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Trip Report Turks and Caicos - Four day three night trip report

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this one's long overdue, but here goes.. my wife & i stayed at TCI just about the middle of march.. for three nights.. as any savvy traveler would do, i did my research online (travel sites, blogs, forums), hung out at the local bookstores to read up on places to stay, things to do and bits of stuff about TCI.. i'm also a bit of a shutterbug so i checked out photo sharing sites for ideas of what to shoot while i was in TCI.. we eventually got our trip from delta vacations, and stayed at comfort suites.. before landing at TCI, the flight attendant said that TCI airport tends to get crowded because most planes arrive at almost the same time, there was a long line to the immigration gates, it wasn't that hot though so, it was all good.. the agent wasn't snobbish and she chatted with us for quite sometime.. we opted to commute instead of renting a vehicle so we went out to get a cab and sure enough it was a bit chaotic.. we were expecting the taxis to be cars, instead they're vans that could transport around 10 people.. you had to talk to one of the traffic guards and tell them which place you're going to so he could group you all in a place, then he calls for the cab's driver and off you go.. airport to comfort suites which is in the grace bay area cost us $18/pax.. he drove hella fast though.. :) i've stayed at some comfort suites stateside and this is one of the better comfort suites i've stayed in.. right in front of the reception desk, there are some slot machines where you can play and an internet station.. you can see the pool right from the lobby too.. checking in wasn't a hassle, you even get a free fruit or rum drink which was alright.. we got a junior suite on the ground floor, which wasn't too bad.. it was pretty nice actually, with a flat screen tv, fridge, sofas, comfy bed, strong A/C.. the safe didn't have a lock though, and the bath tub's drainage needs a bit of drano.. but it's all good.. we then headed to the beach which was about 2-3 blocks away from the hotel.. yeah, i know, it's pretty convenient.. the beach chairs strewn along the beach are allocated per hotel, comfort suites has some chairs but there's no one enforcing it.. i noticed that they have it color coded based on the towel you have.. regent grand uses yellow towels, comfort suites use light blue towels.. the beach was awesome, sand was powdery white, the water turquoise.. it was supposed to be spring break, but there weren't that many people around, which was fine by us.. we then headed back to port of call to find some grub, we decided to try jimmy's dive bar & grill.. i just got a burger and beeer & wifey got pasta.. and yep, service took quite a while.. i read about it so it didn't bother me, and besides, it was relaxing just to chill out and watch ncaa basketball.. :) the food was pretty average, nothing mind blowing here.. but it sure is pricey.. i think we spent close to $50 for that meal.. and that was it for friday..

i booked a snorkel/kayak trip with big blue a week in advance.. i didn't get a response from email, so calling them would be best.. they also offer free hotel pickup/drop off, so i called them up when i arrived at TCI to confirm this.. so first thing saturday morning, we were waiting in front of our hotel for the 8:30am pickup.. our ride was a bit late probably because of other guests they had to pick up who were late, we were the only ones our group was waiting for before we left for north caicos for the kayak part of the trip.. the day looked promising but there were some clouds on the horizon, and the wind was picking up a bit.. the 20-30 minute ride to n. caicos was pretty nice & speedy.. a guy who looked like santa claus' seaman brother was waiting for us with our kayaks.. there wasn't that much orientation before kayaking so there's that to worry about if you're a newbie at kayaking.. we then headed out to paddle around the mangroves.. it was high tide that time (i remember it to be the time when supermoon was suppose to show up on saturday night) so some of the mangroves were a bit submerged and you can't see that much at the bottom of the sea.. we spent two hours paddling around the area, it was really relaxing.. you can only hear the sound of your paddles hitting the water and some birds.. i wasn't able to see any turtles or nurse sharks though.. we then headed back to start snorkeling somewhere, but someone in our party was feeling a bit seasick so we headed in some island and had our snacks there.. chris, our guide prepared some subs, fruits & juice which was quite filling.. the island itself was very beautiful.. i brought a dslr, wide lens & tele on a drybag just in case.. and i was able to shoot around here.. after lunch we headed off to st george's reef (?).. the wind was picking up and the waves were around 3-4 feet.. one of our elder canadian companions tested the waters and told chris that the current was a bit strong (he saw a big ray though) so chris decided to head off somewhere else.. the waves were still pretty high, but some of us decided to swim around though.. i got some nice footage with my underwater camera, but noticed that i was already a few meters away from the boat just after a few minutes.. so i headed back and just hung around the boat.. i didn't get to see any big fish / sharks though.. (whew).. we headed back to shore shortly afterwards.. all in all it was a wonderful trip.. compared to lounging around in the beach, exploring it with these guys is a great idea.. later on in the afternoon, after resting, we went in search of food and saw that there was a grocery just a few blocks away, it's pretty much high end and looks like your local publix or whole foods.. they even have hot, ready to eat food, so we had lunch there.. the price ain't too bad too, it's actually a good idea to just eat here if you're on a budget.. :) the later part of the day was spent walking around the beach waiting & watching for the sunset.. supermoon came out later and i didn't have a tripod and there weren't any glow worms anyway so we called it a night..

we thought of going to church on sunday but just slept in, we then headed to da conch shack for brunch.. we arrived around 11am so there weren't that much people there.. we took the seat that was fronting the beach, and i think that was the best seat in the house.. :D i got cracked conch, conch salad and wifey got curry conch and rum cake.. i loved the cracked conch.. now that i'm writing about it, i should've gotten more.. i highly recommend eating here.. it's (relatively) affordable too.. we didn't have anyplace to go so we thought of just hanging around there.. we eventually got bored and walked up & down the beach in blue hills.. lotsa nice pictures from there too.. we then talked to one of the waiters and they hailed a cab for us.. i asked to be dropped of downtown to see if there's something to see there, but the driver said there wasn't that much to see.. so he drove us around for an impromptu tour (free of charge) to give us an overview of things to see and what to do later.. he was a cool guy.. the afternoon was spent walking around salt mills, not a lot of stores were open so it wasn't fun for wifey.. :) we stopped by the ice cream parlor under pizza pizza, they had some nice trinkets for sale too.. we went inside regent grand and poked around even if we weren't guests there and it sure was "grand".. we headed out towards the beach and spent the rest of the day watching the sunset and people walking here and there..

monday came and vacation was over, i spent some time on the beach taking pictures before we headed off to the airport a few hours before our flight.. good thing we did because the line was loooong.. you HAVE to be at the airport much much earlier than your scheduled flight..

photography wise, i didn't think i was able to shoot as much as i want but it still time well spent.. we're looking to go back there again sometime soon.. ;) check out some of my photos here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitizedchaos/5579530156/) and videos here (http://www.youtube.com/user/digitizedchaos)

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