"SEFTON'S COTTAGE"

 

Yes, there are many of us who have fond memories of this place.  Lots of hams got their introduction to DX contesting from Ron Sefton's cottage.  I'm frequently asked about this when people call me on the air.

Unfortunately, this is no more.  Ron Sefton sold out everything several years ago.  First, he sold the house, and in the process he relocated the tower and the ham shack from that first floor room by the garage over to the second bedroom in the cottage.  The cottage was sold to a Caymanian lady named Camille, whom I have met, but I can't recall her last name.  Camille used it as her own weekend get-away place from Grand Cayman for several years, but also continued to advertise it for rent in the classifieds in QST.  Those ads always kind of tickled me...she kept using the same copy Ron had been using for years.  That tower hadn't seen a quad in years, but the advertisement still touted it.  Will we ever forget:   "Fish or dive when the bands fold"?  Camille didn't have a clue what ham radio was, and the place deteriorated badly.  I remember seeing the coax lying under several inches of water a few years ago, and it just couldn't possibly have been usable.  A few people did rent from those ads, and all were badly disappointed at the sad state of things.

A couple of years ago Camille sold the cottage to Pete Hildebrand, the new owner of the Southern Cross Club.  Pete then hired my ex-landlord Curt to renovate the cottage completely and convert it into an adjunct for the resort.  Curt ripped out the kitchen  and remodeled the whole interior.   Pete's idea was that it would be a luxery cottage where his father could stay when he came down to the Southern Cross, and outside of that he could use it for luxery accomodations for visitors to the resort.  It's now called "Blossom Cottage", and I do see people staying there frequently.  I doubt any of them know the history of that old place.

The telephone pole with the 40-2CD that W5ASP put up is long since gone.  Pete sold the TA-33 on the tower to a fellow named Sonny Johnson, who was an ex-University of Florida researcher trying to build on Little Cayman.   Sonny was the only other ham there besides me, but he was never active on the air.   Sonny finally got a bad case of island fever and sold out in a hurry.  He even tried to sell the TA-33 to me, but I passed on the deal.  I'm sure it's just lying around on the island somewhere now, because there was nobody besides me who would ever have wanted it.  The rusted hulk of the crank-up tower may still be there by the cottage...I can't remember.

That whole area going eastward from the Southern Cross Club looks completely different today.  Visitors of old would not recognize it now.  Hurricane Mitch completely destroyed the dock behind Sefton's Cottage, and again Pete hired Curt to build a big new dock for him.  That's now the fishing dock for the Southern Cross Club.  Sefton's old house has been painted a hideous shade of light blue, and it's been converted into multiple apartments.  The land between it and the spec house, and in fact all of the surrounding vegetation, has been stripped bare.   Pete bought the spec house several years ago, and that's where he lives today.   Immediately to the west of the spec house is the beginning of "Conch Club Condominiums".  First there was Conch Club I, then Conch Club II, and today they are almost finished with Conch Club III.  This is brought to you by Linton Tibbetts, who owns all of that land.  They are all very nice...about as romantic as the timeshares you find in the Florida Keys.  Ugh!  Just watching the traffic come and go, I think many of them are owned by people on Grand Cayman who use them for weekend escapes.  Some of the units are available for rent through brokers.  That Conch Club stuff goes all the way from Sefton's old spec house up to Suzy's Cottage.  There isn't a tree left standing anywhere in there. 

Sorry, guys:  Sefton's Cottage is a thing of the past.

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Copyrightę1999 Bruce B. Sawyer