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Georgetown is the largest settlement on the Exumas with about 1,000 inhabitants supplemented by yacht owners and diving companies. The town takes about 15 minutes to walk around and the most interesting features are St Andrews Episcopalian church and the Victoria Pond, which is connected to the ocean by a narrow channel.
There are some internationally famous beaches on Great Exuma, such as Cocoplum Beach, but it’s worth exploring other parts of the Exumas too. I journeyed down to the southern end of Great Exuma via the settlements of Rolle Town, Ferry, and Forbes Hill.
Rolle Town commands a great view over the shallow sea towards Man of War Cay. The colours of the sea are various varieties of light blue that are gorgeous to look at. When the tide is out, visitors can walk across to Man of War Cay, which is uninhabited. There are many beaches, which didn’t appear to have a soul on them. Ferry is just after a bridge and was the home of the ferryman in former times. Ferry has a small baptist church, about twice the size of an average garden shed. Forbes Hill is a lovely hamlet with multi-coloured homes with picket fences and palm trees all around. There is also a cannon in a field pointing vaguely in the direction of the sea. Forbes was a Loyalist who fled America after the War of Independence when the wrong side won.
When I come back to the Exumas I will bring a kayak with me and explore the hundreds of cays in the sea to the north west of Great Exuma. Now that sounds like fun.
Despite what you might be told at the tourist information you can catch the bus from the station on Edward Street in Georgetown to the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in the Eastern Districts. It is five Cayman Island dollars in each direction and the journey takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on various factors such as the number of passengers getting on and off.
The gardens are not on the designated route, but I was still dropped off outside the entrance by my wonderful driver Miss Edna. The best thing of all though is that the people in reception at the gardens will call the driver on the route and they will then come and pick you up in 15-20 minutes, depending where they are. That’s what I call a damn fine bus service and I would encourage you all to use it too.
The Gardens are lovely and I would recommend you go there just to see the Colour Gardens, where even the leaves of the plants are beautiful especially those of the croton. At the gardens there are parrots flying around along with Cayman Island swallowtail butterflies and many dragonflies. There are common moorhens in the ponds and lakes along with ducks and herons.
Just in case you thought gardens were a safe place, there is a ‘danger of death’ sign under one of the tallest pairs of coconut palms. A coconut dropping from thirty feet could be lethal so you have been warned.
There are blue iguanas in the gardens, which are an endangered species, so treat them with kindness and don’t feed them. They may seem slow and lazy but they can climb on to benches and chairs if they feel like it. If it rains tropically then there are various places to shelter around the park. You will need to find shelter too as that rain is heavy and the drops are large.