SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE:
Part 1, Grand Turk
By Pam Asberry
I love everything about cruising, from the first glimpse of the flipper on top of a Carnival cruise ship
to the fruity, frosty welcome-aboard cocktail
to having an excuse to unplug from the cell phone and electronic media for a few days.
Our last cruise adventure started at Port Lauderdale, Florida and took us to four islands in the southern Caribbean. Our first stop? Grand Turk.
I like to start early port days with breakfast in the room. Grand Turk was no exception. My favorite: bagels, cream cheese and lox.
Once off the ship, we hopped on an air-conditioned bus for our ship-sponsored shore excursion, The Grand Turk Experience.
Driving north through Cockburn Town, we passed by the old U.S. Air Force facility and a roadside monument to John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission (Glenn splashed down a short distance off shore and came to the island to be debriefed on his 1962 mission) as well as the lovely Saint Thomas Anglican Church. The oldest church on Grand Turk, it was built in 1823 by Bermudan settlers.
Continuing on into the town of Salina, or “salt pit,” Our first stop was the Salt House Museum, built in 2007 to provide visitors to Grand Turk with an understanding of the importance of salt mining in Grand Turk’s history. Built in the style of a typical salt shed, the museum contains a wealth of information on the history of salt mining in the area. The museum also features a cafe and gift shop that sells salt-based products and other souvenirs.
Continuing up the length of the island, we reached Grand Turk’s iconic Lighthouse. Constructed in England, shipped in pieces to the island, and erected by British architect Alexander Gordon in 1852, it was was built to alert sailors of the nearby shallow reef. Since modernized, it still protects the capital island of the Turks and Caicos and is a prized historic site protected by the National Trust.
Visitors are not allowed into the lighthouse, but from the adjacent park grounds, we took in some some spectacular views of the Atlantic from the cliff’s top pathways
and made acquaintance with a few of the tame donkeys that live on the grounds.
Next on the itinerary was the Bohio Diving Resort situated on Pillory Beach, highly recommended for its powdery sand and smaller waves and less crowded than nearby Governors Beach. The beach chairs set us back $10 apiece and a local brew cost $7, but the luxury was worth the price.
When our time at the beach was up, the bus returned us to the port, where Rock Star and I made one last stop: Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, located on the Carnival Cruise Center.
We treated ourselves to a local snack
and amused ourselves watching the antics of all the revelers on the beach.
The promise of a gourmet meal in the dining room and an evening of entertainment took some of the sting out of saying good-bye to Grand Turk – not to mention the knowledge that we would be spending the next two days on other beautiful tropical island. Come back next Friday to and visit La Romana and Curacao with us!