The hotel had a different view and were not keen on having onlookers. They wanted as much as possible to close the hotel down. They set up a desk near reception to help people rebook their flights, they slipped messages under your door a few times every day giving you advice on what to do and saying they had no obligation for your safety if you chose to stay at the hotel. I tried to ignore these as the best option to me seemed to sit tight, and if I was stranded in Cayman after the hurricane, maybe I could help out with any relief effort.
It was a shame the conference had to be curtailed. The local organising committee had put a huge amount of effort to showcase Cayman and provide a long list of social events, including a trip on a boat and dinner in a historic location on the island. A massive fireworks display had to be cancelled – we did manage to have one social event which was moved into the hotel grounds. Even this was a bit of a chance taken – the wind was already a bit fresh.
I was due to moderate one of the conference sessions. More or less the only people there in this large room were the ones delivering talks; including myself who was subbing for my friend Vijay who had decided not to travel from Guyana in case he got stranded in Miami for days on end.
The conference was emptying, as were all the hotels, and looking out over the beach you could watch the Cayman Airways planes working overtime shuttling back and forth between Grand Cayman and Miami. Every time I met a reception staff I was gently asked whether I had arranged my own evacuation.