The phrase “Cayman Islands” can conjure up the images of international banking and the espionage of Tom Cruise in the film “The Firm,” therefore the perception that Grand Cayman is a busy beach island only for the ultra rich. “Perception is not always reality,” says Dr. John Wycoff, founder of the Wycoff Wellness Center in East Lansing. He and his wife Cindy have been taking the four-hour non-stop Delta flight from Detroit to enjoy the 85-degree temperatures, tropical sunshine and scuba diving there for over 30 years. “Grab a liter of your favorite toxin at the duty free shop before departure,” Doctor Wycoff prescribes. Upon arrival he also suggests lunch at “Hammerheads” in downtown George Town. “Enjoy the azure colored water and try the red snapper prepared Cayman-style.”
Before he drives his rental car (on the left side of the road) 20 miles through the quaint villages of Savannah and Bodden Town to his oceanfront place at the Compass Point Condos on Grand Cayman’s East End, Wycoff gathers provisions at Hurley’s Groceries, and, next door, Blackbeard’s Liquor Store. “When I see the yellow submarine in front of the entrance of Compass Point I know tranquility is about to begin,” he insists.
Compass Point rents two-bedroom, two bathroom condos with fully-equipped kitchens which provide what Wycoff describes as “mesmerizing views of the aqua blue waters and the gentle sounds of waves lapping the pristine, sandy beach.” Landlubbers like Compass Point’s two swimming pools, hot tub, hammocks, flowers, bicycles, and the elevated oceanfront deck of “Eagle Rays,” the thatched-roof, on-sight bar and grill that serves a daily drink concoction and lion fish tacos – caught that very day on the reef.
“’Ocean Frontiers,’ on the property, offers half-day Scuba courses plus experiences for experienced divers. “A trip to ‘Hell” or the turtle farm is worth a half-day, and people can also swim or snorkel at ‘Stingray City,’ a sandbar in the ocean where you can feed and interact with the rays,” Wycoff says.
When he does leave the property, Wycoff suggests a day trip to Rum Point to walk on the Masonic Trail; with a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens.
For dining, he likes “Bombay Chopsticks,” across from Compass Point. “Chef Remy prepares Indian cuisine and the sea bass is the best I’ve had,” he says. “’Tukka’s’ is a couple miles east with Chef Ron’s Australian fare. And if you’re in a romantic mood, ‘The Lighthouse’ or ‘Kaibo Yacht Club’ each has scenic ocean-side dining.” Haute cuisine is on the west side at ‘The Brasserie,’ Grand Cayman’s finest restaurant according to Wycoff. “Chef Max’s ‘farm-to-table’ Harvest Dinners sometimes include Cayman conch hush puppies, smoked swordfish, lobster tea, Jamaica-cured oxtail flatbread, locally-caught Wahoo, honey and scotch-glazed pork shoulder, pumpkin, and okra,” he recalls. Fine wines wash down each course and the jujube plum upside down cake, sorrel and spice sorbet and local coconut pie. “The quality of the food in the Caymans, compared to other islands, is one of the reasons we bought a place here,” says Wycoff who also knows how good sunshine and not being sedentary in the winter is for his patients and himself.
Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at [email protected] or via TravelTattler.com His talk show can be heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM.