Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Turks and Caicos - Coral reefs, white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters
Sapodilla Bay - Providenciales - 17 to 24 December 2006 - (21.44.5N-72.17.2W)
Arriving in Providenciales, or more commonly known as "Provo", we found the most beautiful beaches with very nice houses all around. This is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos and we soon find we can have internet right here in Zenitude, compliment of one of the many rich and famous houses ashore.
The walk paid off and we found the port east of Sapodilla Bay with a check in office among big containers, trucks and lifts. A busy port.
As instructed by our newly made friends in Te Ou, we left the dinghy in the beach (no dinghy dock here) and walked up the hill in a very hot day.
Next day we rented a car to go around the island and almost finished with our adventure right on the first turn of the road as Oscar got confused about driving on the left hand side with a car built for right hand driving. He quickly adjusted then and we were able to finish our tour. We found the west side of the island very modern with superb hotels, a casino and a Golf Club.
The two main and oldest villages on the island are Bight and Blue Hills. We visited Turtle Cove as well and had a nice lunch. Down Town is busy with retail shops, business offices and travel agents.
Beautiful Sapodilla Bay
Up the road in a hot day
We also visited the Conch Farm and took their tour. They explained the life cycle of the Queen conch, from egg mass to harvested adult. They say this is the only commercial conch farm in the world. The tour starts in the gift shop (I bought a nice bracelet!) with a quick biology lesson and a description of the hatchery technology, from there the tour takes you through the different buildings that house the conchs according to their development phase. The offshore pasture, filled with circular pens to rear the conch until they are harvested, serves as the backdrop to the entire tour. It is very interesting, really worth it.
Then the time comes for John to leave us. Understandably he wants to spend Christmas with his family. We will definitely miss him and his sound advice while we are still learning this sailing business. He promisse we'll be ok, we trust him!
This is Sapodilla Bay and after anchoring we go ashore in our dinghy looking for the commercial port, South Dock, to take care of our check in procedures.
John enjoying the beach on his last day with us
Big Ambergris - A lonely but peaceful Christmas - 24 to 25 December 2006 - (21.19.0N-71.38.7W)
We were able to talk with Chris Parker and decided to get closer to the south part of Turks and Caicos to wait for the window needed for the leg to Luperon in the Dominican Republic. To do all the windward sailing we are also following Bruce Van Sant's book "The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South: The Thornless Path to Windward", a great book. Bruce recommends a stop at Big Ambergris, where there is a wide anchorage with good holding.
We had bought a paper chart from a local sailor that is living on board his sailboat and is doing a great job sounding all the reef area around these islands. With that and careful sailing while trying to read the reef we made our way towards Big Ambergris. It was hard to read the reef in the choppy seas and cloudy skies. By noon we had ESE winds around 20 knots which increased to 25 in the afternoon. After a hard day sailing among coral reefs we arrived at the anchorage, it was an open area quite choppy, but we decided to trust Bruce's recommendation.
A lonely area, with just another sailboat at anchor on Christmas Eve.
Oscar back after checking the anchor
Big Sand Cay - In paradise for a day - 26 to 27 December 2006 - (21.11.6N-71.15.0W)
It is hard to describe having paradise just to yourself. Yet, we are depressed this Christmas, it is usually a family feast for us and this year is quite different.
We did the 30 miles down from Big Ambergris with ESE winds, 15 to 20 and arrived to this place, just a big sandy beach with amazing clear waters. There is nobody around.
Diving for fish looks promising and Oscar goes hunting. There is a barracuda happily swimming behind Oscar, she realized somebody would get a nice fish for her. I was watching and found it funny that Oscar had company all the time. Oscar didn't think it was funny when he caught a fish and friendly barracuda came quickly to steal it from him.
Ms. Barracuda didn't leave Oscar's side even when he angrily pointed his gun to her, but it was hopeless, he didn't have the heart to kill her. After all, she had adopted Zenitude as her home.
Next day was a lazy one, at around 4.00 PM we raised anchor and left for an overnight trip to Luperon with Chris Parker's blessing. It was a perfect overnight trip with light winds. We were looking forward to spend New Year's Eve in the country were music plays 24 hours a day.
Guess what's for dinner tonight?