March 2010

This week I am in the Turks & Caicos Islands, more specifically on the island of Grand Turk which is the capital.  There are only +-5000 people who live on this island.

Getting to Grand Turk was half the fun. Flight from Miami to Providenciales (“Provo”); no big deal.  Then a flight from Provo to Grand Turk via Air Turks & Caicos.  Very fun!

Here is our plane, a very old De Havilland Twin-Otter

Here is our pilot. I kid you not! (pun intended) 🙂   This pilot was not more than 18.  (edit: Debby from Air TC left me a comment. The Pilot’s name is Captain Thomas and he is 23!  Thanks for letting me know.  In any case he did a great job!)

My view of the cockpit from my seat … no door! Great view of the whole flight.

The first thing that struck me once in Grand Turk was the amount of livestock roaming around.  Especially the amount of donkeys. At one point I counted 8 around the hotel where I was staying.

Here are some of the beasts roaming around the island.

On the hotel grounds, there were also quite a few cats & dogs roaming around freely. They seem to “belong” there since the dogs all had collars.  I approached some of the dogs and must say that they were some of the kindest souls I have even come in contact with.  Here is “Savage” getting petted while I had breakfast at the restaurant overlooking the beach.

Of course great place for going to the beach, unfortunately I had little time for that a part for a swim after work.

Lovely sunsets also.

A quick update about the Apoise, the luxury yacht I featured below. It sold today for 46M$US which according to the site is a bargain! The estimated value was around 87M$.  Good deal for the British citizen (no name given) who purchased it. Click on link below for more details.–apoise-sold-for-dollar46-million-496.htm

Note: If you tried to add a comment in the last two weeks or so you noticed that it did not work.  All fixed now.  Thanks to Yves for letting me know!

I had read about this super yacht a while back in the local paper. It looked quite big in the pictures I saw on the website. Up close to it, it was HUGE and very impressive. While out diving along Seven Mile beach this morning, our captain took us for a close look at this gorgeous ship.

Ok, here is the story!  The owner of this boat is auctioning it off later this month in a no-reserve auction. Essentially, this boat could (technically) sell for 100$. I think we can all agree that’s not going to happen. In order to bid, you have to place 2M Euro in trust which if you are not the winner you will be refunded. Basically, they want serious bidders only. The current owner is the owner of the auction house that is auctioning off the Apoise,

Here are the pictures I took.   Quite frankly, they do not do justice to this massive water craft.  Its quite awesome how big it actually is.  A quick Google search tells me that its the 89th largest private yacht in the world and is 220ft long. Oh, and the gas tank takes 190,000 liters (just over 50,000 US gallons) of diesel fuel.   It can also accommodate 12 guests and 19 crew.  I was told that it could fetch 50M$ at the auction.

Here is the website for the auction and to some inside pictures. The auction will take place at the Ritz in Grand Cayman on March 30th!

If any reader of this blog intends to buy this boat, I’d love to go for a ride sometime! Please, I’m a really nice guy! 🙂

The Cayman Islands, unlike some other small countries around the world (or even some large ones …) are a successful democracy with government that is elected every four years.  The system is quite similar to that of the UK & Canada which is based on seats / riding’s where the party that has most seats has control of the legislative assembly. Key positions are Ministers and the head of the country is the Premier.Our current premier is the Hon. McKeeva Bush (no relation to the former US Presidents).

In most countries, your chances of actually seeing the leader are quite slim. Here, you can see him at the grocery or at any number of public events. The shot below is quite telling in my opinion of how small Cayman is … its his parking slot behind the main government building.

Admit it, you would not expect to see “President” on a parking slot next to the west wing of the White house!

On another note of how Cayman is small (this is a good thing!), is the following picture I took this week. I saw this while driving to work one morning and just had to stop to take a picture. This cow is essentially staying right next to the Cayman National Bank right in George Town where there is a vacant lot next to the building for parking.

By way of comparison, its as if there was a cow on Bay St. next to the Royal Bank or next to JPMorgan Chase in lower Manhattan.

Finally, lunch at the ever popular Sunset House. If you have not been, I highly recommend it on a sunny day. Great view of the ocean and a lovely place for a quick lunch. These guys below were hoping to get some of my fish & chips. They essentially stayed there the whole time we were eating, hoping for a handout.

One place I really like in Grand Cayman is the east end.  Its a huge change of pace from the hustle and bustle of George Town ; its almost like being on a different island altogether! I personally enjoy driving the “east end loop” which consists of driving past the east end village, then towards Morritts, then to the Queens Highway and then back across the island via Frank Sound road. For those visiting Grand Cayman, its a lovely drive with some nice beaches and lots of photo opportunities.

This place really captures the essence of the  east end village.  As far as I now, its one of the only stores (except for the gas station) in the area.

The residents of the village got hit hard in Ivan in 2005. In 2009, they completed a sea wall to protect the road and homes that are close to the coast.  Now they have a 12ft (my estimate) wall that protects them from the surge.

When driving by, keep an eye out for the local Loch Ness monster. I honestly have no idea what this it, but sure looks like some sort of beast popping out of the water. My best guess is an old ship anchor. Anyone reading this blog know??

Just before getting to the village, there is a reminder of Ivan. This derelict house has (obviously …) never been  repaired since the hurricane.  This is the font of the house and the ocean is at the back.  Notice how the roof was “flipped” over.

At the back of the house, you can see that even the concrete slab was busted up by the force of the storm. Whats especially impressive is that we are probably 15-20ft above sea level here.

That being said, they are unfortunately forecasting a very active hurricane season. However, last year they had also predicted that and we had nothing.  So lets hope they are wrong once again.