Times of the Islands Spring 2021

Presents the "soul of the Turks & Caicos Islands" with in-depth features about local people, culture, history, environment, real estate, businesses, resorts, restaurants and activities.

Presents the "soul of the Turks & Caicos Islands" with in-depth features about local people, culture, history, environment, real estate, businesses, resorts, restaurants and activities.


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TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Beachcombing Treasures<br />


Handmade runway to PLS<br />


Green iguana invader<br />


Comfort Food Just Went A-list.<br />

If your idea <strong>of</strong> comfort feels like<br />

cashmere, you will find its culinary<br />

equivalent at Almond Tree,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Shore Club’s deliciously<br />

decadent new eatery.<br />

Golden, crusty wood-fired pizza.<br />

Savory skillets, bubbling over with flavor<br />

and just oozing with temptation.<br />

Salads and sides that give new meaning<br />

to <strong>the</strong> word “indulgence.”<br />

These days, we’re all hungry<br />

for contentment and satisfaction.<br />

Almond Tree at <strong>the</strong> Shore Club<br />

simply takes it to a whole new level.<br />

Reservations 649 339 8000<br />

<strong>the</strong>shoreclubtc.com<br />



Dinner 6 –10:30pm<br />

5pm – Midnight




23<br />




Key West Italian<br />

1. Village 2. Village<br />

3. Caribbean<br />

Village<br />

4. French<br />

Village<br />

5. Seaside<br />

Village<br />

TM/© <strong>2021</strong> Sesame Workshop<br />


Unlimited fun and entertainment is all-included<br />

at Beaches® Turks & Caicos. And now with our<br />

Platinum Protocol <strong>of</strong> Cleanliness, our already<br />

industry-leading safety and health practices are<br />

even more enhanced, guaranteeing <strong>the</strong> peace <strong>of</strong><br />

mind you need to enjoy your time with us. Stay at<br />

one village and play at all five choosing from every<br />

land and water sport imaginable, an awe-inspiring<br />

waterpark with a SurfStream® surf simulator, or simply just splash,<br />

swim and sip <strong>the</strong> day away with new friends at a sparkling swim-up<br />

pool bar. Pamper yourself in a world <strong>of</strong> tranquility at our Caribbeaninspired<br />

Red Lane® Spa and <strong>the</strong>n enjoy an all-included feast at one <strong>of</strong><br />

21 incredible 5-Star Global Gourmet restaurants and enjoy non-stop<br />

bars and entertainment all for <strong>the</strong> price <strong>of</strong> one vacation. With all <strong>of</strong> this<br />

activity at your fingertips, it’s no wonder Beaches Turks & Caicos has<br />

held <strong>the</strong> top spot at <strong>the</strong> World Travel Awards for over two decades.<br />


@beachesresorts<br />



*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/times<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>islandsspring<strong>2021</strong> or call 1-800-BEACHES for important terms and<br />

conditions. Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate <strong>of</strong> Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide<br />

representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.

contents<br />

Departments<br />

6 From <strong>the</strong> Editor<br />

17 Remember When<br />

The Birth <strong>of</strong> an Airport<br />

Story & Photos By Bengt Soderqvist<br />

24 Island Life<br />

TSA Tales from <strong>the</strong> Out <strong>Islands</strong><br />

By Jody Rathgeb ~ Photos By Tom Rathgeb<br />

30 Talking Taíno<br />

Pandemic<br />

By Lindsay Keegan, Betsy Carlson,<br />

Michael Pateman and Bill Keegan<br />

68 Resort Report<br />

A Phoenix on North Caicos<br />

By Jody Rathgeb<br />

73 About <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>/TCI Map<br />

77 Subscription Form<br />

78 Where to Stay<br />

80 Dining<br />

82 Classified Ads<br />

Feature<br />

46 An Osprey Day<br />

Story & Photos By Lorna Rae Daniel-Dupree<br />

50 In Plain Sight<br />

Treasures on <strong>the</strong> Beach<br />

By Melissa Heres<br />

Green Pages<br />

36 The Green Invader<br />

By B Naqqi Manco<br />

39 Sunsets and Island Time<br />

Story & Photos By Ben Farmer<br />

43 Study Abroad<br />

By Anna Handte-Reinecker<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



On <strong>the</strong> Cover<br />

Marta Morton, owner/operator <strong>of</strong> Harbour Club Villas<br />

(www.harbourclubvillas.com) took this photo <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

native Turks & Caicos rock iguana on Bay Cay. This<br />

endemic animal is being threatened by <strong>the</strong> invasive green<br />

iguana. See article on page 36.<br />

Astrolabe<br />

58 People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Telling “A Caicos Sloop Story”<br />

Story & Photos By Michael P. Pateman and<br />

Vanessa A. Forbes-Pateman<br />

62 Selective Packing<br />

By Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack<br />

68<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

Beachfront 5 Acre Mandalay Estate, Long Bay Beach<br />

Nestled along coveted Long Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, Mandalay Estate <strong>of</strong>fers a discerning<br />

buyer an idyllic private retreat with 300 ft. <strong>of</strong> pristine, white sandy beach and brilliant turquoise waters.<br />

Mandalay features 7 bedrooms and an award-winning architectural design capturing <strong>the</strong> essence <strong>of</strong><br />

open Caribbean living with a masterful layout that revolves around <strong>the</strong> spectacular multi-level pool.<br />

US$18,500,000<br />

Bernadette Hunt<br />

Cell ~ 649 231 4029 | Tel ~ 649 941 3361<br />

Bernadette@TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

Bernadette has lived in <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> for over 21 years and witnessed <strong>the</strong><br />

development and transition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands<br />

into a significant tourist destination. Based<br />

on independent figures her gross transaction<br />

numbers are unrivalled. Bernadette<br />

has listings on Providenciales, Pine Cay,<br />

Ambergris Cay, North and Middle Caicos<br />

and is delighted to work with sellers and<br />

buyers <strong>of</strong> homes, condos, commercial real<br />

estate and vacant undeveloped sites.<br />

Beachfront Sunrise Villa, Emerald Point<br />

Sunrise Villa is a stunning two-storey 5-bedroom, 6 and a half bathroom beachfront residence located<br />

in Emerald Point, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most prestigious developments in <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. This<br />

newly built (2018) magnificent property <strong>of</strong>fers nearly 9,000 sq. ft. <strong>of</strong> luxury indoor/outdoor living<br />

space, is set on .72 <strong>of</strong> an acre and boasts just over 100 ft. <strong>of</strong> beautiful white sandy beach frontage.<br />

US$7,250,000<br />

Turks and Caicos Property is <strong>the</strong> leading<br />

independent real estate firm in <strong>the</strong> Turks and<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> with <strong>of</strong>fices located at Ocean<br />

Club West Resort and Ocean Club West<br />

Plaza on <strong>the</strong> Grace Bay Road.<br />

Bernadette’s reputation and success has been<br />

earned over time through her dedication,<br />

enthusiasm and passion for real estate. Her<br />

personal experience as having practiced law<br />

in <strong>the</strong> islands for more than 10 years toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

with owning and renovating a number <strong>of</strong><br />

properties means she is well-placed to advise<br />

her customers and developers on what to<br />

anticipate in <strong>the</strong> purchasing and construction<br />

process.<br />

Bernadette delights in working in <strong>the</strong> real<br />

estate industry and her humor and energy<br />

make her a pleasure to work with.<br />

Beachfront Crystal Sands Villa, Sapodilla Bay<br />

Crystal Sands Villa is a luxury beachfront villa in Sapodilla Bay, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos most<br />

coveted locations to reside. With its westerly exposure, you will enjoy <strong>the</strong> most magical sunsets <strong>the</strong><br />

islands have to <strong>of</strong>fer. The 4 bedroom, 4,200 sq. ft. property is perfect for large family ga<strong>the</strong>rings. Each<br />

bedroom features an ensuite bathroom and breathtaking views <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tranquil beach and turquoise waters.<br />

Please contact Bernadette if you would like<br />

to find out more about owning real estate in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />


from <strong>the</strong> editor<br />


This image <strong>of</strong> a nest <strong>of</strong> osprey chicks represents how we may feel in early <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Under His Wings<br />

He will cover you with His fea<strong>the</strong>rs, and under His wings, you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4<br />

The image <strong>of</strong> a nest <strong>of</strong> osprey chicks above symbolizes how many <strong>of</strong> us may feel in early <strong>2021</strong>—vulnerable,<br />

needy, raw. We’re one year into <strong>the</strong> pandemic. The dream-like days <strong>of</strong> lockdown are over, reserves—literally and<br />

emotionally—are nearly gone and life is not even vaguely back to normal.<br />

This issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>—<strong>the</strong> first in print for widespread distribution since last <strong>Spring</strong>—feels a bit like<br />

<strong>the</strong>se delicate chicks. We’re putting it out <strong>the</strong>re, even though <strong>the</strong> business community that supports us is struggling.<br />

While tourist arrivals are finally starting to gain momentum, <strong>the</strong> market is not <strong>the</strong> same. There are fewer vacationers<br />

and more long-term visitors; high-end real estate is booming as <strong>the</strong> wealthy seek to escape reality. How will this affect<br />

<strong>the</strong> average TCI resident? How will <strong>the</strong> country adjust?<br />

What you’ll see as you turn <strong>the</strong>se pages is our unrivaled quarterly chronicle <strong>of</strong> TCI nature, history and culture—<br />

seeking to glorify one <strong>of</strong> God’s most wonderful creations. We never stopped, you know. In 2020, we produced three,<br />

all-new, outstanding issues <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, available on-line in flippable format. I can’t thank enough our<br />

contributors who kept on writing, researching and shooting photos, and our staunch advertisers, without whom we<br />

would not be here.<br />

It hasn’t been so bad to let my “s<strong>of</strong>t down” show. When I stop trying to have all <strong>the</strong> answers, solve every problem,<br />

and simply let go, seek refuge and trust, a funny thing happens. The shadows disappear and a brilliant Light filters<br />

in under those loving wings. With it, hope for better days ahead.<br />

Kathy Borsuk, Editor • timespub@tciway.tc • (649) 431-4788<br />

6 www.timespub.tc

14 Boathouses are already<br />

reserved or sold<br />

1, 2, or 3 bedroom layouts<br />

available<br />

Construction targeted to<br />

commence this summer <strong>2021</strong><br />

Prices starting from $795,000<br />

Register interest today at<br />

livesouthbank.com<br />

For more information contact<br />

Nina Siegenthaler at 649.231.0707<br />

Joe Zahm at 649.231.6188<br />

or email: nina@tcso<strong>the</strong>bysrealty.com<br />

The Boathouses, set around a landscaped park and pool, <strong>of</strong>fer a vibrant village-style<br />

atmosphere on <strong>the</strong> marina waterfront. Every residence has a private boat dock <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

instant access to life on <strong>the</strong> water, with peaceful terraces to enjoy sunsets over Juba Sound.<br />

Developed by Windward: www.windward.tc<br />

Managed by:<br />

Brand partner:

TM/© <strong>2021</strong> Sesame Workshop

The Last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> True Exotics<br />

IsFIRST<br />

For<br />




Beaches ® Turks & Caicos has held <strong>the</strong> top spot<br />

at <strong>the</strong> World Travel Awards for two decades by<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering families more <strong>of</strong> everything on <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />

best beach. Stay at one village and play at all five<br />

villages—Key West, Italian, Caribbean, French and<br />

Seaside —featuring every land and water sport*, an<br />

awe-inspiring waterpark with surf simulator, 5-Star<br />

Global Gourmet dining at 21 incredible restaurants,<br />

and non-stop bars and entertainment—all for <strong>the</strong><br />

price <strong>of</strong> one vacation. Also included are tips, taxes,<br />

and Beaches transfers.* And with trend-setting<br />

food trucks, live entertainment, and family-sized<br />

accommodations…<strong>the</strong> World’s Best Family Resorts<br />

include everything families want and deserve.<br />

Best For Families<br />

Readers’ Choice winner<br />

Best Hotel in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean<br />

Kimonos<br />

Beaches Turks & Caicos<br />

is on <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />


by tripadvisor ®<br />

For more information visit BEACHES.COM<br />

1-800-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor<br />

@beachesresorts<br />


23<br />


*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/times<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>islandsspr<strong>2021</strong> or call 1-800-BEACHES for<br />

important terms and conditions. Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an<br />

affiliate <strong>of</strong> Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.

For <strong>the</strong> fun <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

More Choices with<br />

Restaurants<br />

Trendy<br />

Food<br />

Trucks<br />

For <strong>the</strong> great selection.<br />




Only Beaches ® Resorts includes Robert<br />

Mondavi Twin Oaks ® wines. With six<br />

varietals to choose from, selected<br />

exclusively for Beaches, guests can<br />

savour an endless pour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best<br />

wines at every meal and at every bar.<br />



The world’s finest and most<br />

sought-after c<strong>of</strong>fee beans are<br />

grown on <strong>the</strong> misty slopes<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jamaica’s soaring Blue<br />

Mountain range. A blend <strong>of</strong><br />

Jamaica Blue Mountain c<strong>of</strong>fee<br />

is brewed fresh and served<br />

complimentary at<br />

Beaches Resorts. Only <strong>the</strong><br />

best for our guests.

World-Class<br />

Master Chefs<br />

5-Star Global Gourmet dining at<br />

Beaches Resorts brings new sights,<br />

sounds and tastes to each meal with<br />

au<strong>the</strong>ntic dishes from around <strong>the</strong> globe.<br />

Internationally trained chefs create<br />

innovative dishes that are a fusion <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> freshest ingredients. Recipes from<br />

around <strong>the</strong> world are as delicious as<br />

dining in <strong>the</strong> country <strong>of</strong> origin. We<br />

accommodate all dietary requirements<br />

and restrictions to ensure a worry-free<br />

vacation for you and your loved ones.<br />

For <strong>the</strong><br />

taste <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

Everyone has different tastes, and that’s why Beaches Turks & Caicos<br />

includes anytime 5-Star Global Gourmet dining at 21 outstanding<br />

restaurants. That means you can dine when you want, where you want,<br />

and enjoy as much as you want, choosing from an unprecedented variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> cuisines from around <strong>the</strong> world. From <strong>the</strong> Southwest to Asia, Italy to<br />

France, and from Great Britain to <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, every delicious morsel<br />

at every incredible restaurant <strong>of</strong>fers a new chef-inspired taste—all<br />

perfectly paired with unlimited pours <strong>of</strong> Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks ®<br />

wines. Plus special menus and restaurants for <strong>the</strong> kids!<br />

More Quality Inclusions<br />

Than Any O<strong>the</strong>r Resorts In The World<br />

Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations,<br />

Inc. is an affiliate <strong>of</strong> Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide<br />

representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.<br />

Caribbean's Leading<br />

All-Inclusive Family<br />



2<br />

0<br />

2<br />

0<br />


1-800-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor<br />

23<br />

@ beachesresorts<br />


TIMES<br />


Kathy Borsuk<br />

OF THE<br />



Claire Parrish<br />


Kathy Borsuk, Bengt Soderqvist, Dr. Betsy Carlson,<br />

Lorna Rae Daniel-Dupree, Ben Farmer, Anna Handte-<br />

Reinecker, Melissa Heres, Dr. Bill Keegan, Lindsay Keegan,<br />

Bryan N. Manco, Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack, Claire Parrish,<br />

Dr. Michael P. Pateman, Vanessa A. Forbes-Pateman,<br />

Jody Rathgeb, Lisa Talbot.<br />


Bottle Creek Lodge, Lorna Rae Daniel-Dupree, Ben Farmer,<br />

John Galleymore, Anna Handte-Reinecker, Melissa Heres,<br />

Heidi Hertler, Bryan N. Manco, Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack,<br />

Marta Morton, Vanessa A. Forbes-Pateman, Tom Rathgeb,<br />

Sand Dollar Images, Ramona Settle, Bengt Soderqvist,<br />

iStockphoto.com, Lisa Talbot.<br />


Wavey Line Publishing<br />


PF Solutions, Miami, FL<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> ISSN 1017-6853 is<br />

published quarterly by <strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd.<br />

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under Universal and Pan American Copyright Conventions.<br />

No part <strong>of</strong> this publication may be<br />

reproduced without written permission.<br />

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Submissions We welcome submission <strong>of</strong> articles or photography, but<br />

assume no responsibility for care and return <strong>of</strong> unsolicited material.<br />

Return postage must accompany material if it is to be returned. In no<br />

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claim for holding fees or damage charges on unsolicited material.<br />

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Call us today for a renewable energy consultation<br />

+1 649 332 1393 or +1 649 431 4242<br />

While every care has been taken in <strong>the</strong> compilation and reproduction <strong>of</strong><br />

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responsibility for such alterations or for typographical or o<strong>the</strong>r errors.<br />

Business Office<br />

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, BWI<br />

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16 www.timespub.tc

emember when<br />

This 1967 photograph shows <strong>the</strong> original airstrip after it had been extended to 1,200 feet. The Kew Town roundabout is approximately where<br />

<strong>the</strong> 90º turn in <strong>the</strong> track road is. Walkin Marine’s current location is left <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> standing water at <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> picture.<br />

The Birth <strong>of</strong> an Airport<br />

Providenciales’ international airport started out as a handmade runway.<br />

Story & Photos By Bengt Soderqvist<br />

Pre-COVID-19, <strong>the</strong> Providenciales International Airport was bustling with flights from around <strong>the</strong> world,<br />

especially on weekends during <strong>the</strong> busy winter/spring months. In 2019, nearly half a million visitors<br />

arrived on <strong>the</strong> 9,199-foot runway and passed through <strong>the</strong> singular terminal building. International airlines<br />

currently serving <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos include American Airlines, Delta, United, jetBlue, Air Canada, West<br />

Jet, British Airways and InterCaribbean Airways. Travel is slowly increasing as visitors crave <strong>the</strong> peaceful,<br />

natural beauty <strong>the</strong> country has to <strong>of</strong>fer. The TCI Assured program helps ensure <strong>the</strong> health and safety <strong>of</strong><br />

travellers and residents.<br />

But 60 years ago <strong>the</strong>re were no airports, no flight infrastructure and bush was cleared away to create<br />

an airstrip.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 17

In <strong>the</strong> 1960s before development started on<br />

Providenciales, <strong>the</strong> TCI Government had a work program<br />

run by <strong>the</strong> district constables. This made it possible for<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> residents to earn money. At that time, most<br />

families made a living farming <strong>the</strong> land and fishing <strong>the</strong><br />

sea, but cash was needed to buy a few staples—flour, oil,<br />

sugar, for instance.<br />

In Blue Hills <strong>the</strong> main work was to build a road in front<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> settlement tracing <strong>the</strong> beach. Rocks were carried<br />

from <strong>the</strong> bush and placed in <strong>the</strong> sand. O<strong>the</strong>r rocks were<br />

broken up into smaller pieces using a hammer, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

placed in <strong>the</strong> voids between <strong>the</strong> larger rocks. After that,<br />

sand was hauled up in buckets from <strong>the</strong> beach and sprinkled<br />

over <strong>the</strong> rock base to make a smooth surface.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r work project had been to build a 700-foot<br />

long airstrip located in <strong>the</strong> valley where Kew Town is<br />

today. The bushes were cleared and <strong>the</strong> largest rocks<br />

removed.<br />

In 1966, Fritz Ludington formed Provident Limited<br />

and made a lease purchase agreement with <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

Government to develop 4,000 acres on <strong>the</strong> eastern part<br />

<strong>of</strong> Providenciales. In October 1966 Fritz, toge<strong>the</strong>r with<br />

his friend Tommy Coleman and me arrived by boat on<br />

Providenciales to start <strong>the</strong> development. The boat was a<br />

65 foot workboat named <strong>the</strong> Seven Dwarves. I was hired<br />

as a surveyor/engineer but <strong>the</strong> true job description was<br />

more like “to do anything that was needed.”<br />

Fritz understood that to have an efficient operation,<br />

we needed to be able to come and go in a faster way<br />

than by boat. We took a look at <strong>the</strong> 700 feet that had<br />

been cleared and Fritz decided that his wife’s plane could<br />

probably be used to land <strong>the</strong>re, even if <strong>the</strong> surface was<br />

pretty rough. Chris Ludington’s plane was a Cessna 180<br />

with US registration number 74C, “74 Charlie” in pilot<br />

lingo. Fritz needed to get back to <strong>the</strong> mainland and a few<br />

days later 74 Charlie showed up for <strong>the</strong> historical landing.<br />

(I was told that one or two airplanes had landed on <strong>the</strong><br />

strip prior to our arrival on Providenciales. I could never<br />

get that confirmed so I don’t know if we were watching a<br />

“first” landing or not.)<br />

For <strong>the</strong> next six months we used <strong>the</strong> air strip quite<br />

a lot. I think Chris wound up with <strong>the</strong> short end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

stick because Provident more and more took over <strong>the</strong> use<br />

<strong>of</strong> her plane. During this time Fritz hired Embry Rucker<br />

as a pilot (among o<strong>the</strong>r things). Embry recently published<br />

a book, Coming in for a Landing, where he tells<br />

about flying in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in <strong>the</strong> early days. The book is<br />

available on Amazon and is also for sale at <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos National Museum. (See https://www.timespub.<br />

tc/2019/03/up-up-and-away/).<br />

Fritz Ludington himself was an experienced pilot,<br />

as were many o<strong>the</strong>rs in <strong>the</strong> Provident group. Aviation<br />

was very important in <strong>the</strong> early development <strong>of</strong><br />

Providenciales.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> heavy equipment arrived in April 1967,<br />

<strong>the</strong> first priority was to improve on <strong>the</strong> existing airstrip.<br />

Provident had chartered Margaret <strong>of</strong> Exuma, a self propelled<br />

barge fully loaded with heavy equipment. The<br />

Bahamian captain entered through Sellar’s Cut, <strong>the</strong>n zigzagged<br />

between <strong>the</strong> coral heads up to <strong>the</strong> beach where<br />

This 1966 image shows “74 Charlie” on take-<strong>of</strong>f from <strong>the</strong> original 700-foot airstrip.<br />

18 www.timespub.tc

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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 19<br />

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This photograph shows Junior Rigby with <strong>the</strong> heavy equipment used to clear <strong>the</strong> “new airport” in 1967.<br />

<strong>the</strong> National Park is today. The bow ramp was lowered<br />

onto <strong>the</strong> beach and Provident’s brand new Caterpillar D8 people in government in those days. We were mostly<br />

Walkin May2017_Layout 1 5/28/17 5:45 PM Page 1<br />

tractor crawled ashore with Billy Dodson at <strong>the</strong> controls. dealing with <strong>the</strong> Administrator Tony Golding, Magistrate<br />

Fritz had hired Billy to head up Provident’s heavy equipment<br />

division.<br />

Once <strong>the</strong> D8 was ashore, it could drag <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

load onto <strong>the</strong> beach, even if some <strong>of</strong> it got stuck in <strong>the</strong><br />

loose sand. With <strong>the</strong> D8, a grader and a roller available it<br />

was time to start improving <strong>the</strong> airstrip. Billy, with Fritz<br />

riding on <strong>the</strong> armrest, headed west through <strong>the</strong> bushes<br />

with <strong>the</strong> D8 and made a narrow track all <strong>the</strong> way down to<br />

<strong>the</strong> airstrip.<br />

While this was going on I was still in Sweden finishing<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> topographic map that was needed to properly<br />

plan our road system and subdivisions. Only part <strong>of</strong> that<br />

original track became part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> final road system, but<br />

it served <strong>the</strong> purpose <strong>of</strong> getting <strong>the</strong> equipment to <strong>the</strong><br />

airstrip. Billy very quickly added 500 feet to <strong>the</strong> east,<br />

which brought <strong>the</strong> eastern end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> runway closer to<br />

what today is Walkin Marine. With <strong>the</strong> grader and roller<br />

he created an even, compacted surface—1,200 feet and<br />

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Part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> agreement with government was that<br />

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and <strong>the</strong> location should be outside <strong>the</strong> 4,000 acres<br />

that was to be developed by Provident. Since we now had<br />

<strong>the</strong> equipment, we wanted to get going on fulfilling our<br />

obligations, so we asked <strong>the</strong> TCI Government where <strong>the</strong>y<br />

wanted us to build <strong>the</strong> runway. There weren’t that many<br />




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This is a very early picture (1967) <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> “new” runway, when we could only use <strong>the</strong> small, white portion on <strong>the</strong> eastern end. You can also see<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1,200 foot strip to <strong>the</strong> north (arrow).<br />

Finbar Dempsey and Gus Lightbourne, who was <strong>the</strong><br />

elected representative for Providenciales. Planning and<br />

survey departments were still to be formed.<br />

The government suggested that we extend <strong>the</strong> location<br />

where we had <strong>the</strong> 1,200 feet. As we now had <strong>the</strong><br />

proper topographic map available, I could show Fritz<br />

that we could build a 4,500-foot runway <strong>the</strong>re, but <strong>the</strong>re<br />

would be no room for future extension because we would<br />

be jammed in between two hills. The map clearly showed<br />

that if <strong>the</strong> runway was moved about half a mile south it<br />

would be more suitable, because in that location <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was a lot <strong>of</strong> flat ground.<br />

We were having a lot <strong>of</strong> discussions about where <strong>the</strong><br />

best location for <strong>the</strong> Providenciales airport should be.<br />

Both Fritz and I agreed that <strong>the</strong> ideal location for an east–<br />

west runway would be just south <strong>of</strong> North West Point.The<br />

noisy approach and take <strong>of</strong>f areas would be over water.<br />

But this was 1967 and North West Point was about as far<br />

away as <strong>the</strong> moon!<br />

South Caicos District Commissioner Ben Bolt came<br />

over on behalf <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> government to inspect <strong>the</strong> location<br />

for <strong>the</strong> runway that we were suggesting. First, I showed<br />

him on <strong>the</strong> topo map why this was a good location. Then<br />

we walked on <strong>the</strong> footpath from Blue Hills to Five Cays<br />

which was flanked by a stone wall. When we reached<br />

<strong>the</strong> proposed location, we jumped atop <strong>the</strong> wall to see<br />

above <strong>the</strong> bushes. It was obvious <strong>the</strong>re was a lot <strong>of</strong> flat,<br />

level ground stretching far to <strong>the</strong> west. Ben Bolt agreed<br />

that this looked like a good location, so <strong>the</strong> decision was<br />

made <strong>the</strong>n and <strong>the</strong>re that this was where we were going<br />

to build <strong>the</strong> runway for Providenciales and that’s where<br />

we are still landing today!<br />

The Providenciales International Airport underwent a major expansion/redevelopment program in 2011.<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

I marked out <strong>the</strong> new runway, set up grade stakes and<br />

Billy Dodson got to work with <strong>the</strong> D8 tractor. Billy had<br />

also given Junior Rigby on-<strong>the</strong>-job training, and Junior<br />

became an excellent operator, first on <strong>the</strong> D8 and later on<br />

<strong>the</strong> grader. (In fact, many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> roads we are driving on<br />

today were originally built by Junior.) We reserved 1,000<br />

feet in width for <strong>the</strong> new runway, thinking <strong>of</strong> possible<br />

future taxiways, but we originally only cleared 500 feet in<br />

width. Very soon, Billy and Junior made a small area in <strong>the</strong><br />

nor<strong>the</strong>ast corner ready for landings and take<strong>of</strong>fs. Once<br />

we started operating from <strong>the</strong>re, <strong>the</strong> original handmade<br />

airstrip was never used again.<br />

Even if Provident’s obligation to <strong>the</strong> government was<br />

to build 4,500 feet, we originally cleared 6,000 feet. By<br />

<strong>the</strong> early 1970s, <strong>the</strong> entire 6,000 feet had been built out<br />

with a coral surface. Around 1977 <strong>the</strong> entire runway was<br />

surfaced with a sealcoat.<br />

Starting in 1981, a major upgrade was undertaken by<br />

Johnston Construction, financed through a British grant.<br />

This was part <strong>of</strong> Club Med’s deal, which required an airport<br />

up to FAA standards. The runway was extended to<br />

8,000 feet. The limestone base was recycled and reinforced<br />

through cement stabilization, while <strong>the</strong> runway<br />

was surfaced with a triple sealcoat. A new terminal was<br />

built in <strong>the</strong> present location, replacing <strong>the</strong> original one<br />

that Provident had built fur<strong>the</strong>r east. In <strong>the</strong> 1990s, <strong>the</strong><br />

runway was resurfaced with hotmix asphalt. That work<br />

was done during <strong>the</strong> nights to avoid interruption <strong>of</strong> operations.<br />

The 2011 expansion took <strong>the</strong> runway to 9,200<br />

feet. a<br />

Author’s note: The D8 was a very important piece <strong>of</strong><br />

equipment and at least one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guys on my survey<br />

crew agreed. In <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 1969 <strong>the</strong>re was a lot <strong>of</strong> talk<br />

about <strong>the</strong> upcoming moon landing. I had told <strong>the</strong> guys<br />

that this was just <strong>the</strong> beginning. In <strong>the</strong> future <strong>the</strong>y would<br />

shoot rockets from <strong>the</strong> moon so <strong>the</strong>y would need something<br />

like an airport. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guys said, “But how are<br />

<strong>the</strong>y going to get a D8 up <strong>the</strong>re?” I think we agreed that it<br />

would take many trips bringing up a small piece at a time.<br />

In those days we got news via shortwave radio so we<br />

knew that <strong>the</strong> moon landing would be shown live on TV.<br />

We didn’t want to miss this event, so when <strong>the</strong> day came,<br />

five or six <strong>of</strong> us in <strong>the</strong> Provident group flew to Puerto<br />

Rico to watch <strong>the</strong> landing. Luckily, <strong>the</strong> Spanish commentator<br />

was quiet for a few seconds so we could hear Neil<br />

Armstrong’s famous words. A few years back, I was fortunate<br />

enough to meet Buzz Aldrin, <strong>the</strong> second man on<br />

<strong>the</strong> moon. He got a kick out <strong>of</strong> my story.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 23

island life<br />

People who live or have homes on North and Middle Caicos don’t pack <strong>the</strong> normal vacation items like sunscreen or swimwear. They’re more<br />

likely to fill <strong>the</strong>ir bags with household supplies that are hard to find on <strong>the</strong> outer islands.<br />

TSA Tales from <strong>the</strong> Out <strong>Islands</strong><br />

The things we carry (or not).<br />

Somewhere in a drawer at my North Caicos home is a collection <strong>of</strong> notices from <strong>the</strong> Transportation<br />

Security Administration, telling me that my checked luggage has been inspected. These inspections have<br />

become so regular that I now expect <strong>the</strong>m, so sometimes I leave my own notes for TSA, letting <strong>the</strong>m<br />

know what is in some carefully-packed fragile parcel and asking <strong>the</strong>m to re-package just as carefully. This<br />

“correspondence” has been going on for years; I have a lot <strong>of</strong> notices.<br />

24 www.timespub.tc<br />

By Jody Rathgeb ~ Photos by Tom Rathgeb

O<strong>the</strong>r homeowners on North and Middle Caicos<br />

understand completely: We all bring weird stuff with us<br />

to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Aware <strong>of</strong> what we might not find on <strong>the</strong><br />

outer islands and <strong>of</strong>ten unable or unwilling to shop in<br />

Providenciales on our way to <strong>the</strong> ferry, we schlep it along<br />

. . . plumbing connections, art supplies, specialized tools<br />

and kitchen utensils, favorite foods, car parts and more.<br />

I <strong>of</strong>ten bring construction glue, grout and glass mosaic<br />

tiles, all <strong>of</strong> which apparently look suspicious on x-ray<br />

(thus <strong>the</strong> inspections).<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>re are <strong>the</strong> TSA checkpoints scrutinizing<br />

carry-on luggage. These are particularly vexing for<br />

North and Middle Caicos folk, not because we’re trying to<br />

break <strong>the</strong> rules, but for o<strong>the</strong>r various reasons: brain blips<br />

during packing, innocent ignorance, simple forgetfulness<br />

and (not least) <strong>the</strong> confusing capriciousness <strong>of</strong> TSA itself.<br />

All lead to bewildering confiscations, comic explanations<br />

and a never-fail conversation starter at island ga<strong>the</strong>rings.<br />

Death by butter<br />

For Joe and Denise Ashcraft, an attempt at keeping to<br />

<strong>the</strong> allowable weight in <strong>the</strong>ir checked bag led to a loss<br />

<strong>of</strong> flatware. Even though Joe had researched whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir set would be allowed in his backpack (and was told<br />

yes, as long as <strong>the</strong> table knives were rounded and blunt<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> sharp), <strong>the</strong>re was a butter-knife bung-up. The<br />

line agent at <strong>the</strong> TSA checkpoint was inclined to allow <strong>the</strong><br />

knives, but her supervisor said no. “The people aboard<br />

our plane will be happy to know that <strong>the</strong>y have been<br />

saved from being buttered,” Denise commented later in<br />

a Facebook post.<br />

The post brought out o<strong>the</strong>rs who have had items confiscated,<br />

along with tales <strong>of</strong> some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> exchanges and<br />

explanations. When TSA took some drill bits from Howard<br />

Bartels <strong>of</strong> Major Hill, he was told that with <strong>the</strong>m he might<br />

be able to disassemble <strong>the</strong> plane. Of course, without <strong>the</strong><br />

drill itself, it would take a very long time to do any sort<br />

<strong>of</strong> damage during a flight, even if that was intended!<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r drill bits have been taken from Nestor and Dina<br />

Fernandez and me, though with less amusement.<br />

Joe and Denise Ashcraft bought a set <strong>of</strong> table utensils from Target, intending <strong>the</strong>m for <strong>the</strong>ir North Caicos home. The knives were confiscated<br />

by TSA, even though Joe had been told that rounded butter knives were allowable in carry-on luggage.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 25

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Peanut butter is an <strong>of</strong>t-confiscated item at TSA checkpoints. That’s<br />

because it is viewed as a liquid, and only 3.4 ounces (100 ml) <strong>of</strong> a<br />

liquid is allowed. Since <strong>the</strong> blob <strong>of</strong> peanut butter shown here is <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> proper amount, it doesn’t make sense to bring an item that is<br />

available everywhere.<br />

In general, according to <strong>the</strong> TSA website, tools longer<br />

than seven inches are prohibited in carry-on bags,<br />

although that does not explain <strong>the</strong> drill bits. A deep reading<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> site does explain, however, some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> strange<br />

“yeas” and “nays” <strong>of</strong> what is allowed; if someone in TSA<br />

decides something can be used as a weapon, it is banned.<br />

And so you cannot take a cutting board with you on <strong>the</strong><br />

plane. We suppose that is so you cannot whack someone<br />

with it. Pots and pans are allowed except for cast iron<br />

skillets. (It seems someone was watching “Fried Green<br />

Tomatoes” while drafting <strong>the</strong> list.)<br />

A liquid by any o<strong>the</strong>r name<br />

Liquids seem to be <strong>the</strong> most-confiscated items, with people<br />

reporting hot sauce, hand cream, luxury hair products<br />

and gourmet honey going into <strong>the</strong> relinquishment bin<br />

(it’s always <strong>the</strong> expensive stuff). But <strong>the</strong> definition <strong>of</strong> “liquid”<br />

is, well, fluid. For TSA, peanut butter is a liquid. So is<br />

glue (including pipe cement) and caulking. And a Magic<br />

8-Ball—that fortune-telling toy from Mattel—is definitely<br />

a liquid. Actually, all those things, except <strong>the</strong> 8-Ball, are<br />

allowed in a carry-on bag as long as <strong>the</strong>y do not exceed<br />

3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. The key is in <strong>the</strong> amount.<br />

The line between liquid and solid puts o<strong>the</strong>r foodstuffs<br />

in jeopardy as well. The “liquid” in fresh eggs is,<br />

yes, less liquid than that in <strong>the</strong> Magic 8-Ball, but <strong>the</strong> egg<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

is easier to break open. Yet fresh eggs are on <strong>the</strong> okay<br />

list. You can carry on a home-baked pie, but not a container<br />

<strong>of</strong> piecrust filling. S<strong>of</strong>t cheeses are forbidden, but<br />

hard cheeses are allowed. Don’t count on an agent knowing<br />

<strong>the</strong> difference, though. Cheryl C<strong>of</strong>fin was stopped for<br />

a wedge <strong>of</strong> Parmesan (hard and grateable) and got it to<br />

North Caicos only after explaining <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> North<br />

and her passion (no, NEED) for good Parm.<br />

Powder power<br />

“Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz./350 ml must<br />

be placed in a separate bin for x-ray screening,” states <strong>the</strong><br />

TSA website. This does not mean <strong>the</strong>y will come through<br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> line with you. Many travelers have<br />

been relieved <strong>of</strong> baby powder, containers o<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

individual packs <strong>of</strong> artificial sweetener and DampRid, a<br />

moisture-absorbing product. Check ‘em, everyone!<br />

Are you a bit confused by all this? You can find a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> info at www.tsa.gov, or put a question to www.facebook.com/AskTSA.<br />

But even if one scrupulously follows<br />

<strong>the</strong> regulations, <strong>the</strong>re’s no telling what will happen at <strong>the</strong><br />

checkpoint, where logic, science and common sense have<br />

little pull. As you pack your carry-on bag, remember that<br />

<strong>the</strong> best thing to bring with you is a sense <strong>of</strong> humor. a<br />

Mattel’s Magic 8-Ball is a definite no-no at a TSA checkpoint, even<br />

though its liquid (alcohol and dye) is likely within <strong>the</strong> 3.4-ounce limit<br />

and it is sealed within <strong>the</strong> plastic.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 27

You can’t make this up<br />

Just for <strong>the</strong> fun <strong>of</strong> it, here is a direct quote from <strong>the</strong><br />

TSA website: “A live lobster is allowed through security<br />

and must be transported in a clear, plastic, spill<br />

pro<strong>of</strong> container. A TSA <strong>of</strong>ficer will visually inspect<br />

your lobster at <strong>the</strong> checkpoint. We recommend that<br />

you contact your airline to determine your airline’s<br />

policy on traveling with your lobster before arriving<br />

at <strong>the</strong> airport.”<br />

Glug, glug, glug!<br />

By now everyone knows that you can’t take a water<br />

bottle with you through a TSA checkpoint, and most<br />

people who forget <strong>the</strong>y’ve been carrying one simply<br />

shrug and ditch it. But <strong>the</strong> full metal water bottle<br />

B Naqqi Manco <strong>of</strong> North Caicos was holding was a<br />

customized gift made by his sister-in-law, featuring<br />

photos <strong>of</strong> his niece and nephew. He relates <strong>the</strong> story<br />

<strong>of</strong> its near-confiscation: “They were holding it over<br />

<strong>the</strong> bin and I told <strong>the</strong>m I can drink <strong>the</strong> water and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were wavering on it, and someone else (no idea who,<br />

I’m thinking ano<strong>the</strong>r agent) shouted, ‘Awww, let him<br />

drink it, look at those precious babies.’ The agent<br />

doubtfully asked me if I could down <strong>the</strong> full liter and<br />

I made an ‘Oh please’ look, and pretty much downed<br />

it in one gulp. I was allowed to keep my bottle.” a<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

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talking taíno<br />

Opposite page: Although we are thick in <strong>the</strong> midst <strong>of</strong> dealing with COVID-19, <strong>the</strong> first pandemic in <strong>the</strong> Americas may date to <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong><br />

Christopher Columbus.<br />

Above: This vintage etching circa 19th century by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky depicts <strong>the</strong> landing <strong>of</strong> Christopher Columbus.<br />


Pandemic<br />

How much <strong>of</strong> Taíno depopulation was <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> disease?<br />

Today’s “Talking Taíno” is brought to you by <strong>the</strong> letters R and N. First R—not <strong>the</strong> pirate’s favorite letter<br />

(which actually is <strong>the</strong> C)—but R 0 (“R naught”), <strong>the</strong> ma<strong>the</strong>matical term that indicates how contagious an<br />

infectious disease is. We invited Lindsay to join us because she wrote her dissertation on R 0 , and has<br />

spent her young career modeling infectious disease transmission, including COVID-19, malaria and zika.<br />

The arrival <strong>of</strong> vaccines will help us to “turn <strong>the</strong> corner,” but unfortunately, we’re still a long way from <strong>the</strong><br />

end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coronavirus pandemic.<br />

By Lindsay Keegan, Betsy Carlson, Michael Pateman and Bill Keegan<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 31

Wear a mask, wash your hands,<br />

socially distance, get vaccinated<br />

The epidemiologists had warned us. The virologists told<br />

us it was lethal, and we had no immunity. The modelers<br />

predicted dire consequences. Front-line doctors and<br />

nurses showed us overflowing hospital wards; refrigerator<br />

trucks were parked out back. And Johns Hopkins kept<br />

count: 2,000,000+ deaths worldwide. How could we let<br />

this happen? Especially since this isn’t our first rodeo. In<br />

fact, <strong>the</strong> first pandemic in <strong>the</strong> Americas may date to <strong>the</strong><br />

arrival <strong>of</strong> Christopher Columbus. More about Columbus<br />

in a bit, but first back to R 0.<br />

The density <strong>of</strong> a population is key to <strong>the</strong> speed <strong>of</strong><br />

disease spread. R 0 describes that spread if everyone is<br />

immunologically naïve (totally susceptible) in <strong>the</strong> absence<br />

<strong>of</strong> interventions (such as social distancing or mask use).<br />

In a nutshell, R 0 is <strong>the</strong> average number <strong>of</strong> individuals that<br />

a contagious individual will infect. Granted, not everyone<br />

who is contagious will infect someone else, but <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

individuals whose physical response (excessive shedding<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> virus) or personal actions (ignoring sanitary behavior)<br />

are “superspreaders,” who infect far more than <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

allotted R 0 .<br />

For COVID-19, <strong>the</strong> current pandemic apparently<br />

began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and first<br />

appeared in New York in early 2020. Epidemiologists<br />

estimate <strong>the</strong> R 0 for <strong>the</strong> original SARS-CoV-2 virus ranges<br />

from 2 to 3 (meaning one individual will infect two to<br />

three o<strong>the</strong>r individuals). In comparison, <strong>the</strong> new variants<br />

that have emerged recently are 60% more contagious (R 0<br />

= 3.2–4.8). Smallpox is estimated to have an R 0 = 3.5–<br />

6, which means it is 1.75–2 times more infectious than<br />

COVID-19 has been. Pandemic influenza, including <strong>the</strong><br />

1918 “Spanish flu” (R 0 = 1.8–3.6) is on par with COVID-19,<br />

while seasonal flu is considerably lower (R 0 = 1.2–1.4). In<br />

gallows humor, diseases spread because <strong>of</strong> density and<br />

density: Population density—in particular how spatially<br />

clustered susceptible people are and <strong>the</strong> “dense-ity” <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> population—or how much <strong>the</strong>y bury <strong>the</strong>ir heads in <strong>the</strong><br />

sand in response to disease.<br />

Wear a mask, wash your hands,<br />

socially distance, get vaccinated<br />

Back to Columbus, and <strong>the</strong> phenomenon known as <strong>the</strong><br />

Columbian Exchange—<strong>the</strong> transfer <strong>of</strong> plants, animals,<br />

people (and diseases) between <strong>the</strong> Old and New Worlds.<br />

In historian Alfred Crosby’s study <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Exchange, he<br />

gave <strong>the</strong> name “virgin soil epidemics” to diseases in which<br />

a population had no previous contact and are <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

immunologically defenseless. In this regard, <strong>the</strong> politics<br />

<strong>of</strong> disease, what David Jones has called “rationalizing epidemics,”<br />

has been used both to blame <strong>the</strong> source (“China<br />

virus”) and absolve those who transmit <strong>the</strong> disease by<br />

blaming <strong>the</strong> victim (in this case <strong>the</strong> Native peoples <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Americas) for lacking immunity and being genetically<br />

naïve.<br />

By this logic <strong>the</strong> fault did not lie with <strong>the</strong> Spanish<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r Europeans who came to <strong>the</strong> New World,<br />

even though it was Old World diseases that caused <strong>the</strong><br />

demise <strong>of</strong> Indigenous societies. Indeed, accounts from<br />

<strong>the</strong> British settlement <strong>of</strong> New England in <strong>the</strong> mid-1600s<br />

clearly describe <strong>the</strong> horrific impact <strong>of</strong> European diseases,<br />

especially smallpox, which decimated <strong>the</strong> Narragansett,<br />

Massachusett, Wapanoag and o<strong>the</strong>r Indigenous communities.<br />

The colonists’ sentiment was, “God ha<strong>the</strong> consumed<br />

<strong>the</strong> natives with miraculous plague,” and “cleared our<br />

title” to New England.<br />

It is surprising that <strong>the</strong>re are no similar descriptions<br />

<strong>of</strong> Taíno mortality during <strong>the</strong> initial Spanish invasion.<br />

Why not? Were pathogens, unwittingly transmitted by <strong>the</strong><br />

Spanish invaders, responsible for <strong>the</strong> rapid collapse <strong>of</strong><br />

Taíno society? Conversely, did pathogens transmitted by<br />

<strong>the</strong> Taíno cause <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> numerous Spaniards in <strong>the</strong><br />

early years <strong>of</strong> Spanish settlement in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean? To<br />

find <strong>the</strong> answers, we need to examine <strong>the</strong> different potential<br />

diagnoses <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Columbian Exchange with respect to<br />

disease symptoms and etiology.<br />

The Columbian Exchange went both ways and sometimes<br />

it was <strong>the</strong> colonizers who got sick. Historically, little<br />

attention has been paid to dead Colonial Spaniards, yet<br />

die <strong>the</strong>y did and at alarming rates. Within a week <strong>of</strong> landing<br />

at La Isabela, <strong>the</strong> first Spanish settlement in <strong>the</strong> New<br />

World established on <strong>the</strong> north coast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Dominican<br />

Republic in 1493, at least one-third <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1,200 men<br />

Columbus brought with him on his second voyage fell<br />

sick, half were incapacitated soon after, and an unspecified<br />

number died. When newly appointed Governor<br />

Nicolas Ovando replaced Columbus in Hispaniola in<br />

1502, <strong>the</strong> 1,000 men he brought with him fell sick and<br />

<strong>the</strong> majority died. Bartolomé de las Casas (<strong>the</strong> principal<br />

eyewitness chronicler) blamed a new disease—syphilis—<br />

but syphilis does not kill quickly, taking on average <strong>of</strong><br />

10–30 years from exposure to death. The culprit was certainly<br />

not syphilis.<br />

Wear a mask, wash your hands,<br />

socially distance, get vaccinated<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

This llustrated panel from <strong>the</strong> 16th-century Florentine Codex depicts a Mesoamerican infected with smallpox.<br />

Fever was <strong>the</strong> only symptom mentioned at <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

Illness was attributed to <strong>the</strong> change <strong>of</strong> climate, diet and<br />

hard work; but since more than eleven weeks had passed<br />

since <strong>the</strong>y left <strong>the</strong> Canary <strong>Islands</strong>, scurvy could be implicated.<br />

Scurvy is a debilitating disease caused by a lack <strong>of</strong><br />

vitamin C in <strong>the</strong> diet; symptoms can appear in as little as<br />

a month and left untreated it can quickly lead to death<br />

from infection or bleeding. Or maybe <strong>the</strong> illness afflicting<br />

<strong>the</strong> Spaniards was an indigenous form <strong>of</strong> malaria?<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r possibility is a type <strong>of</strong> influenza that starts<br />

in pigs (H1N1). Pigs were first brought to <strong>the</strong> Americas<br />

on Columbus’s second voyage. The close association <strong>of</strong><br />

pigs and humans in confined ship spaces could implicate<br />

“swine flu” as an epidemic agent. (The transmission <strong>of</strong><br />

disease from infected animals to humans is called “zoonotic<br />

spillover.”) It is possible that <strong>the</strong> Spaniards who<br />

died at La Isabela succumbed to <strong>the</strong> flu, perhaps even a<br />

variant <strong>of</strong> swine flu, which <strong>the</strong>y could have introduced to<br />

Hispaniola as early as 1493. We may never know which<br />

diseases were introduced by <strong>the</strong> Spanish, although recent<br />

advances in ancient DNA research have identified <strong>the</strong><br />

genetic signatures <strong>of</strong> some diseases in human skeletons.<br />

Wear a mask, wash your hands,<br />

socially distance, get vaccinated<br />

In recent centuries, modern Indigenous communities in<br />

tropical South America have suffered <strong>the</strong> highest mortality<br />

(circa 25%) from measles, malaria and influenza<br />

epidemics. However, <strong>the</strong> first reported case <strong>of</strong> measles<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Americas dates to 1765, so measles is an unlikely<br />

candidate for a late 15th century epidemic. Less virulent<br />

strains <strong>of</strong> malaria were present in <strong>the</strong> pre-Colonial<br />

Americas. If present in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> Taíno<br />

may have developed some level <strong>of</strong> immunity. People<br />

who live in highly endemic malaria settings develop<br />

immunity to symptoms by puberty. Its main symptom is<br />

“cyclical” fevers, where <strong>the</strong> fevers rise and fall as parasites<br />

move between <strong>the</strong> liver and <strong>the</strong> blood stream to<br />

reproduce. This would explain how malaria might have<br />

had a greater impact on Spanish health and potentially<br />

deaths. Never<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong> most deadly malarial parasite<br />

(Plasmodium falciparum) was first transported to <strong>the</strong><br />

Americas with enslaved Africans beginning in <strong>the</strong> mid-<br />

1500s. Here again, malaria is not a good candidate for<br />

an earlier epidemic among <strong>the</strong> Taínos.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 33

This vintage illustration features Christopher Columbus in 1492 standing among his crew aboard <strong>the</strong> Santa Maria with <strong>the</strong> distant view <strong>of</strong> an<br />

island on <strong>the</strong> horizon. Interestingly, <strong>the</strong> Columbian Exchange went both ways and sometimes it was <strong>the</strong> colonizers who got sick. Historically,<br />

little attention has been paid to dead Colonial Spaniards, yet die <strong>the</strong>y did and at alarming rates.<br />

Influenza virus, a pathogen with known pandemic<br />

potential, was possibly introduced in <strong>the</strong> early years <strong>of</strong><br />

Spanish contact. However, <strong>the</strong> first reliable report <strong>of</strong><br />

influenza involved transmission from Africa to Europe<br />

in 1510, and flu does not spread very well in equatorial<br />

regions. We now know that influenza is particularly<br />

good at “escaping” our immune system through frequent<br />

viral evolution <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> virus that interacts with<br />

our immune system. Despite recent claims to <strong>the</strong> contrary,<br />

flu is a deadly disease that is today held in check<br />

by vaccines, <strong>the</strong>rapies and o<strong>the</strong>r medical interventions.<br />

In addition, mask wearing and social distancing during<br />

<strong>the</strong> current COVID-19 crisis contributed to a significant<br />

decline in influenza and o<strong>the</strong>r respiratory infections and<br />

deaths this year.<br />

The most stunning example <strong>of</strong> a deadly flu is <strong>the</strong><br />

“Great Influenza” <strong>of</strong> 1918. It occurred before a viral agent<br />

had been identified and spurred remarkable scientific<br />

efforts to develop a vaccine. Our modern Public Health<br />

Service was created to counter its spread. John Barry<br />

described how <strong>the</strong> initial outbreak in an army camp in<br />

Kansas blossomed into a global pandemic that killed as<br />

many as 100 million people worldwide. Although com-<br />

monly known as <strong>the</strong> “Spanish flu,” it did not originate<br />

<strong>the</strong>re. Ra<strong>the</strong>r, Spain had <strong>the</strong> only press in which <strong>the</strong><br />

epidemic was accurately reported. In <strong>the</strong> United States,<br />

where <strong>the</strong> virus originated, press coverage was tightly<br />

restricted at <strong>the</strong> height <strong>of</strong> World War I. The first victim in<br />

<strong>the</strong> politics <strong>of</strong> disease was any “real news” coverage <strong>of</strong><br />

this pandemic.<br />

Wear a mask, wash your hands,<br />

socially distance, get vaccinated<br />

We have saved <strong>the</strong> most deadly virgin soil pathogen<br />

for last: smallpox. Smallpox is estimated to have killed<br />

around 500 million people worldwide in <strong>the</strong> last century<br />

alone. Although “completely eradicated” in 1980, it has<br />

recently reappeared in some rare cases. With distinctive<br />

symptoms (red pustules or “pox”), it is ra<strong>the</strong>r unlikely to<br />

be misidentified even by non-medical personnel. The first<br />

smallpox pandemic in <strong>the</strong> Americas began in 1517, so it<br />

could not have been responsible for initial high mortality<br />

among <strong>the</strong> Taínos. Never<strong>the</strong>less, it was <strong>the</strong> final nail in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir c<strong>of</strong>fin. A recorded Taíno population <strong>of</strong> 28,000 in<br />

1514 was reduced to only 250 by 1540.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> British colonies <strong>of</strong> North America, smallpox<br />

34 www.timespub.tc

TWATIMES_Layout 1 2/16/17 7:49 AM Page 1<br />

is infamous as <strong>the</strong> first biological weapon, with British<br />

colonists infecting local Natives and American soldiers<br />

reportedly distributing infected blankets out west. The<br />

disease ravaged Native communities in <strong>the</strong> United States<br />

until <strong>the</strong> 1880s, long after an effective vaccine had<br />

become available. In fact, attention to smallpox waned<br />

only after it was superseded by tuberculosis as <strong>the</strong> principal<br />

scourge <strong>of</strong> Native Americans.<br />

The histories <strong>of</strong> those lethal diseases (smallpox 1517,<br />

malaria 1550, measles 1765) show that <strong>the</strong>y could not<br />

have been responsible for a virgin soil epidemic during<br />

<strong>the</strong> first decades <strong>of</strong> European contact. This leaves influenza<br />

as <strong>the</strong> last remaining candidate, but <strong>the</strong> evidence is<br />

not conclusive.<br />

We’ll close this essay with <strong>the</strong> letter N, a ma<strong>the</strong>matical<br />

notation used to indicate <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> a population.<br />

Columbus’s bro<strong>the</strong>r Bartholomew supposedly counted a<br />

Taíno population <strong>of</strong> 1,100,000 in 1494. Often repeated<br />

in 16th century accounts, Las Casas eventually decided<br />

that <strong>the</strong> N was too small for <strong>the</strong> purposes <strong>of</strong> his polemic<br />

against <strong>the</strong> mistreatment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Natives. Within 30 years<br />

he first tripled and <strong>the</strong>n quadrupled <strong>the</strong> N to 4 million<br />

souls. Although <strong>the</strong> numbers were obviously inflated to<br />

serve a “moral” agenda, historians felt a need to explain<br />

<strong>the</strong> rapid demise <strong>of</strong> thriving Caribbean societies, and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

did so by proposing virgin soil epidemics caused by Old<br />

World diseases.<br />

Bottom line: It is unlikely that disease was <strong>the</strong> major<br />

factor in <strong>the</strong> depopulation <strong>of</strong> Hispaniola and demise <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Taínos at <strong>the</strong> dawn <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 16th century.<br />

In a future essay we’ll explore exciting new genetics<br />

research that could dramatically improve our ability<br />

to calculate past population numbers. By knowing how<br />

many people were susceptible, we can better appreciate<br />

<strong>the</strong> historical impacts <strong>of</strong> infectious diseases. There is still<br />

a lot to be learned about <strong>the</strong> letters R and N. In <strong>the</strong> meantime,<br />

wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance<br />

and get vaccinated. a<br />

Dr. Lindsay Keegan is Research Assistant Pr<strong>of</strong>essor in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Division <strong>of</strong> Epidemiology (University <strong>of</strong> Utah); Dr.<br />

Betsy Carlson is Senior Archaeologist at Sou<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

Archaeological Research (SEARCH, Inc.) in Jonesville, FL;<br />

Dr. Michael Pateman is former Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos National Museum and currently Curator/Lab<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> AEX Maritime Museum on Grand Bahama;<br />

and Dr. Bill Keegan is Curator <strong>of</strong> Caribbean Archaeology<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Florida Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History (University <strong>of</strong><br />

Florida).<br />

Serving international & domestic clients in real estate, property development,<br />

mortgages, corporate & commercial matters, immigration, & more.<br />


Taino Paintings<br />

by Theodore Morris<br />

tainopaintings.weebly.com<br />

mail:morris<strong>the</strong>odore@hotmail.com<br />

3910 Longhorn Dr - Sarasota, Fl34233<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 35

green pages<br />

Newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources<br />

Head <strong>of</strong>fice: Church Folly, Grand Turk, tel 649 946 2801 • fax 649 946 1895<br />

• Astwood Street, South Caicos, tel 649 946 3306 • fax 946 3710<br />

• National Environmental Centre, Lower Bight Road, Providenciales<br />

Parks Division, tel 649 941 5122 • fax 649 946 4793<br />

Fisheries Division, tel 649 946 4017 • fax 649 946 4793<br />

email environment@gov.tc or dema.tci@gmail.com • web https://www.gov.tc/decr/<br />


When compared to <strong>the</strong> green iguana, native Turks & Caicos rock iguanas have stouter, heavier bodies with a tail only as long as <strong>the</strong> body<br />

and a dark khaki-green or blue-grey colour.<br />

The Green Invader<br />

New reporting hotline for green iguana sightings.<br />

By B Naqqi Manco, Acting Assistant Director <strong>of</strong> Environmental Research & Development, DECR<br />

Our very special endemic Turks & Caicos rock iguanas Cyclura carinata was recently down-listed on<br />

<strong>the</strong> International Union for <strong>the</strong> Conservation <strong>of</strong> Nature (IUCN) category from Critically Endangered to<br />

Endangered. This is due largely to decades <strong>of</strong> hard work by numerous institutions, including <strong>the</strong> San<br />

Diego Zoo, Caribbean Wildlife Foundation, Royal Society for <strong>the</strong> Protection <strong>of</strong> Birds, Turks & Caicos<br />

National Trust, Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources, Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture, Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Environmental Health, Ports Authority and o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

While <strong>the</strong>ir numbers have increased in some areas, a<br />

new threat to <strong>the</strong> rock iguanas has come to <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> a distant relative. The green<br />

iguana Iguana iguana has already become widespread on<br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r Caribbean islands where it is a serious threat<br />

to wildlife and infrastructure.<br />

Green iguanas are invasive in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> and differ from our endemic Turks & Caicos rock<br />

iguanas by being overall larger with much longer bodies<br />

and tails, and usually a brighter green colour. Native to<br />

Central and South America, <strong>the</strong>y pose a serious threat<br />

to our unique ecosystems and especially to <strong>the</strong> endemic<br />

rock iguanas. They carry a bacterial infection that is lethal<br />

to rock iguanas, <strong>the</strong>y can cause genetic pollution to rock<br />

iguanas by hybridization, and <strong>the</strong>y can also outcompete<br />

rock iguanas for food and resources. Unlike our rock<br />

iguanas which breed once a year and only lay 6–8 eggs,<br />

green iguanas breed year-round and can lay over 70 eggs<br />

in a clutch.<br />

Green iguanas have been sighted on Providenciales in<br />

in Grace Bay, as well as near Venetian Road, Leeward and<br />

South Dock and on Grand Turk around <strong>the</strong> airport and<br />

South Base. For years <strong>the</strong> Cayman <strong>Islands</strong> have been battling<br />

green iguanas, which severely threaten <strong>the</strong>ir endemic<br />

blue rock iguana Cyclura lewisi and Little Cayman rock<br />

iguana Cyclura nubila caymanensis. Unfortunately, <strong>the</strong><br />

speed at which green iguanas breed has been hard to<br />

overcome. In 2019, over one million green iguanas were<br />

culled in a massive conservation effort, but over 100,000<br />

are believed to have remained, so <strong>the</strong>y still outnumber<br />

<strong>the</strong> native iguana species by 1000 times.<br />

Green iguanas find <strong>the</strong>ir way into TCI mostly through<br />

imported materials—especially live plants—from south<br />

Florida and Hispaniola, where <strong>the</strong>y are also problematically<br />

invasive. Their eggs, laid in <strong>the</strong> loose, moist potting<br />

mix around plant roots in nurseries in o<strong>the</strong>r countries,<br />

can hatch after <strong>the</strong> plants arrive in TCI.<br />


When compared to <strong>the</strong> native TCI rock iguana, <strong>the</strong> Invasive green<br />

iguanas have an overall longer and more slender shape, a tail much<br />

longer than <strong>the</strong> body, and usually a bright green colour.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 37

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

G r e e n<br />

iguanas don’t<br />

just threaten<br />

our natural<br />

heritage. Due<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir climbing<br />

habits, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are also known<br />

to cause damaging<br />

power<br />

outages by<br />

climbing utility<br />

poles and<br />

severe vehicle<br />

damage by<br />

falling out <strong>of</strong><br />

trees. They can also strip agricultural crops and garden<br />

flowers bare, and foul swimming pools with <strong>the</strong>ir waste,<br />

which <strong>the</strong>y tend to release when swimming.<br />

The TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal<br />

Resources (DECR), <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture, and<br />

Turks & Caicos National Trust request assistance from<br />

<strong>the</strong> general public for reports <strong>of</strong> sightings <strong>of</strong> invasive<br />

green iguanas in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, especially<br />

Providenciales and Grand Turk.<br />

Invasive green iguanas can now be reported to <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI Iguana Hotline by email at tciiguana@gmail.com or<br />

WhatsApp at +1649 344 8296. Photos and locations <strong>of</strong><br />

sighted green iguanas help our response team find <strong>the</strong>m<br />

more easily. a<br />


38 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

Sunsets mark a satisfying conclusion to <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day.<br />

Sunsets and Island Time<br />

A perfect pairing.<br />

Story & Photos By Ben Farmer, Waterfront Assistant, The School for Field Studies<br />

“Is it pretty tonight—<strong>the</strong> sunset?”<br />

“I’ve never seen a bad one.”<br />

This is a dialogue between two characters in Carl Hiaasen’s novel Skinny Dip. One character, Joey, is<br />

temporarily blind after a harrowing experience at sea, and Stranahan is describing <strong>the</strong> evening Florida<br />

Keys scenery to her. The concise acknowledgment by Stranahan that he has never seen a bad sunset is a<br />

concept that stuck with me. I began <strong>the</strong> book while living and working in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and<br />

ever since <strong>the</strong>n, I have been much more aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sunsets that <strong>the</strong> TCI has to <strong>of</strong>fer.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 39

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

Sunset viewing is a popular custom around <strong>the</strong> world,<br />

especially in areas near <strong>the</strong> water. Crowds ga<strong>the</strong>r for<br />

drum circles on <strong>the</strong> beaches <strong>of</strong> Tel Aviv, Israel; sunset<br />

torch lightings and conch-blowing ceremonies are held<br />

on Honolulu beaches in <strong>the</strong> United States; Hindu people<br />

make pilgrimages to Kanyakumari, <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rnmost tip<br />

<strong>of</strong> India, where <strong>the</strong> sun sets over <strong>the</strong> confluence <strong>of</strong> three<br />

seas. Film-makers have long used sunsets to portray<br />

emotion in films and for good reason. The very nature <strong>of</strong><br />

viewing a sunset is romantic and speaks to humans on an<br />

innate level—it marks a satisfying, deep conclusion to <strong>the</strong><br />

day.<br />

In my experience, sunsets have a unique power to<br />

bring people toge<strong>the</strong>r. When I worked at The School for<br />

Field Studies (SFS) on South Caicos, I saw it happen with<br />

two different semesters <strong>of</strong> students. Ga<strong>the</strong>ring for sunsets<br />

became a nightly ritual, treated with excitement and<br />

respect. For some <strong>of</strong> us, this was an intentional commitment.<br />

For instance, we had a student who never missed a<br />

sunset in her time on South. For o<strong>the</strong>rs, sunset-watching<br />

was a sort <strong>of</strong> unspoken routine.<br />

“When <strong>the</strong> sun has set, no candle can replace it.”<br />

~ George R.R. Martin<br />

Sunsets invoke a sense <strong>of</strong> awe and ultimately, this<br />

is what gives <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> power to bring people toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Research shows that people feel more patient, satisfied<br />

with life and willing to volunteer time for o<strong>the</strong>rs after<br />

experiencing <strong>the</strong> emotion <strong>of</strong> awe. Additionally, awe<br />

expands our concept <strong>of</strong> time, making us feel that we have<br />

more time available in our lives. Considering <strong>the</strong> many<br />

awe-inspiring natural moments that happen daily in <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI, perhaps scientists would consider “island time” as<br />

more than merely a saying.<br />

Light plays an essential role in many <strong>of</strong> such natural<br />

phenomena: sunsets, rainbows, mirages and even green<br />

flashes. But what is <strong>the</strong> science behind <strong>the</strong>se beautiful<br />

tricks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> light?<br />

There are a few unseen phenomena that allow you to<br />

watch a sunset. To understand <strong>the</strong>m, first consider how<br />

humans perceive light generally. Light travels in a straight<br />

line and only deviates from that path if an object, such as<br />

a tiny molecule or particle, gets in its way. When we look<br />

up at <strong>the</strong> sky during <strong>the</strong> day, we see blue. This is because<br />

as <strong>the</strong> light from <strong>the</strong> sun enters Earth’s atmosphere,<br />

nitrogen and oxygen molecules are in <strong>the</strong> light’s way.<br />

Light hits <strong>the</strong>se molecules and <strong>the</strong>n scatters in many different<br />

directions. All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> colors <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rainbow, which<br />


Viewing <strong>the</strong> daily sunset is a ritual for students and staff at The School for Field Studies in South Caicos.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

From top: As <strong>the</strong> sun dips below <strong>the</strong> horizon, colors with longer wavelength fill <strong>the</strong> sky. Rainbows are visible due to refraction within raindrops<br />

and subsequent reflection between <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

make up <strong>the</strong> light spectrum, are scattered. However, blue<br />

and violet light have <strong>the</strong> shortest wavelengths and highest<br />

frequencies, so <strong>the</strong>y are scattered most intensely by<br />

nitrogen and oxygen molecules. If that were all though,<br />

we would simply see purple-ish skies all <strong>the</strong> time. We see<br />

blue skies because human eyes are not able to perceive<br />

<strong>the</strong> violet hue in a combination <strong>of</strong> blue and violet, and<br />

instead we see just a mixture <strong>of</strong> pure blue and white light<br />

—or simply, blue.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> sun approaches <strong>the</strong> horizon, <strong>the</strong> angle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

sun relative to your vantage point on Earth changes. This<br />

mean that light rays must travel far<strong>the</strong>r through <strong>the</strong> atmosphere<br />

to reach your eyes. Blue light scatters out by this<br />

point, and <strong>the</strong> colors with longer wavelength—yellows,<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 41

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

floating islands on <strong>the</strong> horizon<br />

due to scattering between layers<br />

<strong>of</strong> air with different temperatures.<br />

Green flashes, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

most revered and elusive phenomena<br />

on Earth, are sometimes<br />

visible with very clear conditions.<br />

A combination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mirage<br />

effect and <strong>the</strong> sun dipping below<br />

<strong>the</strong> horizon bring about this o<strong>the</strong>rworldly<br />

sight.<br />

The common <strong>the</strong>me with each<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se phenomena is that light<br />

bends in fantastic ways to produce<br />

an image that humans can<br />

witness. Sunsets, however, are<br />

<strong>the</strong> most reliable and can almost<br />

always be planned for—especially<br />

when you are on island time.<br />

Darrell’s Sunset Cafe, Cox Hotel<br />

and East Bay Resort are all excellent<br />

locations on South Caicos to<br />

see <strong>the</strong> beautiful oranges, pinks<br />

and purples <strong>of</strong> a TCI sunset.<br />

I worked on South Caicos<br />

for only a year, but that year<br />

has left an indelible impact. My<br />

coworkers became some <strong>of</strong> my<br />

closest friends, <strong>the</strong> community<br />

welcomed us with open arms, and<br />

we embraced island time wholeheartedly.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> high school<br />

There are many excellent locations on South Caicos to witness a beautiful TCI sunset.<br />

basketball tournaments, to <strong>the</strong><br />

oranges, and pinks—fill <strong>the</strong> horizon. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most Christmas tree lighting ceremony, to <strong>the</strong> lively Saturdays<br />

vibrant red sunsets in <strong>the</strong> world are found in Hawaii, due that included community swim lessons and marine crafts<br />

in part to <strong>the</strong> large amount <strong>of</strong> volcanic dust in <strong>the</strong> atmosphere<br />

as well as high humidity <strong>the</strong>re, which intensify well-being. That feeling became even clearer every time<br />

at SFS, <strong>the</strong>re was always a sense <strong>of</strong> strong community and<br />

<strong>the</strong> scattering effect. In <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, red sunsets can we settled in for ano<strong>the</strong>r sunset toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

result from huge dust plumes coming in from <strong>the</strong> Sahara<br />

Desert, as <strong>the</strong>y did this past summer.<br />

“Never waste any amount <strong>of</strong> time doing anything<br />

Rainbows, ocean mirages and green flashes are all important when <strong>the</strong>re is a sunset outside that you<br />

caused by different forms <strong>of</strong> scattering, or refraction, as should be sitting under!” ~ C. JoyBell C. a<br />

well. Rainbows are visible due to refraction within raindrops<br />

and subsequent reflection between <strong>the</strong>m (but only For additional information about The School for Field<br />

when rainclouds don’t block <strong>the</strong> light, such as right after Studies, visit www.fieldstudies.org or contact us on<br />

a rainstorm subsides), and mirages create <strong>the</strong> illusion <strong>of</strong> South Caicos at hhertler@fieldstudies.org.<br />

42 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

Staff and students at The School for Field Studies station on South Caicos use learning and research to address environmental challenges.<br />

Study Abroad<br />

Celebrating three decades <strong>of</strong> learning and research.<br />

By Anna Handte-Reinecker, Program Assistant, The School for Field Studies<br />

Photos By Heidi Hertler, Director, The School for Field Studies<br />

The School for Field Studies (SFS) is a US-based, non-pr<strong>of</strong>it study abroad program for university students<br />

with field stations around <strong>the</strong> world. Its mission is to “create transformative study abroad experiences<br />

through field-based learning and research.” SFS operates through a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates<br />

social and ecological learning to address environmental challenges.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 43

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

The first cohort <strong>of</strong> 75 SFS students was sent into<br />

<strong>the</strong> field in <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 1981. These students traveled<br />

to different countries around <strong>the</strong> world from Kenya<br />

to Belize. In <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 1985, <strong>the</strong> Center for Marine<br />

Resource Studies (CMRS) was first opened although it was<br />

not where it is today on South Caicos. It was originally<br />

located on St. John at <strong>the</strong> Virgin <strong>Islands</strong> Environmental<br />

Resource Station on Lameshur Bay. In 1989, Hurricane<br />

Hugo devastated <strong>the</strong> Virgin <strong>Islands</strong> leading to <strong>the</strong> evacuation<br />

<strong>of</strong> students and staff. As a result <strong>of</strong> this hurricane,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re was a strong shift in class topics and discussions<br />

with an emphasis on <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> storm. Made possible<br />

by years <strong>of</strong> baseline data collection by SFS students<br />

and staff, this final cohort <strong>of</strong> students on St. John was<br />

able to evaluate <strong>the</strong> damage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hurricane on both<br />

reefs and seagrass beds.<br />

Soon after, SFS purchased a small hotel on South<br />

Caicos in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>—<strong>the</strong> Admiral’s Arms<br />

Inn. CMRS relocated to its new home on South Caicos in<br />

<strong>the</strong> early 1990s. With funds provided by <strong>the</strong> Laurance S.<br />

Rockefeller Foundation, <strong>the</strong> center was able to upgrade<br />

its research equipment as well as provide scholarships.<br />

Upon arrival, SFS researchers began to focus on<br />

<strong>the</strong> conch and lobster exports <strong>of</strong> South Caicos, which<br />

had been decreasing significantly at <strong>the</strong> time. Research<br />

focused on understanding <strong>the</strong> potential causes <strong>of</strong> this<br />

decline, mapping marine habitats and generating species<br />

lists for <strong>the</strong> proposed Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea<br />

National Park.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 30 years since SFS first arrived on South Caicos,<br />

students and staff have worked on countless research<br />

projects and have documented changes in marine life and<br />

habitats. In 2006 one <strong>of</strong> our current faculty, Dr. Caitlin<br />

O’Brien was a student at SFS TCI. As a student, Dr. O’Brien<br />

spent time working on shark and turtle tag and recapture<br />

projects in <strong>the</strong> waters near South Caicos. Long term projects<br />

such as <strong>the</strong>se document <strong>the</strong> natural history <strong>of</strong> South<br />

Caicos’ reefs, seagrass beds and shores. O<strong>the</strong>r projects<br />

include monitoring queen conch and lionfish populations<br />

and coral communities. Faculty and research partners also<br />

bring <strong>the</strong>ir experience and interests to SFS. All research is<br />

presented to <strong>the</strong> community <strong>of</strong> South Caicos on a semester<br />

basis.<br />

In 2017, SFS was once again faced with <strong>the</strong> devastating<br />

effects <strong>of</strong> hurricanes in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean. Hurricanes<br />

Irma and Maria hit <strong>the</strong> TCI back to back, leaving much <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> island and center destroyed. SFS students and staff<br />

were evacuated, with some joining <strong>the</strong> SFS Panama center<br />

for <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> semester. It took many months<br />

<strong>of</strong> hard work and dedication from staff to rebuild CMRS.<br />

Eventually, <strong>the</strong> center was able to reopen and welcome a<br />

new group <strong>of</strong> students.<br />

Just like in 1989 on St. John after Hurricane Hugo,<br />

long-term data collection has <strong>of</strong>fered important insight<br />

into <strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se hurricanes on <strong>the</strong> marine systems<br />

<strong>of</strong>f South Caicos. In addition to hurricanes, global<br />

warming and diseases have impacted <strong>the</strong> coral reef<br />

around South Caicos. With <strong>the</strong> historical data that has<br />

SFS students regularly interact with <strong>the</strong> South Caicos community with a variety <strong>of</strong> educational (and fun!) events.<br />

44 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

been collected, <strong>the</strong>se changes can be tracked and better<br />

understood.<br />

Today, students spend <strong>the</strong>ir time at CMRS pursuing<br />

coursework, conducting research and being involved<br />

with <strong>the</strong> community. SFS <strong>of</strong>fers a <strong>Spring</strong> and Fall semester<br />

as well as two summer sessions. Classes such as<br />

Environmental Policy, Resource Management and Marine<br />

Ecology are held during <strong>the</strong> fall and spring semesters. In<br />

<strong>the</strong> summer, Fundamentals <strong>of</strong> Marine Conservation and<br />

Marine Megafauna are <strong>of</strong>fered.<br />

Much has changed since SFS sent its first students<br />

into <strong>the</strong> field in 1981. SFS has grown significantly and now<br />

operates field stations in Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia,<br />

Chile, Costa Rica, Kenya, Panama, Peru, Tanzania and<br />

here in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Throughout moves<br />

across <strong>the</strong> Caribbean and difficult re-builds following<br />

hurricanes, CMRS has stayed strong. What has remained<br />

constant over <strong>the</strong> years is <strong>the</strong> dedication and enthusiasm<br />

<strong>of</strong> students and staff to work with <strong>the</strong> community<br />

<strong>of</strong> South Caicos to document and research <strong>the</strong> marine<br />

ecosystems which make <strong>the</strong> TCI “Beautiful by Nature.” a<br />

For additional information about The School for Field<br />

Studies, visit www.fieldstudies.org or contact us on<br />

South Caicos at hhertler@fieldstudies.org.<br />

Right: SFS students snorkel in <strong>the</strong> beautiful waters <strong>of</strong>f South Caicos,<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten documenting <strong>the</strong> natural history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> marine world.<br />

Below: The school’s pool is <strong>of</strong>ten <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> swimming lessons for<br />

local children.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 45

feature<br />

Opposite page: This pair <strong>of</strong> osprey call home a nest perched on a rock tower above Pirate’s Cove on <strong>the</strong> southwest point <strong>of</strong> Providenciales.<br />

Above: The author/photographer was lucky enough to see <strong>the</strong> male osprey bringing a freshly caught fish to feed <strong>the</strong> chicks in <strong>the</strong> nest.<br />

An Osprey Day<br />

Ready for <strong>the</strong> unexpected.<br />

Story & Photos By Lorna Rae Daniel-Dupree, Lorna Rae Photography<br />

Broken away from <strong>the</strong> mainland at West Harbour Bluff tands a sheer, sharp faced coral rock—a 30-foot<br />

high tower protruding out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ocean. Nestled on top, safe from human intervention, perches an osprey<br />

nest complete with a pair <strong>of</strong> chicks.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 47

It is January 1, <strong>2021</strong>. The day started as an excursion<br />

to see <strong>the</strong> Pirate Cove with my mum, dad and bro<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

This is my fourth visit to Providenciales, but <strong>the</strong> first time<br />

I am going to <strong>the</strong> cove. To say <strong>the</strong> least, 2020 was a<br />

strange year for everyone. After being separated from<br />

my family for an entire year, across three different countries,<br />

we were finally able to reunite over Christmas in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. I was only supposed to stay for a<br />

week, but that week has turned into a month.<br />

I grew up in South Africa but now live in Los Angeles<br />

with my husband. We are both photographers and filmmakers<br />

who love going on adventures and being in nature<br />

observing wildlife. I have been fortunate enough to photograph<br />

many amazing creatures and it is a thrill every<br />

single time.<br />

There is nothing better than starting <strong>the</strong> year with<br />

a thrill. We arrive at <strong>the</strong> coordinates on <strong>the</strong> map. A stoic<br />

osprey is perched on a nearby rock. Admiring <strong>the</strong> sight, I<br />

think it is just a lucky coincidence. We continue towards<br />

<strong>the</strong> path to <strong>the</strong> cove when my dad points out in <strong>the</strong> distance<br />

a nest with a bird in silhouette. I think to myself,<br />

“That’s beautiful. I wonder how far that is?”<br />

We are exploring <strong>the</strong> cove when curiosity gets <strong>the</strong><br />

better <strong>of</strong> my mum and me. We decide to venture towards<br />

<strong>the</strong> nest. Ill-prepared for hiking, we make our way over<br />

<strong>the</strong> coral rocks in flip flops, fighting 24-knot winds.<br />

There it is. The nest atop its tower.<br />

Looking across <strong>the</strong> 20-foot gap are <strong>the</strong> nesting birds<br />

and below <strong>the</strong>m is <strong>the</strong> tumultuous turquoise ocean. I<br />

must admit, I am nervous as I approach <strong>the</strong> edge. It is a<br />

far drop and I surmise it would not be a pleasant fall. I get<br />

down onto my stomach and rest <strong>the</strong> camera against <strong>the</strong><br />

ledge so that <strong>the</strong> lens is completely cantilevered.<br />

It takes a few minutes for <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r osprey to accept<br />

my presence. I wouldn’t say she appreciates it much, but<br />

it’s probably a comfort for her knowing that I can’t get<br />

any closer. The chicks chirp and fluff <strong>the</strong>ir fea<strong>the</strong>rs as <strong>the</strong><br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r keeps a beady eye on me.<br />

Suddenly, she starts calling out—loud and aggressively.<br />

I wonder, “Is she calling a mate? Or is she telling<br />

me to back <strong>of</strong>f?”<br />

As I lift my head from <strong>the</strong> eyepiece, I notice something<br />

in <strong>the</strong> distance. A wide-winged bird is flying towards us.<br />

It takes me a second to realize that it is <strong>the</strong> male carrying<br />

a fish in his talons. In a flush I keep repeating in shock, “I<br />

can’t believe this! Mum! He has a fish!! He has a fish!”<br />

He lands in a majestic swoop to chirping chicks. He<br />

hands <strong>the</strong> fish <strong>of</strong>f to <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r who inspects it as he<br />

stands aside looking around <strong>the</strong> nest. As quickly as he<br />

landed he takes <strong>of</strong>f, on <strong>the</strong> hunt again.<br />

We receive a phone call from our hungry fa<strong>the</strong>r and<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r waiting patiently at <strong>the</strong> car. I pack up my camera<br />

The mo<strong>the</strong>r osprey carefully breaks <strong>of</strong>f small<br />

bits <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fish to feed <strong>the</strong> hungry chicks.<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

The author is a wildlife photographer and has learned never to leave<br />

her camera behind.<br />

and crawl to a safer area before standing. One last look<br />

over my shoulder helps me absorb <strong>the</strong> beautiful moment.<br />

Lo and behold, <strong>the</strong> osprey mo<strong>the</strong>r is now feeding <strong>the</strong><br />

chicks.<br />

“I can come back,” I say to my mum. She convinces<br />

me to seize <strong>the</strong> moment and without much persuasion, I<br />

am back on <strong>the</strong> ledge with my camera.<br />

I am being squawked at feverishly, but I stay still.<br />

With what seems like a puff <strong>of</strong> frustration mama osprey<br />

stops and side-eyes me while continuing to pick at <strong>the</strong><br />

fish. The chicks are demanding <strong>the</strong>ir servings in turns<br />

while <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r sneaks a piece for herself every now and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n.<br />

The phone rings again. I’ve lost track <strong>of</strong> time and now<br />

my family’s bellies are grumbling for some food too. I say<br />

goodbye and thank you to <strong>the</strong> birds. It seems cheesy but<br />

it’s important to me. We make our way back down <strong>the</strong><br />

path, excitement and exhilaration running through our<br />

veins from what we just witnessed.<br />

If <strong>the</strong>re is one thing I have learnt over <strong>the</strong> years, it<br />

is: Always expect <strong>the</strong> unexpected. It can seem laborious<br />

to lug camera equipment around for what seems to be a<br />

quick excursion but honestly, it’s worth it every time.<br />

Hopefully on my next trip to Providenciales, <strong>the</strong> nest<br />

will still be <strong>the</strong>re with a new family to photograph. a<br />

To see more <strong>of</strong> my adventures around <strong>the</strong> world, visit my<br />

Instagram @LornaRaePhotog.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 49


feature<br />

Opposite page: The beach is a place that links land to sea; nowhere more beautiful than in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Above: Taking a close look into shallow waters reveals a treasure trove <strong>of</strong> tiny discoveries.<br />


In Plain Sight<br />

Treasures on <strong>the</strong> beach.<br />

By Melissa Heres, Waterfront Assistant, The School for Field Studies<br />

The beach has always been a special place for me, linking <strong>the</strong> land we traverse every day and <strong>the</strong> incredible<br />

ocean environment that looms below. This link, if it could talk, could share so many stories. The<br />

stories <strong>of</strong> how rocks have eroded over <strong>the</strong>ir journey from mountain tops to <strong>the</strong> beaches to create sand.<br />

Or <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> how parrotfish gnaw at coral and leave behind digested white limestone, creating beautiful<br />

mounds <strong>of</strong> white sand beaches like those found in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 51

Walking along <strong>the</strong>se beaches, we can find little clues<br />

that can tell <strong>the</strong>ir story, if we only stop to listen. This<br />

includes anything from shells and coral skeletons to cameras<br />

and plastic. This is a journey you can take at any<br />

time and at your own pace. Let’s stroll along one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ beautiful beaches and explore <strong>the</strong><br />

wonders we can find.<br />

Our journey begins with <strong>the</strong> beautiful white sand.<br />

Although our sand doesn’t come from faraway mountain<br />

tops, its journey is no less extravagant. Those beautiful<br />

beaches that are so characteristic <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean are<br />

likely composed <strong>of</strong> calcium carbonate, or limestone, and<br />

wea<strong>the</strong>red-away bits <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> limestone islands. As rain and<br />

storms wash over <strong>the</strong> land, <strong>the</strong>y slowly erode away <strong>the</strong><br />

rocks and minerals that make up <strong>the</strong>se islands, which can<br />

end up as sand on <strong>the</strong> beaches.<br />

But how does limestone find its way onto <strong>the</strong> beach?<br />

This limestone actually plays a huge role in our oceans<br />

and is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> magical links between those mysterious<br />

depths and our morning beach walks.<br />

Animals such as corals, mollusks and echinoderms<br />

(think sea stars, sea biscuits and sand dollars) rely on<br />

calcium carbonate to build <strong>the</strong>ir shells or skeletons. After<br />

<strong>the</strong>se organisms die, <strong>the</strong>ir shells or skeletons can be<br />

eroded by wave energy and end up as sand. More inter-<br />

Above: Unlike live sand dollars which have hair-like projections, a<br />

sand dollar test (skeleton) will be smooth.<br />

Below: Dead and dried out gorgonians, <strong>the</strong> main prey <strong>of</strong> flamingo<br />

tongue snails, are <strong>of</strong>ten found along TCI’s beaches.<br />



52 www.timespub.tc


Scallop shells come in a variety <strong>of</strong> colors and sizes.<br />

estingly, parrotfish actually use <strong>the</strong>ir specialized beaks<br />

(hence <strong>the</strong>ir names) to eat live corals as a snack, digesting<br />

<strong>the</strong> coral tissue and processing <strong>the</strong> now-pulverized<br />

coral skeleton as waste. Those <strong>of</strong> you coral lovers, like<br />

myself, might be wondering if parrotfish are bad for coral<br />

reefs, considering <strong>the</strong>y spend all day eating coral. In fact,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y also eat a lot <strong>of</strong> macroalgae, which is detrimental to<br />

reef health, and allowing parrotfish to thrive is vital to<br />

keep our reefs beautiful.<br />

Moving down <strong>the</strong> beach, we can keep finding treasures.<br />

The most obvious find for a beachcomber might be<br />

<strong>the</strong> beautiful shells <strong>of</strong> gastropods. Although <strong>the</strong> following<br />

list is far from comprehensive, it will give you some<br />

insight into what you might find on <strong>the</strong> beaches <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI and <strong>the</strong> stories <strong>the</strong>y can tell.<br />

Conch<br />

Perhaps <strong>the</strong> most well-known and identifiable shell you<br />

might stumble upon is <strong>the</strong> queen conch shell. With its<br />

recognizable rosy pink interior and flamboyant flared lip,<br />

this conch isn’t just good eating—it’s featured prominently<br />

on <strong>the</strong> TCI’s national flag. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> conch you<br />

will stumble upon are likely “knocked,” where a hammer<br />

and chisel have been used to open a rectangular mark in<br />

<strong>the</strong> spire to extract <strong>the</strong> conch meat.<br />

Easily confused with queen conch are milk conch, as<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir exteriors might look similar to someone unfamiliar<br />

with conch. Milk conch, however, tend to have thicker lips<br />

that don’t flare quite as much. These conch also lack <strong>the</strong><br />

characteristic pink interior and instead have a milky white<br />

interior, hence <strong>the</strong>ir name.<br />

Scallops<br />

Scallops can come in all kinds <strong>of</strong> beautiful color variations.<br />

They can be differentiated from o<strong>the</strong>r shells by<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir distinct auricles, or ear-like projections on <strong>the</strong> right<br />

and left sides <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shell ligament.<br />

Flamingo Tongues<br />

Flamingo tongues are beautifully orange and white colored<br />

creatures underwater. Once dead, however, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

shells are a stark white because <strong>the</strong>ir coloring comes<br />

from <strong>the</strong>ir mantle, a thin layer <strong>of</strong> tissue that covers <strong>the</strong><br />

shell.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 53

will lack this hairy tissue and will feel like a hard bonelike<br />

material. Also, live sand dollars tend to be dark grey,<br />

whereas <strong>the</strong>ir tests will be a lighter grey color.<br />

You might also come upon coral skeletons during<br />

your walk. Live coral is always attached to a sturdy substrate<br />

and is covered by a thin layer <strong>of</strong> tissue, with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

skeleton underneath it. Corals are actually animals and<br />

are also carnivorous! When <strong>the</strong>se corals die, however,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir tissue disappears and all that is left is <strong>the</strong>ir skeleton.<br />

Small indentations, or corallites, were <strong>the</strong> backbone<br />

that protected <strong>the</strong> coral’s polyps. Oftentimes it is actually<br />

possible to identify a coral species based on its skeleton.<br />


Conch shells can be turned into musical instruments. This conch horn<br />

is being played by its creator, Anna Handte-Reinecker.<br />

Tests & Skeletons<br />

Besides shells, <strong>the</strong>re are a variety <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r links between<br />

land and sea that can be found. One example are tests.<br />

Tests are <strong>the</strong> interior, calcified skeletons that are created<br />

by sea urchins, sand dollars and sea biscuits.<br />

Especially when finding sand dollars, it’s important to<br />

make sure that <strong>the</strong>y’re not alive! Live sand dollars <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

have hairy projections, while dead tests <strong>of</strong> sand dollars<br />

Sea Glass<br />

Sea glass is a common sight on TCI’s beaches. Varying<br />

in color from green to brown and even <strong>the</strong> occasional<br />

purple, this sea glass is sought-after for jewelry and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

decorations.<br />

As a staff member at The School for Field Studies<br />

Center for Marine Resource Studies (SFS CMRS) on South<br />

Caicos, I’m met with a lot <strong>of</strong> questions concerning what<br />

students find on beaches, rocky shorelines and in <strong>the</strong><br />

water. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most fulfilling aspects <strong>of</strong> this job is<br />

watching <strong>the</strong>se students grow. As <strong>the</strong> semester progresses,<br />

students become more aware <strong>of</strong> what <strong>the</strong>y might<br />

find in <strong>the</strong> marine environment. Not only are <strong>the</strong>y learning<br />

about what <strong>the</strong>y find, but <strong>the</strong>y are becoming invested<br />

in preserving <strong>the</strong> wonderful world that lies beneath <strong>the</strong><br />

waves and <strong>the</strong>y begin educating each o<strong>the</strong>r about marine<br />

life. My hope is that <strong>the</strong>y take <strong>the</strong> knowledge <strong>the</strong>y’ve<br />

gained from <strong>the</strong> small island <strong>of</strong> South Caicos and spread<br />

it back home to <strong>the</strong>ir family, back at school to <strong>the</strong>ir peers,<br />

and around <strong>the</strong> world—just like ocean currents would<br />

carry a shell.<br />

54 www.timespub.tc


A final thought to those <strong>of</strong> you inspired to find your<br />

own treasures on <strong>the</strong> beach. Please respect <strong>the</strong> ocean<br />

and marine life and return your collection to <strong>the</strong> sea after<br />

your walk (except sea glass, which can be brought home<br />

without any negative effects on <strong>the</strong> environment). Shells<br />

can provide homes to different marine creatures, so it’s<br />

important to assure <strong>the</strong>y have protection from predators.<br />

Also, make sure that whatever shells you pick up aren’t<br />

inhabited by anything, such as a roaming hermit crab. If<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is a stowaway, place <strong>the</strong> shell back where you found<br />

it in order to let <strong>the</strong> creature continue its day. a<br />




56 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe<br />

newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Front Street, PO Box 188, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, BWI TKCA 1ZZ<br />

tel 649 247 2160/US incoming 786 220 1159 • email info@tcmuseum.org • web www.tcmuseum.org<br />


Video recording is a crucial tool in recording irreplaceable memories. Here, former Museum Director Michael Pateman interviews TCI centenarian<br />

Alton Higgs.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are like a beautifully woven tapestry <strong>of</strong> rich histories, cultures and traditions.<br />

However, many factors—from climatic events such as hurricanes and floods, to <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> traditional<br />

practitioners, to time itself—threaten <strong>the</strong> very existence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se irreplaceable, intangible aspects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

heritage. Video recording is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crucial tools in <strong>the</strong> permanent recording <strong>of</strong> TCI’s unique culture<br />

and history for generations to come.<br />

In this edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Astrolabe, we discuss <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> using video to dive into heritage. In Telling<br />

a Caicos Sloop Story, I and Vanessa Forbes-Pateman explain <strong>the</strong> People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> Video Project,<br />

including <strong>the</strong> launch <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> trailer, and provide details into <strong>the</strong> methodology used. In Filming <strong>the</strong> East<br />

Caicos Expedition Documentary, Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack discusses his experience <strong>of</strong> filming on East Caicos, a<br />

project discussed in articles in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> 2020 Astrolabe. Both projects will be submitted to <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos Film Festival <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

On Candid Camera<br />

Do you have an artistic, historic or cultural research question or article you would like to submit to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Astrolabe? Contact us at info@tcmuseum.org. a<br />

Dr. Michael P. Pateman, Ph.D., former Director, Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 57

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This is one <strong>of</strong> James Dean’s boats in Blue Hills, Providenciales. James notes that his grandfa<strong>the</strong>r, fa<strong>the</strong>r, uncles and bro<strong>the</strong>rs were all boat<br />

builders, a skill that has been passed down to his sons and nephews.<br />

People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Telling “A Caicos Sloop Story.”<br />

Story and Photos By Michael P. Pateman, Ph.D. and Vanessa A. Forbes-Pateman<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Summer 2019 Astrolabe, we introduced “People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.” This project seeks to tell <strong>the</strong> story<br />

<strong>of</strong> “Islanders” through a first-person narrative. The various interview topics include boat building, food/<br />

cooking, bush medicine, island migration, cultural traditions, music, dance, story-telling and much more.<br />

After many delays, including <strong>the</strong> COVID-19 pandemic and a new job, we are excited to launch <strong>the</strong> first<br />

video documentary for People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, A Caicos Sloop Story.<br />

This article is our narrative <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> experience and reactions from filming <strong>the</strong> interviews on traditional<br />

boat building in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. We will switch <strong>the</strong> first-person narrative between Michael and<br />

Vanessa, as our personal experience is vital to telling <strong>the</strong> story.<br />

58 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

When Michael first arrived in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos as<br />

director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> national museum, he was amazed with<br />

how similar but different <strong>the</strong> cultural traditions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are compared to The Bahamas.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> his main goals as director was to explore and<br />

experience <strong>the</strong>se cultural traditions so that <strong>the</strong> museum<br />

can do a better job <strong>of</strong> presenting <strong>the</strong>m to residents and<br />

visitors to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se traditions is <strong>the</strong> building<br />

<strong>of</strong> native Caicos sloops.<br />

This journey started on February 16, 2019 at <strong>the</strong><br />

annual Valentine’s Cup, hosted by <strong>the</strong> Middle Caicos<br />

Co-op on Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos. The Valentine’s<br />

Cup is a regatta using model Caicos sloops enjoyed by<br />

locals and visitors <strong>of</strong> all ages.<br />

While waiting for <strong>the</strong> event to begin, I walked around<br />

to interview attendees. Fortunately, <strong>the</strong> first people I met<br />

are both members <strong>of</strong> different TCI boat building families,<br />

Wing Dean and Brodie Forbes. They both spoke with<br />

fondness <strong>of</strong> childhood memories <strong>of</strong> building model boats<br />

out <strong>of</strong> gum elemi trees with <strong>the</strong>ir friends. Historically,<br />

children would ga<strong>the</strong>r logs from <strong>the</strong> gum elemi tree and<br />

carve smaller versions <strong>of</strong> Caicos sloops, complete with<br />

sails and rigging, and race <strong>the</strong>m in sheltered waters.<br />

That evening I called Vanessa excited about <strong>the</strong><br />

information I had ga<strong>the</strong>red that day. I expressed shock<br />

that we didn’t have something similar in The Bahamas.<br />

However, Vanessa was surprised as she thought it was<br />

a common childhood practice. While both <strong>of</strong> us are from<br />

The Bahamas, we had different childhood experiences.<br />

Similar to most Bahamian families, we can trace our familiar<br />

history to various family islands, Michael (Cat Island<br />

and Berry <strong>Islands</strong>) and Vanessa (Andros and Exuma).<br />

However, multiple generations <strong>of</strong> Michael’s family were<br />

born on New Providence whereas Vanessa’s parents were<br />

both born on Andros.This is similar in that many children<br />

who grow up in Providenciales do not have <strong>the</strong> same cultural<br />

experiences as those from <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r islands.<br />

Vanessa recounts stories similar to Wing and Brodie’s.<br />

She recalls, “The most exciting part <strong>of</strong> getting my own<br />

model boat was choosing <strong>the</strong> tree it would be sculpted<br />

from. I excitedly watched and helped my uncle, knowing<br />

upon completion <strong>the</strong> best part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> summer is <strong>the</strong><br />

model boat regatta and I always wanted to win—which<br />

child doesn’t? Model boat regatta day was <strong>the</strong> highlight,<br />

nobody slept <strong>the</strong> night before and you kept your eye on<br />

your boat in case one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cousins tried to sabotage<br />

Top: Pastor “Gold” Williams sails his model sloop.<br />

Above: “Wing” Dean (left) and Brodie Forbes speak with fondness <strong>of</strong><br />

childhood memories <strong>of</strong> building model boats.<br />

you. We barely ate breakfast since we were so excited to<br />

get down to <strong>the</strong> bay to race our boats. There’s nothing<br />

quite like seeing <strong>the</strong> wind catch your sails and your boat<br />

take <strong>of</strong>f; you couldn’t hear much from all <strong>the</strong> excitement,<br />

sound, colour, smell <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> food and <strong>the</strong> sea. The buildup<br />

to <strong>the</strong> regatta made summering on <strong>the</strong> family islands<br />

<strong>the</strong> best part <strong>of</strong> getting sent <strong>the</strong>re from <strong>the</strong> capital <strong>of</strong><br />

Nassau.”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 59

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This historic photo shows <strong>the</strong> last sloop built by Hedley Forbes. Note <strong>the</strong> sharp point <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bow.<br />

Before continuing we decided a to get a historical<br />

perspective on <strong>the</strong> Caicos sloops by interviewing David<br />

Douglas from <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Sailing Association.<br />

David is involved in <strong>the</strong> Caicos Sloop Heritage Project,<br />

whose mission is revitalizing <strong>the</strong> building <strong>of</strong> Caicos<br />

sloops through “One Design,” a method that allows<br />

<strong>the</strong> boats to be built and raced on a regular basis. He<br />

described how historically, <strong>the</strong> local sloops were <strong>the</strong><br />

lifeblood <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Small boats were used to fish,<br />

and catch conch and o<strong>the</strong>r seafood, while larger vessels<br />

were used to trade those products mostly with Hispaniola<br />

(Haiti and <strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic). They were also used<br />

to carry cargo around <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> (similar to trucks today),<br />

as ambulances to move <strong>the</strong> sick, and as “water taxis” to<br />

move passengers from island to island.<br />

David provided us with background on <strong>the</strong> differences<br />

between <strong>the</strong> Caicos and Bahamian sloops. The<br />

Caicos sloops were more wea<strong>the</strong>rly, designed to travel<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r distances than <strong>the</strong>ir counterparts in The Bahamas.<br />

Also, <strong>the</strong> Caicos sloops were created as work vessels,<br />

especially on Grand Turk and Salt Cay, to move salt from<br />

<strong>the</strong> islands to <strong>the</strong> larger vessels anchored <strong>of</strong>fshore.<br />

Next, we went back to Middle Caicos to interview<br />

Hedley Forbes, <strong>the</strong> last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> senior boat builders living<br />

on Middle Caicos. Hedley is Brodie’s fa<strong>the</strong>r. We met<br />

Hedley at his home in Bambarra. (Of note, Hedley was<br />

involved in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean Research Foundation’s project<br />

to document traditional boat building in 1984 on Grand<br />

Turk. More details <strong>of</strong> this project can be found on <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos National Museum’s website.)<br />

Although considered one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> foremost boat buildings<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos, Hedley does not identify as a<br />

boat builder, but as a carpenter. Both skills he learnt from<br />

his grandfa<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Hedley described how <strong>the</strong> skills he developed building<br />

boats informed his carpentry skills and vice versa.<br />

For example, he learnt that a sharp-hulled boat moves<br />

through <strong>the</strong> wind and waves <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ocean easier than one<br />

with a wider hull. He took this design element and incorporated<br />

it in <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> his ro<strong>of</strong>, which he states<br />

has received very little damage through <strong>the</strong> various hurricanes<br />

that have impacted <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

Our next stop was Blue Hills, Providenciales to meet<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Deans, a prominent boat building family <strong>of</strong><br />

Bermudian descent. First, we interviewed James Dean Sr.,<br />

<strong>the</strong> patriarch <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> family. James notes that his grandfa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r, uncles and bro<strong>the</strong>rs were all boat builders, a<br />

skill that has been passed down to his sons and nephews.<br />

60 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

He fondly recalled memories <strong>of</strong> looking out to <strong>the</strong> bay in<br />

Blue Hills and seeing <strong>the</strong> masts <strong>of</strong> numerous anchored<br />

Caicos sloops. James also spoke about <strong>the</strong> regattas,<br />

especially his competitions with Carl Ewing, Hilly Ewing,<br />

Hedley Forbes and “Hearts” Capron. An interesting design<br />

note—<strong>the</strong> Dean vessels have a wider hull when compared<br />

with <strong>the</strong> designs <strong>of</strong> Hedley Forbes. Both builders<br />

claim <strong>the</strong>ir technique is <strong>the</strong> best for speed and control<br />

in <strong>the</strong> water. Over his career James built over 50 Caicos<br />

sloops <strong>of</strong> various sizes, <strong>the</strong> last in 2009, which he named<br />

Wildfire.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> interview, we were shown some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Dean<br />

fleet that were destroyed in 2017 by Hurricanes Irma<br />

and Maria. Wing Dean told us that he was building a new<br />

sloop at his home and invited us to view his work. We<br />

were excited by this opportunity because although many<br />

sloops were lost during <strong>the</strong> 2017 hurricanes, we could<br />

not find anyone building a new Caicos sloop.<br />

A few months later, Michael visited Wing, to interview<br />

him and observe him building his new sloop. The interview<br />

focused on <strong>the</strong> differences between <strong>the</strong> traditional<br />

(historic) and contemporary methods for building sloops.<br />

Traditionally, boat builders would go into <strong>the</strong> forests and<br />

harvest <strong>the</strong> locust tree to build <strong>the</strong> frames and Caicos<br />

pine for <strong>the</strong> planking, masts and spars, with <strong>the</strong> entire<br />

vessel being constructed with hand tools. Today, lumber<br />

is purchased from hardware stores with metal masts,<br />

and construction is almost exclusively with power tools.<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> tools and techniques have evolved, modern<br />

builders follow <strong>the</strong> traditional design techniques.<br />

The final documentary will be submitted to <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos Film Festival <strong>2021</strong>. Follow people<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>islands.<br />

com and our social media channels to be kept up to date<br />

on <strong>the</strong> release <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> trailer for a Caicos Sloop Story, full<br />

interviews, and <strong>the</strong> release <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> full documentary.<br />

The 2017 hurricane season was devastating for traditional<br />

Caicos sloops. Many were lost and <strong>the</strong> traditional<br />

regatta grounds in South Caicos were destroyed. With<br />

projects like this documentary, <strong>the</strong> One Design program<br />

and <strong>the</strong> programs launched by <strong>the</strong> TCI Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Culture, we hope that this art can be revitalized. a<br />

Thanks to Martin and Donna Seim, Director’s Welcome<br />

Grant for Projects (purchased Camera gear) and Brian<br />

Riggs, donation from Quiz Night to <strong>the</strong> museum.<br />

Not every interview made it into this article. O<strong>the</strong>rs interviewed<br />

include: Cardinal Arthur, Middle Caicos; Kendal<br />

Butler, Bahamas; George Dean, Providenciales; “Pringle”<br />

Dean, Providenciales; Elbert Higgs, North Caicos; JJ<br />

Parker, Providenciales; Timothy “T-boy” Robinson, Middle<br />

Caicos; Wilton Selver, Salt Cay; Curtis Simmons, Grand<br />

Turk; Eustace and Alfred Williams, North Caicos; and<br />

Pastor Goldstein Williams, Providenciales.<br />

“Wing” Dean constructs a new sloop at his home.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 61

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Documentary photographer Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack had to carry everything on <strong>the</strong> plane to ensure <strong>the</strong> equipment wasn’t delayed in transport. He<br />

had to be extremely selective <strong>of</strong> what he’d take. These are <strong>the</strong> tools he used to do <strong>the</strong> job.<br />

Selective Packing<br />

The nitty-gritty <strong>of</strong> filming <strong>the</strong> East Caicos Expedition documentary<br />

By Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack ~ Photos by Mat<strong>the</strong>w Matlack and John Galleymore<br />

Filming <strong>the</strong> East Caicos Expedition documentary was a thrilling endeavor. I had not been camping in<br />

years, I had just one experience under my belt filming in caves (which had a gift shop with snacks at <strong>the</strong><br />

entrance), and <strong>the</strong> film’s budget was modest to say <strong>the</strong> least. It sounded like a perfect adventure!<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

I blame John Galleymore for my involvement. I first<br />

met John several years ago through our combined love <strong>of</strong><br />

Potcake dogs and our dedication to helping <strong>the</strong>m. John<br />

helped my family with <strong>the</strong> adoption <strong>of</strong> our first Potcake<br />

which began our friendship. John’s history is worth an<br />

article all on its own, but his exploration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> has led him on many adventures. (Follow<br />

Beyond TCI on social media.)<br />

I also met Turks & Caicos National Museum Director<br />

Michael Pateman through John. My wife and I were on a<br />

two-day excursion to Salt Cay by way <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk. Of<br />

course, we stopped by <strong>the</strong> museum on Grand Turk to<br />

explore and shoot some photos and videos, and Michael<br />

was kind enough to show us around.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> museum gave <strong>the</strong> go-ahead to explore East<br />

Caicos, Michael knew John Galleymore, and o<strong>the</strong>r local<br />

guide masters, Agile and Daniel LeVin, would be critical<br />

to <strong>the</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mission. John knew that I was a documentary<br />

filmmaker and requested that I come along to<br />

document <strong>the</strong> expedition. I was excited to be invited and<br />

<strong>the</strong> logistics began to come toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

I think we had to postpone <strong>the</strong> trip a couple <strong>of</strong> times<br />

John Galleymore and Mat Matlack are packed up and ready to launch<br />

<strong>the</strong> East Caicos Expedition.<br />

until October 2019 due to wea<strong>the</strong>r conditions. The last<br />

thing we wanted was to be on an uninhabited island<br />

during a tropical storm or worse, and Hurricane Dorian<br />

ravaged <strong>the</strong> Bahamas in early September. We knew it<br />

would be a very hot and mosquito laden time to be on<br />

East Caicos, but we forged ahead with <strong>the</strong> adventure.<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> audio and video gear used on <strong>the</strong> East Caicos expedition. In addition, a laptop computer was brought along on <strong>the</strong> journey.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 63

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Mat Matlack films former Museum Director Michael Pateman on <strong>the</strong> beach at East Caicos.<br />

Gear<br />

When necessary, I travel light. Very light. I was <strong>the</strong> sole<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> film crew. This would be run-and-gun<br />

documentary filmmaking. Since <strong>the</strong> film’s budget didn’t<br />

allow for extra days <strong>of</strong> travel, I had to carry everything<br />

on <strong>the</strong> plane to ensure <strong>the</strong> equipment wasn’t delayed in<br />

transport. I had all <strong>the</strong> typical things like clo<strong>the</strong>s and toiletries<br />

with me, but also cameras, tripods, microphones,<br />

drones, etc. So, I had to be extremely selective <strong>of</strong> what I’d<br />

bring. Here is <strong>the</strong> list <strong>of</strong> equipment I chose.<br />

Sony A7iii with Tamron 28-74mm Lens<br />

This was my primary camera. It takes great photos and<br />

great video. There are cameras that do better photos and<br />

ones that capture better video, but this Sony does a fantastic<br />

job at both. The lens is a great all-around zoom that<br />

has a 2.8 f-stop allowing it to capture decent images in<br />

low light conditions like inside a cave.<br />

Canon G7Xii<br />

This is a small point and shoot camera. It’s perfect for<br />

vlogging and I keep it on my belt for quick access like a<br />

gunslinger with his holster. Throw this camera into automode<br />

and it’s hard to miss <strong>the</strong> shot. This is critical while<br />

on a documentary, especially when <strong>the</strong> travelling is part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> experience you are documenting.<br />

GoPro Session<br />

This is an even smaller camera. It’s a little 1.5-inch cube. I<br />

had to make a very hard decision to leave my underwater<br />

housing for <strong>the</strong> Canon camera at home. There just wasn’t<br />

room in <strong>the</strong> carry-on bags. I thought, “I’m going to one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> most beautiful ocean locations in <strong>the</strong> world and I’m<br />

not going to take my underwater camera housing. What?”<br />

But, <strong>the</strong> GoPro Session was going to have to suffice for<br />

any underwater filming. It does a decent job, and I knew<br />

99% <strong>of</strong> our time would be on land.<br />

Energen Dronemax<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> unit that took up <strong>the</strong> space <strong>of</strong> my underwater<br />

housing. We’d be on East Caicos without any power for<br />

three days. I have several batteries for <strong>the</strong> cameras, but<br />

not for three days <strong>of</strong> filming, especially flying a drone.<br />

It’s heavy and it’s bulky, but it would allow me to charge<br />

64 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

all my batteries at least once and perhaps a couple times<br />

during <strong>the</strong> trip. It proved most helpful!<br />

DJI Mavic Pro<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> drone I took. It wasn’t my best drone, but it<br />

was my smallest drone. I knew that a long, hard hike<br />

would probably be part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> expedition. I didn’t want<br />

to carry a large, heavy drone for miles across treacherous<br />

terrain, not to mention space in <strong>the</strong> travel bags.<br />

Microphones<br />

One Rode VideoMic Pro and two Tascam DR-10L lapel<br />

mic/recorders made up my audio capture equipment. I<br />

feel that audio is <strong>the</strong> most important part <strong>of</strong> any video,<br />

so ensuring we had decent audio capture was essential—<br />

while keeping things simple. This proved to be difficult<br />

regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> equipment. Usually, you’d have an<br />

audio person focusing on just <strong>the</strong> audio. But again, I was<br />

a one-man crew doing run-and-gun shooting. You have<br />

to keep it simple.<br />

I had some issues with <strong>the</strong> DJI Mavic Pro drone, with<br />

it operating a bit sporadically and changing how it was<br />

capturing video randomly. I thought I was going to lose<br />

control <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> drone a couple times when it was being<br />

unresponsive. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> footage was very hard to<br />

recover with strong color changes being applied in-camera<br />

to <strong>the</strong> video. But, <strong>the</strong> aerial footage ended up adding<br />

some majestic imagery to <strong>the</strong> documentary.<br />

The GoPro was a bit disappointing. Most <strong>of</strong> my underwater<br />

filming with this camera had been in open water<br />

Accessories<br />

There were many o<strong>the</strong>r accessories needed too. A Lume<br />

Cube light, a small travel tripod, memory cards, extra batteries,<br />

portable hard drives, a stabilization gimbal, plus<br />

a MacBook Pro laptop and all <strong>the</strong> charging cables needed<br />

for <strong>the</strong> cameras and computer.<br />

Travel<br />

Once I had my bags packed to <strong>the</strong> max, I was ready<br />

for <strong>the</strong> expedition to begin. My travel from <strong>the</strong> U.S. to<br />

Providenciales was fairly uneventful. John and I packed up<br />

<strong>the</strong> camping gear after I landed, along with all <strong>the</strong> camera<br />

equipment, and we were ready for an early morning<br />

start to <strong>the</strong> adventure. We took a car to <strong>the</strong> ferry dock,<br />

<strong>the</strong> ferry to North Caicos, a rental car to Middle Caicos,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n two flats boats to get us and <strong>the</strong> gear to East Caicos.<br />

We’d also use <strong>the</strong> boats to get from basecamp to various<br />

places on <strong>the</strong> island to begin hiking to <strong>the</strong> caves and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r points <strong>of</strong> interest.<br />

Mat Matlack enjoys fresh fish caught by boat captain, Leif Erickson,<br />

and vegetables prepared by guidemaster, Daniel LeVin<br />

with lots <strong>of</strong> sunlight coming through. The darkness <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> cave proved a bit too much for this small camera to<br />

handle and I really missed my underwater housing for <strong>the</strong><br />

Canon. But, having <strong>the</strong> Energen battery bank in lieu <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

housing due to <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> space in <strong>the</strong> luggage was <strong>the</strong><br />

right choice.<br />

Filming<br />

I was very happy with my choice <strong>of</strong> equipment. The<br />

Sony A7iii performed fantastically. It’s low-light capability<br />

worked great in <strong>the</strong> caves for both photos and video<br />

capture. The Canon G7Xii kept its spot as <strong>the</strong> most convenient<br />

camera I own and was <strong>the</strong>re to capture many critical<br />

moments <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> story.<br />

Releasing <strong>the</strong> documentary<br />

We had plans to submit <strong>the</strong> film to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

International Film Festival in 2020. But, due to <strong>the</strong> pandemic,<br />

it was postponed until <strong>2021</strong>. With our eyes set on<br />

several festivals in <strong>the</strong> coming months, <strong>the</strong> film will be<br />

released as those come to fruition. Keep up to date with<br />

<strong>the</strong> release <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> film at EastCaicosExpedition.com. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 65

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Volunteers needed in Providenciales<br />

The Turks & Caicos National Museum Foundation is<br />

seeking <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> volunteers to assist with <strong>the</strong> running<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> existing Providenciales museum facility in<br />

The Village at Grace Bay.<br />

Duties will include conducting short tours and assisting<br />

with gift shop sales. We hope to assemble a team<br />

<strong>of</strong> three to four persons so a roster can be established.<br />

Full training will be given. We would like to be able to<br />

open three or four days a week for several hours to give<br />

both tourists and locals <strong>the</strong> ability to visit and enjoy <strong>the</strong><br />

museum on Providenciales.<br />

The National Museum Foundation is also establishing<br />

a committee on Providenciales to assist with raising<br />

funds for <strong>the</strong> new museum building designed by globally<br />

renowned architect Ron Shaw. The committee will<br />

consist <strong>of</strong> representatives from <strong>the</strong> TCI Government,<br />

Turks & Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association (TCHTA),<br />

two existing board members and a number <strong>of</strong> volunteers<br />

from <strong>the</strong> wider community. The objectives are to<br />

create public awareness for <strong>the</strong> new national museum<br />

building and to work on various fund-raising initiatives<br />

to cover <strong>the</strong> construction cost.<br />

Interested persons should contact National Museum<br />

Manager Lisa Talbot at info@tcmuseum.org or (649)<br />

247-2160 or Seamus Day at seamus.day@tcmuseum.<br />

org or (649) 431-2849 or visit <strong>the</strong> national museum’s<br />

website: www.tcmuseum.org a<br />

Lucayan educational materials<br />

The museum recently received educational materials<br />

donated by <strong>the</strong> project Stone Interchanges Within<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bahama Archipelago (SIBA). This is a University <strong>of</strong><br />

Oxford project supported by <strong>the</strong> UK’s Arts & Humanities<br />

Research Council. The Lucayans were <strong>the</strong> indigenous<br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos and <strong>the</strong> Bahamas. The<br />

illustrations and content are based on archaeological<br />

investigations in <strong>the</strong> region and selected artifacts in<br />

museum collections from <strong>the</strong>: National Museum <strong>of</strong> The<br />

Bahamas; Turks & Caicos National Museum; National<br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History, Smithsonian; National<br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American Indian, Smithsonian and<br />

Peabody Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History.<br />

The project resulted in <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> beautiful<br />

illustrations by artist Merald Clark that reflect <strong>the</strong> lifeways<br />

and material culture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayans. The Turks<br />

& Caicos National Museum received, at no cost, 45<br />

sets <strong>of</strong> posters and teacher’s guides along with 180<br />

image booklets. The guides provide for in-depth teaching<br />

with visual interpretation that will assist teachers in<br />

providing children with a better appreciation <strong>of</strong> original<br />

inhabitants and <strong>the</strong>ir lifestyle. Once schools return<br />

to in-classroom learning we will be working with <strong>the</strong><br />

education department to distribute <strong>the</strong>se to <strong>the</strong> various<br />

schools.<br />

PowerPoint presentations have also been created<br />

so that schools can take advantage <strong>of</strong> this information<br />

now. As well, educational presentations can be<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered by <strong>the</strong> museum to o<strong>the</strong>r interested individuals<br />

or groups.<br />

To learn more about this project visit <strong>the</strong> SIBA website<br />

https://siba.web.ox.ac.uk/home or contact <strong>the</strong><br />

museum at info@tcmuseum.org. a<br />

Refurbishment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bird drive<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>—which include coral reefs,<br />

tidal flats, mangroves and marshlands—provide excellent<br />

environments for wildlife. The salinas and ponds on<br />

Grand Turk have been called “internationally important<br />

for birds” by <strong>the</strong> UK Overseas Territories Conservation<br />

Forum (UKOTCF). The ponds <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong> unique ability to<br />

get close to <strong>the</strong> birds without directly disturbing <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Those <strong>of</strong> us who live here are spoiled by seeing <strong>the</strong><br />

beautiful flamingos, comical pelicans and many o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

species up close on a regular basis.<br />

The Bird Walking and Driving Tours on Grand Turk<br />

were originally developed in 2011 by former Turks &<br />

Caicos National Museum Director Pat Saxton in part-<br />

66 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

nership with <strong>the</strong> UKOTCF. The development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

tour was initially made possible by a grant from <strong>the</strong><br />

Carnival/TCInvest/TCIG Infrastructure Fund. Signs and<br />

guides were developed as part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> project. Years<br />

<strong>of</strong> island wea<strong>the</strong>r, including several hurricanes, took a<br />

toll on <strong>the</strong> signs and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> poles installed. The<br />

TCNM was able to obtain a grant from <strong>the</strong> governor’s<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice to update <strong>the</strong> signs and poles for <strong>the</strong> walking<br />

and driving tours.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> last few weeks, new informative signs have<br />

been added to <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> each tour and all <strong>the</strong> numbered<br />

signs for each stop are being replaced. The new<br />

signs have revitalized <strong>the</strong> tour. There are two different<br />

tours available—a walking tour and a driving tour with<br />

signs to indicate <strong>the</strong> stops for each. The signs toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

with <strong>the</strong> printed guides lead you to <strong>the</strong> best viewing<br />

places. A map and description <strong>of</strong> what you can expect<br />

to see at each stop are included in <strong>the</strong> guides.<br />

We hope that <strong>the</strong> new signs will encourage appreciation<br />

for <strong>the</strong> bird life and our ability to witness it so<br />

easily. Guides for both <strong>the</strong> driving and walking tour are<br />

available for sale in <strong>the</strong> museum gift shop on Grand<br />

Turk. We also sell five guidebooks with information<br />

about <strong>the</strong> wildlife and heritage <strong>of</strong> each <strong>of</strong> TCI’s main<br />

islands at both <strong>of</strong> our locations. a<br />

Museum visits<br />

The museum on Grand Turk can be visited by appointment.<br />

We have had success during <strong>the</strong> pandemic with<br />

opening by request. This practice will continue until<br />

normal operating hours can return. The Providenciales<br />

location, which includes <strong>the</strong> Caicos Heritage House,<br />

should be reopening this <strong>Spring</strong>. Please check our website<br />

or contact us for updates on <strong>the</strong> reopening. Email<br />

info@tcmuseum.org or call (649) 247-2160 to schedule<br />

your visit or for updated information.<br />

TCNMF is a registered not for pr<strong>of</strong>it organization<br />

aimed at recording, interpreting, preserving,and celebrating<br />

<strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and<br />

its people. The museum on Grand Turk is housed in<br />

<strong>the</strong> historic Guinep House, an iconic structure in <strong>the</strong><br />

nation’s capital. The new, expanded Providenciales<br />

museum building will be adjacent to <strong>the</strong> existing<br />

museum facility and heritage house in The Village,<br />

Grace Bay. a<br />

Story & Photos By Lisa Talbot<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 67

esort report<br />

The new Bottle Creek Lodge, under <strong>the</strong> ownership <strong>of</strong> Jim and Melanie Lee-Brown, overlooks Bottle Creek in <strong>the</strong> Readymoney area <strong>of</strong> North<br />

Caicos.<br />

A Phoenix on North Caicos<br />

Bottle Creek Lodge opens again.<br />

By Jody Rathgeb~ Images Courtesy Bottle Creek Lodge<br />

Here’s a new adage for <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>: You can’t keep a good tourist site down. Pro<strong>of</strong>? Bottle Creek Lodge<br />

on North Caicos, which has opened to guests for <strong>the</strong> third time in nearly 30 years.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 69

The new Bottle Creek Lodge,<br />

under <strong>the</strong> ownership <strong>of</strong> Jim Brown<br />

and Melanie Lee-Brown, overlooks<br />

Bottle Creek in <strong>the</strong> Readymoney<br />

area <strong>of</strong> North Caicos. The<br />

site <strong>of</strong>fers two open-concept<br />

cabanas—named Seaside and<br />

Treehouse—each <strong>of</strong> 225 square<br />

feet, with furnished kitchenette,<br />

dining space, bathroom and private<br />

screened porch. While <strong>the</strong>re<br />

is no air conditioning—ceiling<br />

fans, floor fans and <strong>the</strong> breeze <strong>of</strong>f<br />

<strong>the</strong> creek provide plenty <strong>of</strong> comfort.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r accommodation,<br />

<strong>the</strong> two-room, 450-square-foot<br />

Elizabeth’s Cabana, is currently<br />

undergoing renovation.<br />

The Bottle Creek Lodge buildings<br />

descend from <strong>the</strong> main road<br />

to <strong>the</strong> edge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> creek along<br />

paths lined with trees and plants<br />

that explain North Caicos’ reputation as <strong>the</strong> Garden<br />

Island. Planted and enhanced by previous owners, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

include aloes, sea grape, papaya, banana, sour orange,<br />

limes, coconut and sugar apple: a cornucopia <strong>of</strong> vegetation.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> property, a dock provides access<br />

to Bottle Creek. Kayaks, snorkeling gear and bicycles are<br />

available for guests.<br />

Seaside was home to <strong>the</strong> Browns while <strong>the</strong>y renovated and improved <strong>the</strong> Bottle Creek Lodge<br />

property.<br />

Discovery and deliberation<br />

As Jim Brown tells <strong>the</strong> story, “In October 2006 we were<br />

looking for a plot <strong>of</strong> land to buy here on North Caicos,<br />

a place to eventually build our retirement home.” They<br />

enjoyed a stay at Bottle Creek Lodge, <strong>the</strong>n owned by<br />

Sandy and Jay Johnson. “Two years later was <strong>the</strong> one-two<br />

punch <strong>of</strong> hurricanes Hanna and Ike. Bottle Creek Lodge<br />

At <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bottle Creek Lodge property, a dock provides access to Bottle Creek. Kayaks are available for guests.<br />

70 www.timespub.tc

sustained significant damage from<br />

<strong>the</strong> storms and never reopened. Jay<br />

occasionally came back and worked<br />

on liquidating some assets […] but<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rwise <strong>the</strong> place was abandoned<br />

and hurricane damage was left unrepaired.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> years we would drive<br />

past when we were on visits to North<br />

Caicos, and reminisce about our<br />

great stay <strong>the</strong>re.”<br />

On one <strong>of</strong> those trips, in 2015,<br />

Jim and Melanie saw a “For Sale” sign<br />

on <strong>the</strong> gate. Jim continues, “Melanie<br />

and I are biology pr<strong>of</strong>essors in North<br />

Carolina, and we were both feeling<br />

increasingly burned-out and ready<br />

for a change. We agreed that we were<br />

at a ‘fork in <strong>the</strong> road’ in our careers;<br />

we could ei<strong>the</strong>r change now or run<br />

out our careers until full retirement.<br />

So when we saw <strong>the</strong> ‘For Sale’ sign, Treehouse is one <strong>of</strong> two open-concept cabanas for guests to stay at Bottle Creek Lodge.<br />

we looked at each o<strong>the</strong>r and thought<br />

<strong>the</strong> same thing.”<br />

After much thought and discussion, <strong>the</strong> Browns completed<br />

a purchase in <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 2016 and began in good enough shape for us to live in while we worked<br />

Creek Lodge, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cabanas (we call it Seaside) was<br />

renovations. There was much to be done, and much history<br />

to both honor and build on.<br />

call it Treehouse) was in much greater need <strong>of</strong> repair,<br />

on it and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r buildings. The o<strong>the</strong>r small cabana (we<br />

both inside and out. The ro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> larger two-room<br />

Hilton-Gibbs-Johnson<br />

cabana (we call it Elizabeth’s Cabana) had a flat ro<strong>of</strong><br />

The main stone-and-frame structure on <strong>the</strong> property which also served as <strong>the</strong> deck for <strong>the</strong> main house. It was<br />

was built as a private home by Englishman Fred Hilton. in very poor condition. The ro<strong>of</strong> had been leaking for<br />

When Howard Gibbs bought it in 1997, some time after eight years, <strong>the</strong> siding was rotten, and <strong>the</strong>re was standing<br />

water inside. The main house also had a leaky ro<strong>of</strong> on<br />

Hilton’s death, he focused on turning <strong>the</strong> property into<br />

an eco-lodge. He expanded <strong>the</strong> main house (adding a <strong>the</strong> incorporated spaces <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> front and back porches,<br />

restaurant), built <strong>the</strong> cottages and a workshop, and but was generally sound. The workshop was also in good<br />

worked extensively in <strong>the</strong> gardens. His vision was to keep shape, except that water blown in under <strong>the</strong> open eaves<br />

<strong>the</strong> lodge ecologically sustainable and small; Gibbs even had soaked all <strong>the</strong> remaining fixtures, tools and hardware,<br />

converting <strong>the</strong>m to rust. Everything that had been<br />

installed composting toilets in <strong>the</strong> cottages, hoping to<br />

draw tourists who wanted to live lightly while exploring at <strong>the</strong> waterline, including <strong>the</strong> boathouse and elaborate<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r land and culture.<br />

dock and boardwalk, had been destroyed by <strong>the</strong> hurricanes.”<br />

When <strong>the</strong> Johnsons purchased <strong>the</strong> place in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

2000s, <strong>the</strong> focus shifted toward fishing. Sandy and Jay The Browns set to work in <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 2016, doing<br />

built a boathouse, dock and boardwalk and ran fishing what <strong>the</strong>y could <strong>the</strong>mselves, but hiring Kenny Higgs and<br />

charters out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> property while maintaining it as a Kenneth Hall for most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> renovations: replacing <strong>the</strong><br />

guest lodge and restaurant. The hurricanes, however, put ro<strong>of</strong>, wiring and plumbing; re-doing interior walls; repairing<br />

cisterns; and doing renovations to <strong>the</strong> kitchen and<br />

an end to <strong>the</strong>ir efforts.<br />

According to Brown, “After Hanna and Ike in 2008, <strong>the</strong> bathroom. Seaside and Treehouse renovations have been<br />

place was empty and continued to succumb to wea<strong>the</strong>r completed, and <strong>the</strong>re is a new, smaller dock. Work is still<br />

and damage for eight years. When we bought Bottle under way on <strong>the</strong> larger cabana, workshop and gardens.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 71

1 (649) 342-3180<br />

North Caicos Island, TCI<br />

BottleCreekLodge.com<br />

BottleCreekLodge@gmail.com<br />

pandemic. Bottle Creek Lodge opened again for <strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

season, with <strong>the</strong> pandemic keeping rates at lower levels.<br />

The challenges <strong>of</strong> hurricanes and a virus were joined<br />

by those <strong>of</strong> meeting requirements for doing businesses<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos, compounded by <strong>the</strong> timing <strong>of</strong> trying<br />

to open during a pandemic. The Browns credit many<br />

people in both <strong>the</strong> US and TCI for help in hurdling those<br />

hoops, including Karen Preikschat, “Poacher” Missick,<br />

Tekarrah Williams, Gordon Kerr, Sarah Knight, Eve and<br />

Ernie Quant and Janet and Ron Holmes. Preikschat has<br />

even become <strong>the</strong>ir manager as <strong>the</strong>y wait for permanent<br />

resident certificates.<br />

Recognising that Bottle Creek Lodge belongs as much<br />

to <strong>the</strong> island as to <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong> Browns decided to keep<br />

<strong>the</strong> name instead <strong>of</strong> trying to come up with a new one.<br />

Melanie notes, “[W]e decided that [<strong>the</strong>] history and identity<br />

<strong>of</strong> Bottle Creek Lodge were too important. People<br />

are always interested in <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> evolution <strong>of</strong> this<br />

property from humble abode to a thriving business on a<br />

beautiful ocean creek. We see bits <strong>of</strong> everyone who lived<br />

and worked <strong>the</strong>re, and keeping those memories alive was<br />

important to us. The name also invokes feelings <strong>of</strong> tranquility,<br />

adventure and comfort. We hope every guest feels<br />

all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se at some point during <strong>the</strong>ir visit with us.”<br />

Open/closed/open<br />

Rising Phoenix<br />

When Seaside and Treehouse were ready for occupancy, Renovations at Bottle Creek Lodge will continue, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Browns set a s<strong>of</strong>t opening <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lodge for February guest services will expand. Jim says <strong>the</strong>y hope to begin<br />

2020. A month later, it was closed due to <strong>the</strong> COVID-19 serving breakfast to guests in 2022, and <strong>the</strong>y are working<br />

on those approvals as<br />

well as prepping Elizabeth’s<br />

Suite. As this tourist phoenix<br />

rises again, <strong>the</strong> Browns<br />

say <strong>the</strong>y want to involve as<br />

much <strong>of</strong> North Caicos as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

can in <strong>the</strong> new Bottle Creek<br />

Lodge. “Our intention is to<br />

focus on creating a space that<br />

is relaxing and friendly,” he<br />

says. “We want to involve as<br />

many Islander businesses as<br />

possible for non-self-guided<br />

activities that guests may<br />

want. We want to be a hub .<br />

. . give people a place to stay,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>n provide <strong>the</strong>m access<br />

to local folks who already provide<br />

<strong>the</strong>se services and can<br />

Bottle Creek Lodge is now a thriving business on a beautiful ocean creek.<br />

benefit from <strong>the</strong> business.” a<br />

72 www.timespub.tc

about <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Map provided courtesy Wavey Line Publishing. Their navigation charts and decorative and historic maps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, The<br />

Bahamas, and Hispaniola are available in shops throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Visit www.amnautical.com.<br />

Where we are<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> lie some 575 miles sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

<strong>of</strong> Miami — approximately 1 1/2 hours flying time —<br />

with The Bahamas about 30 miles to <strong>the</strong> northwest and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic some 100 miles to <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>ast.<br />

The country consists <strong>of</strong> two island groups separated<br />

by <strong>the</strong> 22-mile wide Columbus Passage. To <strong>the</strong> west are<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>: West Caicos, Providenciales, North<br />

Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, and South Caicos. To<br />

<strong>the</strong> east are <strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>: Grand Turk and Salt Cay.<br />

The Turks & Caicos total 166 square miles <strong>of</strong> land<br />

area on eight islands and 40 small cays. The country’s<br />

population is approximately 43,000.<br />

Getting here<br />

There are international airports on Grand Turk,<br />

Providenciales, and South Caicos, with domestic airports<br />

on all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands except East Caicos.<br />

TCI Assured is a quality assurance pre-travel program<br />

and portal, to assist visitors and returning residents when<br />

<strong>the</strong> country reopened its borders on July 22, 2020. The<br />

TCI is now requiring a negative COVID-19 PCR test result<br />

from a test taken within five days <strong>of</strong> travel. Children under<br />

<strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> 10 are not required to be tested. Additionally,<br />

travelers must have medical/travel insurance that covers<br />

medevac (insurance companies providing <strong>the</strong> prerequisite<br />

insurance will be available on <strong>the</strong> portal), a completed<br />

health screening questionnaire, and certification that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

have read and agreed to <strong>the</strong> privacy policy document.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 73

These requirements must be completed and uploaded<br />

to <strong>the</strong> TCI Assured portal, which is available on <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

Tourist Board website (www.turksandcaicostourism.<br />

com), in advance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir arrival.<br />

Once travelers register on <strong>the</strong> TCI Assured portal and<br />

complete <strong>the</strong> requirements as outlined, a travel authorization<br />

notification will be given. The TCI Assured travel<br />

authorization should be presented at <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> check-in<br />

to <strong>the</strong> appropriate airline; airlines will not be able to<br />

board passengers without this authorization.<br />

Language<br />

English.<br />

Time zone<br />

Eastern Standard Time (EST)/Daylight Savings Time<br />

observed.<br />

Currency<br />

The United States dollar. The Treasury also issues a Turks<br />

& Caicos crown and quarter. Travellers cheques in U.S.<br />

dollars are widely accepted and o<strong>the</strong>r currency can be<br />

changed at local banks. American Express, VISA, and<br />

MasterCard are welcomed at many locations.<br />

Climate<br />

The average year-round temperature is 83ºF (28ºC). The<br />

hottest months are September and October, when <strong>the</strong><br />

temperature can reach 90 to 95ºF (33 to 35ºC). However,<br />

<strong>the</strong> consistent easterly trade winds temper <strong>the</strong> heat and<br />

keep life comfortable.<br />

Casual resort and leisure wear is accepted attire for<br />

daytime; light sweaters or jackets may be necessary on<br />

some breezy evenings. It’s wise to wear protective clothing<br />

and a sunhat and use waterpro<strong>of</strong> sunscreen when out<br />

in <strong>the</strong> tropical sun.<br />

Entry requirements<br />

Passport. A valid onward or return ticket is also required.<br />

Customs formalities<br />

Visitors may bring in duty free for <strong>the</strong>ir own use one carton<br />

<strong>of</strong> cigarettes or cigars, one bottle <strong>of</strong> liquor or wine,<br />

and some perfume. The importation <strong>of</strong> all firearms including<br />

those charged with compressed air without prior<br />

approval in writing from <strong>the</strong> Commissioner <strong>of</strong> Police is<br />

strictly forbidden. Spear guns, Hawaiian slings, controlled<br />

drugs and pornography are also illegal.<br />

Returning residents may bring in $400 worth <strong>of</strong><br />

merchandise per person duty free. A duty <strong>of</strong> 10% to<br />

60% is charged on most imported goods along with a<br />

7% customs processing fee and forms a major source <strong>of</strong><br />

government revenue.<br />

Transportation<br />

A valid driver’s license from home is suitable when renting<br />

vehicles. A government tax <strong>of</strong> 12% is levied on all<br />

rental contracts. (Insurance is extra.) Driving is on <strong>the</strong><br />

left-hand side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road, with traffic flow controlled by<br />

round-abouts at major junctions. Please don’t drink and<br />

drive! Taxis and community cabs are abundant throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and many resorts <strong>of</strong>fer shuttle service<br />

between popular visitor areas. Scooter, motorcycle, and<br />

bicycle rentals are also available.<br />

74 www.timespub.tc

Telecommunications<br />

FLOW Ltd. provides land lines and superfast broadband<br />

Internet service. Mobile service is on a LTE 4G network,<br />

including pre- and post-paid cellular phones. Most resorts<br />

and some stores and restaurants <strong>of</strong>fer wireless Internet<br />

connection. Digicel operates mobile networks, with<br />

a full suite <strong>of</strong> LTE 4G service. FLOW is <strong>the</strong> local carrier<br />

for CDMA roaming on US networks such as Verizon and<br />

Sprint. North American visitors with GSM cellular handsets<br />

and wireless accounts with AT&T or Cingular can<br />

arrange international roaming.<br />

Electricity<br />

FortisTCI supplies electricity at a frequency <strong>of</strong> 60HZ,<br />

and ei<strong>the</strong>r single phase or three phase at one <strong>of</strong> three<br />

standard voltages for residential or commercial service.<br />

FortisTCI continues to invest in a robust and resilient grid<br />

to ensure <strong>the</strong> highest level <strong>of</strong> reliability to customers. The<br />

company is integrating renewable energy into its grid and<br />

provides options for customers to participate in two solar<br />

energy programs.<br />

Departure tax<br />

US $60. It is typically included in your airline ticket cost.<br />

Courier service<br />

Delivery service is provided by FedEx, with <strong>of</strong>fices on<br />

Providenciales and Grand Turk, and DHL. UPS service is<br />

limited to incoming delivery.<br />

Postal service<br />

The Post Office and Philatelic Bureau in Providenciales is<br />

located downtown on Airport Road. In Grand Turk, <strong>the</strong><br />

Post Office and Philatelic Bureau are on Church Folly. The<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> are known for <strong>the</strong>ir varied and colorful stamp<br />

issues.<br />

Media<br />

Multi-channel satellite television is received from <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

and Canada and transmitted via cable or over <strong>the</strong> air.<br />

Local station WIV-TV broadcasts on Channel 4 and Island<br />

EyeTV on Channel 5. People’s Television <strong>of</strong>fers 75 digitally<br />

transmitted television stations, along with local news<br />

and talk shows on Channel 8. There are also a number <strong>of</strong><br />

local radio stations, magazines, and newspapers.<br />

Medical services<br />

There are no endemic tropical diseases in TCI. There are<br />

large, modern hospitals on Grand Turk and Providenciales.<br />

Food for Thought provides free daily<br />

breakfast to government school students.<br />

A donation <strong>of</strong> $300 will provide breakfast<br />

to one child for a whole school year.<br />

To donate or learn more please<br />

email info@foodforthoughttci.com<br />

or visit foodforthoughttci.com<br />

Food for Thought Foundation Inc. (NP #102)<br />

Both hospitals <strong>of</strong>fer a full range <strong>of</strong> services including:<br />

24/7 emergency room, operating <strong>the</strong>aters, diagnostic<br />

imaging, maternity suites, dialysis suites, blood bank,<br />

physio<strong>the</strong>rapy, and dentistry.<br />

In addition, several general practitioners operate in<br />

<strong>the</strong> country, and <strong>the</strong>re is a recompression chamber, along<br />

with a number <strong>of</strong> private pharmacies.<br />

Immigration<br />

A resident’s permit is required to live in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. A<br />

work permit and business license are also required to<br />

work and/or establish a business. These are generally<br />

granted to those <strong>of</strong>fering skills, experience, and qualifications<br />

not widely available on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Priority is given<br />

to enterprises that will provide employment and training<br />

for T&C Islanders.<br />

Government/Legal system<br />

TCI is a British Crown colony. There is a Queen-appointed<br />

Governor, HE Nigel John Dakin. He presides over an executive<br />

council formed by <strong>the</strong> elected local government.<br />

Hon. Charles Washington Misick is <strong>the</strong> country’s new premier,<br />

leading a majority Progressive National Party (PNP)<br />

House <strong>of</strong> Assembly.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 75

The legal system is based upon English Common<br />

Law and administered by a resident Chief Justice, Chief<br />

Magistrate, and Deputy Magistrates. Judges <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Court<br />

<strong>of</strong> Appeal visit <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> twice a year and <strong>the</strong>re is a final<br />

Right <strong>of</strong> Appeal to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in London.<br />

Taxes<br />

There are currently no direct taxes on ei<strong>the</strong>r income<br />

or capital for individuals or companies. There are no<br />

exchange controls. Indirect taxation comprises customs<br />

duties and fees, stamp duty, taxes on accommodations,<br />

restaurants, vehicle rentals, o<strong>the</strong>r services and gasoline,<br />

as well as business license fees and departure taxes.<br />

Economy<br />

Historically, TCI’s economy relied on <strong>the</strong> export <strong>of</strong> salt.<br />

Currently, tourism, <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore finance industry, and<br />

fishing generate <strong>the</strong> most private sector income. The<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>’ main exports are lobster and conch. Practically<br />

all consumer goods and foodstuffs are imported.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are recognised as an<br />

important <strong>of</strong>fshore financial centre, <strong>of</strong>fering services<br />

such as company formation, <strong>of</strong>fshore insurance, banking,<br />

trusts, limited partnerships, and limited life companies.<br />

The Financial Services Commission regulates <strong>the</strong> industry<br />

and spearheads <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore legislation.<br />

People<br />

Citizens <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are termed<br />

“Belongers” and are primarily descendants <strong>of</strong> African<br />

slaves who were brought to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to work in <strong>the</strong><br />

salt ponds and cotton plantations. The country’s large<br />

expatriate population includes Canadians, Americans,<br />

Brits and Europeans, along with Haitians, Jamaicans,<br />

Dominicans, Bahamians, Indians, and Filipinos.<br />

Churches<br />

Churches are <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> community life and <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are many faiths represented in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> including:<br />

Adventist, Anglican, Assembly <strong>of</strong> God, Baha’i, Baptist,<br />

Catholic, Church <strong>of</strong> God, Episcopal, Jehovah’s Witnesses,<br />

Methodist and Pentecostal. Visitors are always welcome.<br />

Pets<br />

Incoming pets must have an import permit, veterinary<br />

health certificate, vaccination certificate, and lab test<br />

results to be submitted at <strong>the</strong> port <strong>of</strong> entry to obtain<br />

clearance from <strong>the</strong> TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture, Animal<br />

Health Services.<br />

National symbols<br />

The National Bird is <strong>the</strong> Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis).<br />

The National Plant is Island hea<strong>the</strong>r (Limonium<br />

bahamense) found nowhere else in <strong>the</strong> world. The<br />

76 www.timespub.tc

National Tree is <strong>the</strong> Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea var.<br />

bahamensis). The National Costume consists <strong>of</strong> white cotton<br />

dresses tied at <strong>the</strong> waist for women and simple shirts<br />

and loose pants for men, with straw hats. Colors representing<br />

<strong>the</strong> various islands are displayed on <strong>the</strong> sleeves<br />

and bases. The National Song is “This Land <strong>of</strong> Ours” by<br />

<strong>the</strong> late Rev. E.C. Howell, PhD. Peas and Hominy (Grits)<br />

with Dry Conch is revered as symbolic island fare.<br />

Going green<br />

TCI Waste Disposal Services currently <strong>of</strong>fers recycling<br />

services through weekly collection <strong>of</strong> recyclable aluminum,<br />

glass, and plastic. Single-use plastic bags have been<br />

banned country-wide as <strong>of</strong> May 1, 2019.<br />

Recreation<br />

Sporting activities are centered around <strong>the</strong> water. Visitors<br />

can choose from deep-sea, reef, or bonefishing, sailing,<br />

glass-bottom boat and semi-sub excursions, windsurfing,<br />

waterskiing, parasailing, sea kayaking, snorkelling, scuba<br />

diving, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding, and<br />

beachcombing. Pristine reefs, abundant marine life, and<br />

excellent visibility make TCI a world-class diving destination.<br />

Tennis and golf—<strong>the</strong>re is an 18 hole championship<br />

course on Providenciales—are also popular.<br />

subscription form<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



One year subscription<br />

$28 U.S. addresses/$32 non-U.S. addresses<br />

The <strong>Islands</strong> are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can<br />

enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in 33<br />

national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries, and areas <strong>of</strong><br />

historical interest. The National Trust provides trail guides<br />

to several hiking trails, as well as guided tours <strong>of</strong> major<br />

historical sites. There is an excellent national museum on<br />

Grand Turk, with an auxillary branch on Providenciales. A<br />

scheduled ferry and a selection <strong>of</strong> tour operators make it<br />

easy to take day trips to <strong>the</strong> outer islands.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r land-based activities include bicycling, horseback<br />

riding and football (soccer). Personal trainers are<br />

available to motivate you, working out <strong>of</strong> several fitness<br />

centres. You will also find a variety <strong>of</strong> spa and body treatment<br />

services.<br />

Nightlife includes local bands playing island music<br />

at bars and restaurants and some nightclubs. There is<br />

a casino on Providenciales, along with many electronic<br />

gaming parlours. Stargazing is extraordinary!<br />

Shoppers will find Caribbean paintings, T-shirts,<br />

sports and beachwear, and locally made handicrafts,<br />

including straw work and conch crafts. Duty free outlets<br />

sell liquor, jewellery, watches, perfume, lea<strong>the</strong>r goods,<br />

crystal, china, cameras, electronics, brand-name clothing<br />

and accessories, along with Cuban cigars. a<br />


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r New Subscription r Renewal<br />

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<strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd., c/o Kathy Borsuk,<br />

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Please allow 30 to 60 days for delivery <strong>of</strong> first issue.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 77

where to stay<br />

78 www.timespub.tc

where to stay<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 79

dining<br />

80 www.timespub.tc

dining<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 81

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Community Fellowship Centre<br />

A Life-Changing Experience<br />

Sunday Divine Worship 9 AM<br />

Visitors Welcome!<br />

Tel: 649.941.3484 • Web: cfctci.com<br />

Vacation Villa Rentals<br />

Joanne Phillips, Turks & Caicos Safari<br />

www.tcsafari.com<br />

Call: 1-904-491-1415<br />

Email: tcsafari@tcsafari.com<br />

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Call 244-2526<br />

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Provo & North-Middle Caicos<br />

Office: 946-4684<br />

Amos: 441-2667 (after hours)<br />

Yan: 247-6755 (after hours)<br />

Bob: 231-0262 (after hours)<br />

scooterbobs@gmail.com<br />

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82 www.timespub.tc


ENERGY<br />

You Can<br />

Count On<br />

R-NETS: A roadmap for<br />

TCI’s energy future<br />

Solar integration<br />

to <strong>the</strong> FortisTCI grid<br />

We’re building partnerships to deliver a more sustainable<br />

energy future for <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> Resilient National Energy Transition<br />

Strategy (R-NETS) serving as a roadmap, and with<br />

new and ongoing investments in solar energy<br />

generation, solar plus battery pilot project, and<br />

an electric vehicle and charging station project,<br />

FortisTCI is working every day to deliver resilient,<br />

cost-effective and environmentally sustainable<br />

energy, to fuel growth and development.<br />

Solar + battery storage<br />

pilot project<br />

Electric vehicle<br />

pilot project<br />

www.fortistci.com | 649-946-4313 |

For Those Who Seek An<br />

Exceptional Vacation Home & Lifestyle<br />

We Are Available To Help You<br />

Navigate The Real Estate Process<br />


Condominium | Home & Villa | Land | New Development<br />

649.946.4474 | info@tcso<strong>the</strong>bysrealty.com | turksandcaicosSIR.com<br />

Venture House, Grace Bay | Resort Locations: Grace Bay Club and The Palms<br />

Each franchise is Independently Owned and Operated.

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