Boatswain’s Beach, a forthcoming $44.6 Million marine attraction park development in West Bay, is still set for opening in January 2006.
Hurricane Ivan has not delayed the projected opening of the park, although, according to Cayman Turtle Farm’s Managing Director Mr. Ken Hydes, the new development is facing some of the same post-Ivan obstacles, with one of the biggest challenges being the delay in getting materials into Cayman.
On Wednesday morning at a special tour of the new project’s development by Leader of Government Business and Minister for Tourism McKeeva Bush, Mr. Hydes said that while January is the projected opening for the new park, May will be the opening of the new turtle farm, including its interactive display and breeding tanks. Also included in the site tour were Minister Dr. Frank McField, senior civil servants, Turtle Farm Board of Directors, and the project’s design and development team.
Mr. Hydes said the park will be on 26 of the Turtle Farm’s 30 acres.
Features of the marine park will include an opportunity to swim/snorkel with turtles and other marine life in a salt water lagoon, a predator tank with sharks, a bird aviary, a historic Caymanian street complete with porch-side artisans and crafts, along with the finest Caymanian cuisine.
The park will feature reconstructed Turtle Farm facilities, too.
It will also house a world-class research and educational facility that will focus on the conservation of sea turtles.
‘Boatswain’s Beach offers the opportunity to experience the rich history of Caymanian culture as it embraces the sea, creating a unique interactive opportunity to meet a part of our world that is often untouchable,’ Mr. Bush said.
He said that as a result of the inspection of the site, he hoped those involved would improve their knowledge of the project.
‘It’s a key tourist attraction in improving our tourism product,’ he said.
‘It’s an extraordinarily difficult time for the island but life has to go on. Hurricane Ivan has come and gone and I’d like to wipe out its mark as soon as I can.’
He added that this type of new development will do just that. It will be an attraction not only for tourists, but for Caymanians also. He thanked both Government and the private sector for their help in working on the project.
Mr. Hydes introduced the project’s design and development team, many of whom have previously worked on top US theme parks such as Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Seaworld and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
After introducing the team, Mr. Hydes said it was obvious the members had a lot of experience and he said he is proud of what the team is doing.
Hurricane Michelle badly damaged the Turtle Farm in 2001, causing irreparable damage to the seaside attraction. Although it resumed operations on a limited level, this prompted the plans for the new Boatswain’s Beach attraction. The venture was planned by the Cayman Islands Government and the Cayman Turtle Farm’s Board of Directors and construction began in February 2004.
Other attractions at the facility will include an iguana facility, crafts exhibits, retail kiosks and outlets, a parking lot, nature trail, blue hole sunken cave, crocodile marsh and beach pool.