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26th December, 2015

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Grand Turk is effectively at the bottom right hand corner of the Bahamas, but is still very much affected by the trade winds coming up from the south east. The land is low so there is little shelter, but at least the swell is greatly reduced by the shallow waters of the reef that stretches over six miles. The strong north setting current caused me to change my mind as to which side we would berth on the finger pier that is built into a narrow ‘basin’ dredged out of the coral.

This turned out to be very fortuitous, for us at least, but not for another cruise ship coming in a few hours later. The onshore breeze had increased considerably since our arrival and he had little room for error as he made the approach. With a thirty plus degree angle to the line of the jetty he wisely backed off less than a ship’s length away from the first dolphin. I’m sure he wasn’t best pleased, particularly as we had taken the side he was meant to be on. In fact it would have made little difference as we had to have numerous mooring lines out to hold the ship alongside. These ‘Christmas’ winds can be testing for a cruise ship driver.

The pier was connected to a ‘Carnival’ shopping precinct and other leisure amenities. The beach next door was completely lined with rows of deck chairs, so the many less adventurous passengers on the big ships could walk off their cruise liner and 300 yards later, after having completed their shopping, be stretched out on a chair to take in the sun. Our folks were more adventurous, taking a ‘Chukka Truck Safari’ around the island or the catamaran up the coast for a chance at snorkelling. It was a fine relaxing way for our passengers to spend a Boxing Day.

Captain Philip Rentell

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