By Ralph Lewis
On Tuesday, December 24th, five cruise ships were scheduled to stop at our downtown cruise port and deliver 12,699 cruise passengers to our shores.
If 75% of those passengers came ashore and spent the reported industry passenger spend (CI$82), the island could possibly have seen a substantial days’ earnings exceeding $1 million.
Unfortunately, a mild nor’wester arrived on Monday and only 2 cruise ships were able to tender at the Spotts facility on Tuesday. Based on this, it is reasonable to say that approximately $500,000 was lost on Tuesday due to the inclement weather.
The weather forecast for that day predicted partly cloudy skies with a 20% - 30% chance of showers during the day.
The winds were predicted be northerly at 10 to 15 knots, with higher gusts.
The sea state was predicted to be rough with wave height 4 to 6 feet and small craft should have exercised caution in open water.
As mother nature sent a cold front our way, it is clear that the cruise ship schedules were not considered, and we saw fewer ships stopping in for that day.
This will be a blow for the industry as many local merchants were expecting to receive financial benefits from that potential lucrative day.
As the debate for the port continues, one wonders if the new port will mitigate the risks caused by mother nature during those days of the Winter Season when a cold front reaches our shores.
Others may argue that we need to maximize the good days by building the port to accommodate bigger ships and so offset the losses that may be incurred from a Nor’wester.
As we enjoy the Christmas holidays, these weather systems will also bring cool breezes that reminds us of the traditional Cayman Christmas.
No doubt early next year the battle for the cruise port will intensify but for the next few days we can put all our differences aside and spread that good old Caymanian love over our nation.
The power of the sea
“He hath founded it upon the seas” appears on the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms, and also our flag. It comes from Psalm 24:2, and it is really part of who we are.
These small islands are at the very top of a huge underwater mountain, and are surrounded by vast stretches of some of the deepest oceans in the world.
It is a sea that the Cayman seafarers of old feared, loved, and respected in equal measure, as they made a name for themselves, first in the sturdy schooners that were built here, and next as crew of the huge oil tankers that sailed the world.
Yet it is easy to forget the power, and even the danger of the sea. Even experienced fishermen can run into trouble when they venture out. It is easy to underestimate the strength and danger of a single wave.
During the week the police taped off areas of George Town because of the big waves that the sea sent crashing onto the waterfront. Lots of people came out to look even though the waves were still huge.
The stormy sea has always inspired and thrilled the human heart. Here’s a selection of quotes by some famous people about the power and lure of the sea:
"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." - John F. Kennedy
"If you live a life of make-believe, your life isn't worth anything until you do something that does challenge your reality. And to me, sailing the open ocean is a real challenge, because it's life or death." - Morgan Freeman
"Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time." - H. P. Lovecraft
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." - Isak Dinesen
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau
"He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea." - George Herbert
“The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man.” - William Blake