Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Swimming with the Fishes

 Our first stop was Grand Turk Island, part of Turks and Caicos Islands. We quickly found a shuttle to Governor's Beach where I was told that we could snorkel from shore as there is a small reef there. The whole west side of the island is considered a national park, Columbus Landing, where the locals think Columbus first landed in 1492 (some dispute this). On the way to the airport, I had bought my own gear as I am tired of renting it and finding it old and dirty. I need to use my seldom put in contacts as I am blind without glasses. They are 15 years old and my prescription has changed so a mild
headache for me. As you can see, the beach was white and powdery. Cruisers from our sister ship intent on just chillaxing offered to watch our stuff while we were in the water.
I love tropical fish. I have been to better places to snorkel but I still got to see lots of pretty fish including blue tang, French Angel fish, peacock flounder, lots of yellow striped snapper. The main coral there was a magenta feathery variety and some black fans. I snorkeled on and off for the next 3 hours taking breaks when sea sickness started to rear its ugly head. In the top picture, one of the specks is my friend in an air mattress. I nervously watched her hoping she wouldn't drift too far away as there were strong currents. We did take long walks up and down the long beach with me collecting sea glass. I now have quite the collection. Per usual, my friend is more diligent in taking pictures and she will share once we get back to reality. Not many shells to be found though, at least dead ones (there were pretty sea snails but they were firmly attached to their rocks). We did not get the full 8 hour stay as promised because of the medical evacuation the day before, a five hour detour consuming 40,000 tons (pronounced 'thons' by our Dutch captain)of fuel, ate into our stay. The town itself, 3 miles away? was allegedly full of Bermuda styled houses, which would have been pretty to see. Also there were salt ponds, the main industry before tourism, that have interesting wildlife. As we could see the ships clearly from the beach, we decided it would be a good walk back though hot and unshaded and going by an abandoned US military base which had blocked the shorter beach route. I had only a few spots of sun burn. I swam with a long shirt as it was noon when were there, full sun to my winter white skin. My friend tans much more readily. Right outside the cruise pier, they had a touristy collection of shops which we visited. Pretty flowers all around and steel drum music from the huge Margaritaville complex surrounded the space. The picture below is the water right next to the ship with the sun giving it an eerie but beautiful peacock blue glow..this doesn't quite capture how pretty it was. Back to the ship to wash out the sand that had accumulated in every crevasse of my body.

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