Published: July 15th 2010May 10th 2010
Welcome to Grand Turk
Across the dock from us is a huge Carnival ship. They are lined up to get back on their ship.
Well, we have reached our final port before Fort Lauderdale!
We arrived at our Grand Turk dock about 1:00 this afternoon and are scheduled to sail toward Fort Lauderdale at 6:45. Grand Turk is only 7 miles long and just over 1 mile wide and is the capital and seat of the Turks and Caicos government. It has been a longtime favorite destination for divers to explore the 7,000 foot-deep pristine coral walls that drop down only 300 yards out to sea. On shore, the tiny, quiet island is home to white-sand beaches, the National Museum, and a small population of wild horses and donkeys, which leisurely meander past the white-walled courtyards, cute churches, and bougainvillea-covered colonial inns.
Although it has the 2nd largest population of all the Turks and Caicos, Grand Tusk’s permanent population is still about 4,000. Grand Turk is new to the cruise ship scene, since 2006, and numbers of visitors now reach over 300,000 in any one season. When we arrived there was a huge Carnival cruise ship on the other side of the dock. Fortunately, as we were arriving, they were in the process of re-boarding for their departure. The difference between the two
Check Out this Line!
Oh Boy...certainly a different type of passenger list on this one.
ships, and their passengers is clear by looking at the photos. Cruise ships dock at the southern end of the island near a former U.S. Air Force base. The new cruise center is about 3 miles from Cockburn Town and has many facilities, including restaurants, duty-free shopping, a large swimming pool and bar, and is adjacent to Governor’s Beach, one of the island’s best beaches.
We decided to have our last excursion be Mangrove Kayaking and Snorkeling and departed the ship at 2:00 for our ride across the island to our kayak launching point at South Creek. On the way, we drove past John Glenn’s space capsule (or a reasonable facsimile) that landed in the ocean near Grand Turk upon its return to earth. When we got to South Creek, they gave everyone a safety briefing and paddling lesson. The kayaks were billed as “glass-bottom”, but they were clear plastic and because the water was so shallow we weren’t able to see much. As we kayaked around the mangroves, our guides stopped at several places and showed us some of the life forms in the water, like sea cucumbers, and explained the importance of the mangroves. There was a
Side by Side
A view of our two ships. Theirs looks super-sized!
pretty strong current and Annette did a great job paddling in the bow. The area we were in flows directly into the ocean. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for us to snorkel, but we were informed of that before we left the ship. We ended our excursions on a high note and had lots of fun kayaking.
This evening we enjoyed our last dinner at Prime 7 with Tweedie, Mac and Suzanne and the next morning we had our last breakfast together on the back of the ship.
And what an amazing trip it has been! So many unbelievable experiences, places, people and memories! With the exception of our diversion from Mombasa after leaving the Seychelles, bringing back memories of 2009, the outcome of our safari at Mala Mala actually ended up being even better than the Maasai Mara that had to be cancelled.
There are more photos below