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What You Need To Know About Turtle Nesting Season In The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands was originally named “Las Tortugas” in 1503 by Christopher Columbus, due to the abundance of turtles found in our waters.  Five hundred years later, turtles are still one of the most beloved and iconic animals in the Cayman Islands.  There are three species of turtles that can be found in the Cayman Islands: the critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle, the endangered Green Sea Turtle, and the vulnerable Loggerhead Sea Turtle.  Sea turtles are a strong symbol for the Cayman Islands and need support through protection and conservation.  That being said, during Turtle Nesting Season it is vital that turtles and their nests are kept safe and not disturbed, so that hatchlings (baby turtles) are able to make their way to the water.  

Some simple ways the community can help protect turtles during nesting season include keeping the beaches clean of litter and keeping nesting beaches dark and safe for turtles. Homes in popular nesting areas are asked to keep blinds closed and to use ‘turtle friendly lighting.’ This attractive amber lighting meets the needs of beachfront property owners without disorienting baby turtles and causing them to crawl away from the sea.  Beachfront residents can also remove beach chairs and watersport equipment off the beach, when not in use, to avoid creating obstacles for the nesting females and hatchlings.  In the event that you come across a turtle nest, or are looking for more information on turtle friendly lighting, you can contact the Department of Environment (DoE) at 938-NEST (938-6378) or 

Turtles, like all marine life, depend on healthy oceans and ecosystems.  In order to help increase their chances of survival it is vital that we all do our part to keep our oceans free of plastic, as plastic in our oceans has become an increasing problem.  Ingesting plastic is harmful to all marine life, and turtles can easily mistake a plastic bag for a jellyfish.  According to 4Ocean, “It’s estimated that over half of all sea turtles have ingested some form of plastic” (  Also, removing ghost nets and recycling fishing line is just as important, as turtles and other marine life can easily become entangled which can be harmful and even in some cases, fatal.  For a list of fishing line recycling bin locations, see   

Q&A With Trevor Dunbar, Volunteer with DoE Turtle Team


What inspired you to become a volunteer with DoE Turtle Team?

TD: Since I arrived on island I have always loved snorkeling with turtles at Spotts Beach, or have been really excited when one shows up during a scuba dive.  One morning at Spotts beach I met Lorri and Paul (both part of the DoE Turtle Team) processing a nest on that beach.  They were both so keen to educate me and other onlookers as to what they were doing and I was fascinated!   I believe that in Cayman we are so spoiled with turtles that we take it for granted.  It’s great that I get to see turtles every weekend, but I wanted to do something more to ensure the conservation of these animals, so that any visitors to this island get to share in this experience for many years to come.   

What is a typical day like looking for turtle tracks and nests?

TD: I walk the beach twice a week looking for turtle nests.  The stretch of beach I walk was allocated to me by the DoE Turtle Team, and I walk on the same two days of the week that they “work” those beaches to record and process any nests.  I am usually on the beach by 06h15, as I have to have my report through to them by 07h30. Some nests (especially a fresh green turtle nest) are REALLY obvious to spot- the up and down tracks in the sand, as well as the massive hole, next to a pile of soft powdery sand.  If a nest is a few days old, the tracks have usually been walked over by people on the beach, and the hole is less pronounced, and that becomes more of a challenge.  Kids building sand castles, dogs digging holes, and people dragging paddle boards on the sand all complicate things even further, and this also leads to false reports of nests – but the DoE Turtle Team checks all reports to confirm whether a turtle laid eggs.

How do you help protect the turtle nests that you find during your patrols on the beach?

TD: Great question!  Actually the most important part of my walk is making sure that I find ALL of the nests, as the DoE Turtle Team comes directly to the nests that I call in. This means that if I miss a nest, so do they, and that has implications for research, as well as survival of the unhatched turtles.  In the event of a big storm hitting our coast, the team is able to go directly to nests and relocate them if the waves are getting too close to them. If they don’t know about a nest, they cannot relocate in such an event.  Also, when it is close to hatching time, the team tries to encourage resorts/houses overlooking that beach to turn off lights to limit mis-orientations (when the babies crawl towards the lights instead of the sea).

Interestingly, the eggs are laid deep enough in the sand that even if you were to walk over a nest you would not crush them (although please don’t go do that!).  After the Turtle Team is done processing a nest, they will rake over the tracks and fill the hole, so you wouldn’t even know it was there.  This also helps prevent the same nest being re-reported after they have processed and logged it.

Are there particular beaches that are more popular for the turtles to make nests? 

TD: Definitely!  And this also varies between species of turtle. Unfortunately, I would prefer it if you don’t publish which exact beaches are more popular (and you will see my pictures never show obvious landmarks) because I would hate to encourage poachers to come to these specific spots.

What are some of the dangers turtles face during nesting season?

TD: People!  When these turtles come up on the beach they are very slow moving and are like sitting ducks, and this is when most poaching happens.  

Also, adult turtles mating in the water are often tormented by snorkelers which can disrupt the breeding cycle.  

Once babies hatch, lighting from the street or from houses/condo complexes disorientate thousands of hatchlings a year in Cayman. When they emerge, they instinctively crawl towards the moon light reflecting off the water.  When there is a brighter light on the land side, they crawl towards that, where they cross the road/get eaten by land crabs/dehydrate when they don’t reach the water by sunrise- all of these are horrible ways to die, and are all completely avoidable!

How can the public help keep turtles and turtle nests safe?

TD: Firstly, report any actual or possible turtle nesting activity to the Turtle Hotline (938-NEST / 938-6378). It is really helpful if your report is as detailed as possible, and if you can include pictures with landmarks in the background that is even better!  

Also, please report any suspicious activity or poaching to DoE Conservation Officers at 916-4271 or to 911. Each year the team and DoE enforcement officers prevent multiple poaching incidents through tip offs from the public.  

Lastly, do not interfere with nests or hatchlings, and respect mating turtles.   

How many eggs are laid and when will the eggs typically hatch?

TD: This varies between species and turtle to turtle, but a typical clutch is between 100-150 eggs per season.  A female lays 5-7 times per season, and this alternates year on year ie the females laying in 2019 will be back on our beaches in 2021 -or even later.  (Typically, 2-4 years.). Eggs usually incubate for 45-60 days before hatching.  Interesting fact is that the temperature inside the nest determines the amount of time for the nest to hatch and the sex of the hatchlings.

Are the baby turtles left to make their own way into the wild?

TD:  Correct.  After the female lays her eggs, deep in her dug-out egg chamber, and still covers that with a pile of sand, she leaves and does not return to check on or defend her eggs or babies.   After all of the babies hatch and there is enough movement and energy inside the nest, they “erupt” out of the sand and then scurry off to the water.

What is the most interesting fact about turtles that you would like to share? 

TD: Female turtles will always return to nest on the beach that they hatched on. Even more interesting is that the resident turtles you snorkel with in Cayman do not nest here.  Through genetic studies, we know that our juvenile turtles come from across the Caribbean, and through satellite tracking, we know that our nesting females actually live in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and other Central American countries when they are not nesting!  

How can the community get involved?

TD:  I think there is loads that people can do.  

The team is always looking for volunteers to walk the beaches and look for nests (reach out via the hotline number to get more information on this).  

People that live on or close to known turtle nesting beaches should be changing to turtle friendly lighting, or questioning their strata/landlord whether their exterior lights are turtle friendly.  Thankfully this is the norm for many new developments, however getting existing developments to change over has been really tough.  

Lastly- simple life choices like recycling, avoiding single use plastics, and being involved in beach clean ups is all part of the cause! It breaks my heart to be snorkeling with turtles and see plastic in the water, because they do eat it, and it will eventually kill them.  Local eco-friendly groups like Plastic Free Cayman and Protect Our Future also organize multiple events on the ground in Cayman, and spread a really positive message about the environment in general, so I would encourage people to get involved in their initiatives.  Cayman is such a small island that you as an individual can make a difference!


Stay Connected On Instagram: Trevor Dunbar, DoE,  Eco Chic Cayman

Photo Credits: Trevor Dunbar

Resources: Trevor Dunbar and DoE


Protecting the Biggest Fish in the Sea with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Personally, whale sharks are my absolute favorite shark species.  It is an incredible privilege to see them in all their glory in the wild.  For some of us, the opportunity to swim with a whale shark is once in a lifetime.  They are fascinating and docile creatures.  They reach an impressive size, up to 14 meters making them the largest fish in the ocean.  Whale sharks are considered to be gentle giants of the sea.  Their mesmerizing distinctive pattern is thought to aid camouflaging in their environment and is a unique, identifying mark like human fingerprints.  There is still so much to learn about Whale Sharks.  On that note, today we are featuring Ocean Conservationist Louisa Gibson from Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to learn more about their team’s research studying the behaviors of Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Whale Shark Research

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Research Institute have partnered with a research group in Isla Mujeres, Mexico called Ch’ooj Ajauil to tag whale sharks with SPOT (smart position or temperature) tags. This type of tag allows us to track the animals in near real time by sending a satellite ping when the dorsal fin breaks the surface. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, and inhabit tropical and temperate waters around the world traveling huge distances. Between May and August every year, hundreds of whale sharks aggregate off of the Yucatan Peninsula in response to a species of tuna spawning in the deep sea. This is the largest known aggregation in the world; it attracts thousands of tourists every year to experience swimming with the sharks, and is the perfect opportunity for us to gather scientific data on the species. Once the sharks leave this aggregation, we have no idea where they travel to and why. If we can learn more about their migrations, we can protect them from threats such as ship strikes and commercial fishers. We also aim to identify their key habitats, such as breeding grounds and nursery sites.

Q&A With Ocean Conservationist Louisa Gibson


How would you describe your experience swimming with Whale Sharks?

If it isn’t on your bucket list, I highly recommend adding it towards the top, right now. The experience is surreal, its magical! You jump in and have to move fast, because their movements are misleading. It looks like they are swimming slowly but their massive tails propel them through the water quite quickly. They aren’t bothered by having people swimming alongside them, as long as you don’t touch them. If you are lucky enough to witness a “botella,” which is when the shark floats vertically as it gulps in gallons of water to feed on concentrations of fish eggs and plankton at the surface, you suddenly share the trans-like state that the shark is in. You feel so small in the vast ocean, next to this giant graceful animal. It’s really quite a moving experience and it makes you appreciate how incredible our ocean is.

 What was the aim for your Whale Shark research?

GHOF, GHRI and Ch’ooj Ajauil aim to learn about the whale sharks migrations to identify key habitats and behavior in regards to breeding, feeding and traveling in order to protect them in the open ocean. Very little is known about the whale sharks reproductive behavior, and where they breed and give birth is currently a  mystery. So far 10 whale sharks have been tagged, 4 of which were tagged last year and all travelled in different directions only to return to Isla Mujeres a year later. Others,  tagged this year are still enjoying the rich waters off the Yucatan Peninsula as we speak. The more animals we tag, the more likely we will be able to identify patterns in behavior between males and females, adults and juveniles. To follow our tagged sharks visit, or to contribute to this research visit


What do you find most fascinating about Whale Sharks?

There are so many fascinating things about whale sharks! They are the largest fish in the sea, however feed on the smallest (eggs, plankton, small fish). The white patterns on their dorsal surface are all totally unique, like our finger prints, and can be used to identify individuals. They are from the order Orectolobiformes, otherwise known as “carpet sharks” which typically live near the bottom of the sea, yet whale sharks also feed at the surface. Other examples of Orectolobiformes are the nurse shark and the wobbegong. Some whale sharks in the Caribbean region have an intrinsic pull to the Yucatan at the same time every year – how do they know?!


What do you think people would be interested to know about Whale Sharks?

They are filter feeders so technically don’t need teeth but they actually have rows of hundreds of tiny teeth, just like other sharks. Almost nothing is known about whale shark reproduction, however over 300 embryos were found inside a pregnant female in the 90s. The embryos were in all stages of development, and when 29 were genetically tested, all had the same father which could mean that this species can store sperm from one mating event and fertilize their own eggs later on. Incredible stuff!


Also, they are harmless sharks making them very fun to swim with.


Can you share a bit about GHOFs shark conservation efforts?

GHOF and GHRI focus on the research and conservation of a number of different shark species including the mako shark, tiger shark, oceanic whitetip, silky shark, and the whale shark which are studied predominantly out of Cayman Islands, Maryland and Mexico. Since the Guy Harvey Research Institute was established in 1999 we have reached some significant milestones in shark conservation. In 2006, scientists at GHRI identified that up to 73 million sharks per year are killed in the shark fin trade alone, sparking international concern about the plight of sharks. More recently GHRI discovered, through fisheries-independent data, that mako sharks are harvested 10 times more than previously thought when 30% of tagged sharks were killed. This led to emergency protections for the species in the NW Atlantic; and data from our shark research also influenced the complete protection of sharks in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.


Learn more about Whale Sharks

Check out Jessica Harvey’s Expedition Notebook series for bite-size learning about the whale shark and other cool species!


Louisa Gibson


Louisa Gibson

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Photo Credits

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

A Day In The Life Of A Shark Conservationist: Ellen Cuylaerts

One of my personal heroes is Ellen Cuylaerts.  I have great admiration for Ellen’s ocean conservation efforts.  She is a true luminary.  Ellen faced her fears and learned how to dive and swim with sharks.  By embracing her fear, she gained a deeper love, respect, understanding, and appreciation for sharks.  It is her bravery, and curiosity to learn more about our ocean and sharks that teaches us we can all do great things if we stay true to ourselves and follow our passions.  Ellen’s tremendous love and dedication to shark conservation are evident in her underwater photography.  She uses her passion for photography to show sharks in their natural habitat.  Her photos not only capture incredible ocean moments and encounters with one of the world’s most fascinating creatures, but they tell a powerful story.  Sharks are incredibly misunderstood creatures, resulting in them often being feared.  Through her photography, Ellen strives to change the perception of sharks by reminding all of us that sharks are not to be feared, but respected.  They play a vital role in maintaining the balance of our oceans ecosystems.  Likewise, healthy shark populations are an indicator of healthy coral reefs.  The ocean has a delicate and intricate balance, and we need healthy shark populations to ensure the future of a healthy ocean.  We can all do our part to contribute to shark conservation and raising awareness about the importance of sharks.     

Q&A with Ellen Cuylaerts

1. What inspired you to be a shark and ocean conservationist?

I became an ocean conservationist because I was grateful for all the ocean is giving us; the calm just looking at the waves, the serenity being in water, the healing benefits of the ocean, the oxygen produced in it…and yet we hardly take care of her and all life in it. We take the ocean for granted, pollute it and damage all life. When I became a snorkeler and later diver and shared the ocean with my children, they reconnected me with nature and taught me lots about fish and sharks, marine mammals and creatures from the deep.  Sharks fascinated me but I had a healthy fear, I wanted to know all about their behavior before I would enter their proximity….but one of my first dives I was lucky and saw 3 sharks and they stayed close during the whole dive. What I experienced was no fear but an immense calm that came over me: these were magnificent creatures, misunderstood, not looking at us as if we were food but just observing us like we observed them.

I wanted to know more and read about the different species and different behavior and feeding patterns, already aware their numbers were dwindling due to the cruel act of finning and them being the victims of bycatch too. I wanted to take images of them the way I saw them, as not to fear but admire for the important role they play in our oceans as apex predators on top of the food chain, keeping the reefs healthy. My shark shots (of reef sharks, oceanics whitetip sharks, tiger sharks, whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, blue sharks, nurse sharks, tresher sharks and hammerheads) are all with their mouth closed, peaceful and serene, showing the beauty and informing people why exactly they are so important.

2. What is your favorite species of shark?

Ahhh difficult question. I love them all, the skin, their ampullae of Lorenzini, their eyes, fins, tails: so different for every species and yet so alike. Maybe the tiger shark is my favorite because of its size, the stripes and the way it slowly and gracefully moves but then again, they all do. Maybe it’s easier to choose my favorite time in the water with sharks: that was on Ascension Island where  I spent hours and days in the water with juvenile and adult Galapagos sharks. The juveniles stayed close to a rock, boatswain Bird Island, a seabird breeding colony, waiting for chicks to fall in the water so they could feed on them. the water was crystal clear, jacks and black durgeons everywhere, the occasional visit of turtles and mahi-mahi…it was just paradise and heaven all together. Pure and wild!

3.  What was your first experience like swimming with a shark?

As mentioned it was on one of my first dives and it was a true eye-opener that they had a calming effect on me and they were not to fear as long as you know what to do and what not to do.  Sharks do NOT feed on people. Almost every shark incident can be explained as a shark mistaken a human for it’s usual prey.

4.  What can people do to help protect sharks?

Use your voice to protest against shark finning and killing of sharks. Shark numbers are decimated the last decades and almost all species are either vulnerable or threatened with extinction. 

Sharks get killed for their fins (to produce shark fin soup) for their skin, for the medicinal use of their cartilage, as bycatch in commercial fishing. Between and 70 million and 100 million sharks are killed every year, those are the estimates, could be lower, could be much higher.

Stop eating fish, for every fish we eat, the amount of bycatch is mind-blowing, we are depleting the oceans for our convenience without thinking, without conscience. 

5.  What do you love most about sharks?

I love them for keeping the oceans healthy and diving with them I absolutely love their predictable patterns and how well you can read the different characters once you spend more time with them.

6. What do you think is the biggest misconception about sharks?

That they are men eaters….they are NOT. I once did a shark feeding course to better understand them and to ’shark myself’ with the amazing Cristina Zenato. I had fish in a tube and was standing between 25-40 sharks and I’ve never been so calm.

7. What is the most interesting fact you know about sharks? 

It might not be the most interesting fact but it’s something not everyone realizes: sharks are more vulnerable to stress than we think. Even tagging sharks for research or catch and release sharks in sport fishing might have an increased lactic acid build up in the blood as a result and cause a delayed mortality. It’s not because the sharks swims away after the facts that it will live on. 

I read a lot of B..S of people pretending to protect sharks (but commercially sell tagging trips and even offer catch and release)…it’s sadly all about greed and ego! 

Wishing everyone a great shark week!


Photo Credits: Ellen Cuylaerts

Miss World Cayman Islands EnviroWalk: Walk For The Planet

“We recognize the privilege we have living in the Cayman Islands being surrounded by the serene beauty of our oceans and nature.  It is important to us that we work alongside our community to preserve our oceans and local wildlife.  We believe in doing our part to contribute to raising awareness about environmental issues impacting our island and conservation efforts.” – Laura Butz, Committee Head for Environment, Miss World Cayman Islands Committee. 

Miss World Cayman Islands (MWCI) is raising environmental awareness one step at a time.  On 30th June 2019, will be their first ever ‘EnviroWalk’ to raise awareness for the environment.  “We are very excited to host our first EnviroWalk/Run on June 30 and sincerely thank our sponsors of the Walk – Flowers and Jacques Scott. We hope to continue doing this event as a fundraiser for the Miss World CI pageant but more importantly to bring awareness to the public about what we can do to help our environment. We believe it is important to preserve what we have now so our kids and grandkids can enjoy the environment for many years to come.” – Pamela Ebanks-Small, Director of Miss World Cayman Islands.  The aim of the EnviroWalk is for MWCI to share their ongoing mission of “Beauty with a Purpose” with our local community.  The “Beauty with a Purpose” project promotes MWCI commitment to using their platform to raise awareness about local environmental issues and collaborate with local environmental non-profit organizations.  That said, funds raised from the EnviroWalk will go towards both Miss World Cayman Islands environmental projects and their pageant.  In addition, a donation will be made to a local environmental non-profit organization to aid them in their conservation efforts.  The local environmental non-profit organization that will be the beneficiary of a donation will be decided on the day of the walk.  Moreover, the walk will be an eco-friendly event as much as possible.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottle to refill at sponsored hydration stations courtesy of Flowers Bottled Water.  Highlights to look forward to at the event include a quick 10-minute warm-up session led by MWCI’s fitness sponsor F45 just before the 5K Walk/Run begins.  Miss World Cayman Islands winner Kelsie Bodden and the governor Martyn Roper will be leading the 5K Walk/Run.  They will both run the course as a friendly competition.  Throughout the course, participants can look out for eco-tips on signs to help educate the public on easy tips for living a sustainable lifestyle.    

Sign Up for the walk online at Cayman Active. 

Sign Up at these locations:

Saturday, 22 June: Fosters Strand 9:00am-2:00pm 

Monday, 24 June: Government Office Building 11:30am-1:30pm 

T-Shirt Distribution

Wednesday 26 June: Governors Square Board Room, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday 29 June: Governors Square Board Room, 9:00am-12:00pm 

EnviroWalk 30th June: 7:00am at Safe Haven

Stay Connected

Stay connected with Miss World Cayman Islands on Instagram 

Miss World Cayman Islands EnviroWalk on Instagram: @envirowalkcayman 

Kelsie Bodden, Miss World Cayman Islands 2018 on Instagram

 Special Thank You

Miss World Cayman Islands would like to thank their sponsors for EnviroWalk 5K Walk/Run.

Event Sponsors

Jacques Scott Group Ltd.

Flowers Bottled Water


Raffle Prize Sponsors


Le Visage

Ride With Us Watersports




Kelsie Bodden, Miss World Cayman Islands: A Beauty With A Purpose

Kelsie Bodden is the current reigning Miss World Cayman Islands.  She is a true beauty with a purpose.  Kelsie has embarked on a journey that is inspiring to others.  She is proud to raise awareness about local environmental issues.  Since her return from competing in the Miss World Pageant 2018, held in China, Kelsie has been meeting with local environmental organizations to find out how she can contribute to educating the community about conservation and environmental issues.  Kelsie has participated in local beach cleanups with The Nation Trust of the Cayman Islands and Plastic Free Cayman.  She has taken Plastic Free Cayman’s 345 Pledge to reduce her use of single-use plastics.  Most recently, Kelsie volunteered with Eco Divers Reef Foundation to help with their coral nursery program.  As a means of raising awareness about environmental projects she is working on, Kelsie started her “Be Kind To The Environment” series on her blog.  Kelsie is looking forward to other environmental projects she will be working on later this year.  Stay tuned.    

Q&A with Kelsie Bodden: Looking Back On Her Trip To China

What was going through your mind when you were en route to China?

KB: When I left for China I was filled with mixed emotions! I was anxious, excited, for both the flight and competition. I knew I was about to represent Cayman and I wanted to do that the best that I could but still enjoy the experience.   

What was day one like?

KB: Day one was pretty chilled, I arrived in Sanya with other contestants and as we exited the airport the Miss World organization was there waiting which made being on the other side of the world in a country that doesn’t speak english much easier. 

As we got to the hotel our rooms were ready and we got to unpack, eat dinner and mingle with other girls. 

How were you able to share with others about your environmental platform?

KB: Prior to Miss World in China I made a short clip speaking about some the organizations that MWCI works with locally and some of my then future plans, such as my “Be Kind to the Environment” series on my blog and speaking with kids about little things they can do to help out. We often spoke about our platforms and I was able to share about mine and why it’s so important especially for Cayman and other Islands.  

What were your favorite eco-friendly items?

KB: Before I left for China I was sure to stock up on some eco-friendly must-haves such as my bamboo toothbrush, reusable water bottle/straws and a cute sustainably made swimsuit from Sage LaRock! 

Did you get time to do some sightseeing?

KB: We did! Many of our days were spent at rehearsals/filming but we did have days off to explore Sanya a bit. 

I was able to see a bit of Sanya and while I was there I did see beautiful beaches.  My favorite place was going to the night market where we got to try some of the street food in China.  There was this one ice cream that was very delicious!  We also got to see a park that was once a landfill. It was repurposed into a park where people can now go and ride their bikes, picnic, take runs and just take in the beautiful greenery of this new park. 


What lessons/tips did you learn from the other contestants?

KB: I  was able to learn a lot from my fellow contestants. We each shared information about our countries, culture and some other personal information like future aspirations. I think the best thing I learnt was that despite our being from different parts of the world, we all wanted to make a difference in our country and share our message to the world. 

How did it feel representing the Cayman Islands? What was your biggest takeaway from the whole experience?

KB: My biggest take away was how important it is to be 100% true to yourself. I was with 117 other women who were all different but not afraid to be themselves and that’s what made them all so beautiful. My favourite thing that Mrs. Julia Morley the Chairman of Miss World said was, “No two queens are alike” and that stuck with me through the competition and even now.  This is why my advice to my future successor would be to be unapologetically authentic to herself. I would like her to find her own passion and run with it because that is what makes a Miss World.  

What was your biggest struggle while being in the pageant?

KB: The food lol … there was nothing wrong with it but it did get a bit repetitive, but this was something we all bonded over. 

What advice would you give to girls thinking of entering Miss World Cayman Islands 2019 pageant? 

KB: I would say definitely do it!  You’ll learn so much about yourself, meet other girls, get exposed to loads of new things and experience something not many others get a chance to. 

Photo Credits: 

Miss World Cayman Islands

Kelsie Bodden

World Reading Day: 5 Inspiring Books You Should Be Reading

Happy World Reading Day!

As an avid reader, I love finding new books to read.  From time to time I share on my Instagram books that I am currently reading.  I am always looking through the latest online book club reading list to find out what is the latest must-read.  I must admit, I am a big fan of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine I can’t begin to tell you how many great reads I found from their reading list. Always eagerly anticipating each month’s new reveal.  My besties and I have our own little book club.  Basically, swapping books we think are worth a read and then donating them to a local book loft that supports our local Humane Society.  As much as I love general fiction or a good thriller, I like to branch out a little…  

Reading books that inspire me, help me grow, expand my perspective and encourage me to think more critically are always a treasure to find.  Books that encourage a conversation, critical thinking, examining the world around us and reflection can be powerful reads.  The selection of books listed below is a combination of books on my current reading list and some I have already read.  My hope is that these books will both empower and inspire you.  Happy Reading! 

1. Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele Bündchen

“In this book, I’ve laid out the lessons that have helped me live a more conscious and joyful life, inspired me to overcome challenges I’ve faced over the years, and given me a deeper understanding of myself and the world. I hope they will help you, too.”-Gisele Bündchen

I read Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele  December 2018.  It was my favorite read for the year.  It was one of those special moments when I read a book at the right time.  For me personally, I know I’ve read a really good book when I am sad to read the last page. I loved Lessons by Gisele! I could hardly put this book down—I read it in two nights.  I was engrossed by all the insightful and eye-opening lessons this book had to offer.  If you’re anything like me, there are some books you find yourself taking notes and highlighting passages.  This was definitely one of those books.  There is so much enlightenment each chapter has to offer that you want to absorb and reflect on later, so I definitely highlighted a plethora of passages on my iPad.  This book has made such a positive impact on me.  I didn’t realize how much I needed the words in this book until I read them— it was perfect timing.  This book was a beautiful way to end 2018.  Equally, it has been a wonderful start to 2019, as I find myself re-reading it and still finding myself positively impacted by this book.  

2. Whiskey in a Tea Cup by Reese Witherspoon

“My grandmother Dorothea always said that it was a combination of beauty and strength that made Southern women ‘whiskey in a teacup.’  We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.”-Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon has always been one of my personal heroes.  Of course, I couldn’t wait to read her book, Whiskey in a Tea Cup.  Thank you to my sister for getting me Whiskey in a Tea Cup for Christmas!  I read it that very night and finished it in one sitting.   It was a fun and enjoyable read.  I absolutely loved Reese’s tips on hosting dinner parties.  I love her grandmother’s Sweet Tea recipe!  There are recipes I still need to try out.  My favorite part of the book was simply what “Whiskey in a Tea Cup” represents.  The notion that you can be delicate yet strong.  This really resonated with me.  I think it applies to so many of us, the combination of beauty and strength.  The ability to always compose yourself with grace no matter the situation.  “Whiskey in a Tea Cup” serves as a source of strength and inspiration for me.  It reminds me that no matter what, you can handle anything that comes your way.  You are both strong and delicate.   

3. Wardrobe Crisis by Clare Press

“Who makes your clothes? This used to be an easy question to answer: it was the seamstress next door, or the tailor on the high street – or you made them yourself. Today we rarely know the origins of the clothes hanging in our closets. The local shoemaker, dressmaker, and milliner are long gone, replaced by a globalized fashion industry worth $1.5 trillion a year.

In Wardrobe Crisis, fashion journalist Clare Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear. Putting her insider status to good use, Press examines the entire fashion ecosystem, from sweatshops to haute couture, unearthing the roots of today’s buy-and-discard culture. She traces the origins of icons like Chanel, Dior, and Hermès; charts the rise and fall of the department store; and follows the thread that led us from Marie Antoinette to Carrie Bradshaw.” – 

This book is at the top of my must-read list for 2019! Clare Press is truly an inspiration.  She is making waves, drawing attention to the importance of sustainable fashion.  Clare Press is Australian VOGUE’s Sustainability Editor-at-Large and presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast.  If you love fashion and enjoy listening to podcasts then you will quickly become a fan of her work!  For the last couple of years, I have been interested in learning as much as I can about sustainable fashion.  I am curious to learn more about the fashion industry, the story behind the making of our clothes, fashion icons, and the evolution of sustainable fashion.  Following Clare’s work on social media has opened my eyes to so much about the fashion industry.  I am thankful for her dedication to raising awareness about sustainable fashion.  

4. Blue Mind by Wallace J Nichols

“I wish you water.” ― Wallace J. Nichols,

Love the ocean? Wait till you read Blue Mind by Wallace J Nichols.  It was such a fascinating read!  Nichols discusses our deep connection to the ocean, to water and how that plays an important role in our lives.  Water is a powerful thing and a precious resource.  The book discusses research showing that water can have an incredibly positive impact on your mood, health, and wellbeing.  For me personally, I would agree that being near the water can have a profoundly positive effect on you.  I have always noticed that throughout my life I constantly gravitate towards the water.  I am always happiest in the ocean.  When traveling, I don’t like to be away from the water for too long.  Some of my favorite moments in life have been spent snorkeling or at the beach.  The wonderment of the ocean is something I will marvel at for life.  I never really thought about the relationship we have with water both on a cognitive and emotional level until reading Blue Mind.  After reading Blue Mind I have an even greater appreciation for our oceans.  For me, I think of the ocean as my sanctuary.  It is the one place where I feel most happy and a pure sense of calm.  The ocean has an incredible ability to wash away my worries, fears, and anxieties at that moment.  Time spent in the ocean is a time that my body can be rejuvenated and a sense of balance restored.   

Blue Mind is a book that will continue to fascinate me.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Wallace J Nichols give a keynote speech and to also interview him for a feature on my blog.  Click here to read the article. 

5. Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging by Brene Brown

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” -Brene Brown 

Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown was on Reese Witherspoon’s X Hello Sunshine Book Club reading list.  Naturally, I was intrigued and had to read it.  I was delighted when I found a copy at Ann Patchett’s bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee. (I could have stayed in that store for hours!)  This was a powerful book, with a lot of insightful quotes!  It was interesting to read her perspective about belonging.  What it means to belong and to be confident on your own.  I learned there is a bravery in being confident in your decisions and learning to stand alone in the wilderness so to speak.  This book started to change my perspective about life and the way we interact with one another.  It got me thinking about the way we communicate and perceive things.  It encouraged me to start reflecting more and examine the world around me.  

Happy World Reading Day, xo