July 2013

On my numerous travels, I recently had the opportunity to go back to a pretty cool place.  A place I have dubbed “Donkey Island”.  The real name of the place is Grand Turk, in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In fact, Grand Turk is the capital of Turks & Caicos even though it only has about 3,000 inhabitants and is only 18 sq.km (7 sq. miles) in size.  Some historians believe that Christopher Columbus’ first set foot on Grand Turk rather than one of the Bahama islands due to historical documents where he describes the island.

The reason I call it Donkey island is that there are many donkeys (and other livestock) that roam freely on the island. I have to say, its quite amusing.  🙂

So how does one get to Grand Turk?  Well, first you have to fly to the main tourist island (there is a Club Med, etc) of Providenciales.  From there, you take Air Turks & Caicos to Grand Turk.  On this flight I was “almost” the pilot.  The plane has no separation between passengers and the pilots.  Of course I chose to sit all the way in front, right behind the copilot.  As you can see in the picture, we are coming in for landing (note the runway just right of the center part of the windshield.  Neat flight experience.


Another cool historical fact about Grand Turk. John Glenn and the Mercury 7 spaceship landed in water just off Grand Turk in 1962.  Here is the road (which leads to the airport) bearing his name as well as a replica of the spaceship.


Now for the animals.  🙂  Most of the pictures were taken either on one of my morning jogs, outside my clients offices or at the airport.

This little guy was quite cute. Unfortunately, since they belong to no one, they are not socialized and will not let you get closer than 10-15ft.  I tried a few times with no luck. The donkeys, from my understanding, are here due to the former salt operations on the island.  There are many abandoned salt ponds on the island.  Until the early 60’s,  salt was a huge business here.  That fell a apart but the donkeys remained.  Today they are more of a tourist attraction that anything else.  I have to admit its like going back in time when I go to Grand Turk; it just makes me smile to see animals like that roaming around.  Quite charming actually!

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I got the closest to this fellow.  He was very calm and almost trusting, but this is the closest I got.

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Some horses.  Not as many as donkeys but quite a few nevertheless.


Cows! For some reason they seem to hang mostly in the area of the airport (white building in the background)


Two cows butting heads!


… and of course dogs.  At the hotel I stayed at there are 5-6 resident dogs who hang around and get petted by most of the guests. They seem to have a pretty good life.  Food, shelter, love from 100’s of people each year and living on the beach.  This is Savage. I go out of my way to see him each time I come to Grand Turk.  This is one of the most gentle dogs I have ever met.  I like to think he remembers me when i see him each year ; he does wag his tail.  Anyway, I remember him.


One of the abandoned salt ponds I saw on take off.



So there you have it : Grand Turk, aka Donkey Island.  I don’t know about you, but those donkeys sure are cute.  🙂 Unfortunately I did not have any time to go for a dive.  Apparently diving there is excellent.

This week there was a really interesting article in our local paper.  It turns out that during WWII there was some action in the Caribbean ; who knew!  As you saw from my post in France, the whole WWII thing is of great interest to me, mainly because of my family’s involvement in it (amongst other things my grandfather was a bomber pilot for the RAF)

So back to the local aspect.   It seems the the Germans sent Uboats (submarines) all the way to the Caribbean to patrol and sink merchant ships likely destined for the UK.  I honestly had no idea they came this far south.  So how is this relevant to Cayman?

Well just this week in downtown George Town, they installed a refurbished Uboat lookout post. You can see it here below.  When I went to check it out, there was a local TV crew making a report about it.  It is located at “Fort George”.  This hut, was perched up about that high and was manned with individuals on the looking for uboat periscopes off the coast.  My understanding is that none were ever seen directly off Grand Cayman.


Here is a bit more information.  Interesting stuff. I had no idea the US military ever had a presence in Cayman.

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Here is the link to the article in the Caymanian Compass.


I guess there is always new stuff to learn about, even in a place as small as the Cayman Islands 🙂