The island of Grand Cayman was overrun by several dozen Parrot Heads, James “Sunny Jim” White fans and lovers of Trop Rock music for the “Skeletons on the Beach” event.
The Margaritaville Resort was the brightly colored headquarters for fun, frivolity and a great deal of music.
James White and his amazing wife Adela planned this tropical escape and while I knew quite of few of the attendees, I met folks from around the USA. They had come to hear great tunes from favorite artists and soak in that Caribbean sun on the Seven Mile Beach.
We were in for concerts from James White, Donny Brewer, John Patti and the Barefoot Man.
The Barefoot Man
Arrival day fared well, with lots of recognition hugs and settling into the renovated rooms. An evening concert from a local resident, but still elusive to us performance, The Barefoot Man, aka George Nowak was extremely entertaining.
This iconic musician grew up in the shadow of the Alps in Germany but spent a part of his growing up time in North Carolina. He always loved tales of the tropics and landed in Grand Cayman in 1971.
His music is imaginative and wildly fun, and the group loved listening to him and his back up group, Sea N’ B Island Music Band.
Plenty of “can’t miss” excursions were available and most all the crew rose early the next morning to board catamarans for the famed Stingray City.
I had no idea that it’s actually a sandbar on which one can easily stand, and there were several stingray wranglers to help us get to know these gentle creatures.
We took turns petting two to three of them, holding them, and most importantly, giving the stingrays a kiss, which was guaranteed to bring seven years of good luck. This should be a genuine bucket list experience for anyone who loves the water and sea life.
It was nothing short of enchanting. And true to a group such as this, everyone appreciated the cash bar on board of the catamaran! These sightseeing jaunts also allowed us to get to know our host artists and their families better.
Once back at the resort, fed, dried and having donned dry clothes, we enjoyed our musician of the evening, who was Donny Brewer. The many folks in attendance from Texas, Donny’s home state, showed special dances and song motions to those not as familiar with Donny.
Donny always puts on a great show and is one of the most entertaining figures in Trop Rock music. We all had a super time listening, dancing, and forming impromptu conga lines during his concert.
I haven’t mentioned that we enjoyed an all-inclusive package at the Margaritaville resort. The daily concerts were held in the open-air lobby and the nearby bar received most likely record business during these concerts.
Three restaurant venues were available, and the food was good. Service was often a challenge, especially at night, but we lingered over dinner with old and new friends and enjoyed ourselves.
Thursday we all continued to relax and settle into the charms of Grand Cayman. Late that afternoon, we enjoyed the talents of John Patti on steel drum.
Some of John’s family was in attendance on the trip, and we loved every time his dad (affectionately known as “Daddy Patti”) joined him to play bongos.
I talked at length with John that week regarding Jim Morris’s influence on his musical career. John sings more than ever since Jim’s untimely passing and his version of “This Old Island” is a favorite.
Rum Tour & More
Several of us visited a rum distillery nearby, called Cayman Spirits. What could have been a lackluster tour of shiny metal machinery and a few sips of rum became a party.
The host, Donovan not only poured generous samplings of various flavored rum, but had the perfect song cued up on his phone to accompany each tasting. I have to say that a rum tasting at Cayman Spirits is as pleasurable as it gets! Their rums are pretty darn delicious, too!
Friday morning brought either a tour of the island or a trip to the Public Beach. I opted for the tour, which hit up Caybrew, the island’s brewery, a wonderfully historic landmark home called the Pedro St. James Castle and the Botanical Gardens.
Every stop was worthwhile. For those who opted for Public Beach, however, the tales of the sugar white sand, crystal clear water and a beach bar that served up tasty drinks made me pay a visit Saturday morning. And yes, the slight sunburn was worth it!
Friday night was James “Sunny Jim” White’s turn to shine in his show. Considering that the Margaritaville Hotel property used to be called the Treasure Island and was James’ first long term gig location in Grand Cayman, it was very special.
James and Adela were wonderful hosts and earlier that week, James, my husband Don and I watched the sunset on the beach. James told us where he lived when he played the Treasure Island and even pointed out the coconut tree under which he proposed to Adela years ago.
Rum Point Buffet & Concert
Saturday night, our last night, couldn’t have been more special. Once again, we were bused to a boat dock, boarded catamarans and landed at Rum Point. A yummy buffet dinner was ready to be served and the drinks flowed.
By the time the sun had retired and the tiki torches that lined the area were glowing in the dark, all four of our musicians of the week performed. What a wonderful night! No one could have asked for a better last night experience.
If James and Adela plan this trip again in the future, I advise you to jump on it quickly as I’m sure it will sell out fast!
You’ll be rewarded with a trip to paradise, fabulous music, new friends and memories to last a lifetime.