Cayman Island Triathlon

For our fourtieth birthday, Sheila and I decided to do a triathlon. We chose an Olympic distance - 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, 6 mile run. My triathlon book said that the Cayman Islands had a very beginner-friendly triathlon, and it seemed to be an excellent excuse to visit.

Part 1 - Our Stay at Turtle Nest Inn

Day 1 (Saturday)

I met Sheila in the Tampa airport, and we had a quick flight to Georgetown on Grand Cayman.

We picked up our car, and (with Sheila driving) went to the grocery store then to the Turtle Nest Inn.

Everyone drove on the right side of the road, and we couldn’t figure out the speed limit. It was between 30 (in towns) and 50 (between towns), which would seem to be miles, but our car was in kilometers.

The rest of the time I drove -- I had less habits to forget, and I owe pretty much all the world some driving.

View from the lobby

Day 2 (Sunday)

The next morning, we hung out at the Turtle Nest Inn. It's a small hotel with about 20 rooms. The room had a kitchen, so we were able to eat many meals there, which saved some money. (Not much, though. The room was expensive, but worth it.)

We had a beautiful view of the ocean from our room.

Although it was a little overcast, we did some snorkeling.

I also started putting the bikes together. My chain had gotten very tangled and I could not untangle it. Very annoying. Sheila’s bike was more together, but I couldn’t get all the cables into their proper slots.

Day 3 (Monday)

Did a training run – it was hot, and I went very slow. Worked more on the bike. Still couldn’t untangle the chain. More of Sheila’s bike was together.

Day 4 (Tuesday)

I worked on the bikes some more in the morning. . I got the chain untangled! Everything came together, except that a cheap piece of plastic that was part of a thingy to protect my wheels broke off, and I couldn’t get the axel in the wheel, so I couldn’t use my front wheel. I had visions of asking Mom and Dad to overnight a spare front wheel to me, or borrowing one from someone local. But I decided to wait for Russ to call and see if he had any ideas. (My idea of trying to melt the plastic made Sheila very nervous.)

We drove to Rum Point, first stopping at the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens. Although Grand Caymans are incredibly beautiful when you are on their beaches and under the water, this is the only place I saw that the vegetation was actually nice. Most of the place was pretty scruffy, actually. (The islands weren’t inhabited until around 1650 and were originally used by pirates.) And they recently (2004) got hit hard by a hurricane.

They have a iguana breeding program here – blue iguanas are very rare. Although we saw quite a few here.

Rum Point was very shallow. We did a training swim, and had trouble avoiding scraping on the bottom. I had trouble with the salt water in my mouth – it started to burn by the end. And the very light surf bothered me also (started to get sea sick). Didn’t bode well.

We also did a little snorkeling and mostly sat in the beach chairs and soaked up the sun.

Day 5 (Wednesday)

We were supposed to go to go to Sting Ray City, but the captain called and postponed it, since the waves were too high. So we drove to Seven Mile Beach to a nice restaurant (Hemingway’s) and watched the waves. This is the beach where we will do our swim portion of the triathlon. Hmmmm.

7-Mile beach is totally different from the other side of the island. The beach itself is beautiful – a long strip of sand, almost no rocks, lots of room to lie in the sand, etc. But hotels and condos line the beach from one end to the other. While driving at about lunchtime, we got stuck in a traffic jam. (Several locals complained about the number of cars on the island – evidently after Hurricane Ivan, people bought new cars with their insurance money, but didn’t necessarily get rid of their old ones.) The other side of the island has much rockier beaches, lots more abandoned houses in disrepair, and many less people.

Day 6 (Thursday)

We did another run/walk – I was still much slower than in my other training. And pretty tired from it when I was done.

In the afternoon, I went for a scuba dive.



Thursday night was the weekly dinner on the terrace at the Turtle Nest Inn. We sat with several other visitors, had an excellent Indian meal, and drank much wine! We stayed up talking with Sue and Barb past when everyone else (including the owners) had gone to bed.

Friday, we left the Turtle Nest Inn and moved to the Marriott on 7 Mile Beach. Very, very different. Bigger, more generic, across the street from the ocean, but we got a really good deal on the room.

Lobby of the Marriott - complete with piped in Christmas music

Marriott Stay & Triathlon >

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