From Georgian Bay Canada to Grace Bay Turks and Caicos, GB Beauties is taking a break from the cold to enjoy a little salt water boating!
For Canadians, the Turks and Caicos are a 4 hour direct flight out of Toronto. Some fast facts about this destination: a British Oversees Territory located in the North Atlantic Ocean, SE of the Bahamas, composed of many small islands and cays, each with a distinct Caribbean culture. Providenciales (or Provo as it’s called locally), is the main tourist island with a diverse and friendly population. There are no McDonald’s or Starbucks, no cruise ships or night clubs – this island is quiet at night but experiential by day.
And with tons of boating options – kayaks, sea doos, bow riders, jet boats, catamarans – it is easy to arrange a fun filled day exploring the warm turquoise waters.
Today my ride is a 27’ Sun Deck Hurricane with twin 150 Yamahas and I will be visiting a few of the more popular tourist destinations around Provo that are boat access only.
And of course a few beach stops at some of the cays are a must!
We will be departing from Turtle Cove Marina, a full service marina with over 100 slips and surrounded by some of the best and liveliest restaurants Provo has to offer.
After leaving the harbour, which is on the north side of the island, we have the full expanse of Grace Bay ahead of us. This is the main resort area on Provo and Grace Bay Beach is often awarded “best beach in the world” accolades from tourism groups due to its almost 3 miles of sugary soft white sand that slopes gently into the warm water.
And what a way to get our day started – immediately we grab the attention of an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin who follows us the full length of the beach, jumping our wake and posing for selfies! There are quite a few in these waters and they can often be easily spotted from shore.
After much frolicking we leave him behind as we head out to one of the reefs for some snorkelling – always a must on any boat excursion! The Turks and Caicos are surrounded by a large barrier reef and the islands depend on that reef remaining healthy in order to preserve their beaches. It is critical to protect the coral so there are many mooring buoys in place for tour boats to latch on to, rather than dropping anchor. It is also important to ensure you have a “reef safe” sunscreen as many of the harmful ingredients in some brands are killing the coral.
After our snorkel we head for the south side of the island to visit the famous local shipwreck “La Famille Express” – an old freighter which sits grounded about 2 miles offshore.
The ship ended up here in 2004 after slipping its berth during a hurricane and dragging anchor for 12 miles where it became firmly lodged in the sand. Sitting in the turquoise waters, it draws many tourists, some who climb the hull to explore her decks.
So far it’s been a perfect boating day but now we are getting thirsty so where to get a cocktail in the middle of the ocean? Time for a visit to Captain Oak’s Tiki Hut Bar, a floating cocktail bar surrounded by (yup!) ocean.
Everyone here is friendly, the music’s lively, a portable generator keeps the beer cold and the ice frozen but please don’t ask for directions to the bathroom…LOL…let’s just say this ladder serves many purposes! After a cold cocktail and some social time, we depart to start our journey back to Turtle Cove.
There are a few other marinas on Provo, one worthy of mention is South Side Marina which is located (as the name says) on the south side of the island, further away from the main tourist area. This is also a full service marina and home to Bob’s Bar and Eats which on Wednesday nights has the “Old Man Band” packing in the ex-pat crowds. Lots of Canadians chill here and if the band’s in a good mood, they may reward the crowd with a Tragically Hip song. ❤️
And after a perfect day on the water, what better way to enjoy a beautiful sunset then with cocktails and some cracked conch (a popular island seafood dish, pronounced “konk”) at any one of the fabulous marina restaurants while watching the daily tour boats arrive home.
Turks and Caicos is about the beaches and water, the people and culture but regardless if you’re boating Grace Bay or Georgian Bay, I gotta say – life doesn’t get much better than when you’re out on the water in a boat! 🥰