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Providenciales:
Turks & Caicos Islands.

Caribbean. Easter 2001

We went to the Turks and Caicos Islands for Easter and stayed on the island of Providenciales, or 'Provo' as it is referred to by the natives. There is a lot of history surrounding this island but it is now British with a lot of American influence as it is just below the Bahamas and very easy to get to from the USA and Canada, but not so easy for us as we were to find out. Our outward flight was delayed at Heathrow which made us miss our connection so we stayed overnight in downtown Miami which was fine apart from the fact that we had no luggage as this was going all the way and we were not! What made it even worse was that we had to wait until after 1pm to fly out as all the flights were fully booked. Such are the joys of long haul travel.

We had booked to stay with Kit and Colin at their lovely home of South Fleetwood. We had the downstairs apartment which was truly beautiful. We also had the use of a swimming pool that was substantial enough for the four of us. They also have a cottage at the end of their garden which was rented out to some nice people while we were there. The first couple were from Canada and visited all the time. The second couple, Paul and Patty were from Maine and also visited all the time, so that says a lot about the accommodation and the island.

 

 They had a great hammock by the pool which was in the shade and kept Robyn and Ben happy for hours!

The island now has a new airport so tourism can take off, but at the moment its very low key, with all the action, if you can call it that, centered around the beach and resorts or which some are better than others.  Club Med was the first big resort here and it still dominates one end of Grace Bay, although its old now and some of the facilities could do with a bit of modernization. They have a good boutique here though if you feel like spending money, but be warned, the sizing is French, so on the petite side. No good for someone with a build like me.

At the other end of Grace Bay is the Beaches Resort which is very family orientated, so much so that if you don't have kids you would feel out of place! Probably the nicest beach resort on Grace Bay is The Sands which has a great restaurant called Hemingways. This picture shows the sweep of Grace Bay looking towards The Sands.  

We were very happy to stay at South Fleetwood. It had everything we needed and lots of space for relaxing with your family. I can certainly believe it has been awarded 'four stars' recently. Here is Ben relaxing in the Florida room. The TV was a plus, especially all those American stations!

A one minute stroll from the house was Grace Bay beach, or the front garden as we came to call it.

This was the porch area which was nicely shaded to keep off the fierce noonday sun.

This was the view out to sea.

This was the back garden complete with pool and deck area. 

Volleyball with 'Mr. Smiley' happened most days when it was too hot to sit in the sun.
 
The pool was always refreshing but sometimes the 'pool cleaner' or barracuda would start up in the middle of a game and then we all got out and read books instead.

I used to take a walk along the beach every morning and take a swim on the way back. Sometimes Dan would join me. On this occasion he brought his camera along.

The water was fabulous. Probably the best beach we have ever visited apart from Whitehaven  which we previously found up in the Whitsunday Islands, part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

There were loads of lizards on Provo. There is also a restaurant named after them called the Gecko Grill. Don't know if they are on the menu though!

This one's sunbathing.

One day Ben and Dan decided to go snorkeling and diving for Conch, a local delicacy. Here you can see some of the divers bringing up lunch!

This guy kept going down until enough conch were collected for the feast.

This was the Captain of the snorkeling vessel and conch lunch provider.  

Preparing lunch! The actual flesh that is taken out of the shell is black and looks disgusting but Ben assured me it tasted yum. 

Portable BBQ. 

While all this diving was happening the boat got a visit from Jo Jo the dolphin.

Jo Jo Is famous in these parts and is frequently spotted off Grace Bay beach and surrounding environs.

Posing after a lunch of conch fritters 'a la Provo.'

The conch shells make good souvenirs.

While eating lunch on the beach Dan managed to catch sight of what looks to be a tall ship on the horizon. It was probably one of the resorts diving boats going out to the reef.

 

This beach shot is far more typical of the beaches we had visited in the Caribbean. Wild and windswept. We were lucky to be staying next to one that was calm and peaceful.

This is what how we got around the island. It was a real bone shaker, but it was also a four wheel drive which was necessary as a lot of the roads are just dirt tracks. Cars are very expensive to hire here, even from Budget which was probably one of the cheapest rental agencies on the island.

 

Ben and I booked some tennis up at the Erebus Inn at Turtle Cove. The best time to play was around 6pm, just before the sun goes down and its milder.

 

 
Ben was on top form. He certainly had me poised for action I can tell you!


 

Ben's tennis skills were taken to new heights on this court, especially when he had to maneuver around pot holes and strips of wood tacked into the ground. It was challenging to say the least!

Don't be fooled. This court was probably the worst I have ever played on. Asphalt and wooden strips nailed to the ground. It was good exercise though and I need all the exercise I can at this point in my life!

 

After the match.

After all that tennis Ben loved relaxing in this hammock. After all, rocking, listening to music and generally 'chilling out' are what holidays are all about. 

   

This is Robyn and Dan at The Sands just before the start of their scuba lessons. Unfortunately there has been a lack of information when booking and they were supposed to have read a 350 page manual and watch a 4 hour video before the lessons! Robyn could therefore not participate but Dan went ahead and crammed for a day.

It wasn't an ideal situation but Martin, the Canadian dive instructor from Caicos Adventure was very competent and the lessons were taken in the pool at South Fleetwood so at least it was 'on site' so to speak. Dan had two days of instruction from books, videos and poolside and then two full days in the sea. He certainly needed his spare pair of 'specs' on this holiday.

 

On the actual dive-days some people had cameras for underwater shots, but Dan didn't so this is probably what it looked like to him.


One day a 7ft shark was spotted!  


Dan also saw Rays!

I prefer solar rays myself. 

We saw some boats just off Grace Bay while taking our morning walks. This boat was called 'Two Fingers'. I was looking for the logo that would go with it but it was not evident. Nice humorous touch though.

 

This monster of a boat was moored off Grace Bay for the whole of the Easter weekend. We saw people being ferried across occasionally. Probably the rich and famous.

One night we walked down to the beach to get some sunset shots and this guy had a tripod set up really to snap away. However his shots were a little different. He was going to snap his friend riding her horse towards the camera.

 

We helped out by pressing the right buttons at the right time so they could all be in the shot. Hope it turned out ok for them. It was one of many beautiful sunsets. 

One afternoon we took a drive down to Leeward Marina. The houses they are building here are fabulous, but only for lottery winners or stockbrokers and the like. We found this tree with hanging pods!

 

 

Dan poses outside the dive shack.

They don't have much in the way of shopping yet on Provo but they do have The Bamboo Art Gallery on Leeward Highway which is a great place for Haitian Art and local Art. They especially have some very colourful paintings on the theme of Voodoo. They also have a selection of sculptures from Caicos Creations.


Calixte Henry/Haiti

 

 
Jean Marie Gabriel/Haiti

 

 
Levoy Exil/Haiti
 

One small shopping area near to us was Ports of Call. You can also find Caicos Adventure here and some eating places.  Lattitudes Bar and Grill which is shown here was one of them. It has a pool table and great atmosphere. We ate here one evening and ordered pizza takeaway on another. The food was good. It was in Caicos Adventure that Ben spent most of his pocket money buying a very loud Caribbean shirt. But be warned, things are expensive on the island as they are all imported from elsewhere!

 Barefoot Cafe
was another good place to eat.
This is also at Ports of Call.

However, most of our eating was done at South Fleetwood. Here, Ben falls asleep after a huge breakfast of waffles and French toast while Robyn awaits her gourmet breakfast delights!

On another occasion Dan borrowed Paul's snorkeling gear and went up to the area in front of 'The White House' and Coral Gardens Resort for some serious fish watching. He bought himself an underwater camera but the shots proved disappointing. He saw lots of fish though, just like these snappers.

One evening as we were driving back from Turtle Cove Marina after a game of tennis, Dan saw this sign; so he whipped out his T shirt that featured 'Dan's BBQ on Route 66' and posed.

 

 

The evenings were nice but it gets dark very quickly in the Caribbean and everyone drives with their full beam on in Provo, so careful driving is a must. 

We went out a few times to eat. Once to the Tiki Hut with Paul and Patty for Ribs and Chicken, and once to the Shark Bite for fish.

 

Robyn and Ben had fun at the Shark Bite. 

It was situated in Turtle Cove Marina. This was the view from the table.

 

 I had fun at the Tiki Hut where I drank a few Buds, had great conversation and excellent food. We walked around the marina looking at the boats after our meal. It was a perfect end to a great evening.

Turtle  Cove is a good place for restaurants. This is a daytime shot.

 

Here we both are posing for Robyn who takes a mean picture. Shame we couldn't have eaten out more often but our budget would not allow it.

This is the flag of Turks and Caicos. You can see it has a conch, a turks head cactus, one of which we saw in a complex near to us called The Mansions and I am convinced the other thing is a biting insect. Ben and I came home with more bites than I can remember.

 

  Reading was one of the main priority on this holiday but I still did not get to finish my book Magazines are easier, they have pictures!

Here is a nice happy picture of Ben. 
He had a great holiday.

 

Here is a nice happy picture of Dan. He also had a great holiday and is now certified. But we all knew that already!

Here is a nice happy picture of Robyn She had a great holiday but I think she was glad to come home. She missed her friends.

We prepared to say goodbye to Providenciales. It had been nice.  

Luckily we managed to get this conch shell to the UK in one piece so it is now one of Ben's treasured possessions at home.  

 

We thought we would leave you with a few parting shots of our holiday. So until next time.............

Grace Bay Daytime Grace Bay Sunset

And just in case you missed them before, Ben's power shots!

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This document maintained by jacquetta@holle.demon.co.uk 
Material Copyright © 2001 Dan & Jacquetta Holle