Boatswain’s Beach opening soon

Cayman’s forthcoming leisure attraction Boatswain’s Beach is to open its first phase to the public in as little as a few weeks.

The park’s vision is to be the most recognized and respected cultural experience and research facility in the world whilst promoting public awareness and conservation.

At a special tourism partners’ introduction to the new Boatswain’s Beach leisure attraction on Friday a presentation and tour of the first phase of the new facility was given. Set to open 12 Sept., this phase includes the reception building (including retail shop, deli, ticket, tour and information desks), the turtle breeding pond and the new Cayman Turtle Farm turtle touch tanks.

The forthcoming facility was described by Managing Director Kenneth Hydes as ‘a whole different standard from the old Turtle Farm.’

Curator Terrestrial Exhibits and Educational Programmes Geddes Hislop said that what is basically happening is that everything is coming from across the road from the existing Cayman Turtle Farm, to the land side of the road where the Boatswain’s Beach facility is. Boatswain’s Beach will consist of a relocated and extended Turtle Farm facility along with many other park attractions opening in the first quarter of 2006. These will include a 1.3 million gallon snorkel lagoon (accommodating up to 400 snorkellers at a time), a freshwater wading pool, children’s tidal pool and a shallow lagoon and beach.

Adjoining the snorkel lagoon, the 225,000-gallon predator tank will feature Caribbean sharks, Barracuda, Tarpon, eels and other predators of the deep.

Other attractions will include a free flight aviary showcasing Caymanian and Caribbean bird life, an adjoining reptile enclosure and nearby nature trail to complement the aviary experience. The Marine Turtle Education Centre will house the new state-of-the-art Turtle Hatchery and there will also be restaurants, and artists and craftsmen displaying their wares along the Cayman street promenade.

The park will employ around 120 people and cruise tourists will be its main market source. With each ship averaging 2,000 passengers and 900 crew members, and the average spending per day of US$72 to $79 per person, an average ship’s spending could be as much as US$250,000 a day, Mr. Hislop said.

Boatswain’s Beach park will be open seven days a week. The hours are 8am to 5pm, with last entry at 4.30pm. There is a designated parking area across the road. The Cayman Turtle Farm tour at the newly developed site will cost US$7.50 per adult and US$4 per child (under 12 years). Children under six go free. This pricing is for both residents and tourists. The Boatswain’s Beach component of the project has not yet been given a pricing rate.

Tourism partners were briefed on various aspects of the park and turtles so they can pass on the information to visitors.

Cayman Turtle Farm is the only farm of its kind in the world, commercially breeding the Green Sea Turtle. Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Kemps Ridley turtles are also kept for display.

Boatswain’s Beach is an expansion of the current Cayman Turtle Farm (1983) Ltd. Construction began 23 February, 2004. When completed, the park will occupy 12 acres across the main road from the current farm site.