This weekend, the Sister Islands will see a lot of swimming action.
There will be two separate crossings of the channel between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on Saturday and Sunday
and an 800-metre race in Cayman Brac on Saturday.
Lexie Kelly, an open-water swimmer from California, is in Cayman to help organise the annual Flowers Sea Swim in June, and she will be taking part in a five-mile channel crossing between the two Sister Islands on Saturday, alongside another swimmer and a kayaker.
The following day, a group of 12 swimmers, including Governor Duncan Taylor, will take part in another channel swim between the two islands, starting at 7am.
As well as crossing the channel for the challenge of a long open-water swim, Ms Kelly will be testing the waters between the Brac and Little Cayman for Bridging the Cayman Islands – a record-breaking solo attempt to swim 80 miles between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac by Australian marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey on 9 June.
Ms Kelly will be accompanied on her cross-channel swim on Saturday by former world champion swimmer Steven Munatones and by kayaker Richard Clifford. Mr. Munatones and Mr. Clifford are also on Ms Palfrey’s support team.
“We are doing the preparation for Penny’s swim and will check out the currents and conditions. Richard is from New York and Steve is from California; they’ve done several channel swims and races over the years, but have never done one here before. We’re going to check it out and make sure everything is safe,” said Ms Kelly.
Ms Palfrey said she is looking forward to swimming in Cayman.
“It will be very interesting reading the reports and findings by Steven Munatones, Richard Clifford and Lexie Kelly from this weekend’s swim between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Islands. They’ll familiarise themselves with the area and how to best organise this part of my Bridge swim. They’ll find suitable start and finish locations and take notes on the local ocean conditions and currents.
“Steven, Richard and Lexie will also be holding meetings with [Frank] Flowers and the Flowers Group as well as Rod McDowall from Red Sail Sports with regards to the planning and safety of my Bridge swim,” she said by email.
She added: “This will be my first visit to the Cayman Islands, I’m very much looking forward to it, and from what I’ve been reading about the beautiful islands, its beaches, coral reefs and spectacular diving, I’m sure it won’t be my last.”
At 3pm Saturday, 16 April, the annual Cayman Brac 800m Sea Swim, organised by the Sister Islands Swim Club and the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, starts from the Carib Sands dock and finishes at the Divi Tiara Beach Hotel.
Last year, 53 swimmers took part in the 800-metre swim on the Brac, despite bad weather.
On Sunday morning
at 7am, a dozen swimmers will cross the channel between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, starting at West End on the Brac and ending at Point of Sand on Little Cayman. It is expected to take between three-and-a-half and five hours to complete, depending on sea conditions.
Organised sea swims are becoming increasingly popular in Cayman, as evidenced in the record number of people – 700- who participated in last year’s one-mile Flowers Sea Swim along Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman.
This year, there is a limit of 800 swimmers for the Flowers Sea Swim on 18 June.
Participants can register at caymanboxoffice.com