Turks and Caicos

Tags: sailing, Turks and Caicos

Date: April 12, 2017

After Puerto Rico we sailed to Turks and Caicos, an island nation like the Bahamas but a lot smaller. After clearing in with the authorities on Grand Turk island we anchored at a small uninhabited island called Gibbs Cay. It was nice and quiet after all the people and activities in Puerto Rico. We went for a short walk on the island and saw lots and lots of hermit crabs crawling on the bushes:

We also saw yet another lizard:

After Gibbs Cay we went to South Caicos Island which has a tiny village of the same name with not much going on. However, the snorkeling was spectacular with great visibility and lots and lots of fish, many of which we had not seen before. Bjarne also did a short dive on a plane wreck lying just next to Long Island:

To get from South Caicos and Long Island to the main island of Turks and Caicos, Providenciales, we sailed over Caicos Bank, which is a large very shallow area between the Caicos islands. Here we were very happy with Amanda having a lifting keel so we could sail over the bank without any problems. The water on the bank is a very striking bright turquoise color because the bottom is clear sand. The turquoise is reflected in the bottom of the clouds so they seem slightly green:

The islands of Turks and Caicos are made of porous limestone which gets eroded by water to make these overhangs:

More overhangs in the limestone at Providenciales:

Right at the entrance of the bay where we anchored at Providenciales after crossing the Caicos Bank was a ship wreck on very low water:

Closeup of the propeller of the wreck:

At Providenciales we got together with the couple from a Slovenian boat, Mala, who had sailed around the world for the last six years. They had rented a car in Providenciales and kindly let us accompany them in a tour of the island. The most interesting place we saw was a conch farm. Conch is a very important food item on these islands, being served as crispy conch fritters or conch salad, which is a kind of ceviche. The conch farm was created more than 30 years ago as a research station to try to develop methods for farming conch, since overfishing is depleting the wild conch populations. Unfortunately, is seems to be quite hard to make money off farming conch, so the farm is still at the research stage. However, they do guided tours for the tourists and it was very interesting to see the place. Here are the basins where the conchs are kept for the first 2-3 years of their lives:

It was quite funny watching the conch moving about and looking out at us:

Here is a view of the bay on front of the farm. The circular pens in the ocean where they keep the adult conch are visible in the background:

This basin contains adult conchs like the ones in the outside pens:

Finally the guide showed us a couple of conchs up close. These conchs were not shy and had no problem with letting it all hang out for us to see: