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Last year, Christopher Columbus Condos was excited to become the first development on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lighting. Today, we are delighted to announce that thanks to this update, 142 baby sea turtles hatched on our beach earlier this week.

A few weeks ago, the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (DOE) began monitoring a nest that was found next to one of our beach huts. They determined that because of our turtle-friendly lighting, the eggs would not have to be moved to another location. On November 12, the eggs hatched and the tiny turtles made their way to the sea with a little help from the DOE and cheers from onlooking CCC guests.

CCC’s turtle-friendly lighting was installed as part of a partnership with the DOE in an effort to help preserve the sea turtle community. This was the first nest on our beach since the lighting was installed, and we hope for many more in the coming years.


*Photo courtesy of property manager Lisa!

What is turtle-friendly lighting?

Turtle nesting season occurs yearly between May and September, and hatchlings appear between July and November. Momma turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs, and then after 50–60 days, the hatchlings emerge and begin their journey back to the ocean.

When baby turtles hatch, they use the light of the moon to help navigate them to the ocean. Bright, blue-spectrum lighting on buildings can mimic the lighting of the moon, disorienting the hatchlings and leading them into dangerous places like further up the beach, nearby properties, or even roads. LED lights sit more on the orange end of the light spectrum, which doesn’t bother or confuse turtle hatchlings.

Due to the endangered status of green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, the DOE is working on an official policy that would require new developments on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lights. These regulations would be based on similar ones enacted along the Florida coastline, which have been incredibly successful and world-renowned in helping preserve the turtle population.


Attractive and environmentally friendly

In addition to helping out our turtle friends, LED lighting is more energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The warm lighting creates a cozy, modern atmosphere outside the condos and around the pool. Enjoy watching the stars without distracting bright lights, and don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see your way back inside after taking in every second of gorgeous Cayman sunsets on the beach.

Owner Keith Holloway who oversaw the lighting installation last year says, Christopher Columbus is “invested in keeping the property current and modern for the enjoyment of our guests.” New lighting is one of many improvements that have been made in recent years, including in-unit wi-fi, enlarged laundry facilities, a roomy oceanside gazebo, and more.

*Photo courtesy of condo owner Marsha O'Daniel. This was taken in 2014 when the DOE came to CCC's section of the beach to assist some turtle hatchlings and allowed lucky viewers a chance to see the baby turtles up close.


Heads up for turtle nests

We would like to thank the DOE for monitoring the nest on our beach and for all the continued work they do preserving the sea turtle population in Grand Cayman. Guests can do their part in helping turtles as well. If you notice any turtle tracks on our segment on the beach, let a CCC staff member know or call the DOE directly as soon as possible. The DOE will properly secure and tag the nest so the hatchlings can have the best possible chances at survival. Remember, disturbing a turtle nest is against Cayman Islands’ law so if you see anyone harming a turtle or a nest, you should notify CCC staff or the Cayman police.

Since the DOE began monitoring nests on Seven Mile Beach in 1998, nest numbers have increased from just 30 a year to over 300. We hope that our new turtle-friendly lighting can help foster a comfortable and safe environment for many more nests to come!

This post was originally published on May 31, 2018 and updated November 14, 2019 to share great results from the original lighting project.


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Ahoy mateys!

It’s almost time for one of our favorite events of the year: Pirates Week. This unique, fun-filled festival is coming back to Grand Cayman November 7-11, and we couldn’t be more excited! Get ready to experience a family-friendly tradition full of spectacle, delicious food, and the culture of the Cayman Islands.

What you need to know

Pirates Week is a 42-year tradition of the Cayman Islands that allows visitors to immerse themselves in a little history, a little pageantry, and a whole lot of culture and fun. The highlight of the week is when the pirates invade Pig Sty Bay, riding into George Town harbor on authentic pirate vessels in order to take hostages and cause chaos, all in the spirit of good ol’ piratey fun. The pirates celebrate their invasion with a colorful parade of ships and entertainers and a fireworks display.



Throughout the week, celebrate local Caymanian cuisine with more than 50 vendors serving favorite local dishes like jerk chicken and turtle soup. You can also take some time to peruse the shops of local artisans and collect some “booty” for your friends and family.

Events to attend

Pirates Week Happy Hour and Kick-Off Party, November 7

Start Pirates Week off right with a happy hour and beach bash. Local bands will be playing so you can dance the night away. You can wear your normal beach attire, or if you want to go all out, we're sure a faux parrot on your shoulder or an eye patch wouldn't be discouraged! ;) 

Food Festival, Every day

Starting November 8, enjoy Caymanian favorites at the Pirates Festival Food Festival. Dozens of vendors are ready to serve up the best grub, offering so many options that you (and your kiddos) are sure to find something you'll love.

Pirates Landing and Parade, November 9

The highlight of the week is the Pirates Landing on Pig Sty Bay. Before they land, marvel in street acts, acrobats, and other local performers who are sure to blow you away with their incredible talents. Then witness an event unlike any other as authentic pirate vessels drop local pirate gangs onshore to cause mischief and mayhem aplenty. A battle will ensue and who knows who will claim victory. After they invade, the buccaneers and locals alike will parade through the streets, ready to show off their exquisite floats, costumes, and theatrical performances. You won't want to miss a moment!

Turtle Release, November 10

To further celebrate the wonders Cayman has to offer, the Cayman Turtle Centre will release baby and rehabilitated turtles into the wild with the help of a few locals. This is a rare occasion few will get to witness in their lifetime. Since this program began in 1980, 30,000 turtles have been released. This year is set to be another celebration of one of Cayman's most-loved treasures.

Illumination Night Parade, November 11

Pirate Week ends with a bang with the nighttime spectacular Illumination parade. Dozens of floats decorated in thousands of lights starring acrobats, pirates, and other performers will travel the streets of George Town ready to impress.

Share Your Tips!

We are counting down the days until Pirates Week and hope you'll be with us to celebrate. If you've been to Pirates Week before, tell us all about your experience and leave some tips we may have forgotten in the comments below!

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Christopher Columbus Condos is excited to announce that we’re working to become the first development on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lighting throughout the property.

A combined effort between CCC and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE), owner Keith Holloway is overseeing installation of the new lighting. “The native turtle population is a true treasure of the Cayman Islands. We have had nesting turtles on our property and have safeguarded the nests and hatchlings through the years.” We’re thrilled to add new lighting to our list of ways to help out the turtles.

What is turtle-friendly lighting?

Turtle nesting season occurs yearly between May and September, and hatchlings appear between July and November. Momma turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs, and then after 50–60 days, the hatchlings emerge and begin their journey back to the ocean.

When baby turtles hatch, they use the light of the moon to help navigate them to the ocean. Bright, blue-spectrum lighting on buildings can mimic the lighting of the moon, disorienting the hatchlings into dangerous places like further up the beach, nearby properties, or even roads. LED lights sit more on the orange end of the light spectrum, which doesn’t bother or confuse turtle hatchlings.

Due to the endangered status of green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, the DOE is working on an official policy that would require new developments on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lights. These regulations would be based on similar ones enacted along the Florida coastline, which have been incredibly successful and world renowned in helping preserve turtle populations.

Attractive and environmentally friendly

In addition to helping out our turtle friends, LED lighting is also more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The warm lighting creates a cozy, modern atmosphere outside the condos and around the pool. Enjoy watching the stars without distracting bright lights, and don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see to make your way back inside after taking in every second of gorgeous Cayman sunsets on the beach.

As Holloway says, Christopher Columbus is “invested in keeping the property current and modern for the enjoyment of our guests.” New lighting is another improvement that’s been made in recent years, in addition to in-unit wi-fi, enlarged laundry facilities, a roomy oceanside gazebo, and more.

Heads up for turtle nests

If you notice any turtle tracks on our segment on the beach, let a CCC staff member know or call the DOE directly as soon as possible. The DOE will properly secure and tag the nest so the hatchlings can have the best possible chances at survival. Remember, disturbing a turtle nest is against Cayman Islands’ law. If you see anyone harming a turtle or a nest, you should notify CCC staff or the Cayman police.



Since the DOE began monitoring nests on Seven Mile Beach in 1998, nest numbers have increased from just 30 a year to over 300. We hope that our new turtle-friendly lighting can help foster a comfortable and safe environment for many more nests to come!

*Photos courtesy of condo owner Marsha O'Daniel. They were taken in 2014 when the DOE came to CCC's section of the beach to assist some of the turtle hatchlings and allowed lucky viewers a chance to see the baby turtles up close.

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Cayman is for the KIDS!
I think it’s fair to say that most adults who get even a small glimpse of Cayman’s magnificent views and vast ocean want to immediately book their next vacation here.

The big question: is it a good destination for both the adults AND the kids? You better believe it.

If you need more convincing than just me saying so, (I’m not sure why you would ;)) here are 5 reasons your kids will love vacationing in Cayman just as much as you.

1. Christopher Columbus Condos Kiddie Pool

Let’s start real close to home, shall we? With our zero-entry kiddie pool even your littlest ones can take a safe dip in the water. The small pool is conveniently located between the gazebo and larger pool, not to mention in a prime location right next to the toy chest we like to keep stocked for our pint-sized friends. 

2. Cayman Turtle Centre

If the kids in your family love animals, the Cayman Turtle Centre is a must-visit attraction! This centre is both entertaining as well as informative with the Education Centre teaching about turtles and their history in Grand Cayman. Even better, if you happen to visit during breeding season (May-October) you just might witness a new hatchling coming up through the sand of their incubation boxes!

Of course, the most popular experience for kids at the Turtle Centre is the Touch Tank Wading Pools. In these special pools, your kids can get in the shallow tank with the turtles and briefly pick them up! Talk about a perfect photo opp.

3. Atlantis Submarine Dive

Most activities in Cayman will include water for obvious reasons, and although this example is no exception, you will stay completely dry! Speaking from personal experience, the Atlantis Submarine Dive is a great way to explore all the mystery and beauty that lives underwater. The Atlantis tour is also a great alternative to scuba diving if you have children that are too young or apprehensive. The submarine is pressurized so there is no discomfort and the crew follows a list of safety procedures. Submarine dives are also offered both day and night.

Read more about Atlantis Submarines Tours

4​Stingray City

Don't let the name scare you. These Stingrays are incredibly friendly and love visitors. Especially visitors that bring food! Arguably the most popular attraction on the island, Stingray City is a one-of-a-kind way for you and your kids to get up close with Stingrays in their natural habitat. You can reach down to pet their soft skin as they swim by and feed them. Many catamaran tours visit Stingray City and take your picture with one of the local stingrays!

5. Paddle boarding
Another activity that can be enjoyed on the CCC beachfront is Stand Up paddle boarding, a.k.a SUP. This activity could take a little trial and error for those who struggle with staying balanced, but still provides a ton of fun. Many SUP rentals in Grand Cayman will also deliver the boards to Christopher Columbus and pick them up when you're done. 

If you imagined your kids taking part in any or all of these island activities then your family vacation planning is already halfway complete. Oh, and if you need a place to stay we've got you covered there too! 
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If you haven't experienced the Cayman Turtle Farm check it out next time you visit Grand Cayman! While it's an absolute must for kids, it's also a great time for adults.

holding a baby turtleThe Best Part!

The most popular attraction? Holding baby turtles! Technically the turtles are yearlings (a turtle in it's second year of life), but they seem like babies compared to their adult counterparts! The farm has small wading pools called Turtle Touch Tanks where yearling turtles swim around in circles. Kids are welcome to climb into the pools and play with the turtles, and all are welcome to hold the sweet turtles. Just make sure to use the hand washing station before handling the turtles, and if you need help handling a turtle one of the employees is always around and willing to scoop one up for you and give you tips. On my first trip, I can remember the employee telling me that the turtles liked to be rubbed right under the neck. This made me laugh, but it really seemed to relax the turtle he was holding.

In addition to the Turtle Touch Tanks, visitors can also check out full-grown green sea turtles swimming around in The Green's Breeding Pond. They are huge, and really fun to observe. You can also see a Loggerhead sea turtle in Loggerhead's Sea Loft. These are both for observation only, but there is another option to get up close and personal with turtles in the Turtle Lagoon. In the Turtle Lagoon you can swim and snorkel with yearling green sea turtles and other sea life while exploring coral and small little islands that iguanas and even peacocks rest on! Many of these experiences are included with a basic admission ticket, but some do require an extended pass.

How the Turtle Farm Began

The turtle farm was founded in 1968 by a private group and was purchased in 1983 by the Cayman Islands Government. The goal of the farm is "to produce enough turtles to supply the needs of the local market and to continue releasing turtles" into the wild in an effort to conserve the population and ensure green sea turtles flourish around the islands for years to come.

The farm has lots of information about the sea turtles of Cayman and their efforts to build the population in The Education Center & Hatchery.

small waterfall at turtle farmAnd there's more!

As if all of these turtle-y reasons aren't enough reason to visit, the farm also has a small water park (Breakers Lagoon), a gravel path with old traditional homes (Cayman Street), an area for birdlife (Caribbean Free Flight Aviary), a 9 foot saltwater crocodile named Smiley (Smiley's Saltwater Lagoon), several nurse sharks and more in a small aquarium (Predator Reef) and a cool nature trail (Blue Hole). 

Parking Lot Photoshoot

And last but not least, the parking lot is reason enough to go. The views are outstanding and perfect for an impromtu photo shoot with family or friends.

Daphne walks towards the ocean in lot
  Toni in front of rock and Caribbean Sea   rugged rock wall and ocean

 

 Want to hold baby turtles? Come stay with us and visit the farm!
View Condos >>

 

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The months of May to November are turtle nesting season here in Grand Cayman. Sea turtles, a symbol of national pride in Cayman, were once abundant here and have since become an endangered species. The average number of nests found during a season is 43 which is down from millions as the Cayman Islands were once the largest rookery for green turtles in the Caribbean. Generally, there are 80-120 eggs per nest. Since 2000, the Department of Environment has been conducting conservation efforts capturing, tagging and releasing turtles to determine population size, migration patterns, growth rates, habitat use and diving behavior. There are four species of Turtles on Grand Cayman: the green sea turtle, hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback. The green sea turtles and loggerheads are typically the most predominate nesters each year.

The DOE begins to monitor the beaches looking for turtle nests during nesting season. When a nest is discovered on the beach it is marked and sometimes enclosed with rocks or beach chairs for protection. We've been very fortunate at Christopher Columbus Condos to have several nests on our beach over the years. After finding a nest the DOE then monitors them, and when the approximate time for hatching approaches a DOE employee will carefully dig down into the nest to check the hatching progress. There are usually some eggs that have hatched. These baby turtles are put back into the nest and covered up to await the hatching of the rest of the eggs. We generally get an estimated time that the turtles will actually hatch. However, sometimes we will all gather at the beach for days anticipating the big event!

Turtles hatch at night. When the turtles do hatch they literally erupt out of the nest to the great delight of everyone watching! Hundreds of tiny baby turtles pour out of the nest and hopefully head for the ocean. It is such a treat to see this miraculous occurrence. If you are lucky enough to witness this migration to the ocean you won't soon forget it!!

The island community in conjunction with the DOE has taken it upon themselves to be "guardians" of nesting turtles and hatchlings. As recommended by the DOE most beachfront condos and property owners will dim their lights at night during nesting season as the lights can scare female turtles away from the beach (which results in them choosing not to nest). Hatchlings also use the moon and star light that bounces off the ocean as their guide to the sea. When bright artificial light is present they tend to get confused and head towards interior land (where they will most likely not survive). Everyone on the island is encouraged to help with conservation efforts, and most of us take it upon ourselves happily to protect our beloved turtles.

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