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2008 November 12 - After Hurricane Ike

First Visit


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2010 Yellowstone and Hawaii & 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & Celebrity Cruise 2010 & 2013 Disney B2B & 2011 Back to Back Enchantment of the Seas and Lighthousing Driving South & 2011 A Marine graduation, and B2B on Pride & 2011 Alaska & 2013 Maasdam cruise & Antigua and Montserrat & 2007 The Sparkling Emerald Isle & 2014-St Croix & 2016 A Family Reunion and a Wedding & 2009 Baltic Cruise & 2012 Trip to Australia & Five Visits to Barbados & Bermuda & 2015 Compo and Doc Martin & 2015 Costa Rica (plus 1996 and 2008) & 2014 - Visit to Vermont & 2014 - Texas & 2016-Carnival Sunshine & 2016 Tulip Cruise & 2008 Panama Canal & Grand Turk on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

In 2008, we were on one of the first cruise ships in to Grand Turk after Hurricane Ike. In the days before the cruise, I had doubts about whether we would be able to visit at all. But they had rebuilt the cruise ship pier. Even though the children were going to school in a tent. and many buildings were still in ruins, the islanders had coped. Instead of a building at the lighthouse offering drinks, there was a lady with a cooler selling cold drinks. The roads had been cleared and the residents were getting on with their lives. I was impressed with their industry and energy.

Trashed satellite receivers near the lighthouse - Grand Turk

Trashed satellite receivers near the lighthouse - Grand Turk

This is the narrative of that first visit

I was able to send and receive email OK in the computer lounge yesterday (even without the help of the computer person who I have not seen since the first day) and was on the internet about 20 minutes. I remembered where there was a plug from the Maasdam - it was in the baseboard next to one of the little tables in the library. When I got down on my hands and knees to plug the computer in, all kinds of people rushed to see if I was ok. I think this interesting because on THIS HAL cruise they haven't hidden the old people. We are everywhere. But I don't see people offering to help any of them with anything. While I was doing the internet Bob went to the show.

November 12, 2008

We got up early today, and went up to the Lido for breakfast because the dining room wasn't open yet. I got some raisin bread (the bread is very good), a hard boiled egg (which they served in the shell - hot - in a little cup), a piece of pineapple and some oatmeal. And of course cranberry juice. A guy came and took my tray and ushered me to a seat by the window. There were orchids on the table. Bob had to fend for himself. He had raisin bran and scrambled eggs. Right afterwards I went down to the excursion desk to ask about the hop-on-hop-off bus which they had taken off the excursion list and they said that I'd have to ask the Port person who would be at the gangway. Who as I found out did not know anything, and also the write-up of Grand Turk is completely out of date for after the hurricane.

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We went up for Team Trivia before 10 and I logged on and sent emails while I was waiting. This time we did not do as well as before, although I was able to think of the name of the general who was infamous for supplying his troops with prostitutes (Gen. Hooker), and I also knew the number of lanes in an Olympic pool. We didn't take Bob's suggestion for the island that the Japanese attacked after Pearl Harbor (Philippines) and got that wrong, and I wanted to say that it was Dudley DoRight's horse that was named Horse, but they said Gumby instead. OTOH, they took Geo. Halas as the first coach of the Bears to win a Super Bowl and it wasn't him, it was Ditka. We ended up with 12 right out of 20, and I think the winner had 16.

We were supposed to get to Grand Turk at noon, but we were coming in during Trivia, so right afterwards I went out and took pictures. I did get some photos of the lighthouse. I was so anxious to get ashore to find out how I could get to the lighthouse itself that I took two rolls and two slices of bread from the buffet. But Bob refused to eat them, so I ate them.

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One of the things I love to do is watch the ship come into port and take photos of the shore from the ship. It is like an appetizer to whet your appetite for the main meal. In 2008, I took a lot of photos of the shore while the ship was docked. Of course I wanted to get photos of the lighthouse from the sea, and I was also worried about the possible hurricane damage at the port

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The Port person said to go to the information desk and ask about a taxi. There was no information desk.

The Statendam

The Statendam

We bought hats for ourselves - I lost my good hat in Curacao and left the one with a chin strap to keep it from blowing off that I bought there on our boat. Bob bought a straw one and I bought a fabric one.

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We saw the little (smaller than a reasonable sized science fair project) information booth, but there was no one there. We walked out to the taxi stand and they said to go back to the booth and look for someone in a green shirt.

The man (in a cream shirt) eventually came to the booth and he explained that his tour was an hour and included the lighthouse and would be $19 each. A taxi out to the lighthouse and back would be $18 each ($9 each way) So we opted for the tour which would leave in 20 minutes. The tour would have cost $39 each from the ship. I wanted to get Bob something to eat, so we walked over to Margaretaville.

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I ordered conch soup which I thought would be fast, but Bob ordered a fish sandwich. And it didn't come quickly enough for us so we took it with us.
Bob started to eat his sandwich, but it wasn't to his taste and he was afraid it would have spoiled without refrigeration while we were on our tour, so he threw it out

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We walked back to the stand and they gave us wrist bands. I drank my soup (I had to put some ice cubes in it to get it cool enough to drink and I spilled some of it on my dress) and we walked to the bus. I got on and sat by the window in what must have been the smallest seat on the bus. The distance between the back of the seat and the back of the next seat was exactly the distance from my hips to my knees.
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Anyway the tour included a narrative by the driver (also the person who sold us the tickets), and he explained about the original salt ponds

and how things were after Hurricane Ike (category 4). Apparently the British Navy came in for the recovery and ordered 300 body bags - they didn't have to use any of them. You can see that there is extensive damage to the island, but the roads are cleared now, people are getting their homes back together, and the shops at the dock are about half back in business

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We went out to the lighthouse, and Bob took one of the cameras and walked out to the end of the property and took pictures, while I took pictures from between the lighthouse and the bus. Originally there was an admission charge, but there was no one to take the money.

This rare early cast iron lighthouse was partly restored and reactivated in 1998. The focal plane is 33 m (108 ft) with a white flash every 7.5 seconds. Located at the northern tip of Grand Turk Island, the lighthouse is accessible by road.

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The rust showing on the lighthouse is because this is a cast iron tower (designed by Alexander Gordon) which was prefabricated in London by Chance Brothers. The lighthouse dates back to 1852. It was constructed mainly at the insistence of Americans who had salt trading ships visiting the island.
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When it was built, the lighthouse cost £4 100. It featured 8 Argand type whale oil lamps with reflectors which magnified the light to 450 times its original intensity. Gordon called it “a grand sea light” but in the first four decades of its use wrecks continued along with complaints that the light was either not lit or too dim. In 1943 Chance Brothers installed a Fresnel lens and kerosene light which had a visibility at sea in excess of 15 miles.

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In 2006, Carnival Cruise line repainted and refurbished the lighthouse, keeper's cottage, and other light station buildings as a part of a plan to develop Grand Turk as a regular stop for cruise ships. Cruise ships offered hop on-hop off bus tours that included the light station and the town. However, since the hurricane the bus just gives a tour of the island (there's no town to stop at yet). The tour does stop at the lighthouse. You can't climb the lighthouse but you can buy water and snacks there and there is a trail with informational signs.

Before the 2008 hurricane (Ike), there was a lighthouse keeper's house and kitchen plus a kerosene storage house here and the 4º Fresnel lens which was removed from the lighthouse in 1971 when it became electrified was on display at the Turks and Caicos National Museum. But most buildings on the island (including the museum and the buildings at the lighthouse) were destroyed or severely damaged by the hurricane. At that time, instead of a building with a shaded patio to have a snack or cool drink, there is a lady who sells water and drinks from a cooler under a tree. In November 2008, there was no fee to visit the lighthouse.

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The north end of the island where the Grand Turk Lighthouse is situated is a good place to spot whales in February and March. The Lighthouse area also provides some shade, a picnic area. We didn't get a chance to whale watch because we have only been to Grand Turk in November

The lighthouse hill overlooks North Creek, an inland body of water or lake that a growing number of historians argue is the closest fit to the description that Columbus gave for the island that he first encountered on his 1492 voyage to the New World. Bob took photos out there too

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John (the guide) said that the Turks and Caicos got their names from the Turk's head cactus which was endemic to the islands,

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and the word Caicos meant something like 'island chain'. He said they had one of the smallest international airports in the world. Most people fly into Provo and get another plane from there. We got back and went to sit on the beach and then we went back aboard. They offered me a ride on a golf cart down the pier, which I took. We were back on the boat by about 1400.

When we went to dinner, we were seated with a youngish Canadian couple and an older couple (Ellie and John) from Cleveland. John said he had researched on the internet about Grand Turk and decided to go snorkeling on his own - he said much of the beach accessible reef had been destroyed. He also said that in the San Blas Islands, we could go snorkeling if we could negotiate a dugout canoe.

For dinner, I had mushroom chorizo strudel, chilled pear, cucumber and melon gazpacho (which was citrusy but not spicy - more sweet than real gazpacho), salmon piccata Milanese with Linguini (with cheese on top and broccoli on the side), and chocolate tart with berries compote (a kind of chocolate pie). Bob had the Panama fruit medley, sweet potato soup, and sirloin steak which he said was good

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Bob went to show tonight too - it was a John Denver show, which he said was good. Of course the theatre floor is flat which means you can't see from there very well.
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Our towel animal tonight was a swan.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:11 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged lighthouse turks_and_caicos ike grand_turk Comments (0)

2016 November 2 - Segway, Snorkel and Museum

Eight Years Later- How Much Has Changed!!


View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2015 Costa Rica (plus 1996 and 2008) & 2016-Carnival Sunshine & Grand Turk on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

I visited Grand Turk a second time on the Carnival Sunshine with my friend Lynde.
We came from the Dominican Republic

If all you want to do is shop or lie on the beach you might never leave the Cruise Center. Or you might just stay on the ship and not get off at all. I try not to judge those people, but it is difficult.

Turks head cactus at dock - Grand Turk

Turks head cactus at dock - Grand Turk

At least look at the Turks Head Cactus at the entrance to the Duty Free shop - that's what gives the Turks part of Turks and Caicos their name. If you went out in town you might spot the cruise ship company building which has a Turks Head on top of it

Turks Head building - Grand Turk

Turks Head building - Grand Turk

Today we got a 6:30 wake up call and we got room service again. Lynde helped me into my bathing suit and then left on her Segway tour. I was to meet her on the dock at 11 for the Snuba. I had never done Snuba and would like to try it. I did not plan go back out to the lighthouse, but I did want to visit the museum which was not open right after Hurricane Ike. I thought I would do this after we did the Snuba.

Quieter beach south of the dock

Quieter beach south of the dock


Looking down on the dock

Looking down on the dock

I went ashore to see what there was in the cruise center and stopped by the booth where the Snuba and the Segway people were,
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and the lady there told me that Snuba had just been canceled as it was too rough and we wouldn't see anything. I think it was probably really because not enough people signed up as they were snorkeling in the morning. Lynde has been wanting to snorkel this whole trip and has not been able to, so I really wanted to give her a chance to do that. So I went over to the snorkel booth and they said all their tours were leaving by 9 and there were no afternoon tours. Then I went to where the guy who dispatches the taxis was and asked him and he said we could go to Pillory Beach and rent equipment there. I went down to the Carnival beach (right at the port and free to get to) and saw that they rented snorkel equipment there too.

Since I wasn't going to Snuba, I went back to the ship - I double checked with them to see whether Snuba was canceled (and it was). I and took off my bathing suit and re-organized my bag (took out the towel) and got my big camera (I just had the underwater camera and my cell phone), and also took my cane. The first building you come to after you walk down the pier is the duty free shops. This inside area is air conditioned. You will have to show an ID to get back to out on the dock to get back to the ship.

Entrance to duty free shops

Entrance to duty free shops


I went back out and looked around in the port area a bit. In the air-conditioned building you can buy rum, watches, and Doufry pocketbooks. In 2008, Bob and I bought hats here because I had lost mine, and he forgot his.
Tax and Duty Free sunglasses and watches

Tax and Duty Free sunglasses and watches

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Useful cloth bags

Useful cloth bags

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water for sale

water for sale


You can also buy water (sarcasm mode on) at the bargain price of 2 bottles for $3.00. (sarcasm mode off ) I guess some people don't mind spending their money on water even though most of it isn't really any better than what they get from the tap (unless you live in Michigan). The ship usually has RO water (reverse osmosis) which is very clean and free from chemicals and you can fill a bottle from the tap in the bathroom for free.

Liquor - 50% of - $51/bottle

Liquor - 50% off - $51/bottle


Baileys at the Welcome Center which you can buy anywhere

Baileys at the Welcome Center which you can buy anywhere


There is rum for sale in the Welcome Center, but if you buy rum there you are missing the best rum buy on your cruise. Bambarra Rum. You can't find it in the United States This rum takes its name from a slave ship that washed up in the 1800s. Its products are blends of sugarcane rum that come in several options ranging from black and gold to coconut — and many are award-winning. Go out in town and buy the locally made Bambarra Rum. The rum can be found at shops throughout the island, or swing by the Grand Turk Liquor store on Pond Street in Cockburn Town.

There are also individual shops -Harley Davidson, Star Wars andothers
Star Wars shirts

Star Wars shirts

Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson

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I looked around in those shops too. I thought of buying Jim my son-in-law a shirt from Piranha Joes'

Pirana Joe T-shirts

Pirana Joe T-shirts

but his name isn't Joe so I didn't. Grand Turk is really not a big shopping port.

I also asked how much it would be to rent a car ($65) You will need a valid driver's license.
map of port - Taxis marked T. The car rental center is location 23 on the map of the cruise center

map of port - Taxis marked T. The car rental center is location 23 on the map of the cruise center

I asked where the Segway people would come back to and it was where the taxis were dispatched from. So I went there and waited. (And took a photo of the taxi map and rates)
There are four zones. The rates are one way per person
Zone A - where the cruise center is at the southern end of the island. $4
Zone B - Cockburn Town $5
Zone C - Pillory Beach (one of the premier snorkeling and diving beaches) $8
Zone D - The Lighthouse $9

Most of the time the taxi dispatcher will try to get you into a group of people all going the same place or to take a pre-set tour of the island in one of the big vans for $25 apiece. Or they will want you to go to Cockburn Town in a group ($5 each to go and $5 each to come back)

Taxi zone map

Taxi zone map


Taxi rates

Taxi rates

When Lynde came back I told her the news, and asked whether she wanted to snorkel here, ($16 rental), go to Pillory Beach ($8 taxi each way plus unknown rental but she would probably see more interesting stuff), or just go and have a tour with me. She opted to go and snorkel right here.

She went back and changed into a two piece suit and when she got back, I gave her the underwater camera and some minimal snorkeling instruction, and left her to it. She actually saw some fish, and apparently the swim area goes out past the drop-off and she could see the top part of the 'wall' there.
Photo taken on the beach - Grand Turk

Photo taken on the beach - Grand Turk


Sand under the water - Grand Turk

Sand under the water - Grand Turk

Fish  - Grand Turk

Fish - Grand Turk

More fish - Grand Turk

More fish - Grand Turk

Bigger fish - Grand Turk

Bigger fish - Grand Turk

Meanwhile, I went to try to get a cab out to town. They wanted me to take a tour, in one of the big vans for $25. But the lady who was dispatching the vans eventually gave in. She said I could not use the scooter in the cemeteries (which was partly wrong) and I knew I could not use it in the museum which was not handicapped accessible at all.

She called a lady named Rosemary and told her what I wanted.

And Rosemary actually gave me a tour of town (pretty much what Lynde had on the Segway tour I think). The airport is right by the cruise ship terminal

Low flying aircraft sign - Grand Turk

Low flying aircraft sign - Grand Turk


Entrance to the airport from the road - Grand Turk

Entrance to the airport from the road - Grand Turk


Airport sign

Airport sign

Although it is an International Airport, most planes go first to Providenciales. A domestic flight from there to Grand Turk will probably be about $150 per round-trip. Ironically, the airport was named for James Alexander George Smith McCartney who was was the island territory's first Chief Minister until 9 May 1980, when he died in a plane crash over New Jersey.

John Glenn capsule at the entrance to the airport from the road

John Glenn capsule at the entrance to the airport from the road


In 1962, John Glenn splashed down just a mile or two off the coast of Grand Turk, and spent his first couple of days here. He is quoted as saying that he spotted the 40 coral islands from space. There was a reconstruction of John Glenn's capsule out by the airport.
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Rosemary drove me up past where we could see the salt pond that was in the middle of the island.
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Sign pointing to Governor's Beach

Sign pointing to Governor's Beach


Grand Turk has some excellent beaches on it's western coast. Most notable is Governor's Beach, located a short distance from the Grand Turk Cruise Center. Within Columbus Landfall National Park, it has wonderful snorkeling opportunities and great picnic spots underneath shady pines. It's also located near the Grand Turk Cruise Center, which makes it a popular day destination for passengers. All accesses to the beach are free. You may need to bring your own snorkeling equipment, but a dive shop can supply diving equipment. All beaches are public, including beaches in front of resorts and private residences. Be extremely careful of boat traffic. Some banana boat and other wake ride operators, some of which are unlicensed and uninsured are reckless. Being hit by a boat will most likely kill you. Fishing without a license or in National Parks is illegal and carries significant fines and possible jail time. This includes collecting conch and lobster.

North of Governor's Beach is Cockburn Town Beach
Cockburn Beach  outside the sea wall

Cockburn Beach outside the sea wall


The Cockburn Town Beach offers beautiful white sand, clear water, and a British Colonial Architecture backdrop.
The beach is quite narrow, and there can be a bit of surf when the ocean swell is high. Due to seawalls, jetties and docks, Cockburn Beach is broken into many small beaches. Front Street and Queen’s Street which run right along the ocean allow for easy access and parking on the northern section of the beach. On the southern end, Duke Street follows the ocean one small block back from the beach
The access near the Sandbar Restaurant on Duke Street offers convenient parking and what is probably the best snorkelling in the area.

Pillory Beach is north of Cockburn town. The Bohio Dive Resort is located on Grand Turk's Pillory Beach, one of the most celebrated diving beaches in the world The eastern coast, Long Beach, is a 3.7 mile (6 km) sandy beach. However, due to it's location it has seaweed and other debris scattered across it, and the water is usually choppy. It's nice for walking and excellent for beach combing, but not good for swimming. On the southern tip of the island are Boaby Rock Point and White Sands Beach.

Waterfront - Grand Turk

Waterfront - Grand Turk


Queen or Front Street

Queen or Front Street


Sea Wall

Sea Wall

National Museum sign - Grand Turk

National Museum sign - Grand Turk

Rosemary then took me to the museum and waited while I went inside.
Admission: General $7 – Cruise Ship Visitors $5 – Hotel Guests $5. Children (under 12 accompanied by an adult) Free

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There were two floors - upstairs were the displays on human history in the Turks and Caicos, from Indian occupations starting at 700 AD right up to modern times, the arrival of John Glenn after his historic three-orbit space flight in 1962. They also have a Natural History gallery with displays on the Geology of the Turks and Caicos and Reef and Island Ecology.. I did not go up there as I did not want to try the stairs. The museum is not handicapped accessible. Even on the ground floor, there are thresholds to step over

I concentrated on the ground floor which was about the Molasses Reef shipwreck. A man gave me a talk about the history of the island, and then there was a 15 minute film about the shipwreck - who discovered it and what it was.

One estimate is that there are over 1000 shipwrecks in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Only two shipwrecks in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands have been properly recorded. These are the Molasses Reef Shipwreck and HMS Endymion.

The Museum’s first floor is dedicated to what archaeologists, scientists, and historians of the National Museum have found out about the Molasses Reef Shipwreck. Since I can't climb stairs very well, this was the part of the museum that I explored.

About 1513, on a reef located on the southern fringe of the Caicos Bank some 20 miles south of the island of Providenciales, a ship sank. This ship, known only as the Molasses Reef Wreck, is the oldest European shipwreck excavated in the Western Hemisphere.

For over 450 years, the wreck sat on the reef apparently undisturbed after its loss. In the mid-1970s, a pair of treasure hunters discovered it. Through their rudimentary knowledge of ordnance, they concluded that the wreck was not the usual galleon wreck sought by treasure hunters, but an earlier vessel from the late 1490s or early 1500s.

Based on this information, they leaped to the conclusion they had discovered the wreck of Columbus’ ship Nina, a wreck whose fame was worth more than any treasure cargo. This unfounded claim, however, backfired on the treasure hunters. The Turks & Caicos National Government recognized that the wreck, Nina or not, was one of the oldest wrecks ever found in the Western Hemisphere and took over management of the site on the basis of legislation passed in 1974.

After several false starts, Government finally contracted with underwater archaeologists from Texas A&M University to excavate the wreck in 1980. The Texas team, led by Dr. Donald H. Keith, began work in 1981, but not before a team of rogue treasure seekers dynamited the wreck on the assumption that old shipwrecks must carry treasure. In addition to damaging the site, the looters stole a number of artifacts. Recently, a verso (a type of wrought-iron ordnance) came to light in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; it had been stolen from the wreck site at the time of the bombing.

Dr. Keith’s team excavated the Molasses Reef Wreck between 1981 and 1986. This careful excavation comprised only about only one tenth of the total project time. The job of conserving and identifying all the objects recovered from the wreck were the major tasks.The Museum houses the complete assembly of conserved artifacts from this famous wreck, the earliest European shipwreck yet excavated in the New World. The collection includes:
•cannons and shot
•wooden hull pieces
•surgical implements
•bowls and storage jars
•carpentry tools
•metal portions of the rigging
•tailoring tools

There is an interesting video tape of about 15 minutes.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government, along with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, The National Trust and the National Museum are given the task to protect the wrecks and to prohibit any work that will ruin or corrupt the site and that would limit the potential scientific recovery of the information from the wrecks at a later date.

There is speculation that this was the wreck of the Pinta - Columbus lost a ship on every expedition to the New World and the Pinta was one of them. But all that they could say for certain was that it was a ship like the Pinta and from that time in history.

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They had an exhibit showing the sea floor as it was when the wreck was discovered. If you pressed a button labeled (for example) canon, the place where the canon were would light up.

Lights on the diorama - Grand Turk

Lights on the diorama - Grand Turk

Diorama of The Wreck Of The Pinta?

Diorama of The Wreck Of The Pinta?


7741653-Mapping_the_site_Grand_Turk.jpgExcavating the site  - Grand Turk

Excavating the site - Grand Turk


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Conservation explained - Grand Turk

Conservation explained - Grand Turk

There was also a viewing port in the floor to look at the structure of Guinep House which was the building that houses the museum.
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It is named after the large Guinep tree that dominates the front of the building. It is unclear when the building was constructed but recently part of the Guinep tree fell down. Museum staff have counted the rings in the trunk and have identified signs of it being around 180 years old. It is probable that the house was built first and then the tree was encouraged to grow. The timber for the beams and roof support most likely came from shipwrecks, or ships broken up here, and this is clearly indicated by one of the major structural supports, which is an old ships mast.

It is free to go to the museum shop (as is the case with most shops for attractions with an admission fee). This is a very nice little shop with local crafts
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The craft of weaving baskets using local wild palms and grasses has been passed down from one generation to another in Grand Turk. Today, baskets (as well as miniature sailboats and hats) are for sale at the Middle Caicos Coop, but also at the National Museum. So one of the best things to buy here are these woven grass items.There are also, note cards, post cards, dive helmet paperweight, and TCI patches

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There is even a 'Kids Corner' with children's books and stuffed animals. There is one about a donkey called "Where is Simon Sandy? The story of the little donkey that wouldn't quit" ( local story that has been passed down through the generations)
Simon Sandy model outside the museum

Simon Sandy model outside the museum


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Old style phone booth outside the National Museum - Grand Turk

Old style phone booth outside the National Museum - Grand Turk


After I finished in the museum, Rosemary showed me around Cockburn Town

Tips

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:56 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Comments (0)

2016-November (second part) Heading for the Cemeteries

Exploring Cockburn Town


View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2015 Costa Rica (plus 1996 and 2008) & 2016-Carnival Sunshine & Grand Turk on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Cockburn Town and Grand Turk are not just a cruise ship port. They are important in their own right.

Signature Clock Tower

Signature Clock Tower

Cockburn town is a very small town even though it is the capitol of the country. It is relatively unspoiled by the influx of cruise ship passengers, because most of them stay around the cruise port. The town is named after Sir Francis Cockburn, who was governor of the Bahamas in the early 1800s. Cockburn Town is the oldest permanent settlement in the country.

Turks and Caicos Coat of Arms

Turks and Caicos Coat of Arms

Originally the town grew up in the area because of the sea salt industry that once operated on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
Town Salina (town salt pond)

Town Salina (town salt pond)


At a time when salt was a valuable commodity, the natural shallow ponds in the Turks and Caicos were easy to adapt for the evaporation of ocean water. My guide pointed out a place where there were sluice gates which could be opened to control the level of the water in the salt ponds.

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There is no longer salt production here, but there is a small salt museum called Salt House. Exhibits here talk about the ships that were used to build the industry, a tour of the salt canals, and a visit to a working windmill replica.

The gift shop is an outpost of Salt Cay Salt Works, which sells handmade soaps, bath salts, culinary salts and premier cooking salt (fleur de sel, or finishing salt) made from organic sea salt that forms naturally on the small remote island of Salt Cay, located just south of Grand Turk.

If you like the off-beat, you can also tour the prison.
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Cockburn Town is the capital of the country. The government buildings of the country such as the Supreme Court building, Turks and Caicos House of Assembly, the Treasury Building, and the Governor's Residence are right here on Grand Turk. In addition to the main government buildings, there are subsidiary buildings such as the Tourist Board, the Integrity Commission, the National Museum, the post office, the prison, and the Division Headquarters of the Royal Police Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

Integrity Commission - Grand Turk

Integrity Commission - Grand Turk

Division Headquarters - Royal Police Force - Grand Turk

Division Headquarters - Royal Police Force - Grand Turk


Tourist Board - Grand Turk

Tourist Board - Grand Turk


Hon. L. Headly Durham building  - Grand Turk

Hon. L. Headly Durham building - Grand Turk

Grand Turk is connected to the outside world and the internet
Digicel building - Grand Turk

Digicel building - Grand Turk

Cell tower - Grand Turk

Cell tower - Grand Turk

Cannons defending a satellite dish <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Cannons defending a satellite dish :)

One of the main buildings in Cockburn Town is the Victoria Library.
7741565-Victoria_Library_Grand_Turk.jpgVictoria Library - Grand Turk

Victoria Library - Grand Turk

There is also a Post Office and a Philatelic Bureau. The Philatelic Bureau is a little museum of stamps. The first post office opened in Grand Turk on 11th December 1854 but it was not until 1867 that the Turks Islands issued their own stamps.
7741558-Faded_Philatic_Bureau_sign_Grand_Turk.jpgPhilatelic Bureau and gift shop sign

Philatelic Bureau and gift shop sign


Some people collect stamps - it would be an inexpensive gift for someone who collects stamps to send them a card with a Grand Turk stamp on it). The Philatelic Bureau also has a gift shop. You can buy the cards at the National Museum just down the street, and mail the postcards, which will then have a Grand Turk cancellation mark on it. Stamps of the islands are highly decorative and illustrate the natural History and History of the Islands. . After 1900, “Turks and Caicos Islands” was printed on the Stamps. The Museum collection contains Stamps for most years from 1867 up to the present. It holds over 1000 Stamps, either as individual Stamps, first day covers or souvenir sheets

ship tour in town

ship tour in town


Sign in town - Good Food - Cold Beer - Grand Turk

Sign in town - Good Food - Cold Beer - Grand Turk

Restaurants in town - Grand Turk

Restaurants in town - Grand Turk

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Narrow one way street - Grand Turk

Narrow one way street - Grand Turk

Duke Street - a block back from the water

Duke Street - a block back from the water


Shady street - Grand Turk

Shady street - Grand Turk

On the way to visit the National Museum, my taxi driver guide Rosemary took me down some of the quiet tree-lined back streets. We passed the Lester Williams Community Park before we emerged on the ocean side.

News story from the Turks and Caicos Weekly News Saturday, Dec 24, 2016
After many months of planning and hard work, the park located in South Backsalina, Grand Turk, has opened its gates to the public. The Lester Williams Community Park is the newest park to be completed as part of the Tourist Board’s Beautification Project to improve the natural beauty of the TCI. It was named after Lester Williams, a man who made an enormous contribution to the economic growth and development of Grand Turk.
Lester Williams Community Park sign - Grand Turk

Lester Williams Community Park sign - Grand Turk

Street with School Zone ahead sign

Street with School Zone ahead sign


Quiet back street - Grand Turk

Quiet back street - Grand Turk

Barbie's Restaurant - Grand Turk

Barbie's Restaurant - Grand Turk


We are open - Grand Turk

We are open - Grand Turk

Now we were going to visit the cemeteries. If left to my own devices, I will go and take photos of cemeteries - I am involved in a project to photo-document as many final resting places as possible. A lot of the cemeteries on Grand Turk are next to the churches
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Holy Cross Catholic Church - Grand Turk

Holy Cross Catholic Church - Grand Turk

Holy Cross 2008 on right 2016 on left

Holy Cross 2008 on right 2016 on left

Normally there is only one Cathedral in a country, but if there is both a Catholic and an Episcopal/Anglican diocese, there can be one Cathedral for each of them. In the case of the Turks and Caicos, the country is so small that there is no Catholic Cathedral and they only have an Anglican Pro-Cathedral. A Pro-Cathedral is one that is shared. In this case the local Anglican diocese covers both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos, so St. Mary's was designated a Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the 1990's. This allows it to serve as a cathedral for the Turks and Caicos Islands since they are politically separate from the Bahamas but within the same diocese.

In 1910, St. Mary's was the first church built in Cockburn Town proper.St Mary's Pro-Cathedral was build closer to town - it was more convenient. It is an Anglican church. The Anglican churches are the churches that in the US are called Episcopal. Anglican or Episcopal churches are the churches that resulted when Henry VIII broke ties with the Catholic church because he wanted to divorce his wife and the Pope wouldn't let him.
St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral

St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral

St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral

St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral

St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral

St. Mary's Anglican Pro-Cathedral


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diocese map

diocese map

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Rosemary then took me to the Anglican church cemetery (St. Thomas) but she could not get the gate open so I could only look from outside the wall. This turned out to be the church I saw on the trip in 2008 which I could not identify at that time. I could have used the scooter there if we could have gotten the gate open

Sign on the gate

Sign on the gate

St Thomas Anglican Church - Grand Turk

St Thomas Anglican Church - Grand Turk

Sign on the wall - Grand Turk

Sign on the wall - Grand Turk

According to the sign on the wall St. Thomas Anglican Church was built by Bermudian settlers in 1823-24. It was the first church built on Grand Turk and was the second church built in the Bahamas archipelago. It is likely that the rocks to build the church were obtained from a nearby quarry and the wood was imported from Bermuda. It is a very sturdy cut-stone building with some walls as thick as two feet. the hard stones that were hand hewn were set in a primitive mortar of lime mixed with turtle oil.
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Part of the churchyard - Grand Turk

Part of the churchyard - Grand Turk


She knew some of the people buried here and could tell me about them. She explained that the Reverend Jones had also been a principal of the school.
People Rosemary knew The Rev. Jones and his wife - Grand Turk

People Rosemary knew The Rev. Jones and his wife - Grand Turk

Graves in St. Thomas Anglican cemetery - Grand Turk

Graves in St. Thomas Anglican cemetery - Grand Turk

More of St. Thomas - Grand Turk

More of St. Thomas - Grand Turk

She also showed me the Public Cemetery (from a distance) but said no one had been there in years. From the photos it looks like the gates are frozen shut and people just use ladders to go over the cemetery wall.
Cemetery sign - Grand Turk

Cemetery sign - Grand Turk


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The 'new' public cemetery was off on the east side and the road had never been paved so you couldn't drive on it as it was either sand or mud.
Looking at the maps, I think the new cemetery is just on the water side of the old one.

Earth view of the public cemetery  - Grand Turk

Earth view of the public cemetery - Grand Turk


She said each church had their own cemetery and it was only the 'unchurched' that were buried in the public cemetery (she preferred that term to the one I used which was 'heathen')

I asked her if there was a funeral home, and she said people who died were prepared for burial in the hospital - they were embalmed there.
Street with Centennial Clock at the end

Street with Centennial Clock at the end

I had seen horses wandering around loose on the island when I was here before, and on the way back to the ship I saw them again.
7722224-Horsepower.jpgHorsepower

Horsepower

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She took me back to the ship.
ATVs or jeeps for excursions

ATVs or jeeps for excursions

We had been out about 2.5 hours. I told the taxi dispatcher lady that I would pay $35, but I gave Rosemary $40 because she was very good and kind.

When I got back to the ship, I saw Lynde had been there, but she had gone out to go shopping. She had a good time snorkeling. Anyway Lynde came back and she was hungry but it was now about 3:30 so she went up to the Lido and got us both some food (a slice of beef, some soup and some cake) And then we got ready for dinner.

My next trip was in May 2017 A CAPITOL VISIT AND A WEDDING (Driving south for our Granddaughter's wedding)
2017 - Tallahassee and wedding

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:39 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Comments (0)

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