"" Writer's Wanderings: Arrrrgh! It's a Pirate's Cave!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Arrrrgh! It's a Pirate's Cave!

For years now we have made an annual dive trip to the East End of Grand Cayman. We have driven past the Pirates Cave in Boddentown countless times and always say with a chuckle, "We should stop and see the cave," but continue driving. Last year, we really did stop. We had our grandson with us and thought it would be a fun thing to do with him. Unfortunately, they were closed for renovation. Can you renovate a cave? Apparently so.

This year we made it a priority to get to the cave and on a hot afternoon, drove to Boddentown for our excursion. We had heard it was a hokey tourist attraction but, hey, once in a while those can be fun. As we got out of the car, I noticed a subtitle on the Pirates Cave sign. Small letters said it was the Boddentown Zoo as well.

Inside as we went to purchase tickets, the gal at the desk scrutinized our grandson. "He's awfully big for 12," she said appraisingly.

"He doesn't turn 13 until September," I replied.

"Hokay," she said in a musical Caribbean accent and rang up our tickets (adults $10 USD, kids $6.25 USD).

We got a preview of what we were to see, a small flashlight, and a paper map that had some interesting facts on the back of it. According to Caymanian folklore the first settler on the island was a man named Walters and his companion named Bawden or Bodden who arrived in 1658 after serving in Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica. The first recorded permanent resident was Isaac Bodden who was born on Grand Cayman around 1700 and was the grandson of the orginal settler named Bodden. Other settlers included pirates, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors and slaves.

The Pirates Caves attraction was founded by a local man, Spencer Bodden, in the early 1980s. After doing some research it was discovered that the caves on his parents' property were used by pirates of the Caribbean.

This was no Disney ride however. We started out by walking around the nature trail and looking at a large variety of chickens in cages as well as some huge iguanas (some in cages and some not). A couple of goats were disappointed we hadn't purchased food for them. It grew hotter as the trees and buildings cut off the ocean breeze. We headed for the cave.

Down a few steps we found a small cave that was adorned with some manufactured pirate leftovers. The best part though was finding the bats. As we ventured a few feet beyond the exit stairway, our grandson used the flashlight to illuminate the back part of the cave. As he did, shadows of flying bats played on the opposite wall. We all decided we'd gone far enough.

It was a fun visit. Now as we pass by we can say, "Been there. Done that." and chuckle.

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