Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caribbean Cruise - Grand Turk Island - Day 2 - 12/19/2012

Grand Turk Island is part of the Turks & Caicos Islands, a British Colony comprised of 40 islands and cays.  This is primarily another sun and surf island.  While the island has history, it is rather featureless.  Wildlife consists of stingrays and iguanas.

Our shore excursion today is a drive around the island.  The tour guide provides lots of interest facts about the island and the Caribbean.  The island is only seven miles long and 1.5 miles wide so it isn't a long drive.  By the way, Grand Turk also thinks that Columbus first landed here.

Grand Turk has a deep water port so we could get directly off the ship to shore.

Even the ship's Foremast was decorated for Christmas.

Party time.

We got signed up for our "safari" style tour.

Our first stop was the local market of course.  This island depends almost entirely on tourism for income.

At one time, salt was extracted from ocean water is containment ponds.  While this is still and ongoing business on other islands, it isn't here anyone.

Most of the people on many of the islands are poor.  As you drive, you see a mix of shanty homes and some very nice ones (probably owned by a non-native).

Sigrid beach-combing.  We didn't bring anything back.

A colorful fan coral.

The highlight of the island....the light house.

I don't know the story behind the dumped vehicles on the beach.  It reminded me of Million Dollar Point on Lugganville, Vanuatu in the South Pacific.  That is where the U. S. Army dumped all the surplus WWII vehicles into the ocean and beaches after the war.

A local HA employee collected samples of the sea life for us to view.  Here, he has a freshly collected conch.

He demonstrated how to remove the conch from it's shell.

Here is the meat...much more than I would have guess but not all of it is edible.  He trimmed it up and offered a taste for anyone interested.  This is only the second day of our cruise and I was not ready to risk eating raw conch just yet.

This is one of the benign sea urchins that he is handing to Sigrid.  You can see the conch pieces in his hand.

A Sea Cucumber relieves itself on a passenger.....its only sea water.

This Spiny Urchin is dangerous is you get stuck....very painful.

Many of the islands have wild donkeys.  The donkeys were introduced to the islands by the Spainards as work animals.

Our safari bus....not real comfortable on the extremely bumpy roads.  We were really dirty by the time we got back.

Grand Turks other claim to fame is that John Glenn landed near here after his historic orbital flight in 1962.  They named a road after Glenn at the airport.

Shopping time for Sigrid.  We are not souvenir hounds or shoppers but she did want to get a nice T-shirt and a gift for daughter Corrine.  Sigrid spends a lot of time looking before she buys.  I can't tell if it is indecision or just being very selective with her purchases.  This is Day 2 of the cruise.  Lets just say the we were still looking on Day 20 and getting desperate enough to see what the ship's stores had for sale.

The next stop is the Dominican Republic tomorrow.

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