November 18: After a tantalizing but very brief look at Grand Turk last week, I was even more excited about donning scuba gear for a look at the world-famous coral reef.
The Carnival Liberty approaches the Grand Turk dock just in front of us, at 10:18am.
It’s a teeny place with little elevation, but there appeared to be some interesting architecture, and the water colour is simply stunning.
The dive and snorkel boats owned by the company that operates the ship tours were ready to go as we sailed by. I chose to go with a small independent operator, Blue Water Divers – not until about a couple of weeks ago did they get enough divers to go out for 2 consecutive dives, but the office manager has been great about keeping me informed.
The lineup to get off the ship was very long, with only one gangway open.
On Grand Turk there are 2 things to do – dive or drink. Most of our fellow passengers chose the latter so getting a cab into town was easy – it’s $5 per person each way. On the way I learned that there was a murder on the Liberty the night before she got to St. Thomas.
Blue Water’s snorkel boat heads out as the dive boat arrives.
Off we go – it’s a 5-minute ride to the coral reef. I was the first one in the water and was immediately blown away by the conditions – crystal-clear water and abundant life in fairly shallow waters (45-80 feet).
The first dive was incredible, but the other fellow who was going to make two dives pulled a muscle so couldn’t go down again. Jessie and Nat had no problem going out with just me, though. Jessie is from Campbell River, BC (and was taught to dive by a fellow who’s now in Whitehorse), and Nat is newly-arrived from Kenya.
Nat and I went down in a new area, and spent about 20 minutes with a turtle. I don’t have a dive camera so bought this image from Bigstock to show you what it looked like.
I’ve been snorkeling in the Caribbean and have always been underwhelmed by the location. This was my first Caribbean diving, and Grand Turk is what I’ve been looking for – truly a National Geographic day!
This former bar was destroyed when Hurricane Tomas hit 2 weeks ago.
I went for a beer in a local beachfront bar and chatted with some locals for a while, then grabbed a cab that was passing by. The driver was a chatty fellow and the drive back was very interesting.
Among the sites we passed was this lovely church.
Loose horses and burros are apparently commonly seen.
Margaritaville was where most people went, and it was still going strong when I walked by.
Old rocker Rick Springfield was on the Destiny and about 500 people (almost all women) were signed on to this “theme cruise”. Some of the door decorations meant to attract Rick’s attention were pretty cool.
Tomorrow we’re at sea all day, then we disembark at Miami for a 4-day resort stay before flying home.