Ruby Princess – Day 6 – Grand Turk


I was excited to visit Grand Turk because I had not been to the Turks & Caicos before.  I’ve read about it and knew that the water was beautiful.  We rented a golf cart to explore the island on our own.  We just had to walk out of the cruise terminal and there was Nathan’s golf carts (and jeeps).  We got a quick lesson in how to drive it and we were off.  There was a man on a bicycle following us – I thought he was going to overtake us for awhile, but then we started up a slight incline and pulled away.  Whoo, that would have been embarassing.  We passed the airport.  Our hope was that we would find a great beach where we could do some swimming and hopefully see some fun fish.

We came to Landfall Beach and stopped and looked around.       There were some great shells and the view was nice, but we couldn’t swim because it was very rocky (big rocks) and it looked like it got deep pretty quickly.  When we got ready to leave, we had trouble getting the golf cart started.  It seemed to be flooded.  The good thing was, it was so light weight we could just push it into the shade and relax while we waited for it to recover.  Soon we were on the way again. 

We had a lot of fun riding around.  There were a lot of burros grazing around the island. 

We saw a group of about 8 – 10 horses just walking down the street. Lot’s of dogs – most of them looked pretty healthy, but there were a couple that were so thin they just broke my heart.  We went to the lighthouse – what a view from this spot.        

We drove through some neighborhoods and got chased by a couple of dogs – my niece and I were worried about losing a couple of toes.  Floor this cart, get us out of here!  There were some really nice houses on Grand Turk, and some that were not so nice.  The island itself is very flat and dry – I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back. 

After touring the island for a couple of hours, we headed back and dropped off the golf cart.  Then we headed to Jack’s Shack for our free shot of rum and a late lunch. 

Everyone in our group was pretty tired and not into the party atmosphere here, so after lunch we headed back towards the ship.  As we were heading back the sun was starting to go down – I was a little disappointed because there had been a couple of souvenir stalls on the beach that had closed up. 

I stopped and did a little shopping at the pier – I still needed a couple of things to bring home, like rum cake and cooking sauces (that reminds me, I still have a rum cake – need to take a quick break).  By the time I finished it had started pouring rain.  Oh, well, it’s warm rain.

A lot of people just stay on the beach near the cruise ships – there is a big Margaritaville with lots of beach chairs.  If I was on a cruise that stopped in Grand Turk again, I would probably just spend the day at the beach – probably Jack’s.

I’ve posted more pictures on my Facebook page if you’d like to see more scenery.

Cruise to Learn – Day 4


Wednesday, November 7th

 

Today, Mazatlan.  We were docked by the time I got up and showered.  I had arranged to meet with Marcia and Debbie to go to Stone Island today.  I had gotten information off of the Cruise Critic message board. 

I probably should have warned the other ladies that going off on your own with me can be a bit of an adventure.  I had the directions on how to get to the water taxi, so off we went.  We followed the directions I was given – once you go through the marketplace at the pier, go out the exit that the taxi’s use and turn left.  Walk about 2- 3 blocks (actually about 4) to where the road turns to the right.  Then my directions said follow the chain link fence to the ticket booth.

 

When we got to this intersection we met a couple who said they had gone straight ahead down a dirt road and that was not right, so they were told to go left, but that was not right either.  Since I’d been told to go right, that is what we did.  We asked a guard at the port and he pointed the way were going and down around the corner.  We walked and walked, in the heat and finally arrived at a little building where the men outside said “yes, this is the right place, but the water is too rough here.”  This took awhile as we had very little Spanish and they had very little English.

 

Eventually one of the young men offered to walk us back to the other place where we would be able catch the water taxi.  We were walking along and I felt a bit bad for the other ladies because of the wild goose chase and the heat.  I was actually enjoying taking in the scenery –we walked past a school, could see some houses up on the hill, and even a bar up a very loooooong set of stairs – you would need a beer when you got up there!

 

After awhile we saw a couple of, well, you couldn’t call them tour buses, but they were pickups with benches in the back, full of tourists.  Our new guide stopped and talked in Spanish to the female tour guide who translated that he wanted us to know we were safe with him and he was taking us to where we could catch the water taxi to Stone Island.  I hadn’t been worried, but I thought it was very nice that he wanted to reassure us.  It turns out that she is his girlfriend – he was probably very relieved to see her.

 

We got back to the intersection where we had met the couple.  There was a sign painted on the wall (which was behind us when we turned the corner) pointing to the water taxi down the dirt road they had said they went down.  Now they tell us that they did not feel the boats were safe which is why they didn’t want to go there.  I’m sure the boats would have been the same at the other spot.  They are basically big row boats with motors on the back.  The locals take these taxis and it is a very short crossing to the Stone Island dock, for 15 pesos (or $1.50 for those of us with US dollars).

 

We crossed with about 6 locals and when we arrived they all walked across a sandy trail.  I had been told that we could be picked up by pickups with benches in the back and taken to the restaurants for $1 per person.  So we waited in the heat.  One passed us by and finally someone stopped – they told us all we had to do was walk across the same way the locals had and we would be there.  But the sign for restaurants pointed the other direction.  Oh, well, we walked across and there was a beautiful, almost deserted beach.  We started along and worked our way to the shore to put our feet in the water.  Ohhhh, that felt so good!

 

cruise-to-learn-mexico061.jpg

 

We went a ways down the beach and stopped at Lety’s where the proprietor got us some lounge chairs and an umbrella.  cruise-to-learn-mexico060.jpgWe put our things down and headed into the water for a much needed, cooling off, swim.  Then a little sun and a cold beer, more swimming, more sun – well you get the picture.  After awhile we decided we would get some lunch then head back to the ship kind of early.  We went inside and found a table, ordered some Margaritas (very good Margaritas), and some food.  Now you know, we are in Mexico, so there is a little wait for the food.  We started talking with some of the large group at the table next to us and found out they were crew and entertainers from the ship.  We knew we were at the right place if crew is there!

 

A couple of hours (and a couple of margaritas) later we headed back to the ship.  cruise-to-learn-mexico064.jpg       Water Taxi Dock on Stone Island

As we sailed off we could see the water taxi dock and even the beach we had spent the day at.  This was the highlight of my port visits and soooo worth the trouble we had finding it.  I probably shouldn’t have shared the secret in such a public place – the next time I go back it will probably be packed.

 

I almost forgot the resident restaurant dogs.  These are not the mangy, starving Mexican dogs I’ve seen on my previous travels.  Rocky turned down rice and tortillas – he only wanted meat – my dog at home would eat those!    Heck, my cat would probably eat the rice.  The other 2 didn’t show up until our plates were gone.  All three of us are dog owners and it was making us miss our pups.  Rocky - Mexican Restaurant Dog

One of the entertainers we were talking with was Martin who played piano in the Schooner Bar each evening.  Marcia, Debbie and I stopped in to listen for awhile.  He is very entertaining – if you are sailing on the Vision of the Seas, make sure you stop in and say hello!  And make sure you go to his tribute to Elton John – it was on Saturday night on our cruise and he was very good.  Martin - Piano Player

 

So that was it for another day!  Tomorrow we are in Puerto Vallarta.