After a relaxing two days on Little Cayman, it was time to head over to Grand Cayman. The draw there was Stingray City and Seven Mile beach. You may recall that a flight plan is needed to go between islands...probably even pleasure flights around an island. Since I planned on leaving Paradise Villas before the office opened, and I needed to call my flight plan in, I had done that a day or so before.
I loaded up the plane, wiped down the moisture on the plane and removed the tiedowns and placed them safely back at the edge of the grassy area for the next pilot.
I timed my take-off so that I could fly by the dive boat as it headed to the dive sites. Here I am taxiing to Runway 9.
I was a bit early so had to loiter a bit looking at the fringe reef and various buildings. Finally the boat left dock and I tried to time it to get it in the opening in the reef. I was a bit late but you still see the opening and the boat in this picture.
I then flew near the boat as they waved good-bye. I contacted the Cayman Brac tower and advised them that I was on my way to Grand Cayman. I climbed to 4500’ which is lower than desired. Since I was diving the day before, I keep the altitude low to preclude getting bent. It is also why I did not dive in Grand Cayman. I wanted three days outgassing time before I flew home at or around 14,000’
I was handed over to Grand Cayman and they asked me to advise them when I was at some point. I did not understand it so I told them so. They asked me to advise when I saw the east end of the island in sight. That may have been the original request. It seems that it is always best to ask if the ATC instruction is not understood. I may appear slow, dim-witted or incompetent but better that than to do something stupid.
Soon the east end did appear and I was instructed to fly along the north shore and enter left base for Runway 9. The following picture shows the fringe reef on the east end.
As I approached the airport I took this picture of the general area of Seven Mile beach. The beach area is not really visible.
The runway looks like this landing to the east. The first apron area to the left is where GA aircraft go. It may be Taxiway C. It does not require a real short field landing but don’t use the whole runway.
The tower had me contact Island Air (FBO) once I got off the runway. A woman came out and guided me to a parking spot. It had no tie-downs and I hand moved the plane a bit later to a spot that did have tie-downs. Here is the picture that proves that I landed at Grand Cayman. Before you see the picture, can anyone guess what I had to do after leaving the plane?
Yes, I had to make sure that customs/immigration was happy and then pay fees. I don’t recall what I did with the lady at the first window on the right (once I entered the Customs building) but whatever it was was quick. Maybe it was showing a General Declaration form. I forget. I had all my documentation in a 1" binder so the process was painless. (Before I go too far, the building that you go into is the one story gray one at the left side of this picture. A truck is in front. The larger building at the right is the Island Air FBO. You buy fuel from them.
After I did whatever documentation with the lady, I went left, to the right then left to the AIS guy. There I paid my fees and did all the paperwork to leave Friday. Again I may be missing something but I did file a flight plan (or at least do the paperwork). I may have not had to pay some fee (like navigation) since I had the paper work from Cayman Brac showing that I already paid it. Keep all your paperwork together when you go into customs/immigration/AIS.
I initially planned on direct ATUVI but he told me that I would probably get the RIKEL 2 departure. He gave me the paperwork on it which I already had from Caribbean Flying Adventures. Then he showed me where to get a weather briefing (to the left as I faced his office).
Then I went across the way to Island Air and had them bring fuel in. Only seven gallons but I wanted a full tank crossing the water. Pay the bill, secure the plane and finally caught a taxi to my hotel (about $18.75 USD). Ouch.
The intent was to accomplish anything today that I could and leave minimal activities to the Friday morning pre-departure period.
Next: Grand Cayman stuff including Stingray City