Hit the Blue Dragon trail

Caymanians, residents and tourists are embracing multi-coloured blue dragons all over Grand Cayman and will soon be following them on a special trail around the island.

From Hell Road in West Bay to East End Public Beach all the way to Rum Point in North Side, the island is dotted with a trail of creatively painted multi-coloured blue dragons. With names almost as imaginative as their decorative skins, these dragons form a wonderful outdoor art exhibit for all to enjoy.

Blue Dragon Trail is presented by the National Trust and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and supported by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the Dart Foundation.

In an attempt to conserve the endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, which is the most endangered iguana in the world, the arts and the environment have come together for the cause. The 15 over-sized sculptures were commissioned to draw attention to these wonderful creatures.

A special guide has also been produced, including the special map, designed to depict the dragon trail as it flows around the island. Both the guide and the trail will be formally launched around the end of September.

‘We have one of these dragons outside the National Gallery and the tourists go wild over it,’ said Director of the National Gallery Nancy Barnard. ‘But, of course, they are more than just cute iguanas, each one is a work of art by a well known artist and it is an endearing idea because they are endangered,’ she said.

Once launched, the leaflets will be available all over the island in various hotels and condos.

Each of these sculptures is a result of a flow of imagination from the artists involved and the dragons carry an interpretation of this inspiration along with information about this endangered species – reminding locals and tourists alike about these indigenous creatures.

‘Each one is especially unique because the artists did them,’ said Ms Barnard.

Another endeavour being looked into by the National Gallery and the DoT is an artists’ trail. ‘This is a fun way for tourists to explore the island culturally,’ said Ms Barnard.

This will essentially be another map featuring different artists and where their studios are, outlining when people can call to see their work. ‘We should be able to get at least 30 artists on that map,’ she explained. ‘What an excellent way to soak in the culture of the island and for the tourists to meet the people,’ she said. It is hoped that this initiative may be launched in early November, before the high season.

Another programme that has room for growth is the sand sculpture competition which will take place in November. This is also being looked into by the National Gallery and DoT.

The Blue Dragon Trail guide points to some interesting facts about the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, such as there being only 10 to 25 left in the wild; having a lifespan of 60 years or more; survival needs including plants, flowers and fruit to eat, shelter for living and soil to dig their nests; the protection of thick scaly skin, tail swipe, strong teeth and powerful claws; a colour shifter involving a colour change from grey to blue as they lie in the sun and get warmer.

The entire collection that makes up the Blue Dragon Trail is as follows: People in the Wild by Al Ebanks, at Scholar Park; Being Blue by Chris Mann at West Bay Public Beach; Shalom by Gordon Solomon at Governor’s Beach; Poof! The Magic Dragon by Wray Banker at Camana Bay; Blue by Charles Long at Bank of Butterfield, George Town; Arti by Hermes Solomon-Hydes at George Town Post Office Island; Missing in Action by Luelan Bodden at The National Gallery, Harbour Place, George Town; Hamish by John Doak at Dart Family Park; Betsy the Tourist by Avril Ward at Smith’s Cove; Chloe’s Iguana, Your Cayman by Tom Rittenhouse at Bodden Town Park (2007); Untitled by Paul Archer and Tansy Maki at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park; The Rock by Nickola McCoy at Captain George Dixon Park; Blue by John Broad at East End Public Beach; Indigo by Christina McTaggart at Jarold Smith Park; Sonatina by Nasaria Suckoo Chollette at Rum Point.

The leaflet also informs people about the National Trust’s captive breeding facility at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, inviting donations to sponsor a live blue iguana. It cites further information to be obtained from www.blueiguana.ky or by calling the National Trust at 949 0121.