MITSUGIRLY lets the BREEZE flow through her hair-Spring Break Review/Pictorial
Day 4: Grand Turk
MONDAY March 28-GRAND TURK DAY!!! WOO HOO
Bang, Clang, Whisk, Boom...4am and this is what I'm hearing. Oh my gosh, what the heck am I hearing and why does it always sound like it's coming from my balcony? If the galley is up one floor, wouldn't it sound like it's coming from the ceiling?
I was up at 6:30am and getting the family up and ready for breakfast. We headed to the buffet by 7am where we would find the entire ship up there trying to eat before getting off in Grand Turk. It was pretty crowded and it was hard to find a seat.
We pulled in to port at 8am sharp and off we went to enjoy our day.
We had decided to rent golf carts and drive around the island on our own. I know others had mentioned that it would be better to rent a car because it would be a better ride and have a/c, but I thought riding in a golf cart would be a lot of fun.
I had contacted Wet Money Rentals and reserved our cart months ahead of time. I was quoted a price of $60. I have been reading bad reviews lately about the other two vendors at the port (Nathans and Karib) and people having issues with their reservations, old broken equipment, or carts breaking down when they were out. So Wet Money it was...especially at the price of $60. Also another person had posted at the time I was looking to rent about contacting Karib (I think it was) and they were told that the golf carts would be down that month for repairs. I thought that was super weird that they would take an entire month to repair every golf cart at the same time. Wouldn't you maybe just do one at a time so that you still had some in service and making money?
We walked outside the port compound and I honestly had no idea where I was going. We came to the parking lot and just started walking. I didn't see anything. We stopped and ask someone where to go and they told us to "head out" and pointed in a direction. I thought we were out, but we would continue to walk on.
We made it to the street and I still didn't see anything but cars coming and going. Ok, what now? We decided to head in the direction we seen cars coming from and hoped for the best.
Now there's no place to walk along the road, unless you are in the road. But they are making a sandy sidewalk, but it does say "No entry" and I guess it's because they are working on it. However, "no entry" meant "entry" to me when I have a young child in tow and there's a lot of traffic.
We finally seen the gates and the security building and knew we had to be heading in right direction.
Hey at least we weren't lost yet...we could still see the beautiful Breeze.
Directly outside of these gates were all the rentals.
The first person we came to ask who we rented with and we told them Wet Money. They said to "Hold on and I'll be with you after taking care of this couple". We waited while they helped the other couple pick out a cart and explain to them how to operate the golf cart. Then when it was our turn he ask me once again who we rented with and then ask the "price". Once I told him the price, he said "Oh no, you'll have to go with them and let me get someone from Wet Money to help you" Um ok. That's who I ask for anyhow. I guess maybe they all just rent to whoever and then give the money to the correct vendor, but was unwilling to accept such a low amount? Or either they are busy stealing customers, but was unwilling to steal us when they could have the opportunity to make more money?
We spoke to a representative for Wet Money, gave him our price and he wanted to know who told me that price. Oh boy...here we go. I gave him the name and pulled out my email with the confirmation and he said "No, if he told you that price, then that's what you are getting it for and I believe you. No need to show me your paper." Ok, that worked for me. It was nice that he was trusting.
He set us up with a golf cart, showed us where the gas was located and then noticed that we had a low tire. He ask us to ride him up to the "gas station"...and I use that term lightly, and he'd put air in it. So off we went and it was just about a block away, then we turned on a dirt road and there was a building that was like some rounded pole barn shelter place, but I guess that was their gas station. We pulled in one side and pulled out the other. We dropped him back off at the entrance, they gave us a map, and off we went.
I decided to let the hubby drive because I wanted to take my life into my own hands and hang off the back taking pictures for all you wonderful people. Of course Mitsugirly falling off the back of a golf cart would also make a heck of a story for everyone as well right?
I think the hubby was getting a little too comfortable...keep your eyes on the road! We are driving on the street, on the opposite side of the road, and man this thing is fast! You need to devote all of your attention to the street.
The Welcome sign...
I guess this was their waterfront property?
Less than 10 minutes into the ride and we would spot our first donkeys. Sakari squealed with excitement. She couldn't believe what her eyes were seeing. They were just roaming free, on the side of the road, without a care in the world.
Now I knew that people were saying there were donkeys roaming free around the island and especially at the Lighthouse, but I had no idea we would see so many this day. We were specifically heading to the Lighthouse in order to assure we would see donkeys that day. (Since I was told they are always there and looking for a handout of food).
I would snap plenty of pictures along the way, just to give you a general idea of what's outside the port gates. I love taking pictures of the homes at places we go.
The place to get all of your building supplies. Anyone wanna go in with us and build a summer beach house?
The police station
There were a lot of places that you could just head off in different directions. I had a hard time keeping the hubby going in the right direction. I think he wanted to explore. Stay focused please! We are heading to the Lighthouse, then we'll explore.
Baby donkey. He was scared of us.
Now let's talk about the roads. They left a lot to be desired. Pot holes every where on the road leading up to the Lighthouse. Remember me saying how it would make an interesting story if Mitsugirly fell off? Well you definitely have a better chance of hearing that store come true with these roads.
Not only am I sitting on the back of the golf cart, facing the other direction and not really sure when we are about to hit a pot hole most of the time, but I am also hanging on to 2 beach bags AND I had a can of pop I was trying to hold and not spill AND of course my camera. I'm a multitask type of person. That's what happens when you have 4 children and several grandchildren. You learn to multitask well.
Do horses run free on the island too?
More paths the hubby tried to convince me to go down.
I can see the Lighthouse already! I guess we went the right way.
We had the SLOWEST golf cart ever! Like seriously. There were people passing us in their golf carts and they zoomed by us like they were in a car. I guess that's what you get with a $60 rental? They give you the slowest golf cart they have in the fleet. It didn't bother me because we planned on taking our time, but I just had to throw that out there to give you an idea of the time it took us to get from place to place.
We left the port in our golf cart at 8:46am to head to the Lighthouse. We only actually pulled over once to ask if we should "take that road" to the Lighthouse and they said yes. We didn't stop for any pictures along the way, but slowed down a lot due to the pot holes. We arrived at the Lighthouse at 9:12am. So, honestly, I didn't think it was bad at all...considering the slow golf cart. Less than 1/2 hour and we were there. The vendor at Wet Money told us it takes 1 hour to get there. Maybe he takes an even slower golf cart there? Who knows.
I had read on the boards that they put in a zip line in this area. Well, this is it...
I'm sorry, but if I'm going to zip line, it's not going to be at some type of contraption that looks like this. I can't even imagine this being any fun. All out in the open... just not my thing. Maybe I have been spoiled by ziplining in Roatan in the rain forest and different platforms. This place just didn't look interesting and I thought it probably takes away from the beauty of the surrounding area of the Lighthouse. This is the grounds at the Lighthouse.
I had every intention on stopping at the Lighthouse and paying the $3 admission to get in and hang out for a little while. I had estimated this into my budget, but quite honestly, once we arrived, I really didn't see a need to go in. I was able to get my pictures of the lighthouse, we didn't need anything to drink, since we brought our own cooler loaded with pop to carry us throughout most of the day, and Sakari couldn't wait to get to the beach of course. Also, like I said, we went here in hopes of seeing the wild donkeys, and we had seen plenty of them on the way there.
The donkeys were outside of the lighthouse gates and hanging out in the parking lot.
They are use to you feeding them and come right up to you when you arrive.
Sakari always brings a few boxes of dry cereal with her to munch on in port. She decided that she wanted to feed the donkey some cereal. Of course by the time she decided this, the donkey had lost interest in her after deciding she did not come bearing food and was walking away.
Once the donkeys ran off into the bushes, we decided to head on out and see if we could find the beach. We left at 9:21am
Along the way...
Since the donkeys didn't get to eat the cereal, Sakari decided she needed a snack.
Speed bumps..like the road didn't already have enough of those to begin with. Whoever felt the need to put these things in to slow people down didn't really think this thing through. The entire road is nothing but a pot hole speed bump and you couldn't possibly gather up enough speed to get anywhere quickly.
Shortly after this speed bump, Sakari would lose her Fruit Loops on a bump and I would wear my pop on that same bump. She lets out a squeal like she just lost her best friend and I let out a squeal like I had just been dunked at a dunking machine at a carnival. The golf cart comes to a halt and we both jump out. I run back to pick up the box of cereal, huffing and puffing out of breath...in my defense, it was a ways down the street, I reach down to pick the remains of it up, turn around, and the hubby and the golf cart are right there. WAIT A MINUTE...you have reverse? And I just ran all the way back here when you could have just put it in reverse and backed up? Remember how you're a Carnival newbie? Well, I'm putting that to full use when we get back on the ship! He laughs of course.
Remember how the hubby had a hankering for going off road? Well, I guess he decided since we already made it to the Lighthouse, it was time.
Well that looks like an interesting road to go down. Oh help me please!
Looking back...is it too late to turn back?
Well I see some beautiful water. I guess that's a good sign.
I wouldn't go much further though. I remember reading on here that someone had went "off road" and ended up stuck in the sand. "Awww, it'll be alright" the hubby replies.
Wham! We came to a stop.
We hit sand and that was all she wrote. The hubby gave it gas and the wheels were spinning. Oh just great. Didn't I tell you to listen to me? We are now stuck! Well, we might as well make the best of it and go check out the place.
We walked down the rest of the way and came to this...
It's not really the type of place I had in mind. It's not a place that you could swim at, pretty, but not really usable.
Ok, I have had enough. I'm worried about getting this golf cart unstuck that it's really hard to concentrate on the beauty around me. Hey, at least we had hours before we had to be back to the ship.
There was cactus (or is that cacti?) everywhere. I hope you don't have to use the potty. LOL
The entire time we were there, there was a helicopter flying above us. At first I'm thinking we are on private property and someone was pissed. They kept circling around and around. I, of course, played it off like we are just fine and checking out the place. Then I notice it's a tour helicopter. I can only imagine what the pilot is saying "And here you have idiots that decided to go off roading in a golf cart...resulting in them being stuck. Should we hang out for awhile for entertainment and watch them sweat-it on how they are going to get unstuck?" How embarrassing. The one place we get stuck and an entire tour is watching from above with the best seats in the house.
We struggled, we pushed, we were like the little engine that could(n't). Meanwhile the helicopter was still circling and I just wanted to crawl up in a ball and hide. The more we pushed the more it slid sideways. We continued to struggle, but it was finally able to grasp onto a small piece of concrete buried under the sand where the road had ended. We had to make a quick decision to try to turn it around or just go up backwards. Backwards it was until we got to better solid ground.
Whew, we made it and the hubby was going to live after all. We piled back into the golf cart and up the hill we went. It was a pretty steep hill and with the go cart being so slow, I wondered if it would even have the power to make it. But, it did.
I was never so happy to see the pot holed road again! It's a never ending journey with us...
And back on our journey to try to reach the beach...
We knew we were getting close when we started seeing more houses together and the salt ponds.
We knew we were getting close when we started seeing more houses together and the salt ponds.
It was just a matter of heading over toward the water, but there are so many roads that wind around these salt ponds.
At one point we stopped to ask a lady walking in the street if we were heading in the right direction to go to BOHIO or the beach. She acted confused and ask if we needed to wash, while rubbing her arms up and down. We kept saying "beach" and "BOHIO". She said "to wash?" Um ok...yea to wash I guess. She said "yes, go that way to end of road". I chalked it up to miscommunication and we just kept going. This leads me to wonder if some of the residents go to the beach to wash? Like bathe? Anyone know? I thought it was interesting.
We circled another salt pond and obviously another resident was watching and he laughed and pointed in the other direction. I gave him the thumbs up and we turned around. They must get a lot of confused cruisers on the island.
We managed to finally find BOHIO and the street we were on pretty much dead ended into it, so not too hard to find, once you are on the right side of the salt pond.
Once we drove up to the property, I started seeing all these "private property" signs. I really didn't know if that meant people that were not staying there or a day pass or what. So, I had the hubby turn around and park over on the side of the parking lot in hopes that we would be able to spend the day there and still come out to a golf cart sitting in the parking lot.
We gathered our things and headed out toward the water entrance from the side street.
The water and sand looked amazing!
The beach was really pretty and just as I expected. I had done my research and had googled pictures of the place and it looked just like what I had found on the internet.
This sand was so soft and fluffy, but I have to admit it reminded me of the sand I encountered at Nachi Cocom in Cozumel that everyone loves. Beautiful place, but the sinking-as-you-walk-in-the-sand will wear your legs out! Not fat girl friendly for me at all.
We found a spot on the beach with some shade, thanks to a huge tree behind us, and we planted ourselves.
Sakari found a crab walking up the sand and away from the water. Such an animal lover...even if it can hurt you, she loves them. That girl has no fear.
It wasn't long before Sakari would morph into a mermaid for everyone to see. From here to eternity, the girl will never have tan legs again while cruising. Sigh
Well, I guess she must have forgotten all about the burn/rub marks from the water park yesterday. WhatdItellya! Nothing is about to stop this little mermaid from getting in the salt water at the beach.
"Hey dude, did you know I was a real mermaid? Hey, hey you, are you listening to me? You are swimming next to a mermaid."
Not too much longer she would be bringing me her "find of the day", a heart sea urchin (or spatangoida).
Pretty cool seeing how I have never even spotted one of these when snorkeling before. Great job Sakari...now I have my picture, go put it back in the water so it will survive...and off she went.
After that exciting find, I knew I had to get in the water and take a look around.
Once I entered the water and headed to any "darker" areas, the only thing I would see would be the "wrong" kind of sea urchins that you really don't want to run in to.
These things were everywhere. It kinda made me think twice about getting in the water. There were so many unsuspecting people bopping around in the water that could step on them. I watched people on paddle boards looking oh-so slightly wobbly and I just held my breath hoping they didn't lose their balance and plummet into the water and land on one of these. Yikes.
A little tid-bit on sea urchins. The above sea urchins are not poisonous (like the black/red sea urchins I normally encounter). People actually eat these kind. The part that you eat is actually the sea urchins "parts" (wink wink) and it's considered a delicacy, just like caviar. People say it taste salty and sweet as well, but would all depend on what the sea urchin had to eat that day too.
There were a lot of itty bitty fish swimming around, but nothing to write home about. I had always heard that this place is "the" place to go for snorkeling and diving. I mean it's one of the dive shops here on the island, so it had to be good right? Well, maybe you need to do a boat tour to get there or something because I found nuttin! So don't get your hopes up high if you think you are going to do any snorkeling from the shore...unless maybe it was really out there far and this fat girl isn't into swimming out too far these days.
Another thing they said about this place is you could sometimes sit on the beach and watch the whales go by. For any of you that want to whale watch, Grand Turk is a great place to be during the months of January to April. Humpback whales come to Grand Turk during these winter months for mating and birthing and they pass by the island quite frequently. You will also see many whale spotting tours being offered during this "season". We were here last year just the first part of April and didn't manage to see a thing.
Well what have we here??? The hubby decided to actually come out and play in the water? This must be a special occasion because this usually doesn't happen too often these days. He's been practicing sitting on the beach in a chair over the last several years (since I usually have Sakari or Kendra to swim with) and he's been perfecting it pretty well I might say.
I guess since he managed to come into the water, I would have to take a break from this "wonderful" snorkeling for a bit.
Meanwhile we have a beached mermaid instead of a whale.
I ran out of the water and plopped down and the hubby grabbed my camera and took this picture. Give the guy a camera and he thinks he's an instant photographer.
A few pictures of the area:
As the sun moved, so did we. We kept having to pull our chairs up more toward the tree instead of the direction of the water...darnit.
More of the area: including food areas and the bathrooms
Beside the restroom, they had a pool. It looked like they had dug it out a bit and built a deck around it and it appeared to be an above ground pool. I didn't see anyone in it, but I'm sure it was reserved for guest as well.
Area's around the place were reserved for "guest"
The patio was super nice and I believe this is the area that I have seen in pictures stating that you can see the whales from here if you watch.
Since the sun continued to move and so did our chairs, we decided we would not be staying much longer. We were starting to infringe on the people behind us that were directly under the tree and...well you all know that "closeness" is not my thing while eating in the MDR and neither is it when sitting on the beach.
I informed my hubby that the next place we were going to would not have any place to eat or get drinks. If he was even the slightest hungry, he should probably get something here.
He went up and ordered food and came back with 1 plate. This plate of food cost $20!!!!! Wow, that's just crazy and such a rip off. I have to say that it wasn't very good either. The chicken nuggets had a fishy taste, so I assume that they cooked it in the same oil as they do fish. The cole slaw was decent and the fries "ok". I just couldn't get over the price of this platter and there were 3 of us that had to share it!
After eating, we gathered our things and headed for the entrance.
It was a beautiful place, nicely landscaped and laid out (although it's off limits to for the most part due to being for "guest only") and the beach was beautiful, just hard to walk in, but I would honestly not come back to this place. It's good to experience it once and once was enough for me. The outrageous price for the 1 platter of food threw me into shock, the lack of snorkeling right from the beach, the over run sea urchins, the hard to walk in sand...just all something that would not have me screaming "Gosh darnit I love this place so much that I HAVE to return next time". But definitely a beautiful beach and water!!!
On our way out and more of the grounds:
We arrived here at BOHIO at 9:53am and we were pulling out at 12:12pm. Plenty of time left and right on schedule.
Back to the parking lot, we would still find our golf cart waiting on us.
We said our goodbyes and off we went to the next beach.
Now all we had to do is keep heading in the direction that we knew the ship was and hope that we would be able to find the turn off to go to Governors Beach. When looking at google earth prior to the cruise, I could tell that you had to turn off some place along the way and I just hoped that I wouldn't miss it or that there would be a sign telling you where to turn.
To be honest, I didn't really notice an area that was too "poverty-struck" in GT. Maybe I missed it or just wasn't looking, but compared to a lot of the places in the Caribbean, I'm assuming that GT is not one of those that have a lot of poverty....which still leads me to wonder why the lady ask me if I wanted to go to the ocean to wash???
Ah ha, I could see the ship and knew we were getting close.
Attorney General Chambers
We made it to the airport and knew we were getting close. John Glenn Drive. It's kinda neat to see all this dedication to him here on the island. Even neater knowing he's actually from my state here in Ohio.
We found the sign! For those that are looking for this place, it's marked well.
It's a short drive down the road and you are there. Plenty of parking spaces and we found a spot in the shade.
I immediately spotted the ship wreck I had seen in pictures.
To anyone going here, the place is gorgeous. However, everything is closed down. There are bathrooms here and there is plenty of places to wash the sand off you. You just won't be able to eat or drink here, so you'd have to bring your own.
When we arrived, there was only 1 other family here and the place was deserted. I guess that's the good thing about the place being closed down...not many people coming here and you pretty much have the place to yourself.
I kept looking at the hubby and saying "I just can't get over the color of the water here at Grand Turk. It's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!"
They did have picnic tables, so if you come and bring your own lunch, there's a place to eat.
I do not know where these bio rocks are located, but I didn't see any right off the beach.
See how close you are to the port? It's not far at all.
We put our things down under a tree and walked down to the beach. It was so beautiful and there's plenty of shade here.
Obviously out there is where the snorkeling must be.
The first thing the hubby and I noticed was that it was pretty wavy here. We immediately told Sakari "No mermaid tail here". She was disappointed, but I just was unsure of it. There was also a bit of a drop off once in the water. I keep forgetting that she's actually "growing up" and getting taller and I still she her as my little 3 year old when we first took her on a cruise.
If only she would have smiled in this last picture.
This place is seriously gorgeous!
After awhile, I looked up and noticed 3 boys had arrived on bikes, which I'm pretty sure they were locals, and I thought they looked a little suspicious. They were looking around and I noticed them go up to the sign (I previously posted earlier about the "rules") like if they were new people checking out the island and interested in the rules. LOL I knew things just didn't look right so I headed back to our stuff, sitting under the trees, to make it known I was here and watching them. I grabbed our things up and moved them down to where we were at the beach.
We then decided to move on down toward the ship and check that little area out and take pictures.
Hubby actually got in the water again. What is up with him this cruise? I think someone has taken over his body and brain at this point. But then again, there aren't any lounge chairs to be lounging on either.
Sakari and I soon discovered that we had struck glass rock heaven at this beach! For those that collect this stuff, this is a great place to find plenty of it. We ended up with plenty of it (all pulled out of the water, there's none on the beach itself). We even managed to find some of the blue glass, which is very rare to find from what I have read in the past.
This picture makes it look like the Breeze is right by this ship. I obviously didn't realize the hubby was in possession of a camera and was taking pictures of me. Ohhh, the pictures he took...I could just drown him for it. LOL
Sakari found a conch shell. She is so good at spotting things in the water.
Sakari showing off some of her glass rock pieces.
There were a few people that came on these small boats to this cove area around the wrecked ship and there were a few people that were snorkeling over here as well. I have no idea where they actually came from.
This area was a lot more calmer than the other area, so we swam around here for awhile.
I honestly didn't want to leave this place. It was that beautiful and I really enjoyed it. However, I did want to give ourselves plenty of time to get back, turn the golf cart in, walk back to the port and spend a little time there at the pool.
We decided to head out around 1:40pm. We had been there just a little over 1 hour. If I had my chance to do it again, I would spend more time here and less time at BOHIO. But, since this was our last stop, we were already out of our drinks and was starting to get thirsty and needing a pick-me-up quencher and figured we should just go back.
This place has so much potential. It's so beautiful and there's all these little huts sitting on the property. It's such a shame to go to waste. Anyone know if they ever plan on doing anything with this place?
This place had plenty of places to wash your feet and body off, which is a nice surprise considering it's pretty much "closed".
I have tried to search the history of this place, but can't really seem to find much about it. Anyone know when this place closed? What was it like before? Why did it close? Any plans to remodel and reopen?
The only page I found was one when it use to be open and it doesn't have a date. I found a neat picture that looked like an overcrowded tourist beach.
Bring your own equipment to set out on an adventurous snorkeling trip off the coast, or take a relaxing stroll down the shore at this unpopulated beach. Often voted as one of the best secluded beaches in Turks and Caicos, Governor's Beach can't be missed. Beware, however, that the population of the beach booms when cruise ships are in port.
Set on the southern coast of the island of Grand Turk, You should consider stopping by whether or not you are staying very close. You will generally find plenty of places to set up shop, as the surrounding area and the beach itself are not overflowing with tourists.
How to Access The Beach
Governor's Beach can be accessed via Columbus Landfall National Park.
Amenities and Ambiance
The southwest coast of Grand Turk is home to Governor's Beach, with its white, powder-soft sands and clear blue Caribbean waters lined with casuarina trees, which make this beach one of the nicest on the island. It it located just in front of the official British Governor's residence, features a lighthouse in the distance and coral just a short ways away from the shore.
The snack bar located at this spot is perfect for quick lunches and cold drinks, too. If available, you could also buy food from one of the local vendors who set up shop at the beach.
Restrooms are available at Governor's Beach. The water in the area is clear enough for snorkeling, so grab some equipment if you want to see what lies beneath the surface. Though well-known, Governor's Beach does not get very crowded, which makes it easy to find a secluded spot along the shore.
We headed back out to the entrance and ready to head back to the cruise port just down the street.
I could see we were close to the ship.
We pulled up to return our golf cart and they said "You stopped and refilled the gas right?" but wasn't checking. Of course I'm honest and said "No, we didn't but these things don't use much gas." He lifted the seat and found that in fact, the gas hadn't even moved at all. I went ahead and gave him $15 for...whatever...to cover gas, tip or .... I'm not even sure. We had a good day and really enjoyed ourselves so it was whatever. I'm not even sure if you are supposed to tip these people??? I mean we rented off them, they didn't do anything for us or take us anywhere, so I was just unsure if this is a "tipping" type of thing?
We headed back toward the cruise port gate.
We walked right in. There wasn't anyone stopping us or asking for ID or our ship cards or anything. I thought that was weird.
This is the street you walk down...unless you decide to walk up into the flowers/bushes/cactus and go on the sand sidewalk that they say is closed...which we did.
Just walking from the entrance back to the port pool area was a hot one!