50 years ago: Marquess of Bath visits Tortuga Club

The Jan. 18, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, featured the following “Tortuga News” column:

“The Marquess and Marchioness of Bath returned to their home in England on the 11th after a very enjoyable stay at the Tortuga Club. According to Mr. Eric Bergstrom, the Marquess, together with his wife and daughter and her companion, rented a Volkswagen and toured every nook and cranny of our island and liked it so much that they are almost certain to be visiting us again.

“The Most Honourable Henry Frederick Thynne is the 6th Marquess of Bath and his ancestral home, Longleat House, Warminster, Wiltshire, which is sometimes described as the ‘Treasure House of the West,’ was built in 1566-80 by Sir John Thynne on the site of Longleat Priory. This fine old building which houses many treasures and antiques is open daily to the public to view and enjoy.

“Each year thousands pay the admission fee to enter the grounds to see the famous display of rhododendrons and azaleas, and also the Longleat Lions, for which it is well known. The park is in the nature of a game reserve, where 50 lions live freely and roam naturally about and daily families drive their cars through the park amongst the lions with no bars or cage to separate them.

“We understand that there is an intention to increase the number and variety of animals in order to make it a small zoo in the near future.

“It was indeed an honour for the island to have Lord Bath and his family with us and we look forward to their return visit.

“M. and Mme. Diole spent an enjoyable holiday here recently.

“M. Diole is a writer for the famous weekly magazine, Candide, published in Paris which ran a series about Capt. [Jacques] Cousteau, the famous scuba diver.

“M. and Mme. Diole were recommended to Grand Cayman by a travel agent in Paris and we trust that their stay will lead to more French tourists finding their way to our shores.

“A blue marlin was landed on Jan. 13 near Colliers, East End, Grand Cayman by D.W. Bergstrom of Neenah, Wisconsin, USA.

“Mr. Bergstrom was fishing with famed guide Woody McLaughlin of the Tortuga Club when the catch was made. The marlin measured eight feet in length and 31 and a half inches in girth and weighed 111 pounds. Woody McLaughlin reported that it required 42 minutes from the initial strike to landing of this fish, and that it produced several spectacular jumps during the battle. Equipment used consisted of a Hurricane rod with a 6/0 Penn Senator reel and 60 pound test Monel steel line.

“Mr. Bergstrom is vacationing at the Tortuga Club with his wife Jane and is the brother of Eric Bergstrom, manager of the Club. According to Woody McLaughlin, this is one of several marlin hooked during past weeks off East End and is the first to be landed there this year. He feels that marlin are now running in good numbers off East End and this might be one of the better years for this fish in Grand Cayman. Also along on the fishing trip were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Quirk of Chicago, Illinois, USA. Mrs. Quirk reports that she hopefully took some excellent pictures of the entire action.

“The boat used was quite small, being a 17 foot Boston Whaler, and guide Mr. McLaughlin reported some anxious moments when one of two gaffs placed by him in the fish tore loose. He was then required to grab the marlin by its bill to boat the fish. Mr. Bergstrom exclaimed later that without the excellent boat handling and guiding of Mr. McLaughlin, this marlin would never have found its way to the kitchen.”

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