Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Caymanas Bay Waiting to Exhale

Published:Tuesday | April 12, 2016 | 12:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer One of five sections along the Caymanas Bay main road where these two motorists had to carefully choose the smoothest patches on which to drive when The Gleaner visited the area.
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer The welcome sign at the entrance to Caymanas Bay.
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer This mother and her two toddlers (foreground), take a relaxing dip in the cool, clear waters of Mineral River.
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer Bobby Salmon who works at Mineral River in Caymanas points to the reasonable fees to use the river.
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer The postal agency in the community of Caymanas Bay is only open for one day weekly - Wednesdays.
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A very rough, dusty, marley stretch of road takes you from the Caymanas Country Club Estate to Caymanas Bay where the river running through the community is its main attraction.

Residents claim that the water has mineral qualities and it is loosely referred to as a 'mineral bath', but research shows no such proof. Some claim there is a spiritual aura surrounding the river. It is fairly secure with a fence and gate and a calm that is synonymous with such locations in the island. If properly developed, this could be a source of revenue to government and community alike.

From a distance, the water appears murky, but up close it is crystal clear to the bottom, and it is not very deep. The water is cool to the touch, and those persons we saw bathing were having a grand time.

When the Gleaner team visited recently, six young men were crowded around a car in the parking lot, assisting the owner with some minor repairs. Surprisingly, no one belonged to the 'kneading palm' individuals expected in a seemingly idle gathering.

They included: a tour guide, bar operator, gate man, welder, all-rounder, and an off-duty policeman attached to the Hunt's Bay station.

All agreed that the road was in a deplorable state. Two pointed to their cars parked nearby, telling The Gleaner that they, too, had suffered the consequences of the bad road leading to the community. They said Hurricane Dean had "mashed up the road" in 2007, but to date no one had bothered to repair it.

Motorists have to slowly navigate the rough roadway; we counted some six sections where a new and slightly smoother path was carved out to take the stress off the suspensions and front ends of vehicles that have no alternative route to Caymanas Glade a few miles further on. The community is quiet. There is a postal agency with a sign proclaiming its opening hours as Wednesdays from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

Water Problem

The 'mineral bath' seems to be the centre of attraction and entry will cost you $200 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and $300 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Children always pay $100.

Because of a lack of piped water in the area, residents on the hill overlooking the river had attached a pipe from the river where water is pumped to their homes.

"The line from Bog Walk had been refurbished to supply the new scheme (Caymanas Estate), but our portion was not reconnected," one person from the group said. He added that they make do by filling their tanks with water supplied by the river - the same river that is also used for baptisms on Saturdays and Sundays.

"The member of parliament know bout it (road), too, but dem no do nutten," said another resident who added that not even the run-up to the recent general election gave their elected representative cause to ease their plight.

There are benches and tables scattered along the riverbank for those who want to relax and watch the swimmers in the river. There is a restaurant and bar as well as adequate space for dancing and having a grand time on what the young men say are, 'Happy Sundays' and 'Wet Wet Wednesdays.' But with all its problems and possibilities, Caymanas Bay is still waiting to exhale.

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com