Coming in at 1,174 pages, the 2017 Beach Access Report from the Lands and Survey Department is a comprehensive look at the state of beach access in our three islands.
The beach access report lists a total of nine beach access pathways in the Boatswain’s Bay corridor. Most of these access points, two thirds, are listed in the report as unregistered and unobstructed prescriptive rights of way, some of them appear much the same as they did generations ago.
As Cayman 27 has found in previous reporting on the beach access issue in other parts of the island, some of these historic access points have faced a different fate, and are at risk of disappearing completely.
Before the Beach Boys brought surf culture to the masses via Surfing USA, 84-year old Rupert Ebanks used to catch waves with his buddies in the heart of old Boatswain’s Bay. It was the late 1940’s and back then the surfboards were handmade.
“When we were boys, everybody was out there surfing,” said Mr. Ebanks. “White pine mostly, because it was light. We had a good piece about so length, and that’s what we would use for the float.”
Mr. Ebanks’ boyhood stomping ground at Grandpa Billy’s Barcadere remains a popular spot for locals and tourists, but he admits times in Cayman have certainly changed since his surfing days.
“I don’t really know the reason why our legislators didn’t look after these things, but most of them have been closed to the public and they should be open,” he said.
Just one of the nine Boatswain’s Bay access points listed in the report, located near Cobalt Coast dive resort, is marked with a beach access sign.
Just down the road, another beach access is sporting a sign of a different kind.
“Private property, no trespassing, residents and guests only,” read Mr. Ebanks.
A little bit further to the east, at another listed beach access, would be beach-goers are met with a wooden gate.
“This fence is designated as a beach access, they should make them tear it down,” he said.
Mr. Ebanks calling for Cayman’s beach access pathways to be cleared, marked, and preserved for future generations.
“They need to insist, the government, that these places be open and stay open, because that has been the rule and regulation here in Cayman,those people who bought the property bought them with that understanding.”
Mr. Ebanks did point out one beach access he remembers from his boyhood that was not in the 1,174 page report, just to the west of the Boatswain’s Bay cemetery. He told Cayman 27 it was once known as ‘Goff’s’ and he said it’s now completely overgrown.
The only registered access in the Boatswain’s Bay corridor is a private right of way.