Hundreds of holiday campers will flock to Cayman’s beaches this weekend, carrying on a beloved Easter tradition for the islands’ residents.
While many campers staked out their spots well ahead of the long weekend, April 19-22, even greater numbers were expected to pitch their tents in coming days.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service estimates between 500 and 1,000 campers will hit the beaches around the island.
With cloudy skies and scattered showers on the forecast, campers should be prepared for variable weather conditions throughout the weekend, and moderate, choppy waves of 2 to 4 feet on Friday.
The Easter holiday also brings a reminder to be conscientious of sharing community resources and the roadways, RCIPS officers said.
Sgt. John Andrews of the Joint Marine Unit said being a good camper starts with basic common sense and being considerate of fellow beachgoers.
Here are some tips for enjoying a successful Easter weekend:
Practise fire safety
When building fires on the beach, campers should first ensure they are not burning coals or wood on top of a turtle nest.
“If you’re using charcoal, it’s always a good idea – especially if you are going to do it in the sun, on the beach – dig down a couple of inches into the sand, one, to make sure there are no baby turtles hatching in the sand below and, two, it also gives you a containment area,” Andrews said.
“When you’re finished, you can just sweep some sand over it and cover it. That’s a safe way to put out the flames so that it doesn’t cause a fire or cause someone injury from stepping on hot coals.”
Any fire should be built in a contained area, such as in a sand pit or metal drum. Campfires should never be built under tree branches and campers should ensure embers are fully extinguished before leaving the site.
Clean up litter
Campers should take extra care not to leave behind trash or waste on the beach. This means bringing garbage disposal bags and patrolling camp sites before departure.
Practise water safety
Cayman’s waters should be extra busy this weekend, with residents and visitors alike taking advantage of the long holiday to practise water sports. Sgt. Andrews recommends swimmers not venture past the 200-yard markers.
“If you do, make sure you have something that can clearly identify you, like divers put down a flag,” he said.
“If you will be operating a powerboat or a personal water craft, always remember that if you are coming within 200 yards of the shoreline, the maximum speed you can travel at is 5 knots.”
Water craft operators should ensure passengers and drivers alike wear life jackets.
Prepare for inclement weather
A cold front will be moving into the Gulf of Mexico and into the northwest Caribbean Friday, according to National Weather Service forecaster Avalon Porter.
This should bring a surface trough, producing cloudiness, showers and windy conditions, particularly on Friday.
“The wind should be mainly out of the south, southeast, 10 to 15 knots during the daytime, 5 to 10 at night,” Porter said.
Choppy, moderate waves of 2 to 4 feet are also expected Friday, meaning swimmers, especially those on the southern coast, should use extra caution on the water that day.
Temperatures will remain in the mid-80s.
“Given that it’s going to be cloudy, humidity will be high, so it might feel like temperatures are a little higher than that,” Porter said.
Remember the sunblock
Don’t let the clouds fool you. The sun will still be strong enough to inflict discomfort and burning this weekend.
“Make sure you use your sunscreen to protect you from the sun, even though you may not see it out that much,” Porter said.
In addition to good sunblock, campers may also want to consider packing aloe vera lotion – even if only to share with a neighbour who enjoyed too much time in the sun.
Never drink and drive
While driving under the influence is never advisable, motorists should be especially cautious this weekend. An increased number of pedestrians and visitors will mean greater risk on the roadways.
“I always want to encourage people over the Easter holiday, please do not drink and drive,” said RCIPS media officer Jodi-Ann Powery. “Let’s keep our roads safe and let’s keep our families happy.”