12 posts categorized "History"

11/14/2010

Treasure Island Beach Restoration Project

When you think of the Cayman Islands, you think of a pristine beach that goes on for miles, hence the name 7 Mile Beach. For owners and guests at the beautiful Treasure Island Condominiums, that hasn’t been the case. Over the years, the great snorkel reef and beautiful coral located in front of Treasure Island have offset a less than desirable beach. However, many guests return from a stay at Treasure Island with rave reviews of their trip, the island, and their condo, but often suggest a nicer beach. Well, the owners have listened and an almost $700,000 beach renovation project was completed last week, with a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to introduce the new and improved beach.

 

When the Treasure Island property was built more than 30 years ago, the developers dug out the iron shore in an attempt to make a swimming area. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, over the years the lack of iron shore has eliminated the natural protection against beach erosion. The 2 groynes made out of large rocks contained an opening to the sea in the middle (see picture), which allowed for the large waves to hit the beach and pull the sand out to sea. Year by year, the condo owners have tried to replace the lost sand, but this was becoming too costly.

Cove without overlap

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*It's clear the groynes had deteriorated over the years.

For 30 years I’ve been traveling to Treasure Island and have often wondered why the beach was so much nicer at other properties. Many of our guests have had the same thought. Owners have been throwing around the idea of trying to fix the beach and doing something different with the groynes for almost 20 years. So this decision to make the financial commitment to providing guests with a beach that visitors of the Cayman Islands deserve, makes this 2010 beach restoration project a landmark year for the Treasure Island Complex and Cayman Condos as a whole.

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*Notice the rocky beach to the left. With the completion of the project, this will no longer exist as it will be a sandy beach with a beautiful swimming cove.

 

In the summer of 2009, they began the initial stages of the project when they called on Dr. Sorenson, a renowned beach restoration project consultant in the Caribbean. After his research and guidance, a permit was applied for from the Department of Environment. This project was looked on very favorably by the DOE because of the extensive shoreline erosion. In May of this year, a permit was issued. The plan was to re-create the groynes with rocks that were to be shaped in local quarries. However, this time the groynes would overlap in the middle, preventing large waves from coming into the newly created swimming cove. While they will overlap, they will not actually connect in the middle, which allows access from the swimming cove to the snorkel reef (see picture).

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They began the shaping of the large rocks in May and moved onto the Treasure Island property in August. After the shaping of the rocks and creation of the groynes was complete, the final step was to add 1000 cubic yards of fresh new sand to the beach. By coupling this beautiful new beach with the snorkeling reef directly in front of the property, Treasure Island has now become one of the most desirable beach properties on beautiful Seven Mile Beach.

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With the extensive research that went into this project, it is expected to last for many years. So whenever you return to the Cayman Islands, this new sandy beach will be in tact for you and your family to enjoy. It is something we can all look forward to on our next visit to Cayman. After all, this is the Cayman Islands. No shirt. No Shoes. No Problem. And now, No Rocks on your beach at Treasure Island! 

11/06/2010

The History and Evolution of the Cayman Islands

When I began going to the Cayman Islands 30 years ago, it wasn’t quite what it is today. Sure it had beautiful blue sky, turquoise ocean, and pristine sand.

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None of that has changed. However, the island has changed a lot. 30 years ago, you could walk miles down 7 mile beach before you saw another person. If you wanted meat? You brought your own. If you wanted to make a phone call? You searched high and dry for a pay phone. If you wanted to watch TV? Yeah, right. Needless to say, things have changed. 

Believe it or not, Christopher Columbus founded Grand Cayman back in 1503 during a voyage to the "new world." Due to the abundant amount of sea turtles, he coined the term Las Tortugas for the name of the islands. The turtle remains a face of the island to this day.

Despite Columbus’ findings, the Islands remained uninhabited until the 17th century. The first people to settle on the island were pirates, shipwrecked sailors, and slaves. Finally, in the 1730’s, Great Britain took control of the Cayman Islands. The first census taken in 1802 showed a population of 933 people on Grand Cayman, 545 of which were slaves. 

This British colony is located about 400 miles south of Miami, 180 miles south of Cuba, and 195 miles northwest of Jamaica.


View Larger Map

Due to its close proximity to the islands, Jamaica became a key country to the Cayman Islands’ development. Initially, the Cayman Islands were administered as a dependency of Jamaica. However, they became an independent colony in 1959 and are now a self-governing British territory. Several Jamaicans make the Cayman Islands their home today.

Cayman has become a very wealthy island that continues to advance and become more modernized. It has been amazing to see the transformation in the last 30 years from a very uninhabited island with little development to the island we know today. Now the island is equipped with several supermarkets, cell phones, cable TV, fitness centers and even wi-fi internet connections. As people continue to visit this beautiful island, they will continue to see changes, but perhaps none as drastic as the island has seen in the past 30 years.