After a bit of wifi at the cruise ship terminal, we made our way over to the Caicos Bank. Our stop was south Caicos with its large anchorage, and sheltered area. South Caicos was a complete different experience from its neighbor to the East ( Grand Turk). South Caicos was rural but friendly, and a bit twighlight zone-ish. It was like going back in time to the 50’s. As we walked down the street to find a market for some fresh veggies, everyone said hello to us. Children walked alone at 4 years old, or rode their bikes with their friends in their bare feet. They stopped to say hello or just to take a good look at us foreigners. They wanted to know where we were from.
Near the anchorage is an older hotel that has been turned into an Ocean sciences school. An interesting concept, we walked in to say hello and find out more. While chatting with the 18-20 year old girls there, we found out that they are on a semester study there as part of the biological degree. They dive everyday, and so marine studies. They live together, with the professors in the old hotel that has been converted to a dorm type school. It was really neat.
Leaving South Caicos, we travelled over the Caicos Bank to French Cay. It was a 20 mile journey across a bank of 3-4 metes deep crystal clear water, in the middle of the ocean. You could see the bottom, the reefs, the coral heads and at times, the fish throughout the day.
French Cay is lovely little island where we took our anchorage for the night. As part of a marine bird sanctuary, we were not suppose to go to shore, but we anchored off in 10 feet of water and watched the birds from the boat. Colin and Darren had a snorkel off the boat. Caicos in general, but French Cay area especially, is known to be a breeding ground for sharks, and it proved to be true when you could hear Darren signal thru his snorkel…!! He had obviously spotted a shark, but luckily it was more afraid of them than they were of the shark and it swam off.
Next stop was Providenciales, or as called by the locals, Provo. This would be the northernmost point of our adventure on FMD. We anchored just outside the marina after making our way thru the reefs by sight, and went in to have a look around. The marina was full of friendly cruisers and staff, but not much else. No store, no chandlery, nothing. BUT, there was to be a potluck that evening with a band and all. We met some nice people that evening, not just cruisers, but many locals and American residents came as well.
Moving onto the dock the next day for both fuel and to fix the anchor windlass, we spent a few days at the marina. It was hot and dusty. We provisioned at the mighty cost of about $400 USD. Grocery was not cheap in Turks. After fixing our windlass, being fuelled up, and provisioned, we started our journey southward after giving the customs and immigration $80 to be able to leave the island. T&C was not a cheap place to visit.
We moved from Provo to West Caicos so that we would have a good departure for Little Inagua Island, 65 miles southwest.
Anchoring at the deserted and isolated Southwest reef for the night, we were called on the radio at 8 pm by Provo Radio, the Turks version of Homeland Security. Provo radio could see us on the AIS and radar and they let us know that they could see a boat approaching us in the dark. They said it may just be a local fishing boat heading home… but wanted us to be aware. It was a nice call, and we were relieved to know that we were being watched.
Nest Post- the Inaguas and Passage to Cuba