May 3rd to May 8th Turks and Caicos Islands

May 3rd The day was pretty uneventful, the weather was OK the wind was around 10 knots so conditions were quite pleasant.

We hooked up and caught a beautiful big Mahi Mahi, he was a good size, and the fillets were a lot bigger than the previous ones we caught. There is literally not room for one thing more in the freezers. We had a visit from a large group of dolphins which was lovely, they always bring a smile!


The only thing of interest during the night was a tug passing close by, his AIS said he was on anchor doing 7.9 knots! His name was Tug Big Ben.

Conditions through the night were good although there was no moon and it was very dark.




May 4th We made perfect timing to arrive at the entrance to the reef on the North side of Providenciales, where the marina send out a guide boat to guide us in. Thank goodness they do, it is so shallow and a few real dogs leg turns to get in, and a very narrow spot between 4 markers that they called on the VHF and said you must stay exactly in the centre.

The entrance to the river is also extremely narrow and shallow, but we made it OK and they gave us a side tie up berth at the very front of the marina. It’s not the nicest marina, old wooden docks and the main marina yard is dirt so every time a car drives by you get the dust cloud. It was $1.05 per foot plus water and electricity. For 2 nights it ended up costing us $176 US dollars.

As we were approaching the entrance Robbie said that looks like a Nordhavn 62, and it was. He called them up on the radio and said hello. They were on their way back to Florida. We can’t remember, but we think it was called Vonnie b or something similar. We were extremely thrilled to see Starlet anchored near the entrance and they followed a short time after us into the marina.

We docked and tied up, said a quick hello to Mark and Jennifer – so good to see them again, and then we got straight away into the jobs Robbie cleaned the outside and I cleaned the inside ready for Brad and Kristie whose flight arrives at 11am. We asked them to jump in a taxi as we knew we would either be cleaning or sleeping.

Just after 11.30am we had finished showered and the taxi arrived. It was very exciting and I did have a few tears, so good to see them both. We haven’t seen them since they joined us on the boat in Langkawi in December 2014. The only downfall is that only one of their bags arrived – Brad’s bag never showed up. This is quite stressful we have had it happen to us twice. Luckily I have a good stock of everything on the boat, new toothbrushes, deodorants, and all that kind of personal stuff. I had brought them both some new undies and a T shirt each and bits and pieces and Brad was able to fit Robbie’s board shorts so all was good.

Kristie phoned the airlines again from the marina office and they told her the bag will be delivered tomorrow, it was still in Fort Lauderdale!

Mark and Jennifer came over and we had a few drinks and a great catch up. We went for a short walk to check out the nearby restaurant but we decided to cook Mahi Mahi for everyone on Southern Star. Jennifer made 3 pound cakes for dessert and we cooked teeny tiny taties, Kristie made a lovely salad and Brad cooked the fish on our Bar-B-Q, coated it in fish mixture and it was absolutely beautiful. Jennifer brought a long tube of mini bottles of all different flavoured rums they had brought in ST Croix, and she showed us how to cut the slice of pound cake into 4 small pieces, and then pour a different flavoured rum one each piece! We also added some Pecan Ice Cream and it was delicious!

We had a great time but Robbie started to fall asleep at the table and I was battling to keep my eyes open so we sadly said farewell as Mark and Jennifer were leaving early in the morning to head to the Bahamas to meet Jennifer’s cousin.

May 5th I woke up and Jessie was calling us. It was bad news, Robbie’s Mum is in hospital again. Jessie had been up to see her so was giving us the details. She has been in terrible pain with her back and is struggling to breathe. We later found out she has a fracture in her back. We miss Nanny very much and wish we were there to help her. Unfortunately Robbie’s sister Gill who is fantastic and spends a lot of time with Nanny, has just gone to England for a month to spend with her son Ashton (yes Gill called her son, her maiden surname- isn’t that great) his wife Kerry and their two gorgeous boys Kynan and Jax. Robbie’s brother Ashy lives nearby though so that’s OK. There’s also lots of grandchildren around to help out.

I ran out to wave Goodbye to Jennifer and Mark as they had pulled off the dock, and then returned speaking to Jessie. Next minute Robbie says Shisen housen, something is wrong with Starlet I think they have run aground! Oh no, we didn’t have our duck off so couldn’t go to assist them, Robbie kept watching, he didn’t want to call on the radio at that time as he knew it was something serious. We just hoped they weren’t aground. It was only a couple of minutes it seemed and they were on their way again.

Robbie called Mark up later and found out what had happened. Snip/snap Jennifer’s Facebook post:

 At just after 7 AM we were in the narrow entrance channel when Starlet’s main engine abruptly stopped. I tried to start it again – nothing! Mark ran down to the engine room while I yelled to the marina guide boat that the engine had died. Starlet was slowly blown over to the rocky edge and came to rest. The guide boat handed me a line and pulled us off the rocks. Mark very quickly had Starlet’s engine running again and we were back underway. It was a heart pounding few minutes.



It was a close call and thank goodness no damage done but everyone got a fright. It is a very narrow entrance into the marina and has to be negotiated at high tide for boats like ours.

Robbie and Brad had a play with the drone in the marina yard and unfortunately it ended a bit bloody. Due to operator error the drone was about to do something he was a bit nervous about, so made the decision to grab for it, rather than let it go into the unknown and ended up with cut and bruised fingers.





We spent the rest of the morning doing a few jobs, Robbie made the most of having another male on board and had Brad doing all sorts of jobs. We had lunch on the boat and then the four of us went for a walk. We didn’t get very far and we found a nice waterfront bar who just happened to be playing a Liverpool Football game, in the European League, so we stayed to watch it. Robbie was in his element. The last time he tried to watch a Liverpool finals game we missed it by mucking up the time difference.

We wandered back to the boat and along the way came across a group of locals enjoying a few drinks on the cockpit of one of the charter boats, called “No Worries”. We got chatting, Robbie was asking about the fishing, we had a great chat with them and they were amused that the local friendly dolphin is known by the same name as me “JoJo”.

Brads bag turned up thank goodness and when he opened it he discovered that it had been opened and checked by the USA customs. They had left a card inside. Luckily they have the approved locks that the customs can open with a master key, so the bag can be locked again.

We cooked roast pork for dinner with all the trimmings home-made gravy and a big mixture of roast vegetables. Brad and Kristie have been travelling through Africa for 4 months and recently USA and are on a daily budget which hasn’t always stretched to good meals, their priority has been good accommodation. They were excited to be having a home cooked meal. Of course we had to get the obligatory game of 5oo underway also! Kristie has played before and Brad too but they were a little rusty and we had a few dummy runs. There’s nothing like a home cooked roast meal and a game of 500, and especially if your kids are there too! (well one out of 7 is not so bad!)

We all had a great time with a few drinks and Brad and Kristie opened their Christmas Present that Jessie had left on board for them.

 May 6th Robbie had a test drive of the new drone early this morning and mastered it with no injures today, and even got a great photo.

We checked out of the marina just after 8am and headed around to the west side of the island for a dive and or snorkel. We had a big cook up of bacon and eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and poached eggs. A hang over breakfast!

There was quite a swell running and it was not very comfortable so we had a swim and Brad and Kristie went for a big snorkel. The water is amazingly clear and blue but it was rough and no one was feeling very well so we headed back around to the North side of the island and went through the narrow channel again towards the marina, but anchored in 3m of water just off the channel.

Brad cooked steak on the Bar-B-Q and Kristie did stir fry vegetables – it was delicious and we are getting spoilt!

May 7th: We left the anchorage at 8am and headed over to the West side of the island for a dive. It was quite choppy but OK. It took a while to get there as we just ticked slowly over towing the duck behind us.













While Robbie, Brad and Kristie were preparing for the dive I started cooking mini quiches for lunch.












 I watched them head off down into the water and all that was left was the red safety float that Brad was towing so I could keep an eye on them.

By the time I got the quiches in the oven, did the dishes and had a tidy up and I was constantly looking out the side for the red float which I could quite happily see bopping along in the water, I thought I will go and sit up on the fly bridge and relax for a while, as I sat down I thought the float is coming closer and sure enough they were on their way back.

I could soon see the bubbles trail and up popped Robbie and Kristie, but where’s Brad I frantically ask – oh he found a Barracuda down there he wanted to get some photos of just below the boat. That gave me a bit of a fright but he soon popped up too.

They had a great dive and were amazed at the visibility. I forgot to give Robbie the camera so no photos from us. Brad got some though.

We enjoyed our lunch and they were going to do another dive so we went ticked down to the very bottom dive buoy, but the weather was deteriorating and everyone was quite tired so the decision was made to go back to the anchorage.

We took the duck into a wharf outside some of the hotels and tied up. The security guard had trouble understanding me and I was trying to get across that we were from the motor boat on anchor and we just wanted to have a drink. He went running off and came back with a life guard who was looking for someone in the water! Eventually Robbie got through to him what we wanted, and although we couldn’t have a drink or meal at their resort, he said we could leave the duck there and walk a few hundred metres down the beach to another resort where we could buy a drink.





Would you believe we met a couple from Toowoomba in Queensland on the beach? They recognised our “Aussie” accents. (That’s funny as I still have a Kiwi accent, and Robbie definitely has a Liverpool accent they must have heard Brad and Kristie!)

 











 It was a beautiful setting, and we had a couple of drinks, watched the sunset and headed back to the boat for dinner.

 



May 8th Had a wonderful mother’s day, a beautiful tropical fruit breakfast made by Robbie for us all and then we took the duck into the Turtle Cove Marina where we hired a car for the day and went on a discovery tour of the island.

We drove from the Marina heading East until we reached the Leeward end of the Island and then drove along the Leeward Highway until we reached the town centre and then drove down to Flamingo Lake hoping to spot some Flamingos. No such luck, however, the absolute stunning coastline scenery made up for it. There are some very large multi-million dollar homes on the waterfront, and although some of the roads are still dirt, it does not distract from the beauty of the colours, clarity and mouth opening beauty of the waters surrounding this island. It is surrounded by pristine reefs, crystal clear water and soft white sand. Pretty much my ideal island.

We drove back towards town the other side of the island with Brad spotting a Kalookis beach bar and restaurant. We wandered in and fell in love with the beachside setting, very pleasant ambience and we could even see Southern Star anchored in the very distance.

We had a lovely young local waitress, who actually earned her tip with her personality and service and she recommended the Conch (pronounced conk) which is a Calamari like texture and it comes in the lovely big shells with the pink lips. Robbie and Brad went with the Conch and Kristie and I had the Beef Burger, which was just like home made and delicious. We had a couple of drinks and felt very relaxed.

We then drove up to the North West point of the island and found even more stunning homes and outlook across the water which was scattered hundreds of tiny bush covered islands that would be incredibly beautiful to Kayak around.

Robbie got the drone out and had a play but still not game enough to venture over the water!

Then we did the boring job of getting a few groceries, which Kristie and I did while Robbie and Brad slept in the car.

Back to the boat where I was again spoilt by Brad and Kristie cooking a beautiful dinner of Mahi Mahi, salad and tiny taties.

 

 

 

 

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