Another port where we were at anchor and got tendered in for shore leave. This time the anchorage was more precarious, there were waves breaking on a reef not far off our leeward side. The wind direction was unusual for this time of year but the conditions we had made the maritime crew very nervous and shore leave was cut short by a day so we could get out early and take advantage of some favourable sailing conditions on the way to Bermuda.
The water in Turks and Caicos (or TCI) was gorgeous! I will miss all the turquoise and teal colours of the Caribbean water as we head further north.
The first day of shore leave I headed in with the students for their port program and went with them to Chalk Sound, an area I’d read was extremely beautiful. The water is cut off from the ocean by a bit of land and there are 365 little islands in this body of water.
Joan, from the local historical society was our guide in Chalk Sound and she talked a bit about the history of TCI. We walked up a hill where sailors had carved their names in rocks although a lot of them have been removed to a local museum. She also showed us Silly Creek, named after George Silly who was responsible for a lot of industry in the area.
After Chalk Sound I went to the more tourist part of Provo (the local name for the island of Providenciales, the most built up island in TCI) and had a look around the stores, ate some conch (very popular here, TCI even has a conch farm!) and ice cream.
I met the students at the local sailing club in time for a BBQ dinner (hamburgers, nothing too exciting) and to catch the boat back to the ship. The waves were too rough for the Captain to feel confident in our tenders getting everyone in safely past the reef and all so we chartered a local ferry for the day. We motored back through that beautiful golden hour to our home away from home.
The next day I was ashore again to pick up some provisions for the ship. This time we were able to use our own tenders although it was a wet ride back at the end of the day! Everyone ended up completely soaked, but that’s life on a ship! I hadn’t expected to have the whole day ashore so didn’t have anything planned. After the grocery store I went to a local coffee shop and had a delicious salad while enjoying wifi and getting caught up on internet happenings.
We left the next morning, our planned departure day but in the morning instead of evening. Interesting fact about Turks and Caicos: because they are a British Overseas Territory they drive on the left but a lot of cars are imported from North America so it’s quite normal for the steering wheel to be on the left! Confusing for sure. And their currency is the US dollar so quite a mix of things all round!