Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

Published: July 15th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Welcome to Grand TurkWelcome to Grand TurkWelcome 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!Check Out this Line!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 SideSide by SideSide 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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 24


John Glenn Space CapsuleJohn Glenn Space Capsule
John Glenn Space Capsule

On the way to our kayaking site, they drove us by what they said was his space capsule that landed in the ocean just off Grand Turk. Just wondering if it is a replica.
Wild DonkeyWild Donkey
Wild Donkey

Wild donkeys and horses are roaming free in many areas.
Kayak BriefingKayak Briefing
Kayak Briefing

This young man gave us a safety briefing and an overview of what we will be doing.
One of Our GuidesOne of Our Guides
One of Our Guides

He is also one of our guides. Some of the fish in the local water are shown behind him. Unfortunately, the tide was low and the water is very shallow, so we didn't see many.
Our KayaksOur Kayaks
Our Kayaks

They have semi-clear bottoms and are wider than others we've had.
Annette in the BowAnnette in the Bow
Annette in the Bow

She did a great job paddling, especially with the fast current that was there.

One of our bridge instructors was with our group.
Our GroupOur Group
Our Group

The other kayakers with us. The mangroves are on the left.

One of the guides took this non-poisonous jellyfish out of the water and passed it around for us to hold. Doug is currently holding it.
Sea UrchinSea Urchin
Sea Urchin

One of them carefully brought this sea urchin up for us to take a closer look at.
A Closer LookA Closer Look
A Closer Look

The sea urchin up close.
Ship WreckShip Wreck
Ship Wreck

This old ship just lays in the water rusting away. It's a great habitat for the sealife.
Sandy BeachSandy Beach
Sandy Beach

After paddling awhile, we beached for a rest and walk around this area across the waterway from their main camp.
Taking a BreatherTaking a Breather
Taking a Breather

Doug sits on the front of our kayak for a few minutes.
Conch Shell Conch Shell
Conch Shell

They picked up a few conch shells to show us. This one is live with the little critter coming out to see us.
Sea CucumbersSea Cucumbers
Sea Cucumbers

Our guides pulled a couple of sea cucumbers from the water for us to check out. They are full of water and expand and contract.
Holding the Sea CucumberHolding the Sea Cucumber
Holding the Sea Cucumber

Doug has one of the sea cucumbers that they passed around.
Some of Our Group Some of Our Group
Some of Our Group

The guide is showing us another conch shell. The channel we are in flows out to the Atlantic which can be seen in the upper right corner. Photo taken by Michael.

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