While we have been here multiple times, it's always nice to have a "free" day. This is a super easy port where you can go and not have to spend any money unless you want to eat and drink here. (We brought our own drinks) The beach and chairs (for the most part) are free at the cruise center and the pool is free to use with the beach chairs around it. They do have cabanas that you can rent but for the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would. They are located right there by the pool with all the other people and no seclusion. We are just active people and don't stay put very long and it would be a waste of money for anyone like us to ever rent anything like that...especially at this location where there's really no benefits to renting one and you definitely don't get away from the crowd here.
Since we were planning on doing activities that cost in the other ports, we decided to just make this a free day and forego going to any of the other beaches or renting a golf cart. Had Kendra's fiance been with us, we might have considered getting golf carts and exploring because it's always more fun with a group of people...especially my group. 😉
Grand Turk is one of those early to rise open you eyes ports. We would be in port from 7-2pm (I hate those hours).
When we were in Aruba last time, we spent a day hanging out with our awesome Arubian friend and she took us to the National Park (desert) that was full of cactus plants. She told us about the flowers blooming on them and how often it occurs. You can eat these flowers. Sakari and her were on a mission the entire vacation to find a cactus with the flower on the top that you can eat. Sakari wanted to try it so bad but we were at the end of the blooming season and she was disappointed even though she managed to step on a few during her search, having thorns in her foot wasn't a good enough souvenir for her. Whodda thought? However, the first thing Sakari noticed, after arriving in port, was several cacti with blooms! She squealed with excitement and tried to talk me into going over to "taste" them. Well, I didn't want to be the weirdo eating cactus and I told her we couldn't just go over and start plucking the cactus blooms. Honestly, I didn't feel comfortable without our Arubian friend with us to confirm this was the same type of cactus. Sakari was a little upset with me but hey...
We headed into the port shopping area (which is the only way you can get to the beach area) and around to the beach and picked our spot. Now I know in the past that all the chairs there at the beach in front of the cruise compound have always been free until you hit the sign that said: "You are leaving the cruise port area". Well, recent reports had stated that the locals have managed to steal a lot of the chairs and claim them as their own. They put their chairs in front of the cruisers chairs (usually 1st-2nd rows) and charge you for them. They managed to sucker in quite a few newbies that day at $50 A POP FOR 2 CHAIRS AND UMBRELLA!!!! Outrageous for something that is free. Just pay attention and don't fall for their scam!
Here's where we sat...for FREE!
Immediately Sakari was ready to morph into a mermaid and daddy was ready to carry her down. I'm not sure why this cruise she all of a sudden decided that putting on her tail up on the beach and being carried down was going to happen every time. Usually, she just walks down to the water and puts it on herself and goes out.
A DAY OF GROUPERS, BARRACUDAS AND TONS OF EELS:
Of course, I immediately headed out for some snorkeling. As I said, we've been here several times. I have never thought the snorkeling was good here (at least from the beach). But I did read that others said the snorkeling is good by "the wall", which is a drop off out a short way and you can tell by the color of the water of course. It's right in front of the ships. This time I was going to make sure that I checked this out because I have been super disappointed in the past by any snorkeling. The only other wall is only accessible from a boat and on the other side of the ship. They have ropes up at the beach that you can't pass, so I wouldn't think that's the wall that others have referred to. (You can go down to the end of the island and snorkel and I hear it's awesome but very tricky getting into the water with tons of coral and it's pretty unpredictable with the waves)
Immediately we saw a lot of barracuda's in the area. We would see them everywhere that day.
We started seeing a lot of flounders. Big ones, small ones, they were just everywhere. These are the weirdest fish with both eyes on the top of their head and they are flat.
At the drop off
AND THEN I SEEN IT....MY FIRST EEL OF THE DAY!
I squealed with excitement only to pop up out of the water to notice that Sakari had decided to swim back to shore and hang out with Brayden. She was missing it! I'm always in search for eels. They are so cool to watch. I had noticed this entire snorkel adventure that these eels hang out with one of these black fish. Every time I would see one of these black fishes acting like they were protecting something around a hole, there would be an eel. What type of relationship do they have? Are they like the watchman goby that protects the blind pistol shrimp in home saltwater tanks? They are an odd pair and the pistol shrimp is blind and digs a hole and works non-stop while the watchman goby stays outside and protects it. The goby lets the shrimp know if danger is approaching and they are never far apart. The shrimp reaches its antennas out to make sure the goby is there. So fun to watch. Maybe this fish and eel have the same relationship.
This is the area I was snorkeling in and this close to the ship all the way out to the buoys.
I spotted another eel! It was yellow and beautiful. It also had its buddy protecting it too.