Rum Point ferry returns for guests only

It’s
six o’ clock on Wednesday evening at Rum Point.

A
60-foot Catamaran pulls into dock. Forty passengers drink mojitos and mudslides
from the bar on board.

“It’s
a great service” says Melissa from England. “You get to see the sunset and
everything, and a totally different side of the island”.

As
passengers make their way down the dock to Rum Point’s evening restaurant,
Manager of the Catamaran service, Wayne Cloete, adds “most of our boats are
full. It’s getting more and more popular”.

The
service though, whilst complimentary, is solely for the customers of Rum
Point’s restaurant. Departing Safehaven on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 5pm and
Wednesdays and Sundays at 10am, the Catamaran service has prompted calls for
the return of the Rum Point ferry, a more regular daily service, allowing
greater access to the Island’s more isolated North Side.

“Previously
the ferry was a very pleasurable and inexpensive way of getting to the Eastern
Districts” says Shomari Scott, acting director of Tourism. “The Department of
Tourism would welcome the recommencement of the Rum Point ferry as an important
addition to the overall Cayman Islands tourism product.”

The
ferry service ceased operations in 2004 after the devastating effects of Hurricane
Ivan. Leaving the Hyatt Regency Canal three times daily and returning from Rum
Point, also three times daily, the ferry provided an integral service for not
just the Island’s tourism sector but also in a social context. By providing a
frequent, inexpensive and fast service (it took 30 minutes, compared to an hour
by car) it connected the North Side by sea, allowing greater accessibility and
freedom of movement for Caymans wider population.

“It’s
always something we’re looking at,” says Rod McDowell, managing director of Red
Sail Sports, who previously operated the ferry “though right now it doesn’t
prove economically viable. Staffing costs, maintenance, fuel costs and other
expenses means the return of the ferry would just prove too costly at this
moment in time.”

Back
at Rum Point restaurant, Jackie Peters, a young mother from Tennessee, feeds
new born Samantha under the shaded pines.

“It’s
beautiful here and so peaceful; totally different to the other side. But the
drive’s just too long. I wouldn’t do it again, not with the kids and the heat”