We normally don't do ship tours for a variety of reasons, usually they are more expensive and the group is much larger. But I really wanted to go to Gibb's Cay to see the stingrays since we had such a good time doing it on Grand Cayman and I couldn't find an operator besides the ship that did it while the cruise ship was in port. We signed up for the Gibbs Cay Stingray & Coral Reef Snorkel Adventure, reading the description after we went, the tour wasn't really at all as described.
We did stop by the cruise excursion desk afterwards to let them know assuming they would want to know if an excursion wasn't as advertised. Instead of listening to us, the lady behind the desk challenged us and said it was one of their more popular excursions and therefore the problem was ours and not the excursions. I also responded to their email feedback request but never heard anything back.
For this tour, it wasn't particularly expensive but it was crowded, I believe they said there were 120 of us split between two boats. I'm guessing we waited for at least 1/2 hour while waiting for them to check everyone in and for the stragglers. When we got to the 1st stop, they brought over 1 stingray for the photo op which they then sold to you after the cruise. Although we could see other stingrays with another group from Princess, they wouldn't let us go over and snorkel with them. Disappointing and frustrating.
There are amany beautiful coral reefs in the Turks & Caicos Islands. There are also large coral formations on the ocean floor. My sugestion is to wear water shoes to avoid any nasty cuts on your feet. Our last trip to Grand Turk my wife stepped on a round piece of loose coral and cut up the side of her foot; nothing major but water shoes would have helped to prevent it.
Picky burrs under deceptively inviting shade trees
Be careful if you venture off the beach area into the trees just up the hill. We were attacked by hundreds of the burrs that fall off the trees and never got them out of our towels or shoes. Also, if you get them in your fingers, it hurts and it's hard to get them out.
Otherwise a very beautiful beach!!
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The lure of the beautiful beach and delightful breeze can make you forget the strength of the rays of the sun. Make sure to wear sunblock to avoid a bad burn. I am fair skinned and have a family history of melanoma so I always wear at least sunblock 70 and bring a large brimmed hat.
Try to avoid being outside duing the peak sun burn hours of 12pm-3pm.
The coming of Ike
On 6 September 2008 the cathegory 4 Hurricane Ike reached Grand Turk on its way from haiti to the Bahams and greatly damaged the island. When I say greatly I mean that over 80 percent of the island's homes were damaged and nearly all boats were lost.
When I visited grand Turk, 5 months and a half after the hurricane, damage was still very visible: some houses still needed to be reparied - in particular the roofs, while many street signs and fences were still left on the ground (see photo). Luckily, no lives were lost.
Wear Sun Block!
The sun is strong so make sure to wear plenty of sun block. We always make sure to wear sunblock and have never gotten burned. Liz is a big advocate of sunscreen and skin protection so she always makes sure to have sunclock 70 for us wherever we travel. Vacation is so much better when you don't have the pain of a sunburn to deal with.
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