Passaging to Turks and Caicos

If you could write a text book on how a passage was suppose to go, this should have been the theory portion. A nice easy sail with flat seas, although we had to motor for a day, then a gentle breeze eased in and filled our sails for the next day and a half, while the reefs to the north broke up the Atlantic swell. Dorados at sunrise followed by a nice tuna for Sashimi, and a half a Wahoo. Yes Half. We are not sure what got the other half while it was being reeled in, but whatever it was, it was big.

Sunsets were beautiful. Crew was happy. Seas were calm. And then it appeared,… out of the blue came the slightest mound of sand. Salt Cay of Turks Islands, rising a grand 40 feet into the sky.

We took anchor for the night at 3 in the afternoon, and rejoiced our triumphs! For some of the crew it was the longest they had been at sea, ever and the rum came smoothly!

We moved over to Grand Turk the next morning and checked into the country. We were given a 7 day stay, after which time we would be required to pay a $300 Fee. Making the most of our time in Grand Turk, we hired a van and a driver to drive us around the 7 mile long, 3 mile wide island and enjoy his documentary.

Wild donkeys roam the island its sandy shores and flatlands.

Turks and Caicos were/ are solidly built on the Salt Industry. Salt pans line the islands, either actively or inactively.

Flamingos in the Salt Ponds
Flamingos in the Salt Ponds

Grand Turks is not active in the salt industry any longer, but is main import is tourism. Cruise ships line both sides of the massive dock daily and fill the streets of the cruise ship terminal and its many shops and duty free with tourists.

Cruiseship terminal at Grand Turks
Cruiseship terminal at Grand Turks

We enjoyed a delightful meal onshore in Grand Turks with Wayne and Lorraine at a fellow Canadian sisters restaurant on the beach before heading to SaltRaker Inn for dancing and a local band. What a great evening we had!

Band at the Saltraker Inn
Band at the Saltraker Inn

On the East side of Grand Turks is a shallow bank and within this bank are many small islands- or cays. We ventured over to Gibbs Cay on the advice of our driver that day and some Canadian ladies who own a restaurant on Grand Turks.
Gibbs Cay is a sandy atoll with shrubbery that is perhaps 45 feet in elevation at its highest point. It is know for the sting rays that come to visit the generous tourists.

As soon as we anchored down, a ray came over to let us know he was there. We climbed in the dinghy, or swam to shore, as there were 6 of us, with a little bag of cut fish. The rays could hear the engine and immediately came to surround us, looking for their feed. At one point there was up to 8 of them, swimming around us, through our legs, back and forth, taking the fish right out of our hands. If we were not quick enough, they would swim right up our legs until they found what they were looking for.


Sting Ray

Sting rays are interesting creatures. You can see their eyes looking right at yours, and their firm silky flesh glides right past your legs. They were definitely not afraid of us. They had no intention of using their stinger.

Chilling on Gibbs Cay with Friends
Chilling on Gibbs Cay with Friends

Turks Bank is famous for Conch. Under the boat at anchor in only 10-12 feet of water, we were surrounded by them. Large and small. After having some delicious conch fritters ata a local pub, I decided that they would be easy enough to make so we collected some to use for our appies. They take some preparation, but when done correctly, are delicious.

Our bounty
Our bounty
Conching
Conching

We said goodbye to our crew the next day as Wayne and Lorraine had to return to Canada. It was a fun 18 days with them, and we will miss their company, stories, laughs and help.

The last supper with crew before their departure
The last supper with crew before their departure

Next Post- the Remainder of Turks

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