Pirates invade Little Cayman

Little Cayman may be tiny but it’s big on community spirit.

Michael Mulligan

Rhonda Eldridge, left, and Michael Mulligan, both from Massachusetts, get into the spirit of Pirates Week with Gladys Howard of Pirates Point Resort.
Photo: Jenny Gabruch

That was more than evident last Saturday as the island staged its annual Pirates Week celebration.

‘It’s a blast,’ enthused Christal Johnson, who was among a group of 17 divers from Massachusetts visiting the island. ‘They really get you involved and make you feel at home.’

Steve Carey, who arranged the group excursion through his dive shop in Buzzard’s Bay, Mass., said they made a special effort to participate.

‘I think it’s fantastic. We all brought our costumes with us. We booked an extra day just so we could do this.’

The dive group stayed at Pirates Point Resort, owned by the ever-hospitable Gladys Howard. True to her Texan heritage, she rallied the troupes to do it up big.

‘We knew we were going to be in a parade,’ said dive member Barry Johnson. ‘But Gladys said, ‘you gotta make a float.”

Their imaginative entry captured first place – an elaborate replica of the Black Pearl ghost ship from the film Pirates of the Caribbean.

They created the float using items found on the beach including cannonballs made from coconuts, driftwood masts and sails crafted from mosquito netting.

Other participants dressed up a vehicle as a pirate, donned colourful costumes and strolled with babies in costume along the route stretching from Head O’ Bay to the Hungry Iguana.

After the parade, people filed into the Hungry Iguana to take in live music, local food and a spectacular fireworks display.

Resident Sandra Bennett, one of two police constables on the island, was impressed with the day’s festivities.

‘This year is a much better turnout. Little Cayman has great community spirit but this brings everybody out. Everyone gets together.’

Indeed, young and old, locals and tourists mixed and mingled throughout the afternoon, evening and into the early hours of the morning.

It was the seventh time Craig and Nancy Johnson visited Little Cayman. They’ve been all over the world diving, but the tiny piece of paradise remains their favourite spot.

‘Obviously the diving is great, but it’s the atmosphere here and the people,’ said Craig Johnson. ‘They really do a good job of making you feel part of the family.’

Rhonda Eldridge, also part of the Massachusetts dive tour, experienced her second Pirates Week celebration.

‘It’s the diving, the resort, Gladys, the food – it doesn’t get much better than this.’

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