browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Grand Turk

Posted by on June 1, 2014

Grand Turk is the Capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Although “grand” is is only 6.5 miles long and 1.5 miles at it’s widest point. We anchored right in the middle of town for easy access to everything. Most places we can walk to from where we’re at and for the further points we ride our bikes.

tmargeritavillebird

Moon hanging out with the cruise ship and local tour boats in port

Moon hanging out with the cruise ship and local tour boats in port

Being in the town center can be pretty exciting when the cruise ships are in. But when there is not a ship in the port this is a sleepy town and most of the stores don’t even open for the day.

Brian sizing up the cannons trying to determine if we can load them on Moon so we can be pirates too

Brian sizing up the cannons trying to determine if we can load them on Moon so we can be pirates too

There is lots of history here and the historic houses and streets are really something to see. They say that Columbus made his first landfall here, rather than in the Bahamas.

tstreet1

During the 17th and 18th centuries Grand Turk was famous for it’s prized top quality salt that they harvested from the salinas. The salinas are still a part of the town but no longer being used to produce salt, just a watery reminder of their past.

Grand Turks is dominated in the middle by several salinas, or salt ponds, often odoriferous reminders that `white gold' was the island's most important industry until its collapse in 1962.

Grand Turks is dominated in the middle by several salinas, or salt ponds, often odoriferous reminders that `white gold’ was the island’s most important industry until its collapse in 1962.

Donkeys everywhere! Donkeys and horses, once the only means of transportation, now roam freely in the wild...or the not so wild...

Donkeys everywhere! Donkeys and horses, once the only means of transportation, now roam freely in the wild…or the not so wild…

This is where the smart ass's hang out...no pun intended  :-)

This is where the smart ass’s hang out…no pun intended 🙂

Talking to one of the old timers here Charles, he told us that in the early 60’s that the salt company pulled out of the area because the boats had to make three stops to load all of the salt, from Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos. The company decided to move business instead to Great Inagua, Bahamas where they were able to produce more salt than all of Turks and Caicos Islands and the salt company could collect all of the salt from one port instead of traveling to three. To this day Great Inagua is still producing salt. (Morton’s Salt Company) We visited the island in 2011 and it was amazing to see the huge mountains of salt there.

Beautiful Duke Street

Beautiful Duke Street

Stone Mason Alley

Stone Mason Alley

Just strolling down historic Duke St, we can imagine what it was like during those times when the island was thriving. The period homes are something else to see, this town is so full of history. There are so many historic markers that it’s hard to read them all but we tried.

Old Robert's House

Old Robert’s House

St. Mary's Cathedral

St. Mary’s Cathedral

thouse2

Also kind of cool is that the pilots of the USA’s first two manned orbital space flights splashed down near Grand Turk in 1962. John Glenn and Scott Carpenter were both brought here after their ocean pick up. There also used to be a US base at the south end of the island that launched sonar rockets.

On February 20th 1962, astronaut John Glenn the first American to orbit earth, landed near grand Turk, and was taken here, the first dry land he had reached after lifting off from Cape Canaveral. Vice President Lyndon Johnson came to Grand Turk and escorted the astronaut home. Glenn's triumph was soon repeated by Scot Carpenter who also landed near Grand Turk on May 24th, 1962.

On February 20th 1962, astronaut John Glenn the first American to orbit earth, landed near grand Turk, and was taken here, the first dry land he had reached after lifting off from Cape Canaveral. Vice President Lyndon Johnson came to Grand Turk and escorted the astronaut home. Glenn’s triumph was soon repeated by Scot Carpenter who also landed near Grand Turk on May 24th, 1962.

I found a cool piece of history here myself. When we were walking around a dirt path near the closed base I came across something that caught my eye…lying on the ground, just a small piece of hard black plastic, inscribed on it says: “Secret Crypto KAT/TSEC BW”. Now I’m not sure what this is for but, I can let my imagination run wild on that one….definitely not a souvenir that I thought that we would find. When I get internet I plan on looking that up to see what it might be. Hopefully I’ll still be around to let you know what we find out about it…LOL!

Shhh...don't tell anyone, photo of secret crypto piece found

Shhh…don’t tell anyone, photo of secret crypto piece found

Grand Turk lighthouse, built of cast iron pieces imported from England in 1852

Grand Turk lighthouse, built of cast iron pieces imported from England in 1852

tbrianlighthouse

As you can see we are really enjoying ourselves here. The beaches are beautiful, the locals here are great and there is so much to see and keep us entertained. If you ever have a chance to take a cruise here we would recommend it. Great place!

Fun to see the different kinds of tours that they offer from the cruise ships

Fun to see the different kinds of tours that they offer from the cruise ships

Shore excursion from the cruise ship

Shore excursion from the cruise ship

Next stop for us is going to be Luperon, Dominic Republic. It’s going to be a whole different world there than what we have been used to for the last few months, BIG island! Mountains, waterfalls, fresh local grown veggies (yum!!) and lots more that we haven’t even learned about yet. We’re getting excited and ready to explore a new place. We’re thinking that we might head out very early Tuesday morning, like 2 or 3 in the morning…very early…yuck! It’s about 90 miles from here and we want to arrive in daylight so we can watch out for reefs and such.

The end of another beautiful day in Grand Turk

The end of another beautiful day in Grand Turk

Take care for now we love and miss you all.

tus

Jennifer and Brian

2 Responses to Grand Turk

  1. Terese Metz

    Love all of your blogs Jennifer and Brian. I so enjoy your photos too! Great to see your beautiful daughter! She looks just like you Jennifer! I start school tomorrow here in Seattle. I think of the DR often. Sweet memories. Happy travels. Say hi to Georgette and her husband!!!

    • admin

      Thanks Terese…We’re glad that you like the pics. We’ll be sure to tell Bob and Georgette you said hello 🙂 We really enjoyed meeting you too and who know’s it’s a small world and we might just run into each other again….until then take care. Jennifer and Brian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *