Overnight to Turks and Caicos

Shortly after Juan arrived on August 12th, the men decided that it would be best to go ahead and start the overnight journey to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.  It was already late afternoon when we pulled up the anchor, so it wasn’t long until sunset when the sail began.

Juan offered to take first watch when the sun went down.  We decided that each watch would be four hours.  So, Juan captained from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am, John from 2:00 am to 6:00 am, and I was on morning watch from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.  I saw one ship during my watch.  I couldn’t tell what it was, so I took a photo.  Turns out it was a Coast Guard Cutter.  Juan woke during my watch and relieved me early.  I didn’t complain 🙂

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One of the perks of early morning watch…the beautiful sunrise.
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Coast Guard ship I saw during watch

We had a little ways left to go before reaching Grand Turk.  Along the way, Juan and the boys played cards.  John and I stayed outside.  The heat was exhausting, and the breeze is much better outside in the shade.  John let out some fishing line, and Juan reeled in a Black Fin Tuna and a Yellow-Tail Snapper.  I had never seen a Yellow-Tail Snapper and thought it was so pretty.

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Glen pictured with the Black Fin Tuna
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Juan reeling in the Yellow-Tail Snapper with John looking on

 

 

The seas and wind were relatively calm for the sail to Grand Turk.  The boys played on the trampoline on front of the boat when the sun wasn’t so brutal.

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Calm seas
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Full sail

 

Glen managed to catch a Barracuda after awhile.  He was so hoping for a Mahi-Mahi.

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Glen working on reeling in his catch
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Glen’s Barracuda

It was nearing sunset as we approached Grand Turk.  Luckily, we still had enough daylight to see down into the clear waters.  Juan, Glen, and I stood at the front of the boat looking down in the water for rocks.  We were in shallow waters, and even though our boat drafts only four feet, the charts were telling us to be prepared.  John zigged and zagged as we warned him of hidden objects in the water.  We arrived to Grand Turk without running aground!!

 

 

The island of Grand Turk is very small.  There were tons of boats at our destination, yet we saw no people.  We puttered around for awhile looking for a good place to anchor.  Finally, we saw a man from the beach who told us to go a little further down by the cruise line dock to anchor.  We successfully anchored in less than ten feet of water and headed to shore to find Customs.  From the boat, the place looked deserted.  From the beach, nothing changed.

 

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Our anchorage

We honestly thought that we would run in to SOMEONE SOMEWHERE, so we just kept walking through the town.  There were restaurants, shopping, snow cone stands, bars, and they were all closed and boarded up.  I’m sure that when cruise ships arrive, the place really comes alive.  We had hoped to have dinner at Margaritaville, and were disappointed that even that was closed.  I had read about a lazy river that we wanted to give a try.

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Erik found a comfy chair
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View of Varekai from the beach
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View of Varekai from the beach

We continued to walk through the town until we came upon two men who told us where to find Customs.  John and Juan walked back to the dinghy while the boys and I stayed on the beach.  They came to pick us up and take us back to the boat.  John took all of our information and went to Customs.  While he was gone, Juan grilled the Black Fin Tuna for us.

 

 

 

The next morning we pulled anchor and headed toward Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.  We had many playful Porpoise along the way.  They were in front, to the side, and under the boat.

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Playful Porpoise

 

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The wind during the trip to Provo was perfect.  The men were thrilled that we were able to use full sail for almost the entire journey.

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Full sail
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Full sail and a colorful sunset

We arrived after sunset, so we really couldn’t tell what the island looked like until the next morning.

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Full sail at night

The next morning, we took the dinghy over to the mainland and parked at a dock next to restaurants and shopping.  We needed to get some supplies at the grocery store, and were told that it was a few miles walk.  We started the walk, all six of us, and had to end up dragging Erik for the majority of the way.  The heat was intense.  A man with a van stopped to give us a ride, and took us to the entrance of the grocery store.  We were so thankful to be out of the heat.

We bought the things we needed, and Juan nicely paid for us to take a cab back to the dinghy.  While John and Juan took the groceries back to the boat, the boys and I walked around the shops on the dock in search of flipper socks for Juan to wear while snorkeling.  We didn’t have any luck, so we headed to the Tiki Hut…a place where John and I had eaten many times on previous trips.  This time, the restaurant had moved locations and didn’t have the same atmosphere.  In fact, the whole island had become very commercialized.  We were disappointed.

The boys were so thirsty and ordered lemonade.  I got tap water as usual…I’m very boring :/  The waitress made several trips back and forth refilling our drinks but never mentioned that the lemonade didn’t have free refills.  John and Juan soon joined us, and we ate our meals.  We were shocked and amazed at the price of the lunch.  The meals weren’t cheap, but the drinks just killed it.  I think that the $30 lemonade was one of the most memorable things that happened to the boys on the trip.  We still laugh about it.

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The boys at the Tiki Hut
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At the Tiki Hut

After our expensive meal, we checked out at Customs and took the dinghy back to our boat.  It was already late that evening, so we stayed the night anchored offshore Provo before heading to our next destination…The Bahamas.

 

Erik

My Trip from San Juan to Turks and Caicos

I got to Turks and Caicos.  I found expensive lemonade.  It was good, but it was $30.90.  After the lemonade, I went to a tiki hut to eat.  I played an Uno game while we were sailing.  It was a super long game.  We did a long walk to the store.  A van picked us up after a long time.  We anchored in the ocean and took our dinghy to the dock.  We saw lots of dolphins along the way. 

Glen

We left San Juan after we got Juan with us. We took an overnight trip to Grand Turk. On the way there, Juan caught a Yellow-tail Snapper and Daddy caught a Tuna. When we were coming in to Grand Turk, we had to dodge rocks in the water. It was a good thing the water was completely see through. The rocks looked like spots in the water. When we got to Grand Turk we saw a bunch of boats, but we did not see any people. It was like a deserted island. We took the dinghy over to the beach but still no people. There were shops and a Margaritaville. It looked like a ghost town. There were drinks and silverware on the ground. It looked like it was abandoned. Finally we found someone, and he told us where customs were. We went back to the boat and ate the fish. Juan made it, and it was great. After that, we played cards with Juan. We were betting stale chips and, of course, I won the chips, but Erik got them any way. The next day we took another overnight trip to Provo and we saw these dolphins that would jump by our boat. I caught a Barracuda and we threw it back. When we got to Provo, there were conch shells every were. We went to the Tiki Hut and they forgot to tell us that refills were not free. So, the lemonade was $30 (which is why i’m proud to be an American) but at least the food was good. Liam and I had a tower of nachos. When I saw the waiter come in with the food, I think I saw my life flash before my eyes. We had to walk to the grocery store till this nice guy gave us a ride. We got our stuff, and while were waiting, a lady told us how hot it was and that we needed a car to survive. Juan said, “why can’t we use your car” to himself, and it was later when we found out she didn’t have a car. And then, we went to find socks for Juan but didn’t find them. Then we left.

Liam

The trip from Old San Juan was pretty calm. The waves weren’t that big, and Juan was with us. We played cards most of the time, and I played the longest Uno game in history.

We stopped at a place called Grand Turk. Margarita-ville was there, but Jimmy Buffet had forgot to open it I guess. Also, the rest of the island was deserted. There was normally cruise ships there, but I guess it just wasn’t the season. There were a bunch of little gift shops and snow cone places. Too bad it wasn’t open.  

When we finally got to Turks and Caicos, we parked our dinghy at a small dock. We planned to later go to a place called the Tiki Hut. Our parents went there before we were born.
We had to get some groceries while we were there, and we had no car. So obviously the best plan of action was to walk the five miles, with a group of six. Somewhere along the way, a taxi driver, that had a big, pink van picked us up and dropped us off at a grocery store. The store was almost like a Wal-Mart. It had everything we needed, and afterwards the cashier called a taxi for us.
Later we went to the Tiki Hut. We ordered our food, and I can’t remember what I ate. Glen and I ordered lemonade, and got a lot of refills because it was really hot. Mistake numero uno. We forgot to ask if the refills were free, and they weren’t. So the bill was bigger than I would like to mention.
We slept there that night and then set out the next day.

 

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