Grand Turk – February 3, 2016
As usual we woke up and were already docked. We had set an alarm – music by the Piano Bar Guy on Rob’s phone! It was a port day and we had arranged for a private snorkel tour by the local Grand Turk Diving Company. We learned a long time ago that we love to snorkel and that it can really be a hit and miss experience. Some times you can get off the ship and just get in the water at the nearest beach and have an awesome experience but some times you really miss out. We learned that by paying a local to take us somewhere in a boat it is Guaranteed to be AWESOME! Our tradition is now to purchase ONE Snorkel Tour conducted by a local on each trip. We wouldn’t want to snorkel at every port and if we did we would certainly miss all the Architecture and Culture so our limit is one on each cruise as a special treat to ourselves. A day on the water is so relaxing and purifying to the soul… Think you can’t afford it? Learn our Secret – CLICK HERE.
We had been to Grand Turk before, just a year prior. In February of 2015 we rented bicycles from Tony outside the secure port gate and rode them into Cockburn Town. I did a nice post about our experience with video of course – see it here Bike to the Beach – Grand Turk You can contact Tony yourself if you want to rent one of his bikes, just email him at email@example.com – I know, it’s a different looking email address, but it works, just give it a try! When we were at the beach we learned that Grand Turk is known for scuba diving at a place called “the wall” out in the water. About three football fields out the depth suddenly drops to 7000 feet, like a wall under the sea. We thought we would snorkel out to it, just to see. NOT – – we made it out pretty far but turned back because we had already enjoyed a couple of rum punches and we really didn’t know how much farther we had to go. We were together, practicing the buddy system, hand in hand but we just didn’t know – so we returned to the beach…. But these are the experiences that make us curious. Because we had tried and had to turn back we were inspired to learn more and to make arrangements to get there – in a safer way…..
We ate our breakfast on the ship and gathered up some bread from the buffet line for the fisheys, and headed to shore. It was HOT and Sunny, and the people of Grand Turk are helpful and friendly. According to an email from the Grand Turk Diving Company we were supposed to find a boat marked with their name that had a red Bimini top somewhere at the Beach that was adjacent to the ship’s pier…. We had to make our way through the security/shopping building and then back out toward the water and through the outdoor markets… We were on time so didn’t need to hurry – in fact we were early, so thought that we would figure out where our boat would arrive at, then find a seat at a local bar and enjoy a beverage while we watched for him…. We had about 45 mins.. Greg Gallello, the reason for our “Greg Gallello Fan Club Cruise” was to meet us at Jack’s Shack, a bar on the beach, later in the day, so we thought we would scope out where it was as well! We walked the beach without really figuring out where our boat would be – – and before you know it had already arrived at Jack’s Shack….. Still early so we each ordered a rum punch and some Blackened Chicken to share – we weren’t hungry but it really looked good!
We returned to the beach every few minutes to see if our boat had arrived… Finally we decided to call the Grand Turk Diving Company to ask if we were in the right place. The gal shared with us that there had been some confusion over a discrepancy between local time and ships time – and that the guide was running late. She said that she would call him and call us back with an update. Good thing we had found a comfortable spot… I have to admit at this point we were getting a little nervous. There were other local people on the beach selling snorkel tours and trips out to Gibbs Cay and we wondered if we should inquire about booking with them instead. But then the lady called back to say that our guide and boat had arrived and that we should go find him!! We hurriedly paid our bill and were off – feeling a sense of relief in search of the white boat with a red Bimini top!
We walked about half way back from where we had come – and finally spotted him… Indeed it was a white boat with a red Bimini Top! A cute guy in dreads greeted us, loaded us in and off we went. Now we could relax and get ready for a fun time!
First we went north headed for Cockburn Town this time by sea and on this day….. we would not even dock. We would throw out anchor in a spot that was farther out than Rob and I had been able to swim. The spot our driver chose was called “The Library”, at the time we couldn’t figure it out we kept looking ashore to see if we could see a library… but then when putting this post together I found the map above and the light bulb went on! The Library is a dive site under the water! Here we saw and swam with colorful Caribbean fish. Rob always brings a little bread along to “entice” the fish to swim up to him. After a nice snorkel with the fish, the driver took us a little further north along the coast – this time to see the famous “Grand Turk Wall”. It was interesting, but really something better suited to scuba than snorkeling, as it is DEEP!!
If you have ever been snorkeling or even thoroughly immersed in the sea, you know it is a peaceful place… And when you get in, you have no choice but to feel the connection to the peace. If the water is a comfortable temp – and you don’t have to “feel cold” you can feel relaxed instead. Under the water it’s quiet – there’s no talking, just maybe some bubbly sounds, the water is beautiful blue color, and the color blue invokes the feeling of calmness – but even deeper than that is the fact that it is free and open…. You know the fish have no boundaries – they don’t need a visa or passport to go anywhere in the world. And water conducts energy – so anytime you get in the open Sea you are connecting to the world as a whole… That water that you are in carries energy that is surrounding the entire globe. Isn’t that amazing? When you snorkel your ears fill with water so they don’t really work. But you can some times hear a pulsing. I always wonder what it is – does anyone know? If you have an idea – comment below!
NEXT stop….. Gibbs Cay, and the Stingrays! We had a 30 min. boat ride out to the small island of Gibbs Cay. There was open ocean between Grand Turk, and Gibbs Cay, and it took all the power our little boat had to get us there. The small boat ride makes you feel vulnerable like in Le Ann Womak’s song “I hope you’ll dance” she sings “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean” but it’s a good vulnerable one that reminds us that we are not indestructible but that we are brave and stimulated by stepping out of our daily boundaries doing something exciting and invigorating – something that makes your heart pump and blood flow…
Nice thing about our little boat is the individualized attention we received. We got to know the driver – a local guy who lives on the island. The ride is WELL worth it, as you will see in the video.
We hope you enjoy our videos of our snorkel experience that day! Thanks to our daughter Suzee’s friend Will for bringing his “Gopro”! You’re going to LOVE the video – almost like being there 🙂
It was amazing to play with the Stingrays!! Doesn’t it remind you that we can all get along and live here together… we just have to learn to understand one another, to meet each other’s needs with love – kindness and compassion…. As humans we can observe and learn to connect with the Sea Creatures even though we are strikingly different.
I want to share a link with you to Will’s website – because he has some very Classy Men’s Accessories – hand made – Italian Leather! He makes the watch bands for a watch designer so you won’t find them on his website but you will Love what you do see! Check out his “LOOKBOOK”!
In Will’s words “Resignation Leather is an American brand conceptualized in Tuscany during the spring of 2012. Inspired by the Italians’ taste for well crafted quality goods, as well as their eye for beauty and detail, Resignation Leather aims to focus attention away from the mass-produced and bring attention back to the old-world craftsman. Using no machines, unnatural chemicals or modern processes, Resignation Leather and its timeless list of Italian trade techniques seeks to celebrate the leather craft industry as it was before the industrial revolution.”
Not headed to Italy? Shop here instead – www.ResignationLeather.com
The ride back left us with a sense of wonder and accomplishment and of course anticipation for our beautiful evening on the ship. I know we asked our guide for his name but we were cold and wet and I don’t seem to have recorded it anywhere that I can find. I’m going to have to do my research again and see if I can find out who he is. He was such a nice guy and we had so much fun that day! We always like to connect with the people we meet along the way in a permanent way either by asking for their email or hooking up on Facebook. Every time we leave a guide behind we always wonder if we could give up life as we know it and live in one of these beautiful places and give tours for a living instead… it’s a dream of ours! All we need is courage…. I remember our guide telling us about how difficult it was to get some of the daily necessities that we take for granted here in United States. He told us about his experience purchasing a waterproof case for his phone. The price of the shipping was three times the price of the case for this phone. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could actually bring things for these people that they needed? If we were connected to them and knew we were coming we could just ask “Need Anything?” I mean you really have to decide what NEED means when things are four times the price!
At the end of the day we were pooped…. Our guide beached the boat and we said goodbye… We didn’t go back to Jack’s Shack. We wandered slowly back to the ship, stopping at the Arts and Crafts market area where we bought two little friendship bracelets for our neighbor girls that were helping take care of our puppy back home. We picked out two, a pink one and a turquoise on both with sharks teeth!! Suzee got a really colorful souvenir hand painted fish to hang in her Chicago Condo. I know we’ll be back some day – Grand Turk is a common port of call on a Caribbean Cruise & one of my favorites!
As we walked back to the ship in our bare feet through the sun warmed sand we are grateful for the day in the hot sun and the beautiful blue water feeling fulfilled with new experiences that made us grow, and that we will reminisce about and share…… forever, once I complete this post. These are the things that really satisfy our thirst for adventure!
We arrived home safe and sound to the ship as we always do at the completion of a perfect day. As was our norm on the Greg Gallello Fan Club Cruise this week – we got cleaned up – enjoyed some wine in our room & met Greg Gallello for dinner. Greg makes you feel special – he is genuine and interested in all his friends old and new.. by the end of the week everyone at the Dinner table felt like family… Followed by two shows in the Piano Bar….. and some fun after hours! The following video was actually captured on this very day…. Enjoy Greg Gallello’s Georgia…
Rob and Lynn Belles are seasoned World Travelers
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