We had a very relaxed day in Grand Turk. This tiny island, part of Turks & Caicos, is only 7 miles long & 1 mile wide. Cruise ships started visiting Grand Turk in 2006, after Carnival Cruise Lines helped the local government build a dock & cruise center & improve a beautiful beach in the vicinity. Regatta was not able to dock today due to windy conditions, so we used the tenders; the Carnival Liberty also had priority space at the dock. We had no shore excursions planned, so this was not a problem and we slept in, heading to the island at 10:30 am. We visited the cruise center, bought some items from Ron Jon’s (yes, the same Ron Jon’s found at Cocoa Beach), and visited the dreaded Jimmy Buffett “Margaritaville”, complete with a huge beach area & swimming pool. Grand Turk has a tracking station & is famous for being the island closest to the splashdown point for John Glenn’s Mercury program Friendship 7 return from the first American orbital mission. Glenn was apparently brought to Grand Turk for a physical exam before returning to the US.
A very deep channel separates Grand Turk from the larger Caicos islands; this channel wall is quite popular with divers & thousands of humpback whales are in the area from December through March. We will keep an eye out for humpback whales as we cruise west to the Dominican Republic this afternoon.
It was a gorgeous day today, with temperatures nearing 80 degrees, accompanied by a few puffy clouds, an easterly breeze, and blue sky and seas. What a drag!