A short but interesting hiking trail with some history on the island of Cayman Brac.
The lighthouse hiking trail was originally a path for locals from Spot bay to climb up to the limestone cliffs in Cayman Brac to forage for bird eggs to eat.
In the 1930’s a lighthouse was built by the British government and the hiking trail became more established as lighthouse keepers would move gas cylinders from Spot bay to the lighthouse to keep the flame burning.
In 1980 the original lighthouse was replaced with a solar powered light house so that hauling gas cylinders up a 140 foot tall cliff was no longer required. I know all this because it was written on that handy sign.
It’s also pretty windy there.
It wasn’t until 1989 (50 years later) that somebody in the Cayman government decided that perhaps building a road to the lighthouse would be a good idea. As you can see, it is pretty far away from just about everything.
Perhaps,,,, due to the road being a bit easier than hiking, is why the trail is now a bit overgrown in places.
In contrast, other parts of the trail are still very obvious. Here Sian is carefully navigating the razor sharp limestone iron shore.
Along the way there are some interesting plants, I have no idea what kind of plant this is but it looks like rebar for concrete.
Giant Aloe bush? Tree?… Plant!
If you are lucky, as we were, you can sometimes spot Brown Boobies while passing along the limestone Bluff.
There are less than 100 pairs of Brown Boobies in Cayman Brac. They always use the same nest site and incubate their eggs for up to 47 days. The babies can fly about 14 weeks after they are born.
We also saw this bird on the trail, which I can’t give you any interesting facts about as I have spent many years only studying Boobies. I can only confirm, this is not a Booby.
At 140’ above sea level, it is the highest point of all of the Cayman Islands. If you are feeling adventurous, you can rock climb on these cliffs. I’ll try to find a video I have of us doing so some years ago.
The view looking back from the top of the Bluff Cliffs. Scientist believe these limestone cliffs would have been above sea level for about 2 million years.
Eventually, the trail leads you to the top of the cliff over the town of Spots Bay.
The town of Spot Bay below the cliffs.
Spot bay was originally settled in 1833.
Just above the town is a cave called Peters Cave.
The cave has been used by locals for many years as a shelter from Hurricanes. It was recorded that in the 1930’s a hurricane blew through Cayman Brac that brought 200MPH winds and had a 30 foot storm surge. The residents of Spot Bay had to ride out the storm for many days in this cave.
The cave carries on for some distance. It was last used for Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. After that the Cayman government built a proper Hurricane Shelter.
After exploring the caves, we get back onto the hiking trail and head back to the car for some Jerk Chick, Rum punch, and an episode of Grand Tour.