Southern Cross Club - Little Cayman

Feast Party Stay Play Thrive
Wednesday
"If Hemmingway was alive today, this is where he would hang out," Shawna said on our second day at the 12-bungalow Southern Cross Club, a boutique dive, fishing and all-around beach resort on Little Cayman Island. She was right, of course. Not only would Papa love the isolation and quaintness of the Little Cayman?with just over 150 residents and miles of wild ironshore and hidden beaches, it is a true Caribbean getaway?but he would have loved the atmosphere at "The Club."

Divers have always maintained that they come to Little Cayman and the Southern Cross Club to dive the fabled Bloody Bay Wall, where turquoise shallows just offshore drop a dizzying 6,000 feet into the midnight abyss. And fishermen likewise claim they arrive for the bonefish in the nearby flats. At least that's what the divers and fishermen say. It only took Shawna and me a few minutes of enjoying the scalloped beach in front of the club and soaking up the island's laid-back atmosphere to start to wonder if the diving and fishing aren't just good excuses for true island lovers.

Thursday

The dozen bungalows marching down the beach in pastel shades with white trim are a beautiful sight, and their bright exteriors are mirrored by the warm, airy interiors done in contemporary d?cor. Like all the others, ours features air conditioning, a nice feature that not only makes sleeping a little easier when the summer trade winds are still, but cuts the mushy humidity. And like many, our overstuffed wicker furniture includes a fat daybed overlooking the soft blue waters of South Hole Sound.

After a late breakfast in the main club?a family-style affair with an eggs-and-bacon buffet?we paddled two of the plastic yellow kayaks out to the nearby Owen Island. It was just the sort of honeymoon island that a place like the club seems required to have?sandy swale of beach, a thatched bure for shade, and crystal clear water. Unlike along the shore in front of the club, there was no turtle grass; the water here was clear and deep, and swimming a pleasure.

While the dive boat headed out this afternoon after lunch to explore the reef just offshore, and fishermen and their guides cast off for nearby flats, Shawna and I commandeered a couple of the soft rope hammocks strung strategically beneath the young coconut palms. "You know what I just realized?" Shawna said after bringing back a pair of chilled Coronas from the self-service bar (there's a bartender in the evenings). "You could stay here for a week and never put your shoes on."

Friday

This is it, the social event of the island?the Friday night dock party. Together with the other couples staying here, and what seems like most of the island, we wandered down to the end of the pier this evening, where a tiki bar materialized complete with some Jimmy Buffet, spicy conch fritters, and rum-drenched fruit drinks.

As the sun faded and the first evening stars began to shine, I sat on the edge of the pier, swinging my legs over the glassy water, watching the fish drawn by the party lights. "Hemmingway would love this place," I said to the older gentleman who joined me, offered me a Cohiba, and spit his nub into the sea. "Great fishing, great diving, away from it all," he said and then added something that made me sneak a second glance at my new friend. "Just like Bimini back in the 1950s," he chuckled. I turned and smiled at him in the darkness. "Or so I've heard," he said with a chuckle, "or so I've heard."

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