Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Caribbean Vacation - Day 5 - Grand Turk Day

Click here for DAY 1, DAY 2, DAY 3 or DAY 4

Also, HERE is my tour of the Carnival Victory

DAY 5 - GRAND TURK DAY - Wednesday Sept 4, 2013

I woke up at 6:30AM, and of course I went out on the balcony immediately.
Perfect timing AGAIN, but totally by accident.

I could see Grand Turk! 

My camera fogged up when I brought it out into the humid air from the air conditioned cabin.
Fogged up sunrise picture

The water was SO blue!

I ran back inside to get ready for the day. We were able to get off the ship around 7:00AM and I was anxious to get off the ship as early as possible for a few reasons.
1. It was GRAND TURK!!
2. We would only be on the island until 2:00 PM so I knew the day would go by fast
and 3. We had rented 2 golf carts for the day and I wanted to hurry up and get them.

I made sure the kids were up. When we were all ready, we went up to the breakfast buffet.
This time, we tried the smaller buffet at the back of the ship instead of the big main buffet.

Hector was the omelet maker at the back buffet.  He was a little slower at cooking the omelets, but they were really good, with all the cheese melted inside.
After I discovered Hector the awesome omelet maker at the back buffet, I never went anywhere else to get omelets for the rest of the cruise. 

After we ate, we went back to the cabin to get our bags.
 Lisa left Carlos a tip and a note, and we put our "crusin" sign on the door before we left.

Out in the hallway, we saw Ari again - the room steward that wasn't our room steward
We all said Hello as we passed his cart, and he wished us a great day in Grand Turk

Hi Ari!!

We also noticed the same Security Guard was still posted outside the door down the hall. Lisa felt so sorry for him because he had to work such long hours. She had talked to him last night, and he was helpful with whatever she had asked him about. This morning, she tried to give him a cash tip (for his help the night before) but he refused it saying he really loves his job.

We met up with Amy and her group and the 8 of us got off the ship around 8:00AM

Our first island of the trip!

In the port area, there are  several shops, restrooms, an info booth, and Margaritaville.

As we walked out of the port area, we looked back and we could see our ship.
Grand Turk is a tiny island, only 6 miles long and about 2 miles wide. We could see the ship from almost anywhere on the island.
Grand Turk is part of the Turks & Caicos Islands. It's the largest of the Turks Islands - but not the Caicos Islands. Grand Turk has a population of 8,000 people

Just past the front entrance of the cruise center, we could see the golf carts.

Amy and I had arranged and paid for 2 golf carts several months ago. They were $80.00/day each + gas.
This isn't one of the Carnival excursions, we rented the golf carts from Nathan Smith on our own.
We wanted to get out and explore and see what Grand Turk is all about. I wanted my kids to be able to get a feel for the island, and not just the cruise center area.

Chris was the designated driver of our cart for the day.
Although the golf carts were just like US golf carts with the steering wheel on the left, he would have to drive on the wrong side of the road here.
We signed some papers, and got our cart.
Amy and her group got theirs too, and we all set out to explore.

The first place we went was into Cockburn Town to get some cold drinks. We found a grocery store and everyone got their refreshments.

We had a map, and a general plan of the things we wanted to do and see that day, so we set out to find the first stop. A secluded (but public) beach that should have been beside Bohio Resort.

We drove around, got confused, asked directions, didn't understand the directions, drove some more, and then we found it!  I really think we found it entirely by accident, but here we were!

Oh, look at that!! It was a beautiful spot! I had read about this beach in someone else's review and it was as beautiful as promised.

It didn't take long for us to park our carts and get in that ocean

It was a beautiful warm sunny morning. The weather was perfect.
The water felt great too.

We collected sea shells, got baggies full of sand and enjoyed the morning.
Chris and Cody were surprised at how clear the water was. They had both been to several beaches in California, but nothing like this!

After we were there a while we noticed a woman walk up to the beach. us, She got in the water and quietly enjoyed her morning too. 

She was down the beach pretty far away. I had to zoom to get this picture of her.

We all stayed on the beach for another 20 minutes or so, and then we packed up and got back in our golf carts to explore some more.
Amy and her group wanted to go over to Bohio Resort.
Lisa, the kids, and I wanted to go to the lighthouse.
We said goodbye for now and we went off in different directions.

One last picture of the awesome secluded beach by Bohio Resort

We drove along, trying to read the map and figure out how to get to the lighthouse.
We saw a lot of wild animals along the way, like this little donkey.

Chris did really good with driving on the wrong side of the road.

We kept driving

And driving

And we never did make it to the lighthouse!
Where is my husband? The one who never gets lost?

We stopped at this gas station and put some gas in the golf cart. It was over $6.00 a gallon!!
We didn't have to put much in though. We had probably used less than a gallon by that time.

We gave up on the lighthouse idea, and we turned around and headed for Governor's beach.
Last time I was here with Tim, we found a lot of sea glass on this beach, and I was hoping to find more.

We all hit the water as soon as we got to the beach, but we didn't find a lot of sea glass. There were a few pieces, but nothing like I found in 2011

Cody Leigh

And Chris
We were all busy bees, looking for treasures

I love this picture of Lisa with that gorgeous ocean behind her.

To our left, we could see our cruise ship
There was also a big rusty boat at the shore, I didn't remember that from last time I was here.

I was out of the water, and drying off when a man came up and started talking to me. He was really nice. We talked for quite a while and he told me all kinds of cool things about Grand Turk.
His name was "Biggie" and he has lived on Grand Turk his whole life. He has never been to the US, although he would like to someday.
He pointed to some nearby islands, which I hadn't even noticed were off in the distance, and told me about one called "Salt cay", a very small island about 2 miles on its longest side. They used to mine and distribute salt from there.

Another even smaller island is called "Cotton Cay. Its uninhabited now, but apparently they used to grow cotton there.

Biggie told me that the people of Grand Turk LOVE when the cruise ships come to visit. He said we provide their little island with money and jobs. That was good to know, I was thinking they might think we are a nuisance when we are here.

He told me that the big rusty boat had washed ashore during Hurricane Sandy, and so far they hadn't been able to move it. He said there was a political battle about what to do with it, but he thought the boat would be cut up and scrapped soon.

He also told me the reason we didn't find much sea glass that day was because it is "seasonal". He said there are times of the year when there is a lot of it that comes in with the current. Apparently, it wasn't sea glass season in September :(

I learned that the reason this beach is called "Governor's Beach" is because the Governor's house was right there next to the beach.  

Chris and Cody came out of the water to dry off and talked to Biggie for a little while too.
This was the part Grand Turk I wanted my kids to know. The real part. I was so glad Biggie had come over to talk to us. I wish I could have spent more time talking to him that day, but we had to move on.

Biggie and I.
My new friend from Grand Turk

As we were saying goodbye, I gave him $5 for his time and attention to us.
He told me his real name is "Clevie", but everyone calls him Biggie. He said next time we come back to Grand Turk we should look him up and he would be our personal tour guide. He said to just ask around and everyone on Grand Turk knows him.

We had to get going, we only had a few short hours before we had to be back on the ship.
Plus we were getting hungry.

Next we went to my favorite place, Jack's Shack!!
It's a small bar/ restaurant right on the beach. Perfect for lunch!

We found a table and we all ordered Jerk Chicken. It was SO good!!
They don't give silverware, you just have to dig in with your hands.

This little doggie showed up while we were eating and parked him/her self by Lisa's beach bag.
We asked the waiter if we could feed the dog, and he said yes we could.
That dog had a lot of french fries that day.

This is LeRoy. He is the cook at Jack's Shack. He is from Jamaica, and he uses a special Jamaican recipe to make his jerk chicken. It's SOOOO good!!
I walked over and thanked him for cooking us lunch and I put $5 in his tip bucket

This dog is "Topher". His owners are Jack and Janet, who own Jack's Shack. Topher is quite famous, and has his own following of fans on the Jack's Shack facebook page. He swims like a person, and he digs for crabs in the sand. He is really funny to watch.

What is THIS??!!
Gross..........whatever it is.
It has horns on top of its head.
There is some creepy looking stuff in the ocean.

Out in the water, we spotted our Roll Call friends.........we seemed to see them every day, several times a day. It was good to see them here too!

Looking at our ship, which we would have to board very soon.

The bar at Jack's Shack

We had our coupons for a free shot of rum. Lisa and Cody didn't want rum, but Chris and I went to the bar and got ours.

Drink up!!!

View from the Jacks Shack tables. You can see the ship back there.

We went in the gift shop and Cody and I got a few things. Chris and I each got a Jack's Shack t-shirt.

The 4 of us went in the water for about 20 minutes, and then it was time to pack up and go. It was about 1:15 by now and we had to b back on the ship by 2

We dropped the golf cart back off, and walked back up to the cruise center.

When we got there, we looked in several of the shops and stores.

Chris and I walked over to Margaritaville to see what was going on. After we saw the crowds that were there, we were glad we had taken our own little excursion that day. We didn't make it to the lighthouse, but we did have a very good day visiting 3 different beaches.

We saw a "you are here"map in the cruise center area.
My, we are far from home, aren't we??

Stalling before we went back to the ship. I wanted to spend every minute I could here.
I really love Grand Turk.

I bought a small Tortuga Rum Cake at one of the shops there. I had never tried it before, and I wanted to see if I liked it. I was going to Grand Cayman on the next cruise (next week), where they have a Tortuga Rum Factory that makes them. If I liked it, I wanted to buy more in Grand Cayman to take home. Lisa also wanted to try it.

Finally, we headed toward the pier.

Standing in line to get back on the ship. It went pretty fast.
Before we knew it, we were back on the Victory.

As we came onto the ship, there is a security check. The guard from our hallway was now working the checkpoint. Lisa was really upset seeing him there. She knew he was up all night, guarding the door of the cabin down the hall, and now he was working the entry checkpoint. She asked him if he still loves his job and he smiled and nodded.

Back up in our cabin, we could see people still lining up to get back on the ship.

This was weird too...........we had Chris slathered in sunblock all day (SPF 50) and he still managed to burn.
His burn was really strange, only in patches across his neck and back. Some areas were left completely white and other were burned. That was the weirdest sunburn I ever saw.
He wasn't really in any pain from it.
We put Aloe Vera on it and I gave him some Ibuprofen. Not much else we could do.

Chris and I were having some really weird things happen to our skin today.

With all the passengers loaded on the ship, we watched them pull the ropes in and we were off.
Watching sailaway from our balcony.

Goodbye Grand Turk!!!

After sailaway, we showered and changed out of our wet clothes.
We had some "errands" to run so we went out to take care of them.

I went to the internet cafe to message my best friend Christina. She was going to be flying to Miami in 2 days to meet me, and I was sure she was very excited at this point.
Carnival charges a fee for internet usage, but they allow you to get on the Carnival Funville Forums for free from the ship. Christina and I had set up a thread there so we would be able to message each other while I was on the ship.
It wasn't instant communication, but at least we could message each other.
I couldn't remember my Funville password, so I didn't get to log in. I decided I would come back and try again later.

We went down to the photo shops to look at all of our formal night pics. We liked several of them.

Since I already posted our formal pics, I'll include this picture here that I forgot to post yesterday.
How could I forget this one??

Here we are with Donkey, the assistant cruise director

We also stopped at the kiosk near guest services and checked our Sail & Sign balances. It was good to keep an eye on them daily rather than wait until the end.

And finally we stopped in the gift shop and looked around for awhile. 

After our errands, we went back up to the cabin for some balcony time before dinner.

Amy and Greg stopped by and asked us to accompany them to a special photo shoot they were doing.
We all got dressed for dinner and went out to watch their photo shoot before we went to the dining room.

We split up from Amy and Greg after their photoshoot, and the 4 of us went into the dining room around 7:00PM
We had a nice server tonight named Nungah. He was really good, and took care of us at dinner very well.
He had a thick Asian accent, so he was very hard to understand, but we did OK.

After dinner we had some time to kill so we went back to our cabin.

We saw Ari in the hallway and this time we asked him why the guard was in the hallway all night. Ari told us the guy (passenger) had too much to drink last night and was out of control. His roommate thought he was going to jump off the balcony. The security guards locked his balcony door so he couldn't open it, and the doctor came and shot him with something and he went to sleep. The guard was posted to make sure he was OK and that he stayed in his cabin and slept it off.
Well, that was quite a story! Ari was quite talkative about it too. He was hard to understand with his accent but with charades and his broken English, we got the story.

We happened to see Carlos and I remembered to ask him about the TV remote. He took it with him and came back in 5 minutes with another remote. The new remote worked fine for the rest of the cruise.

Chris wanted some pizza, I guess he didn't get enough to eat at dinner. We all went up and while he stood in the pizza line, the girls hung out by the pool. I got another ice cream cone too!

We wanted to go to the Love & Marriage Show in the Caribbean Theatre at 10:05 PM, so we went down to the theater a little early to try to get good seats. Because we were so early, we happened to catch the last half the Quest Adult Game Show.

The Quest show was absolutely hilarious!! Marcelo had us cracking up! I won't spoil it by telling what happens since so many reading this are going on a cruise soon. Take my word for it, go to the Quest Adult Game Show and you will be glad you did. I'm pretty sure this show is shown on all (or most?) of Carnival's ships. I have even heard another cruise line does something similar. Hopefully you will get to see this show with Marcelo hosting. He is a very funny man.

We stayed to watch the Love & Marriage Show, which Marcelo hosted also. This show was very funny also. The longest married couple were so cute.
After laughing so much, my voice was really almost gone now.

The Caribbean Theater - the view from our favorite seats

We went back to the cabin for the night. We were exhausted after another long day.
Carlos had left another cute little towel animal for us

We all sat on the balcony for a little while and just enjoyed winding down  and listening to the churning water below.

We worked out a meeting time for the morning. Chris and Cody wanted to order room service breakfast and eat it on our balcony in the morning, so we worked out a plan for that.

It wasn't long before the kids went to their cabin and Lisa and I went in to get ready for bed.

At some point this day, Chris and Cody noticed we were on TV on the ships TV channel from the night before. There were people making video's of formal night. I had noticed them when we were meeting the Captain but I didn't think anything of them at the time. Our little family made it on the cruise video 7 times, and it was played over and over on the ship channel for the rest of the cruise.
We didn't buy a copy of the video - it was $24.99 - and I think we saw it on the TV about 20 times that week. By the time the cruise was over, I didn't want to see it anymore!

I was in bed that night around 1:30AM. We had a great day in Grand Turk, and I hoped for an even better day in Half Moon Cay tomorrow.

Ooohhhhh! Now that I had a chance to stop and actually realize..........we were on our way to Half Moon Cay!!!!! This island was the reason I booked this particular cruise in the first place. As a matter of fact, it was the reason for the entire back-2-back.
We would be there tomorrow!!! I went to bed dreaming of tomorrow.......

Day 6 is HERE!


  1. so nice andrea you are so darn good wrighting the story of your wonderful vacation with your family,

  2. Thanks Marilyn!! I'm glad you are enjoying my story, thanks for reading it!

  3. thanks for all the info and a run down of your day was pretty cool. your a beast waking up at 6am going to bed at 130a amd then next morning the cay.