A Day on Grand Turk Island

Our day starting out with a husky male voice calling out “TCI Police, can I come aboard”.  We were both still in our nightgowns, so I hollared back, “Give us a minute to get dressed”.

image Friendly Officer John came onboard to make sure that we had cleared Customs/ Immigration and to check our passports, cruising permits and paperwork that all was in order. Then he asked about our cruising plans, where and when.  He explained that they documented the information and IF there was an inquiry from the U.S. about us being overdue, they would be able to provide the information we had shared.  Made us feel comfortable that someone was watching out for us.

After they left, we hopped in LILI-PAD and were off to see the sights of Cockburn Town (pronounced Co’burn).  We brought three gas containers along to get refilled.  We tried to anchor at South Dock, but all the dive and sightseeing boats were busy with the guest from the cruise ship,RUBY PRINCESS and the commercial dock didn’t have a dingy dock.  Archie, a divemaster with Blue Divers, suggested we take the dingy on to downtown, another three miles up, and anchor off the beach there.

As we were bringing the dingy into anchor, a gentleman named Charlie, came down to greet us and help us.  After a bit changing out anchors, unloading our stuff and getting LILI-PAD positioned so she wouldn’t wash up on shore, I went to jump out and landed flat on my stomach and was completely soaked.  So much for keeping my clothes dry.

In the mean time, I explained to Charlie that we needed to get gas and would he mind watching out for the dingy while we visited the island.  Betty looked at me like I had lost my mind, by giving this gentleman responsibility of her dingy!  Hey, sometimes to just gotta go with your first impression and trust in mankind.  Charlie wholeheartedly agreed to the task and loaded our gas containers onto his bicycle and we were off to the Texaco station.  $56.40 latter we had six gallons of gas and Charlie’s cousin, Kyle was going to take them back to the beach on his bicycle and watch over them while, Kyle’s friend Greg, was going to show us to the Welcome Center (to find out what to do)  and the Turks & Caicos National Museum (think very small).  Greg got us to both locations safely and received a $4 tip, with Betty sending him on his way.

Betty loves museums, especially the small ones.  Jill loves the museum gift shops and tries to support each and every one.  I had found some books for my grandsons.   The clerk shared that the author of one of the books had just walked in and Donna would be glad to sign it for me.  We asked for a recommendation for a late lunch  from  Donna and the two museum docents, and everyone agreed we should go to the Sandbar.  Donna and her husband, Paul, offered us a ride.  (One cruiser told me you never turn down a ride.)

In five minutes, they shared that they had been coming to Grand Turk since the 1960’s, when Paul’s  mother bought a home here.  There were 1,500 people on the island.  The “Belongers” (TCI natives) loved the American Ex-Pats, did not like the illegal Haitians and deported them.  Grand Turk is a close knit community, with virtually no crime and no homeless.  I was getting warm and fuzzy vibes about Grand Turk!

imageAfter lunch, Betty and I walked around Cockburn Town.  It was clean and neat.  The homes all had walls or fences around them and the yards had been swept, no grass.  Since two of the Turk Islands had been colonized by Bermudians for developing the salt industry,  the homes had that distinct flavor.  Donkeys are still roaming wild over the island, left over from the salt trade.

imageBetty always loves churches.  This is St Mary’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral built in 1899.

 

 

 

 

imageThe library reminded me of the one on Eleuthera.

 

 

 

 

 

The best part of the day was that LILI-PAD was right where we left her, with Charlie and Kyle watching out over her and our gas containers.  Charlie helped us get into the dingy, making sure we didn’t get wet.  Then he handed us the gas and waded out to get us off shore.  Meanwhile, Kyle wanted nothing of getting wet!  Charlie renewed my belief in mankind especially in the smaller islands, as they depend on tourists for the livelyhood.  Charlie got a $20 for his service, Kyle got $5.

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