Cayman’s 4th island, pop. zero

Owen Island is pictured to the right of Little Cayman. - Photo: Alan Markoff

Cayman’s fourth island sits in the gin-clear waters of South Hole lagoon off Little Cayman.

Richard Owen, the surveyor on board the HMS Blossom, which visited Little Cayman in 1831, was more than likely the lucky person who is commemorated in the name of this little piece of paradise.

Owen Island is a very special place because it is populated only by seabirds, crabs and not a single human. It is a tiny speck of heaven, rarely mentioned in international travel articles, offering up an extra bonus as a surprise discovery to most visiting Little Cayman for the first time.

Today the island is owned by the Palmer and Cumber families, the majority belonging to John Palmer. Visitors who alight on its shores will be greeted by a charming sign under a coconut tree which reads: “PRIVATE PROPERTY – VISITORS WELCOME – PLEASE KEEP THIS ISLAND CLEAN.”

The island has all the trappings of a classic south sea “motu” (Cay or islet): coconut trees, powdery white sand, seabirds and best of all no humans – most of the time. If you do not have a boat, Little Cayman’s Southern Cross Club serves as a convenient gateway to Owen Island, which is an easy snorkel or kayak trip away.

On the southern side of Owen Island one can explore the attached reef and chase multicolored fish among the caves and crevices, while several good-size resident barracudas look on in boredom.