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Diving, fishing, beaches lovely in salty Turks & Caicos

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Easy access to best marina

The beaches in Turks & Caicos are beautiful, and there are a lot of them.

The main town is Providenciales, or Provo for short. It has two marinas: Turtle Cove and Blue Haven Marina. Turtle Cove requires you to follow a guy in a dingy through all of the sandbars, 90-degree turns and coral heads.

Blue Haven, which is an IGY marina, is new with floating docks that are positioned to manage the current when it comes through Leeward Cut. The Cut is much easier to deal with than Turtle Cove. It’s a straight cut that now has markers, but yachts might be limited by draft of 8 or 9 feet.

The diving all around the islands is great. West Caicos is world renowned for great diving on the wall. The northwest point has great surfing all winter.

Photo from Kay Mellinger, IGY Marinas

Photo from Kay Mellinger, IGY Marinas

There are a number of high-end resorts and excellent restaurants, plus some typical Caribbean restaurants. So guests can enjoy the beachy thing with conch or they can go for white tablecloth, elegant Colonial.

Outside of Provo, it’s best to go with a guide because there are lots of barrier reefs and coral heads. But the whole place has amazing bays and beautiful beaches with nobody on them for those who are willing to adventure and explore a little bit. A lot of it, though is too shallow to anchor in.

I once lived at the dock where Blue Haven is now. I met Jimmy Buffett there and gave him a ride to Pine Cay to go fishing.

The reefs are still as beautiful as they were then. Big boats can come into Blue Haven, but I suggest leaving the boat at the dock or anchor in the cut behind Water Cay, which has good holding. The reefs there are fantastic, and they are easy to dive on. Crew can build a bonfire on the beach for guests, and there’s bone fishing right out from the marina. Needless to say, the game fishing around here is fantastic as well.

At end of Pine Cay is where the pirate Anne Bonny used to hang out between raids. Mary Read, too. They were buddies. The legend of anne and mary.

A great trip is to have a guide take you for a trip to Bottle Creek. It’s a full-day trip to North Caicos where the waters are crystal clear, there are sandbars to park on, and the wall reef is easily accessible.

What put Turks & Caicos on the map was its ability to create salt, which was like gold. There were lots of ponds and pools. Cockburn Town on Grand Turk, the capital of the country, restored a salt-raking facility and now it’s a boutique business. They offer tours that guests love.

South of Grand Turk is Salt Cay. There is nothing there but birds and a beach. And nobody else. It’s absolutely stunning. The wreck of the British frigate HMS Endymion from 1790 is south of Salt Cay. On an average day, there’s 100-plus feet of clarity in the water.

Check with the fisheries department on where to anchor and where not to, as officers will enforce it.

— Capt. Herb Magney

Photo from Kay Mellinger, IGY Marinas

Photo from Kay Mellinger, IGY Marinas

‘Awesome’ Blue Haven Marina makes visiting easy

The new Blue Haven Marina and Resort are awesome and a beautiful transient stop heading north or south with easy entry and departure. Customs and immigration are very nice and accommodating. The other two marinas are for smaller and lesser-draft vessels.

South Side Marina is nice for vessels with 5-foot or less draft, and has a great top-of-the-hill bar with super hospitality and awesome views. Visual navigation is necessary for all of the bank side cruising. Do follow the preferred route course lines if you want to stay out of trouble. (Visit the 80-foot Ferretti “bed and breakfast” to check out what a not-so-prudent captain left behind.)

The marina development on southwest point this summer had not been completed and is at a standstill.

There are marine stores, supermarkets and small casinos on the islands. The restaurants at the marinas are the best bet for excellent cuisine.

— Capt. Bob Terrell

 

Find the glow worms to make a memory

All guests to Turks & Caicos should visit the glow worms on a full moon. It happens on the bank in the area of the Fort George Land and Sea Park where, in some monthly mating ritual just after a full moon, all these glow worms pop up in shallow water and put out their “signal” to other worms. Very bizarre and accessible by kayak and small tenders.

And there’s a friendly wild porpoise nearby that will swim up to yachts at anchor. Guests and crew have been known to get in the water and swim with it.

— Capt. Michael J. Mullen

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