Campers immersed in Cayman’s maritime heritage

On the water to check out the Ridgefield shipwreck

A group of 12 youngsters spent a week learning about Cayman’s maritime heritage at the fourth annual Cayman Islands National Museum Immerse Summer Camp.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the museum reduced the number of participants to 12, from the usual 25, who were able to attend the 10-14 August camp.

The campers, aged 10-14, were immersed in a week-long study which included visiting Captain Kem Jackson’s catboat-repair shop in West Bay, snorkelling near the reef in East End, learning about the various shipwrecks across Cayman, venturing around the Wreck of the Ten Sail campsite and park, kayaking through the mangroves and, courtesy of the Cayman Islands Turtle Centre, releasing the museum’s own turtle – named after its mascot ‘Muzey’.

Campers with ‘Muzey’ the turtle ahead of its release into the sea.

“The safety of our campers and camp assistants was of utmost importance,” said museum director Dr. Peggy Leshikar-Denton in a press release. “In fact, we were a little delayed with getting camp information out this year because of making sure that we adhered to COVID-19 regulations.”

She added that all camp leaders, herself included, were tested for COVID-19 before the camp started.

Camp coordinator Brian Watler, Jr. explained that every year the campers spend most of their time outdoors. “We have lectures, or watch documentaries in the afternoon after our field trips, to help reinforce what the campers learned on their outdoor adventures,” he said.

The arts and crafts projects offered at the camp, all using recycled material and items found at home, comprised jellyfish, coral reefs, lighthouses and ‘beach in a bottle’.

The museum thanked Ocean Frontiers and Cayman Kayaks for their contributions to this year’s camp, along with JerNat Transportation, Captain Kem Jackson and Loxley Banks “for sharing their invaluable knowledge on catboats”, and Maples Group for its US$3,000 donation late last year.

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