water its semi buoyant so it’s much easier to move them around. The second is that the cask is constantly moving in the water, it’s always moving, that is how it picks up it’s flavor.

They have two copper stills and two distillation columns to produce the final sprits. Once the distillation takes place they cask the liquid and age it. They then add flavors (banana, coconuts ) and bottle it. Sadly they only sell large bottles at $30/$40 each, it would be nice if they had pint bottles for easier travel.

With a little buzz going we returned to the boat in time for the Cupcake tea.

After tea the lifeboats started returning, so I went out to get pictures of the recovery process. One thing that was interesting that the crew wears helmets to keep from getting bonked in the head by the pulley lift system.

Susan and I watched the movie “Big Hero 6″ about robots in San Frantokyo in the futue. It was a pretty cool movie, the animation was very good.

Dinner was in the main restaurant. For starters we had a dish of Black Mussels steamed in a wine broth, Susan had the veal and I had the grilled salmon.

There was a table of four next to us and I heard them talk about the Mississippi, Ohio, and the Chesapeake Bay. The only people that talk about that in the same set of paragraphs are Loopers. Sure enough they were Loopers out of Ft Lauderdale, they had finished their Loop the week before their trip. We talked a few moments, they knew some of the people we had traveled with.

The show was a steel pan band that played a combination of Broadway show tunes and classical songs. The 4 member band consists of a drummer, a guy playing 4 base pans, a alto pan (for the melody) and a pair of tenor pans. Their best two were “Ava Maria” and the “William Tell Overture”.

Towel of the day was a sea turtle (we think).