Thursday, March 08, 2007

Providenciales, Caicos


We are still here in the Caicos. The weather has been very uncooperative for us. Right now we are at Sapodilla Bay inside the Caicos Bank off the coast of Provodenciales (Prov0), Caicos. There has been a series of cold fronts coming off the east coast of the United States making the weather down here pretty nasty. It is either too windy or dead calm, lots of squalls and rain and the seas are pretty high.

We left our anchorage at Middleton Island, Turks as planned and headed out of the Caicos Bank into the Turks passage. We headed for a break in the reef to re-enter the Caicos Bank to sail across in an area that could handle the draft of our boat (we need a minimum of 6 ft). While in the Turks passage we finally saw a humpback whale. It was a younger one that jumped completely out of the water, we saw his tail and then it went back in the water with a HUGE splash. We did not have the camera out to take a picture, but we managed to get some video of him as he was swimming away. He never came completely out of the water again, but he surfaced many times. It was an incredible site. Once back in the Banks we were visited a few times by dolphins, but they did not play at our bow as usual.

We left the Banks at late afternoon and went to French Cay to anchor and wait for the next weather window. It was very calm with no winds and was supposed to stay that way through the next morning, with the winds picking up later that day. The holding at French Cay was HORRIBLE, we tried 5 times to lay the anchor but it would not catch. We finally got the nose of our anchor down in some sand and grass, laid alot of chain out and felt that would hold us through the night because there was not supposed to be any wind until the next day in the afternoon. Well, we were wrong!!! We went to bed about 8:30 PM, at about 9:30 PM we wake up to the wind blowing hard. Mike gets up and says we need to do anchor watches and goes outside to check things out. Kim gets up to put on her contacts and as one is going in the eye, Mike is yelling - Kim get out here we're dragging. So the engine goes on and we are out on the deck in 25 knot winds about 50 feet from a boat anchored next to us. OH #($*&.......we finally get the anchor up and decide the only safe place is out to sea, so there we go. After some thought we think it best to find a safe anchorage because we do not know what the conditions are. We decide to go back into the Banks thinking it would be calmer, but needed a safe entrance because there are many coral heads. We decide to take the freighter channel into Sapodilla Bay, which is definitely deep enough. The scary part was that it was dark and we're heading for land :(. As we are going through the channel the seas in the Bank start to pick up and the wind is up to 28 knots on our nose. We still had our sun shade up and with the winds that high we had to take it down because it was actually acting like a sail and we're heading straight into the 28 knot winds while the seas were bouncing us up and down. Mike heads out to take it down while Kim stays at the helm, we had to stay on course or risk hitting a coral head. Mike cannot take the shade down in those winds but he managed to take the sides off and lash it to the main sail boom. Next obstacle - a HUGE barge being towed out of the Banks by a tug boat OH #*$& again. We steer a little to his starboard and manage to miss each other. As we came closer to the anchorage we could not determine where the anchorage was for our size boats, only one vessel had his anchor light on so we decided it was not safe to go there, that water was pretty shallow anyway and we would only want to go in with good light. We found the big boat anchorage, the ones for barges and freighters and set the anchor there. We would stay there until first light and then head over to the other anchorage. Thank goodness we had soft sand or mud and the anchor held solid. It was about 4:30 AM by this time, so we waited until light and then found the anchorage where we are now. Since then the weather has kept us here.

We checked in here since we knew we would be here a few days then tried to find a place to fuel up. Sapodilla Bay is not a very cruiser friendly place and they do not have the services you might need readily available. Provo is mostly for the rich and famous with beautiful homes dotting the coastline and Chalk Sound (the picture to the right). The town is very far away and you have to take a taxi (very expensive) or hitchhike which is what most of the cruisers do. We could not find diesel close by to fuel up so started checking out Marinas. Only one could handle our draft at high tide, but it was a long ways away. We decided to rent a car and jerry can our fuel in. It would be expensive but we had to have fuel. We rented a jeep and made about 4 runs to the gas station, one gas station very obvisouly ripped us off by a few bucks but the last one we went to was honest and we actually got a receipt. While we had the car, we topped up on groceries at a very expensive grocery store (everything here is expensive).

Not much to do here and we will be glad to get going. We have a weather window Friday and Saturday so if everything stays the same we,ll leave Friday afternoon. We'll exit the Banks in the afternoon and tie up to a dive bouy until later that evening, then head across the Caicos Passage to Mayaguana, where we hope to check into the Bahamas.

The picture to the right is of Big Sand Cay where we first made landfall in the Turks. We only stayed here overnight, leaving the next morning for the Caicos. It was very nice here, but the swell was so large the next morning that it was pushing us toward shore so we had to leave.

Cheers Mike and Kim


  1. Anonymous4:35 PM

    how adventurous can you get - WOW!! how many contacts do you have left?

  2. Good question - the contact supply is dwindling FAST :)....

  3. Anonymous7:55 AM

    We are planning to spend 10 days in Turks. We want to charter a boat for 3 days and just sail around the islands. Is it worth it? We have only chartered a boat in the BVIs. Is it a lot different there? sounds like it from your blog. Hard to find a spot to anchor at night? Not many places to dinghy in at night? do they have mooring balls? Thanks for your help

  4. Hello, are you still thinking of going to the Turks, we heard it got hit pretty bad with the storms. We only stayed there overnight at Sand Cay then headed over to the Caicos, so not sure what is really there, or now if anything! Good luck and let us know if you head over there and what it was like. Cheers Kim and Mike



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