Artex Steps Forward George Town, Cayman Islands
Welcome to George Town, Cayman Islands
The 17th stop in our walk around the world challenge.
Congratulations, team, we’ve reached our 17th milestone – George Town, Grand Cayman.
We have traversed the southeastern part of the United States; left Atlanta; headed to the Caribbean Sea; and landed in George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands located on Grand Cayman.
John Pitcairn, managing director of our Cayman office, leads a staff of 21 on this beautiful island. John has been with the company since 1996, which makes him one of our longest-tenured employees. Born in Scotland but a resident of Cayman, John has a lot of fun stories about working in the world of insurance. His most memorable moment came when he arranged for a client’s wedding during the six hours that she and her fiancé called into Grand Cayman on a cruise ship, culminating in John and his wife acting as the couple’s official witnesses.
John has been an active participant in our journey around the world, and probably in one of the most creative ways we’ve seen thus far. John went to the UK to settle his children at university and, upon return to Cayman, per government guidelines, he had to quarantine at an official facility (the Wyndham in East End) for a total of 15 days, during which he was unable to leave his room. Every morning he paced the 14 steps between the bedroom door and patio door for an hour, and then again for 30 minutes in the late afternoon. In just one week he covered 31 miles!! We think he has earned a special merit badge for all that work.
The team in Cayman supports a number of charities, but the one that is nearest and dearest to their hearts is the Insurance Managers Association of Cayman Educational Scholarship Fund (IMAC ESF), which was started by John and two former Artex Cayman MDs, Tom Clark and Linda Haddleton, over 25 years ago. The fund has raised over $4.7 million and helped 58 students who would have otherwise struggled to get there attend college overseas. John has been the fund’s chairman since inception, and you can often find him emceeing the group’s annual gala, wearing his Scottish kilt and encouraging people to donate “just a wee bit more” money for the cause.
When John isn’t in the office or supporting IMAC ESF, you can find him on the tennis court. This is a relatively new hobby that he’s picked up, after letting football and squash run its course. Growing up in Scotland, this wasn’t a terribly popular activity because you could never finish a game due to the frequent rain. On the sunny island of Cayman, this does not present a problem, so he’s getting in some good practice with full games.
Fun facts about Cayman:
- Grand Cayman was the home of legendary 18th century pirates, and every fall they host their annual Pirate Week Festival.
- The Cayman Islands have also been referred to as “Las Tortugas” by Christopher Columbus, due to the numerous sea turtles swimming in the waters surrounding the islands. Columbus was the first nonnative to claim sight of the islands in 1503, and the first English visitor arrived in 1586.
- Scuba diving became a hobby thanks to the Cayman Islands, back in 1957.
- The Cayman Islands, roughly 100 miles in total, are a British Overseas Territory, which means that the Queen of England is its head of state. Remember to drive on the left side of the road when you’re here!
- One of the most popular tourist attractions is to swim with the stingrays, but John warns that if you’re trying to catch the bus to the popular destination of Stingray City, you may be waiting for a while―it is actually a sandbar about a mile and a half into the Caribbean Sea.
- Some of the rarest species call Cayman Island home, including the blue iguana (saved from extinction), the ghost orchid (the rarest orchid in the world), the red-footed booby (the largest breeding colony in the Western Hemisphere is here), and the buffy flower bat (who drinks nectar from flowers like hummingbirds and are only found in the Caribbean).
Not able to travel to the beautiful blue waters of Cayman? You can watch this two-minute video from the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in collaboration with Condé Nast Traveler. Check out the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s YouTube channel, as well as their website here, which includes a wide variety of educational content developed for young students with interactive modules called “Reefs Go Live.”
Follow our journey, including our milestones, as we trek nearly 28,000 miles around the globe here.