26 September 1992

Want to go to the Brac?

Liz and I were scuba diving in Grand Cayman, which is about 150 miles south of Cuba. As much as I hate to admit it, we flew commercial from Cincinnati to Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I came almost prepared. I brought by logbook, pilot license and medical, but I forgot my newly required glasses and headsets. With minimal time and expense, I obtained another set of glasses. My intent was to rent an airplane and just fly around Grand Cayman Island.

Much to my surprise they would allow me to fly their Cessna 172 seventy miles over the Gulf of Mexico to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Before departing I asked my flight instructor how to get a weather briefing.

He looked at me and said, "Weather briefing?! You don't need that. It's 1500 scattered with scattered thunderstorms. It's always like that here. The only time it changes is when we have a hurricane." The weather was beautiful that day. It was 1500 scattered with scattered thunderstorms. After touring Grand Cayman, we turned east over open water. Flying around the few rain showers was easy. The shadows of the clouds on the water resembled islands from a distance. We finally spotted the 'real' Little Cayman, followed its coastline, then landed on Cayman Brac. We ate lunch on the beach, flew around the island, and then returned to Grand Cayman.

The scenery was beautiful and I had no problems with the Cessna 172. The lack of radio navigation added to the challenge of the trip. Grand Cayman's VOR was out of service, and their ADF was weak. Loran coverage was poor. For a mainlander like me, pilotage over open ocean adds to the excitement.

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