The Jamin News

Jamin News

 Issue 13  Winter 2004

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Ivan Devastates Grand Cayman

 On Saturday, September 11, 2004, Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane with winds in excess of 165 MPH failed to follow its projected course to the Northwest and slammed almost directly in to Grand Cayman. The Sister islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, 70 miles to the Northeast were spared the brunt of the storm.


 I have written several times about my experiences with hurricane Allen at sea and Gilbert, another Category 5 hurricane which hit Grand Cayman but only after the Eye “split” and the island was spared major damage. Our friends on the island felt they could ride this one out, just like Gilbert which, after all, they had survived.


 But Grand Cayman is only 22 miles long and a maximum of 8 miles wide and, more importantly, the highest elevation is 20 feet and that is on the bluffs on East End. Most of the island is at sea level with no where to hide. The full force of the storm struck the island about midnight Saturday and lasted all through the night with winds and rain lasting until Monday. But what was terrifying was the storm surge which rose 12 to 25 feet above normal leaving most residents no where to hide except on their roof. Downtown Georgetown to the Airport was under 6 feet of water.


 Almost every residence and hotel suffered major damage with up to 30% being totally destroyed. The house I built in South Sound is gone along with much of Bodden Town and we understand the Crow’s Nest, our old restaurant in South Sound, sailed away to Cuba. But the good news is that there has been only two fatalities and the construction business is now booming.


 As noted, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are relatively unscathed and will soon be back in business. These are the Jewels of the Cayman Islands where we send those who want to enjoy the island experience as well as the best diving, which you will find on Little Cayman.


 There is a great website at for information about what happened and is happening in the Cayman Islands, as related to the hurricane. You can find many links here to pictures and stories related to specific properties on the islands. Another site dedicated to hurricane news is . For general information about the islands you can visit the online Caymanian Newspaper at





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