I've been to Hell and along the way found a bit of heaven. They are both to be found in the wonderful Cayman Islands.
'Heaven' was swimming off Seven Mile Beach, Hell a little village on the off shore tax haven set in the crystal clear waters of the British West Indies.
It was early evening a wall of warmth greeted us as we stepped from the plane. The heat was just as apparent early next morning when I checked out the beach and hotel pool.
Then I went to Hell. There you find tortured rocks of Limestone and dolomite, combined the fossilised remains of algae.
There is a very busy post office wehere everyone scribbles "wish you were here" on Hell postmarked cards.
The Cayman islands are rather flat with little grass but plenty of trees and the most magnificent beach.
Christopher Columbus first bumped into the Cayman in 1503.
The population is decended from the first Scottish, English, Irish and African settlers.
Grand Cayman is the best known diving destination in the Caribbean, if not the world. But if you dont fancy tackling the seabed with tanks on your back you can at least snorkel. It is a fantastic experience gliding over the coral with snorkel and fins. I thorougly enjoyed a great adventure trip to dive to 'Stingray City' You can travel out on an elgant 65 foot catramatran. Once there a diver feeds he fish, then its your turn to slip into the water and meet hundreds of colourful creatures.
When I was there you could even pet up to 30 friendly stingrays. If you have a waterproof camera you will find that the water is clear and perfect for pictures.
Back on dry land, as I walked along the beach I had a strange feeling that I had been there before. Then it dawned on me that it was the location where Tom Cruise gave in to temptation in the film 'The Firm'
Like Cruise I wandered along Seven Mile Beach. I met an all American girl sporting a stars and stripes bikini. She was Jackie Logan and had Scottish ancestry. Along with her husband Cliff she was on holiday from Texas when they discovered the Caymans' undersea life and golden sand. They thought it was the best in the world and with such a complment coming from Texas where things are always supposedly bigger and better who was I to argue.
If you are tempted to try snorkling you can usually learn from instuctors in the hotel pool but be sure to book up for it early on you trip You are not advised dive within a day of your flight home, this to avoid the risk of decompression sickness
report by Allan Rogers