Thursday, 13 February 2014

Family Vacation 2014 - Day 5 - Grand Turk

This is part 4 of multi-day travelogue. It started with this post!

After such a restful day, it was time for an adventure. A grand one. Maybe a Turkish one, maybe on Grand Turk! Yeah, that's it, we would have an adventure on Grand Turk.

Our ship docked at 7:00 AM and after a quick breakfast we went back to the room to gather up our stuff for a day of island adventures. When we got to the room, what to our wondering eyes appeared, but a miniature chair, and eight tiny reindeer. OK, no, it was just the missing car seat. Sitting there nicely waiting for us. The baggage tag, written plainly in my own handwriting had the wrong room number.

Some other poor soul sat in their suite pondering what to do with our car seat for 2 days while we sweated over what to do without it. We were relieved and happy to have it back because today was the day we needed it! Today was Safari day!

We gathered up the two boys' car seats, some snacks and supplies and headed for the gangway. Once on shore, a wind came up and a sunburst soaked us (and the ship's photographers) and  we half ran/half waddled to the shelter of the duty free shops in the cruise terminal. Once there, we took a minute to rest and dry off before venturing out timidly into light rain as the storm tapered off.

As we worked our way through the terminal, taxi drivers kept approaching us with offers of great rides. We really didn't need a taxi though, we had something better...

A few days before leaving on the cruise, I had called down to Nathan (he's the only one on the Island) and reserved a Jeep (He only owns 2) from Nathan's Carts. Nathan turns a brisk business renting golf carts and scooters - and 2 jeeps - to tourists. We had needed our car seats to use in our rental jeep.

If you look closely at the picture above, you may notice that there are no car seats in our rental jeep. That is because there are no seat belts in our rental jeep. Nor is there a radio, windshield wipers, tire treads, etc. Anything on the jeep that had rusted was spray-bombed silver. It had no power at all, and little in the way of a suspension system. It was a perfect vehicle for bombing around Grand Turk, and we loved our worthy steed. The vinyl seats brought back memories of the 80's.

Since we had all day, a tiny island, a really bad map, and no plans we simply drove until we saw something interesting, then pulled over and took pictures of it until we were bored, then drove off again. It was a great plan. I highly recommend it.

The first interesting thing we saw was the space capsule. It was a space capsule. I wish I had more to say about it. Apparently the islanders are very proud of it:

After taking pictures of the capsule from outer space (make alien sounds) we drove off. No wait, the key won't turn. The engine is sort of coughing. Aha! There it goes. We idled gingerly along the island roads looking for more neat stuff.

After puttering around for a while, we saw one of the ATV tours offered by the ship, so we tucked in behind them, and tried to keep up. We couldn't. But we did find a really nice beach by following their tracks in the sand. Our very own family beach.

Beach pictures:

We played on the beach for a long time. SWMBO stepped on a ray and scared herself, the boys hunted for shells and fishes, and we found some conchs. After laying them out in the sun to pick the very best 2, we put the rest back in the water.

From the beach, we could see a lighthouse, so we decided to drive over to take a look at it, but first we would have to get in our perfect family picture...

 Getting closer on the photo...

So as our jeep wheezed toward the light house we took in the fauna of the island, which mostly includes birds and wild donkeys. Like these:

That last donkey looks like he knows something. Maybe he carried Sancho Panza to the windmills. No windmills here though, on to the lighthouse where there were more donkeys. "They come to steal your potato chips" warns the snack vendor.

Sancho Panza. We should have named the Jeep that, and I could have been Don Quixote. Dang, I come up with these ideas a week too late.

Oh yeah the lighthouse, and the lighthouse donkeys. Once Sancho Panza found the lighthouse, we tumbled out and looked around. There wasn't much there. A lighthouse, a bathroom, and a canteen/giftshop. I bought a shotglass and we walked over to the railing to look out over the ocean.

Obligatory Pirate

We noticed that the bottom of the cliff the lighthouse was on had a hidden beach, and hidden beaches are the best kind, so we went adventuring to find it. Actually we got scratched a lot while walking down a thorny path in sandals.

On the beach we found hermit crabs and sand dollars and watched the waves crash into the coral cliffs. 

After that we hopped back into Sancho Panza and traveled back to Cockburn Town where we had conch fritters and fries before going shopping in the straw market and visiting the national museum. In the museum, there was a real live replica lighthouse light, so Buddy pushed the button to see if it worked. 

Yup. It worked.

Looking at the shot glasses I had picked up at the light house I realized that we had a shot glass for the Grand Turk Prison, but we hadn't been there. Everyone hopped in Sancho Panza and and it sputtered and snorted all the way to the aulde gaol. 

The jail on Grand Turk isn't much to look at. I'm sure it has great stories, but when we went through it was just concrete buildings. We did what every parent does when they visit a jail, put the kids in lockup.

On the way out, Buddy and cuppa helped this guy out with his ball and chain.

By now we were getting tired and dehydrated, so we headed back to return our rental car and get back on the boat. It had been a super-busy day. Once we were back aboard, it was dinner and then bed time. Everyone was wiped right out.

<EDIT to add... 

Momma reminded me that when we got back to the boat, Buddy really wanted to go water sliding, so we got some deck chairs at the base of the slide, and he went down the slide. A million times. It was the greatest thing in the world. After a while a guy halfway up the deck to the slide started commenting on his sliding abilities when Buddy went by, and next thing you know, this guy and his entire row were recruited into water sliding with Buddy.

Bud would go down first, then stand at the bottom of the slide and wait for a big person to come down and splash him with their wave. It was hilarious to watch. /EDIT>

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