Our last day in Grand Cayman – we arrive at Seven Mile Beach. At last, the morning contains the sounds I remember, rather than a multitude of roosters crowing. In the trees doves coo and in the distance I can hear the Cayman parrot. The topaz-blue sea laps in and out, and when I stand on the water line I feel the soft sand wrapping around my toes as the water slurps around my feet.
There are no rocks on this beach. Rather, there are chunks of coral washing in and out with the waves, gradually morphing into sand. I think of what some local divers told Simon during our visit. They have done some very deep dives and at a depth of 300 feet, they find what looks like another shoreline. I wonder what that means as I walk along the beach with hubby, soaking up the early morning time when few people are out.
I think about the hurricanes … how Ivan’s surge divided the little island into three pieces for a time and traumatized a group of Canadian expatriates so deeply that they left everything and returned to Canada. One said that living through the hurricane was like believing you could die at any moment for 30 hours. After the storm, his Caymanian house was gone – all he could find was the cement pad. Ivan is the reason for all the feral chickens – their coops blew away and those that survived never came home. I look at the sea, so peaceful. The sand, with a smattering of tiny shells and pieces of coral. The beaches used to be covered with shells. I gather a small handful and tuck them in my pocket.
A few words of the national song float in my memory, from National Heroes Day:
O sea of palest em’rald,
Merging to darkest blue,
When ‘ere my thoughts fly Godward,
I always think of you.
Cayman and its people remain as lovely and complex as the surrounding seas.