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Pirates Fest begins with Bodden Town heritage showcase

Front Pages 14 Oct, 2022 1 Comments Follow News

Pirates Fest begins with Bodden Town heritage showcase

Police Sargent Christopher Donaldson, Constable Garcia, Constable Mikaela Rankin, and Constable Dawkins make a visit to the Bodden Town Heritage Day

CI Seafarers Association President Denniston Tibbetts and Council Member Dexter Ebanks

By Lindsey Turnbull

It may have taken a couple of false starts to get going this year thanks to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, but the newly revamped Pirates Fest (formerly Pirates Week) final kicked off last Friday. Festivities took place at the Bodden Town Heritage Day, located at Nurse Josie’s Senior Centre starting at 10am, finishing at 6pm and then the celebrations moved on to Coe Wood Beach starting at 7pm, going off with a bang with fireworks, all the way on to 2am.

The day was a real celebration of Caymanian heritage, with lots of music, local food, and also some great locally made arts and crafts and jewellery on sale, demonstrating the artistic and creative side of Bodden Towners.

Ira and Emmeline Williams are a husband and wife couple who love to fish; however fish is not the only the bounty they manage to reap from the sea, as Ms Emmeine explained:

“We make decorations from Cayman woods and rocks from the seaside. We pick them up, wash them up and then varnish them. When we go fishing, we see them and we say they are so beautiful, they could be artwork,” she explained. “We also pick up bamboo from the sea, clean it up and decorate it.”

Their artwork is then perfect for sale to visitors who might want to take a locally-made souvenir home with them. Ms Emmeline says she is very much looking forward to having a space at the Craft Market in George Town soon, for that very purpose.

Some beautiful jewellery was also on display, the work of the talented Yamillette Lam, who had made a huge array of colourful bracelets, necklaces and earrings for purchase on the day.

The Cayman islands Seafarers Association also manned a booth at the Bodden Town Heritage Day, with its President Denniston Tibbetts President, who has been president for the past four years, at the helm, alongside Council Member Dexter Ebanks.

Mr Tibbetts felt it was extremely important that the Seafarers Association play a part in the Bodden Town Heritage Day, where schoolchildren would be attending and enjoying the fun.

“I want young people to be reminded that it was the seafarers who built this country, so we have t-shirts, pins, calendars and hats available for sale and a book called The Southwell Years which tells of the recollections of Caymanian seamen and those who served at home. We used to sell the book for CI$25 but now we are only charging CI$5.”

The book is a fascinating slice of Caymanian history produced by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and is well worth the read for some first-hand accounts of life as a seafarer and also those who stayed behind at home, during the last century.

Mr Ebanks explained why it was so important to help with the funding of the Seafarers Association:

“We donate CI$2,000 to every member’s family to assist them with the costs of the funerals. Over 40 Cayman Islands Seafarers Association members have died in 2022 alone. A lot of people get the impression that we get paid for doing this. We don’t get paid; we are a non-profit organisation and we do it for the love,” he said.

His comments were a poignant reminder that Caymanian heritage of yesteryear was quickly disappearing and events such as the district heritage days were important events that help to keep that unique heritage alive for the younger generation to appreciate and understand.

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Historical Ex Pat

15 Oct, 2022

I honour the Seafarers and its Association for ensuring the Caymanian past is preserved and for taking care of its members. The baby must not be thrown out with the bath water during a time of massive development!