Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos //
After we had more or less recovered from our two-night passage to Provo, Tom hopped on the dinghy and headed over to customs and immigrations at the South Dock complex near Sapodilla Bay to clear us in.
Having worn a construction hat and safety gear to traverse to the government offices which sat amidst a full blown construction site, Tom returned to Sparidae within a couple hours’ time with our weeklong permit. We weren’t planning on staying in T&C for long, in fact, we were hoping to get a good weather window STAT in order to avoid having to pay upwards of $300 for an extended stay (although we soon found out there are other ways to “linger” quietly in some of the outer cays).
Nevertheless, we wanted to make the most out of our stop in the Caicos. Tom had been in touch with a work colleague, Atte, who works in an engineering firm with headquarters there. He was eager to meet us and show us around and graciously invited us for lunch at a restaurant overlooking Grace Bay followed by a visit to his office at The Salt Mills. From there we parted ways and headed to the amazing Graceway Gourmet, per his recommendation. It might have been a little outside our budget, but a necessary splurge (hello organic chicken and eggs!).
After shopping, we were hoping to stick around Grace Bay as earlier in the day Atte had let us know that the famous islands Fish Frys took place on Thursdays — lucky us! But in order to stay we would have had to lug our groceries around for the entire afternoon and evening since taxis were SO expensive to come back and forth from Sapodilla Bay. Additionally, we had just made contact with Jess and Brent of SeektoSeeMore and were looking forward to meeting other young cruisers following a similar route as ours. So we lugged our shopping bags with us along the beach and took a break at Hamilton’s for happy hour piña coladas until it was time to head over to the Fish Fry.
Making our way into the party we were welcomed by local Turks Head beer, live music, and plenty of food and craft vendors to appease all visitor types. We grabbed some fried fish tacos, jerk chicken and a serving of rice and danced by the stage to the beat of a Bruno Mars song. As the evening went on we spotted Jess, Brent and their crew amidst the swelling crowd and enjoyed talking all things living aboard and passage-making. A few beers later, we took an early departure as we were planning on leaving Sapodilla Bay to move to the east side of the Caicos Islands early the following day.
Come Friday morning, the trades hadn’t exactly calmed down, although they were forecasted to as the day went by. And so we made a move for Cockburn Harbor in an effort to stage for departure to the Dominicam Republic as soon as the weather allowed. Unfortunately, we ended up beating into the short chop and 25-28 knot winds for almost a couple of hours before deciding it was just too much. We turned around, tails between our legs, and waited out for calmer conditions back in Sapodilla Bay. We made a pit stop at Southside Marina to refill on diesel and water so we could be ready for whenever the window opened. We were officially stuck in the Turks and Caicos with T-minus four days until our permit expired.
Back to making the best of our stay, we hiked the small hills around Sapodilla Beach and did some swimming at the adjacent Taylor Beach. We also ended up meeting fellow cruisers Graham and Kate on S/V Baracuda whom we fervently studied the weather with, then came Wade and Rebecca on Ma Petite, their sweet catamaran. We all ended up enjoying some beers at the nearby Las Brisas restaurant where we chatted all things Thorny Path.
Eventually, everyone we had met (including others we would meet later in DR) ended up gathering back in Sapodilla Bay to stage for a departure to Six Hill Cays by Wednesday, February 13. A slight window was finally opening up for a crossing to the Dominican Republic — we were eager, slightly scared (probably just me, not Tom), but definitely ready and excited to make some progress.
Happy sailors at happy hour and the last time I (Cynthia) saw my glasses