Friday, July 27, 2012

Grand Turk – Third Port-of-Call

We enjoyed our evening after our short visit to St. Thomas/St. John. After cleaning up and reflecting on our day’s excursion we headed out for cocktails before dinner via the casino of course. After all you have to go through the casino to get to the lounge and dining room. That is if you travel with me because I could never figure out what elevator to take. The entrances were hidden off the corridors and if you didn’t pay attention you walked right pass the small doorway that led to them. Following dinner most of us met up for the show and then called it a night relaxing on the balcony before turning in.

We didn’t see Grand Turk until early afternoon on Saturday, but I could see the turquoise water against the white sand with the Palm trees swaying in the breeze.

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Ah, have you ever seen anything so welcoming? Not only was it beautiful and welcoming but we were the only ship in port!

We all were scheduled for the same excursion: Segway Tour of the Island. After hiking about in San Juan hubby and I were starting to doubt whether we had made a good choice on this adventure, but there was no turning back now. Our tour guide was awaiting us on the dock. We climbed aboard one of those extended vans for an exciting ride to the place of business? Not only did his van say Diving something or other but he was driving on the wrong side of the road and speed seemed to be of no concern to him.

Before going on, it should be noted that Grand Turk is not commercialized for tourists. It’s still in it’s infancy. I think that’s what made it a desirable place to visit. So the place of business was rather different to say the least. There were four other people who joined the eight of us. An inquiry was made as to whether anyone had back problems or could not stand for an hour. No one seemed to have a problem with either. I mention this only because we all were soooo wrong!

The introduction to riding the Segway took a bit longer than what our guides thought it would take. First, I have to say the guides have no sense of humor. Getting on and off the Segway is not a natural act and is full of funny sights as long as it’s not yourself. Actually making them move and maneuver them around cones for the first time you’re on them is even more humorous.

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      melissa on segway      greg on segway

Once we practiced getting on and off and going around the cones, we had to go up the driveway and out into the street. Upon returning you had to get up enough speed to get the Segway up over a hump and down a hill so we had ample opportunity of wiping out before even going on the tour.

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Father and Son discussing the return trip.

I have to say the eight of us did very well. Another father and son did ok, however the wife of a couple that were also in the group was unable to master the Segway enough to join us on the tour. The guides spent extra time attempting to teach her to no avail.

We each had a radio with one earphone so that we could hear the lead guide as he described various landmarks on the island as we approached or passed them. That was of no value to me because I’m hard of hearing and the wind whipping through his microphone increased static. Besides those two issues I was too preoccupied on not falling off the Segway.

Lucky for us our room steward left Fun Ashore Your Guide to Shore Excursions for us to review. Of course we didn’t do it while on the cruise because we had already reviewed and chosen our excursions back in April. However now I can review it and learn about what we saw on our adventure tour or not.

It was to be a 2 hour tour giving us the opportunity to venture into some of the smaller roads to get a sense of the heart and culture of people of Grand Turk. For an added thrill we were to ride our Segway on the pristine white beaches of Grand Turk and stop for a refreshing dip in the turquoise water. Throughout our tour, the tour guide was to enlighten us with the rich history of the island on several stops during the tour. We were to wear our swimsuits under our clothing and have sensible footwear.

I believe it was every bit of two hours including the ride to the start and back to the ship. I only had a glimpse of the turquoise water as we quickly entered and left the beach. Hmmm… no refreshing dip in the turquoise water. In addition only one stop and that was because our feet were hurting soooo much. It was and interesting place to pause since I had never seen a salt pond before.

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Grand Turk is most famous for John Glenn’s splashdown of the Friendship 7 space capsule off the island’s coast in 1962. The splashdown represented the United States first successful manned orbit of the earth. It is the capital of the Turks & Caicos islands archipelago. The size of the island is about seven miles long and one and one half miles wide. We traveled through Cockburn Town, the seat of government since 1776. The town was founded by Bermudan Salt Rakers about three centuries ago. It has maintained it’s turn-of-the-century Caribbean charm with it’s Bermudan British colonial architecture and Caribbean style local dwellings. Donkeys, horses, and cattle were the means of transportation during the salt industry. We saw some roaming around the island.

Grand Turk waterfront, Turks and Caicos Islands     Grand Turk caribbean architecture      Grand Turk Queen Street on the Waterfront of Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos Islands

The above images were copied from Turks and Caicos site for informational reasons. We actually passed these sights but because we didn’t stop I was unable to take pictures.

I truly enjoyed riding the Segway, but I would have been more thrilled if we had done exactly what was described in the brochure. It was a rushed tour and without the several stops that were to be, very painful. At first I thought I was the only one experiencing the extreme discomfort in my feet but when one of the guides and the kids claimed to be suffering too Then I felt better about myself.
Our return to the port gave us ample time to enjoy:

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We were able to get seats upstairs which provided us with a great view.

margaritaville       bar at margaritaville      ship from margaritaville

Food and drink were at the top of our lists. Margaritas and Pina Coladas along with nachos and cheese and of course a Cheeseburger in Paradise, which I couldn’t finish. The drinks were sooo refreshing after our tour and I should add, strong but not so strong that I didn't have two.

all of us at table margaritaville      melissa and todd at margaritaville      lynn and bill margaritaville

And then it was time to return to our ship for another two and a half days at sea. I couldn’t leave without a few more pictures of that beautiful dream Caribbean beach.

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It took a while for everyone to board. Some remained on the beach until the horn blasts. By then we were up on our balconies taking final pictures of this beautiful rural island.

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IMG_4089 Good-bye Grand Turk

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!

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