Turks and Caicos Islands31 July 2015
Well, here is the very 1st travel blog written by me, Capt Lee. I’m not a travel writer so bear with me as I stumble through this. I am going be writiing about my travels by yacht or otherwise, throughout some of the most beautiful places in the world. I hope you enjoy and will try to post some pics although not many here as picture taking in the islands and getting them developed back then wasn’t as easy as it is today. I will also be telling some stories, as I remember them, about myself, some of my struggles in foreign places, and how I managed or didn’t.
The first stop on my list is The Turks & Caicos Islands. A group of 40 islands just 90 minutes from Miami by air. Although I didn’t travel there by boat, it was there that I got my first taste of the islands and developed my love of the sea. I was in my early 30’s when the epiphany occurred. I remember the very first time I set eyes on the endless shades of blue water that was so clear and clean you could see the bottom in 70’+. I had just taken a taxi from the airport and was headed to my new restaurant in Turtle Cove. The restaurant at the time was called the Columbus Club. We had just reached the top of Oooh Ahhhh Hill. It got its name from the phrases that were uttered by the tourists when they got their first glimpse of the view from the top of that famous hill. The islanders, or Belongers as they are known, would hear the ooohs and ahhhs as they crested the hill and saw the spetacular view of Turtle Cove and the reef that runs the length of the island. Now for someone who grew up in a city where the only water was from an industrial use river and visability was 2 inches to say I was awe struck was a gross understatement. I was smitten.
The island of Providenciales or Provo as we came to know it, is in a word stunning. It has one of the most beautiful reefs in the world in my opinion. It has everything that anyone could want in a tropical island. If you are looking for peace, tranquility and relaxation this is where it is. World class diving, world class fishing, and the most beautiful beaches I have experienced anywhere, or at least in the top 5 in my book. Great island hospitality, ideal climate, doesn’t vary 5-7 degrees summer to winter, it just would be very difficult to improve upon this paradise just 600 miles southeast of Miami. The island chain is comprised of some 40 islands, some inhabited, some not. This is where I got my first taste of island living and boy did I get bit hard.
I was running a restaurant and doing my best imitation of Norman Paperman, the fictional character in Herman Wouk’s “Don’t Stop The Carnival”.It’s a must read for anyone comtemplating living or working in the Caribbean. At any rate to say I was having trouble adjusting was an understatement. Buying water by the truckload, and not the bottled kind, was completely foreign to me.
When your cisteren ran dry you had to get it somewhere and it didn’t rain enough to keep you supplied if you didn’t manage it properly, which I did not. No, no water company. Customs, immigration, international banking, labor law, local customs, etc. I did almost everything wrong, but I loved it anyway. Looking to supplement my meager income, I took on a sail boat delivery as a mate. Had never been on a boat, but you do need to start somewhere and I was if nothing else, I was adventureous. Oh did I mention it was the middle of hurricane So off I went for a two week sailboat delivery, and I was sea sick the whole time, but upon returning to Provo, I knew then and there a career change was in order. We ended up spending about 3 yrs on Provo and I would not have changed any of it. When we lived there there was a stretch of beach between Turtle Cove and Grace Bay of approximately 10-11 miles or so. You could walk that and some days run into someone else or most likely you wouldn’t. Just you, the beach and the most beautiful water I personally have ever had the privelege of looking at. The Turks & Caicos Islands have morphed since then into a archepelago that dreams are made of, and I started mine right there. Maybe someday I’ll end up back where it all started, come full circle, one never knows. After all from running restaurants to being on reality tv, wow, what a ride.