Category Archives: Big Blue Unlimited

Weekend Worthy Causes

Image via guardian
This weekend is full of fab events supporting great causes.  Firstly the Ladies Hat Luncheon at the beautiful Regent Palms Resort.  Tickets are $75 and include champagne and Pimm’s cocktails, lunch, couture hat fashion show, and live and silent auction.  All proceeds go towards new classroom space for the Holy Family Academy Mission School.
The brand new Giggles is celebrating their second location with a fundraiser for Enid Capron Primary School.  Please stop by and grab a giggler anytime from 9am to 3pm!
On Sunday, “the 6th Annual Windvibes Kiteboarding Tournament and Beach Party will be held on Long Bay beach near the Shore Club. This year’s event is presented by Big Blue Unlimited. The wide array of events will encompass many of the Turks and Caicos’s sports including kiteboarding, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and swimming with Race for the Conch. All proceeds from the stand up paddleboarding races will go to the TCSPCA. Less competitive events will include log throwing, a flipper race, potato sack race, and kite pumping competitions. You don’t need to be a kiteboarder to get involved!
Pre registration is required for kiteboarding, kayaking, swimming and stand up paddleboarding races. Space is limited. Reserve your place now!
Check out
Contact 342-2941 for more info”
Info via enews
   Above images via hopelevin
Support your local kiteboarding and watersports community, the amazing young lady who pours her heart and soul into planning and organizing this event year after year, and the tcspca, this beach party is not to be missed!

North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and the 12th annual Valentine’s Day Cup

Last Saturday we loaded up the bicycles and took the 6:30am TCI Ferry to Sandy Point, North Caicos for a day of adventure and the 12th Annual Valentine’s Day Cup.  Our first stop was at cottage pond, pictured above, a beautiful sight with the morning dew clinging in the air.  Incredible to imagine that this small “pond” is actually a sinkhole that cave divers on a daring mission tethered by 600 feet of line, actually discovered bottoms out at around 255 feet.  To read more about the exploration of cottage pond, please see The Times of the Islands.
A few wrong turns later we knew we must be close to Wades Green Plantation, and thanks to the assistance of several villagers and one particular goat herder, we were able to find the gatekeeper Alvira to gain entrance so early in the morning.  I had read a great deal about the plantation and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to visit one the best preserved landmarks in the country.

Wade’s Green, originally called Bellefield by founder Wade Stubbs, was even more lovely than I had imagined.  The moisture in the air and all the lush vegetation surrounding the area, supported the decision to establish he production of cotton, sisal, sugar cane and guinea grass here in 1789 was a wise one.

Lilypads now inhabit two large metal cauldrons which were once used for daily life; washing, cooking, and most likely turning sugar cane into molasses.
Much of the remains of the old buildings are being reclaimed by nature, reminding us of the temples of Angkor Wat.  Etchings of slave ships were carved in one of the buildings, stoking pangs in us of the horror and hardship that must have taken place there.

There is a great variety of plant and tree life for viewing, some with labels (even the poisonwood had an appropriate skull and crossbones warning), others are highlighted within the reading guide.

The original well with shadowy morning light.

Some of the labels are now perceived to be incorrect; the overseer’s house is now thought to have been a chapel, the buildings to the left of it most likely stables, the gardens a roofed building for storage, and the slave’s quarters more likely would have been rudimentary and outside the town.  Shame as they are such charming labels.

As we had almost 40 miles to reach Bambarra Beach, we had to be on our way.  To make this trip by bicycle is not for everyone.  Though the road is fairly flat, constant peddling for two to three hours is just not everyone’s cup of tea.  Since our last visit, where we received a ride from Sandy Point to Bambarra and cycled back, versus this trip where we bicycled to and caught a ride back, I would say the latter was more difficult due to the wind favor.  Now there are several options for hiring taxi’s and renting cars so there are plenty of options for getting around once you are there.

We were very excited to reach this sight by 1pm, and perhaps even happier to frequent the local watering hole nearby!

As I had only ever seen Bambarra like this in the past, it was great to see it thick with people and food and festivity. 

It was a glorious day, even though the wind was slight.  There was a great show of boats, captains, and supporters.

It was a great visual representation of TCI craft and culture.

After depleting our six reusable metal water bottles we were forced to buy plastic, but at least it was made and bottled right here in TCI.

Eco crusader Lynn, demonstrating stand up paddle board technique to several island boys, was just one of many Big Blue representatives who joined in on the fun.

This vibrant event,

and music,

and crowd

 is one I do not wish to miss in the future.  For many more amazing photos, please visit the Tropical Imaging blog.

Native Pine and more on Middle and North

I recently had the opportunity to pay a brief visit to North and Middle Caicos on a scout for Turks and Caicos Productions.  The always efficient big blue unlimited coordinated my adventure.  I arrived at Heaving Down Rock (color coded great map found here) shortly after 6am to check in with the ferry.  This was my first experience using TCI Ferry Service/Caribbean Cruisin’ and by the end of the day I was thoroughly impressed; timely departures and arrivals, courteous and professional staff, and a swift and steady boat ride despite fairly large and in charge swells.  As soon as we arrived at the Sandy Point Marina in North Caicos, Cardinal Arthur and his taxi greeted me and we immediately got to chatting.  I quickly discovered Cardinal Arthur is a 5th generation Turks and Caicos Islander, his legacy pre-dated by his father, Clementine Arthur, and his father’s father, Cain Arthur.  The original Arthur was an African slave who labored in Bermuda before his assignment on John Lorimer’s Haulover Plantation in Middle Caicos.  To read more about Haulover, please click here.  Cardinal’s mother, Ida Forbes (another long standing Turks and Caicos namesake) passed away when he was only twelve years old.  Cardinal shared many stories of his boyhood and  I learned a great deal of Turks and Caicos history in a few hours.  He pointed out many “fire gardens” (slash and burn farming techniques) full of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, bananas, papayas, tomatoes, and stalk after stalk of corn.   He pointed out native sopadilla and wild cherry trees, reminiscing how as children they would pick and eat the fruit as they stumbled upon it.  When I asked Cardinal about  a giant agave on the side of the road, he proclaimed that’s “sisal!” and then explained how it was prepared.  First you would strip the leaves, then soak them under water for 15 days.  Once the fibers became soft then they would be woven into rope. 
  Our first stop was to Whitby beach, and the old Whitby Hotel, which Cardinal confirmed was the hot and happening place to be in the 1980’s.

The Whitby hotel used to be accessed by a small inlet channel they made into a mini marina complete with dive boat operation.  A storm filled in the access and perhaps that was the start of the decline.  When I inquired about the giant Causarina pines in the area, he told me they were relatively new, he wasn’t certain if they were even around as early as the seventies. 

 A fire garden dotted with white cranes

After stops at Horsestable Beach, several grown over ruins, and farms in Bottle Creek, we passed the Ready Money Farm just before arriving at the causeway.

Curalena Higgs-Phillips, a cultural crusader whose forefathers settled in Ready Money Garden, keeps up a charming little village there with local crafts and foods.  I have yet to meet Curalena, but I look forward to the day I do, hopefully at one of the many cultural events she organizes there.  To see this vibrant woman in full color and hear more of the Christmas traditions of Turks and Caicos past please see below:
After crossing the causeway we were soon after at Mudjin Harbor, hands down my favorite beach in all of Turks and Caicos.  Cardinal explained that “Mudjin” came from “Bermudian,” a somewhat obvious deviation that was unknown to me before. 

Cardinal said in his youth they would often catch and eat ducks such as these.

Not far away there was an entire flock of flamingos, a rare sight on Providenciales but an apparently common one in Middle.
Next we headed to Bambarra Beach

Near the thatched huts we came across this conch shell that Cardinal explained was most likely very old as it was knocked using the old method; the pointed end of another conch shell.
Our final stop was to a little port and dock looking over Pelican Cay.  We found huge lobster shells from a recent catch.  Cardinal could name when most of these sloops were built and by whom.

As we turned around the loop in front of the old (and now unused) airport to make our way back to Sandy Point, Cardinal stopped and let me have a lingering look at this Native Pine that he had planted some years ago.  This was the first time in my memory that I had seen a living Native Pine.  Being a member of the Environmental Club I had read about the Caicos-Pine-Recovery-Project and over the years had seen many photos of the dead and dying forests.  This was the first time I could clearly see the shape of the tree and the needle structure of the branches; what a beauty even when sick.  Since 2005, an estimated 90% of the Caicos Pine population has died.  Please contact the DECR to find out what you can do to help.  Let’s keep the Caicos Pine a part of the Turks and Caicos.  I’d like to start a Christmas tradition of cutting a Causarina, and planting a Caicos Pine in it’s place in the fuure.  Thanks to Brian Naqqi and his seedlings, we may just have the opportunity to do so.
All images by pepperkeystacie
My thanks to everyone who made my day island hopping so pleasant, and especially Cardinal Arthur for making it educational.