Turks & Caicos

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      Arriving West Caicos Island    
22 January 2010

Motored the last part of our trip from Little Inagua due no wind AGAIN! Came into West Caicos and picked up one of the many Dive Moorings on the West shoreline in 40' of water.

Our mooring which marked the dive site "Whiteface" was at the southern end of the island. Caught a Great Trevally around 7pm.

23 January 2010

Waited until any morning tourist dive boats appeared, in case our mooring was required before making a short dive at Whiteface. There were no dive boats, which should have given us a clue. Not a very exciting dive as there was a strong current and visibility poor with no sightings of any exciting fish this time. The largest fish we saw was a Great Trevally looking for his mate, that we caught and ate the previous day! What a contrast to our dive on the same site in 2006!

After the dive, we moved around the north side of West Caicos into the shallow Sandbore Channel and onto the Turks and Caicos Banks. Made our way across until sunset, then anchored in calm water and clear white sand overnight.

HOWEVER, the wind picked up during the evening and though we expected 10 knots, we had a sleepless night with gusts up to 30knots, with us sitting in very open unprotected and shallow water.




West Caicos
Caicos Banks
South Caicos
Big Sand Cay
      The Turks & Caicos Banks    

24 January 2010


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Osprey Rock, Sandbore Channel


We had no choice but to move, the boat was being thrown around at anchor with wind and waves coming directly at us. So we headed off to complete our journey across the banks to South Caicos.

Not one of our better decisions! It became rougher and the water shallower. And the shallower the water the shorter the chop, and we could not exceed about 4 knots, all the time watching out for sand bars and coral heads.

Since our progress was slow, we decided we would not make South Caicos so pulled in behind Six Hills Cays for shelter overnight. Despite continuing gusts to 30 knots overnight, we were a little sheltered, so had the wind but not the seas with which to contend.

Six Hills Cay


Leaving Six Hills Cays

      South Caicos - Long Cay    

25 January 2010


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Long Cay




Cockburn Harbour at South Caicos cannot be reached across the banks by most vessels due to sand bars. To reach the harbour, you have to leave the banks and go out into the Atlantic for about four miles around Long Cay.

We needed to get to South Caicos in order to officially enter the country at immigration and customs. We also needed to refuel and reprovision with fresh food before the next leg of the journey to BVI.

We moved out of the shelter of Six Hills Cays, taking the exit route from the banks weaving past various coral heads, past Long Cay out into the Atlantic, between 2 areas of breakers.

However, having navigated our way through this passage with 20' depths and increasing swell on the nose and out into deep ocean, the swells increased to well over feet 10 feet, maybe 15. One minute we were looking at the sky, the next into a valley of water. We have to say that Dreaming On handled it extremely well and we had every confidence in her. But we decided 4 miles of that was not necessary, timed our 180 degree turn and surfed back on the swells in to the banks and hid behind Long Cay. Not the best of shelter as we cannot anchor too close due to protected areas of turtle grass, but at least out of the main swell.

The charts show a shallow short cut across the banks to Cockburn Harbour, but when we called the marina at South Caicos to check if this was viable for us, they did not recommend it. So we stayed the night behind Long Cay in the hopes the wind and seas would abate during the night as forecast.





      South Caicos - Cockburn Harbour    
  26 January 2010


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Finally arrived in Cockburn Harbour, a very flat calm, naturally protected area. Geoff managed to strain his back so Iza made the journey ashore by kayak into Cockburn town to officially check in to the Turks & Caicos.

She was disappointed with what she saw of the island, as it did not have the charm or cleanliness of many other islands we have visited.

Picked up fuel there at a very dodgy dock.

When we first arrived in the harbour, there was one other yacht, Second Lady, at anchor, with Rick and Leila on board.

They called on VHF to introduce themselves and we arranged to go on board later for sundowners. Geoff's subsequent back problem put paid to that idea. However, as they were also heading south, we agreed we would both cross the Turks Passage to Big Sand Cay and await a weather break for the 90 mile trip to Dominican Republic, or if a longer break appeared, direct southeast to Puerto Rico. There was also the chance of seeing humpback whales in the Turks Passage at this time of year, on their migration to the Mouchoir Banks for mating.


      Big Sand Cay    
  27 January 2010


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Had a great sail across to Big Sand Cay. We've done so much motoring with no wind that we have had little practice and sailing Dreaming On. However, our techniques are improving and we can have some fun.

We tacked around the Turks Passage while looking for humpback whales. Saw one, but not too close.

Arrived into the anchorage at Big Sand Cay to find Second Lady already there plus another boat, Wind Whisper, with Denis and Katia on board, at anchor. We did not want to launch the dinghy and Geoff's back was still not sorted so we did not manage to meet up with the other cruisers in person, just over VHF.

Iza kayaked ashore immediately the anchor was down to check out the shell pickings.

After one night there with a real surge through the anchorage, Second Lady and Wind Whisper, (who had already been there 4 days) discussed leaving despite the weather not being ideal and heading south to Ocean World Marina in the Dominican Republic. The route would take them past the Mouchoir Banks with the chance of seeing whales. So, we decided to make the same journey and if the weather was conducive, we would change route for Puerto Rico.



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