Times of the Islands Summer 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 />




COVID response successful<br />


TCI’s first airline<br />


New coral disease treatment

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 />

Born <strong>of</strong> Necessity<br />

Story & Photos By Bengt Soderqvist<br />

24 Eye on <strong>the</strong> Sky<br />

Be Prepared<br />

By Paul Wilkerson<br />

28 Talking Taíno<br />

Child’s Play<br />

By Bill Keegan, Betsy Carlson and<br />

Michael Pateman<br />

34 Looking Back<br />

Bonefish Ahead!<br />

By Diane Taylor ~ Photos By Marta Morton<br />

45 Faces & Places<br />

Snack & Paint<br />

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

58 Real Estate<br />

Hot, Hot, Hot!<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

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

81 Subscription Form<br />

82 Classified Ads<br />

Feature<br />

46 The Stars <strong>of</strong> Our Woods<br />

By B Naqqi Manco ~ Photos By Marta Morton<br />

52 Paradise Waiting<br />

By Jayne Baker ~<br />

Photos By Paradise Photography<br />

Green Pages<br />

37 A New Hope?<br />

Story & Photos By Alizee Zimmermann, TCRF<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



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

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

& Marina (www.harbourclubvillas.com) did a careful<br />

photographic study <strong>of</strong> a family <strong>of</strong> Bahama woodstar hummingbirds<br />

that made <strong>the</strong>ir home on <strong>the</strong> property. Here,<br />

<strong>the</strong> two chicks appear ready to burst out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir tiny<br />

nest. See article on page 46.<br />

41 Sponging It Up<br />

Story & Photos By Melissa Heres, SFS<br />

Astrolabe<br />

66 If Maps Could Talk . . .<br />

Story & Images Courtesy Marjorie Sadler<br />

72 What’s Hiding in Your Closet?<br />

By Lisa Turnbow-Talbot<br />

34<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

5 Acre Mandalay Estate, Long Bay Beachfront<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$19,500,000<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 />

Long Bay Beachfront Land<br />

Attention real estate investors interested in developing a large 1.12-acre parcel <strong>of</strong> beachfront land with<br />

80 ft. <strong>of</strong> Long Bay Beach frontage. This land <strong>of</strong>fers an excellent spot to construct an expansive private<br />

estate or several smaller villas if so desired. Act now while <strong>the</strong>re is still availability in this prime location.<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 />


TCI’s popular Junkanoo celebrations (shown here) morphed from <strong>the</strong> original tradition <strong>of</strong> Maskanoo, in which costumes were made from tissue<br />

paper, newspaper, brown paper and plastic bags. In this way, <strong>the</strong> past has melded into <strong>the</strong> present, and culture survives.<br />

Kudos to Culture<br />

My family heritage is Czechoslovakian. All four <strong>of</strong> my grandparents immigrated to <strong>the</strong> United States in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1900s; one grandmo<strong>the</strong>r had to wait two years before she could legally enter and reunite with her husband. As<br />

children, my siblings and I were blessed to know <strong>the</strong>se relatives from a foreign land, who spoke a different language<br />

(mostly when it was a topic we shouldn’t hear) and shared a rich heritage from <strong>the</strong> “Old Country.” Food (pork, dumplings<br />

and sauerkraut), customs (accordian music and polka dancing), a strong sense <strong>of</strong> community and caring among<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r immigrants from Europe, values <strong>of</strong> thrift and hard work, a strong appreciation for <strong>the</strong> freedoms <strong>of</strong> America and<br />

an overarching love for us, <strong>the</strong>ir grandchildren, were an important part <strong>of</strong> our life.<br />

I say this so readers will understand why <strong>the</strong> culture <strong>of</strong> my adopted country—<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>—is so<br />

important to me. Here, I have long felt “at home,” especially among <strong>the</strong> older folk. Like my own family, <strong>the</strong>y had to<br />

work hard, use ingenuity, sacrifice and stick toge<strong>the</strong>r to survive and thrive. This is reflected in <strong>the</strong> stories <strong>of</strong> days<br />

past that <strong>of</strong>ten frequent our pages.<br />

My fear is that as <strong>the</strong> TCI grows into a safe haven for <strong>the</strong> wealthy, it becomes just ano<strong>the</strong>r gated beach destination<br />

and loses <strong>the</strong> charm and uniqueness that have captivated visitors and residents. And so we continue to highlight<br />

<strong>the</strong> TCI’s national treasures—environment, people, folkways, history—in <strong>the</strong> hope <strong>of</strong> encouraging readers to look<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> surface and study <strong>the</strong> “soul <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.”<br />

I’m so grateful that we are back in business with a full, extended printing <strong>of</strong> this issue. We look forward to getting<br />

it into <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many new travelers who are flocking to <strong>the</strong> country this summer.<br />

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

6 www.timespub.tc

18 Boathouses are already<br />

reserved or sold<br />

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

available<br />

Construction to commence<br />

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

Prices starting from $840,000<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 />

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employees and guests. We long ago developed a sophisticated<br />

approach to preventing <strong>the</strong> spread <strong>of</strong> illnesses at our<br />

resorts under <strong>the</strong> guidance <strong>of</strong> medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention<br />

(CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and <strong>the</strong> local<br />

Ministries <strong>of</strong> Health in each country we call home. We<br />

have dedicated Quality Inspection Teams and environmental<br />

health and safety managers at all <strong>of</strong> our resorts to make<br />

sure every procedure is in place to protect every guest and<br />

team member. That even extends to our supply chain. Our<br />

resorts have always been equipped with full-service<br />

medical stations staffed daily with a registered nurse<br />

and 24/7 on-call medical personnel, but we’ve upgraded<br />

<strong>the</strong>se facilities to include <strong>the</strong> appropriate equipment<br />

and supplies needed to address new protocols. So you<br />

can book your next stay with us knowing that Beaches has<br />

always been <strong>the</strong> brand you can trust, and always will be.<br />


Or Call Your Travel Advisor<br />

@beachesresorts<br />

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

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Experience Our Sister Lslands<br />

Each Island in our Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> chain is a destination on its own.<br />

Experience <strong>the</strong> unparalleled beauty and exciting excursions that make our<br />

'Beautiful by Nature' islands special. Retreat to one <strong>of</strong> our majestic Sister<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> for <strong>the</strong> perfect family or solo getaway!<br />


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TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Jayne Baker, Kathy Borsuk, Bengt Soderqvist,<br />

Dr. Betsy Carlson, Melissa Heres, Dr. Bill Keegan,<br />

Bryan N. Manco, Dr. Michael P. Pateman,<br />

Jody Rathgeb, Marjorie Sadler, Lisa Turnbow-Talbot,<br />

Diane Taylor, Paul Wilkerson, Alizee Zimmermann.<br />


Anna Handte-Reinecker, Melissa Heres, Marinas.com,<br />

Marta Morton, Paradise Photography, Dr. Michael P.<br />

Pateman, Provo Pictures, Tom Rathgeb, Marjorie Sadler,<br />

Bengt Soderqvist, STL Images, Beth Swanson—Shutterstock,<br />

Lisa Turnbow-Talbot, VisitTCI.com, Alizee Zimmermann.<br />


Alejandra Baiz, NOAA, 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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non-U.S. mailing addresses<br />

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 />

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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 />

<strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd., P.O. Box 234,<br />

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

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Advertising tfadvert@tciway.tc<br />

16 www.timespub.tc

emember when<br />

This is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two original planes that comprised Caicos Airways Ltd. (see <strong>the</strong> CAL logo under <strong>the</strong> wing). It was a Cessna 180 that belonged<br />

to Kris Ludington and carried one pilot and three passengers. Pilot Embry Rucker is at left.<br />

Born <strong>of</strong> Necessity<br />

TCI’s first airline comes to life.<br />

Story & Photos By Bengt Soderqvist<br />

After Fritz Ludington’s Provident Limited kick-started <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> Providenciales in <strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong><br />

1966, a lot <strong>of</strong> changes occurred. Nothing changed more dramatically than <strong>the</strong> way people were traveling.<br />

Up until that point, <strong>the</strong> main modes <strong>of</strong> transportation had been walking and boating.<br />

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

The sailing sloops were very important and <strong>the</strong> fact<br />

that <strong>the</strong>re were so many sailors affected <strong>the</strong> way people<br />

spoke. If you lived in Blue Hills you walked up to The<br />

Bight. (It was upwind.) I recall one time in <strong>the</strong> early 1970s<br />

when I tried to locate Hilly Ewing, who was <strong>the</strong> building<br />

inspector at <strong>the</strong> time. Before we had telephones, <strong>the</strong> best<br />

way to locate people was to inquire at <strong>the</strong> airport. On my<br />

question if anybody had seen Hilly somebody answered,<br />

“He went up this morning.” He had flown to Grand Turk,<br />

which is upwind from Providenciales.<br />

One time, at <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle’s construction site when<br />

Alfred Stubbs tried to organize some workers to move<br />

a concrete mixer, I heard him saying, “Move <strong>the</strong> stern.”<br />

Alfred had been a sailor all his life, so even a mixer had a<br />

bow and a stern. A journey by sloop to Grand Turk from<br />

Providenciales was a big event in those days, but all that<br />

was soon to change.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Spring <strong>2021</strong> issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, I<br />

wrote about <strong>the</strong> original airstrip on Providenciales. In <strong>the</strong><br />

beginning, that strip was mostly used by Fritz when he<br />

flew to Grand Turk for meetings with <strong>the</strong> government.<br />

In Grand Turk he used what we named <strong>the</strong> “Downtown<br />

Strip,” which was a dirt road just north <strong>of</strong> St. Thomas<br />

Church. According to Dr. Leo Astwood, Frankie Jones<br />

from Bermuda, who was <strong>the</strong> District Commissioner in<br />

South Caicos in <strong>the</strong> 1950s, had a small plane that he used<br />

to land <strong>the</strong>re. Dr. Astwood told me, “When I came back<br />

home in 1971, Embry was landing <strong>the</strong>re.”<br />

The Downtown Strip was conveniently located within a<br />

short walking distance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI Government compound.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time, <strong>the</strong> main airport in Grand Turk was controlled<br />

by <strong>the</strong> US Government and it was very complicated to<br />

obtain a landing permit. Fritz was always very generous<br />

when it came to <strong>of</strong>fering free rides if <strong>the</strong>re was a seat<br />

available. One time I heard Fritz saying, “There are so<br />

many people who want to go to South Caicos and Grand<br />

Turk, we might as well start an airline.” Shortly <strong>the</strong>reafter,<br />

Caicos Airways Ltd. (CAL) was formed.<br />

This was in 1967 and one important factor was that a<br />

man named Lew Whinnery had shown up on <strong>the</strong> scene.<br />

Ray Ward and his construction crew were building <strong>the</strong><br />

Third Turtle Inn on top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cliff just south <strong>of</strong> what today<br />

is Turtle Cove Marina. One day <strong>the</strong>y saw a small, single<br />

engine sea plane circling <strong>the</strong> construction site before<br />

landing close to <strong>the</strong> beach in front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. Soon afterwards,<br />

Lew walked up to <strong>the</strong> construction site. He had<br />

flown over Providenciales before and this time, noticed<br />

that something was different. Lew asked Ray what he was<br />

building and if he needed some help. Ray replied that it<br />

This image shows <strong>the</strong> “Downtown Strip” in Grand Turk. It was a dirt<br />

road just north <strong>of</strong> St. Thomas Church.<br />

This picture includes Lew Whinnery’s seaplane. He was en route from<br />

South America to <strong>the</strong> United States, but got delayed in Turks & Caicos<br />

for a few years! He was one <strong>of</strong> CAL’s original pilots.<br />

would be a big help if he could fly to South Caicos and<br />

bring back a few cases <strong>of</strong> Heineken beer because <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were running low. That is exactly what Lew did, so we<br />

knew right away that he was a man with his heart in <strong>the</strong><br />

right place!<br />

In 1967, Heineken was <strong>the</strong> only beer available in Turks<br />

& Caicos. I was told, or read somewhere, that Turks &<br />

Caicos held <strong>the</strong> world record in Heineken drinking per<br />

capita. Apparently somebody in an <strong>of</strong>fice in Holland<br />

who was handling shipping documents got curious and<br />

wanted to find out more about <strong>the</strong> country. (This was<br />

before you could Google such information, so he probably<br />

had to go to a library to educate himself.) He learned<br />

that <strong>the</strong> total population <strong>of</strong> Turks & Caicos at <strong>the</strong> time<br />

was 6,000 people. Adding up <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> Heineken<br />

that was shipped out to TIMCO in Grand Turk gave Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>the</strong> world record.<br />

Lew Whinnery was a very experienced pilot and he<br />

expressed interest in sticking around in Turks & Caicos<br />

for awhile. Embry Rucker, also a pilot, already worked for<br />

18 www.timespub.tc

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

Regulated by <strong>the</strong> Financial Services Commission, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>

CAL’s second plane was a Twin Bonanza. This photo was taken on Providenciales when <strong>the</strong> airstrip was only 700 feet long.<br />

Provident Limited. With two pilots available, Fritz, Embry<br />

and Lew sat down to figure out how Caicos Airways Ltd.<br />

was going to operate.<br />

There were two airplanes available. The Cessna 180<br />

that belonged to Kris Ludington carried one pilot and three<br />

passengers. There was also a Beechcraft Twin Bonanza<br />

with room for one pilot plus five passengers. Embry lived<br />

This is a 1969 aerial photo <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> airstrip on North Caicos. It was<br />

located on a tidal flat just south <strong>of</strong> Kew. Heavy rain or high tides<br />

made it unusable.<br />

in South Caicos where <strong>the</strong>re was a very good runway.<br />

Grand Turk had <strong>the</strong> downtown strip, Providenciales had<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1,200-foot strip, but <strong>the</strong>re was nowhere to land on<br />

North nor Middle Caicos.<br />

Embry and Lew went to work and found some locations<br />

that could be used as airstrips. On North Caicos<br />

<strong>the</strong>y picked a spot on <strong>the</strong> tidal flats just south <strong>of</strong> Kew.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> time this strip had a smooth and hard surface,<br />

but heavy rain or extremely high tides would make<br />

it unusable. On Middle Caicos <strong>the</strong>y picked two places.<br />

One was just east <strong>of</strong> Conch Bar. In those days <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

a footpath between Conch Bar and Bambarra named<br />

Anderson Road. They arranged to have some bush cut<br />

and made one section <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> path wider. The second strip<br />

was between Bambarra and <strong>the</strong> beach just north <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

settlement. This strip was truly unique because it had a<br />

dogleg. As <strong>the</strong> pilot was gaining speed on take<strong>of</strong>f, he had<br />

to slightly change direction!<br />

As soon as CAL was up and running it also became<br />

<strong>the</strong> mail carrier for <strong>the</strong> government. Earlier, <strong>the</strong> mail<br />

on Providenciales arrived from Grand Turk via <strong>the</strong> boat<br />

Donna Casilda captained by Algernon Dean, who had <strong>the</strong><br />

contract with <strong>the</strong> government. According to Algernon<br />

Dean’s son (with <strong>the</strong> same name), <strong>the</strong> mail was supposed<br />

to be delivered every two weeks but sometimes<br />

got delayed. The “Post Office” on Providenciales was <strong>the</strong><br />

living room <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Brown’s house in Blue Hills. This was<br />

located just east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> government school, rest house<br />

20 www.timespub.tc


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These aerial photos from 1969 show <strong>the</strong> early airstrips on Middle<br />

Caicos. The top image is located just east <strong>of</strong> Conch Bar; <strong>the</strong> “Anderson<br />

Road” footpath was cleared and made wider. The bottom image was<br />

between Bambarra and <strong>the</strong> beach just north <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> settlement. This<br />

strip was truly unique because it had a dogleg.<br />

and water tank, which is about where <strong>the</strong> jetty is today.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time, I was using <strong>the</strong> mail service to correspond<br />

with friends and relatives in Sweden, and surprisingly, it<br />

functioned very well. I remember standing outside <strong>the</strong><br />

front door, which was split so <strong>the</strong> lower part remained<br />

closed, while through <strong>the</strong> open upper half I watched Osley<br />

Brown searching through <strong>the</strong> mail. I only just learned<br />

that <strong>the</strong> postmaster was actually George Brown. The only<br />

person I remember seeing <strong>the</strong>re was Osley, who I now<br />

understand was actually <strong>the</strong> daughter.<br />

I recall a public meeting in Blue Hills when one item<br />

that was discussed was <strong>the</strong> mail service. A gentleman,<br />

which I now understand must have been George Brown,<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

pointed out all <strong>the</strong> increase in work and suggested that<br />

an increase in pay would be in order. Earlier, Algernon<br />

Dean used to deliver <strong>the</strong> mail bag to <strong>the</strong> Brown house,<br />

but now Osley had to walk to <strong>the</strong> airport several times a<br />

week.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r incident I recall is when CAL pilot Embry<br />

Rucker and his wife Noreen were living in Caicos House<br />

in South Caicos. Late one afternoon I was <strong>the</strong> only passenger<br />

flying out <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk with Embry. As we were<br />

climbing above Grand Turk, Embry said, “Lew is almost<br />

landing on Providenciales, so I’m not going to waste fuel<br />

and fly you over <strong>the</strong>re this evening. You can sleep on <strong>the</strong><br />

couch at our place. I have to be on Providenciales early<br />

tomorrow anyway.” Made sense. I thought it would be<br />

nice if I could help out with dinner, since I was crashing<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir place. I asked Embry if he could get somebody on<br />

<strong>the</strong> radio and, if Lew hadn’t left, have him bring back four<br />

steaks. Fritz’s favorite food was New York strip steaks<br />

and I knew we had plenty in <strong>the</strong> freezer. Embry made<br />

radio contact and ordered <strong>the</strong> “steaks.” But when Lew<br />

arrived to Caicos House he brought four survey “stakes.”<br />

Whoever Embry spoke to on <strong>the</strong> radio had figured that if<br />

I was staying in South Caicos it was because I was doing<br />

some survey work. I don’t remember what we had for<br />

dinner that evening, but knowing Noreen she would have<br />

opened some cans and whipped up something delicious.<br />

As time went on, CAL expanded. More airplanes and<br />

pilots were added. Even a DC3 was used on <strong>the</strong> downtown<br />

strip in Grand Turk. By 1971 <strong>the</strong> main airport on Grand<br />

Turk was opened for use. Soon <strong>the</strong>reafter, air service<br />

between <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> was taken over by o<strong>the</strong>r companies,<br />

but it had all started in 1967 with Embry and Lew. a<br />

The new post <strong>of</strong>fice in Providenciales is named after George Brown.<br />


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

eye on <strong>the</strong> sky<br />

The Tropical Atlantic region is fresh <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> most active hurricane season in history, with 30 named storms<br />

and 14 hurricanes, with 6 major hurricanes. While no two seasons are alike, can we expect similar results<br />

for <strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong> season?<br />

Be Prepared<br />

<strong>2021</strong> hurricane season poised to be active.<br />

By Paul Wilkerson<br />

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

Hurricane season runs annually in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic from<br />

June 1 to November 30. It is important to note that tropical<br />

activity can occur outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se dates, <strong>of</strong> course.<br />

Named systems have formed in May and also in December<br />

due to favorable conditions in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic Basin.<br />

During 2020, El Niño conditions transitioned to neutral/weak<br />

La Niña. In general, neutral and weak La Niña<br />

conditions lend to a more active season. Upper level<br />

winds during this type <strong>of</strong> El Niño–Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Oscillation<br />

are typically light across <strong>the</strong> Atlantic Basin, resulting in a<br />

reduction in wind shear, which promotes an environment<br />

conducive to tropical development. The o<strong>the</strong>r piece <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

2020 puzzle was well-above-normal sea surface temperatures<br />

across <strong>the</strong> entire Atlantic, Caribbean and into <strong>the</strong><br />

Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico. As a result, plenty <strong>of</strong> fuel was available<br />

for tropical development.<br />

For <strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong> season, unfortunately some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> conditions<br />

will mirror <strong>the</strong> 2020 season. As <strong>of</strong> press time, weak<br />

La Niña conditions were present, with <strong>the</strong> forecast calling<br />

for <strong>the</strong>se conditions to continue to weaken through<br />

<strong>the</strong> first month <strong>of</strong> summer before conditions turn neutral<br />

for <strong>the</strong> remainder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> summer and into <strong>the</strong> early<br />

fall. Additionally, sea surface temperatures currently are<br />

running above normal in a large portion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico, <strong>the</strong> Caribbean and <strong>the</strong> Atlantic Basin. As a result<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se conditions, <strong>the</strong> opportunity will exist for a significant<br />

tropical season across <strong>the</strong> Atlantic.<br />

NOAA is predicting ano<strong>the</strong>r above-normal Atlantic<br />

hurricane season. However, experts do not anticipate <strong>the</strong><br />

historic level <strong>of</strong> storm activity seen in 2020. For <strong>2021</strong>, a<br />

likely range <strong>of</strong> 13 to 20 named storms (winds <strong>of</strong> 39 mph<br />

or higher), <strong>of</strong> which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes<br />

(winds <strong>of</strong> 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes<br />

(category 3, 4 or 5; with winds <strong>of</strong> 111 mph or<br />

higher) is expected.<br />

My personal <strong>of</strong>ficial forecast is for 20 named storms, 9<br />

hurricanes and also 4 major hurricanes. (For perspective,<br />

<strong>the</strong> average hurricane season sees 14 named storms,<br />

7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.) While it is nearly<br />

impossible to say with accuracy at this time, islands in <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean and <strong>the</strong> United States mainland stand a high<br />

likelihood <strong>of</strong> seeing multiple land-falling systems during<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong> season.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong> season on <strong>the</strong> horizon, it is important<br />

for all travelers to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to take time to think about<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir hurricane preparedness plans if one should occur<br />

during your travels. It also is important to think about<br />

adding trip insurance to protect your investment. If a<br />

hurricane strikes while you are on-island, <strong>the</strong>re is a significant<br />

likelihood that you will be delayed in returning to<br />

your country <strong>of</strong> origin. Also ensure that friends and family<br />

at home are aware <strong>of</strong> your travel plans and have a copy<br />

<strong>of</strong> your itinerary. If on-island and a tropical system threatens,<br />

be sure to check with your hotel/resort/villa staff to<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

get important messages concerning what you need to do<br />

in order to stay safe. Follow all directions given, as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are <strong>the</strong>re to look out for you.<br />

For our friends who call <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> home, it is equally<br />

important for you to go over your safety and preparedness<br />

plans with your entire family. Let your neighbors<br />

and friends know where you plan on seeking shelter<br />

should a tropical system materialize. In <strong>the</strong> lead-up to<br />

tropical systems, make sure to first and foremost follow<br />

messaging instructions from <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Disaster<br />

Management and Emergencies (DDME). This is <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

government source for messaging to island residents.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r important entities to follow include <strong>the</strong> National<br />

Hurricane Center and <strong>the</strong> Bahamas Meteorological<br />

Agency. For un<strong>of</strong>ficial information, my island wea<strong>the</strong>r<br />

page—Turks and Caicos Wea<strong>the</strong>r Info on Facebook—provides<br />

a good source <strong>of</strong> information prior to, during and<br />

post-tropical systems. Iit is important to vet any and all<br />

information you receive. In <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> a land-falling system<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, my page will only post<br />

information that has been verified, in order to provide<br />

accurate and up-to-date information for citizens and travelers<br />

alike. DDME messaging will always be a significant<br />

part <strong>of</strong> facts on <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r page.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are three and a half<br />

years removed from major Hurricane Irma, many still feel<br />

<strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong> that terrible event. Understandably, many<br />

likely deal with anxiety as hurricane season approaches.<br />

With diligent planning on <strong>the</strong> front end, you can be better<br />

prepared to wea<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> storm should tropical wea<strong>the</strong>r<br />

threaten this season. For visitors, preparation and conversation<br />

about trips during tropical season will enable you<br />

to make smart decisions and ensure your vacation runs<br />

smoothly should inclement wea<strong>the</strong>r develop. a<br />

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


talking taíno<br />

Opposite page: Alejandra Baïz is a Taíno artist from Borikén, Puerto Rico, who has always been inspired by <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>mes <strong>of</strong> her ancestors. She<br />

says, “My artwork is a kind <strong>of</strong> storytelling that give us back <strong>the</strong> humanity and <strong>the</strong> true history <strong>of</strong> our Taíno ancestors, so denied, rejected and<br />

hidden throughout <strong>the</strong> centuries. It is a way to recognize <strong>the</strong>ir struggle and reaffirm our identity.” She painted “Anacacuya” in 2016. For more<br />

<strong>of</strong> her work, visit https://alejandra-baiz.weebly.com.<br />

Above: The Taínos made red beads from <strong>the</strong> cherry jewelbox shell (Chama sarda). Given <strong>the</strong>ir small size and haphazard distribution, we<br />

propose that children were tasked with collecting <strong>the</strong>se shells in <strong>the</strong> beach wash.<br />

Child’s Play<br />

What was <strong>the</strong> life <strong>of</strong> Taíno children like?<br />

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

The huge interest in <strong>the</strong> Paleo Diet got us wondering. If eating like a “Caveman” was a great idea, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

why not o<strong>the</strong>r ancient practices, like childrearing? However, developing Paleo-Parenting guidelines proved<br />

challenging because children are largely invisible in research on ancient societies. Then we came upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> picture <strong>of</strong> young children in Amazonia walking through a burning garden and realized how difficult<br />

it would be to encourage young parents to follow our advice! So parenting aside, what about <strong>the</strong> kids?<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 29

Finding any discussion <strong>of</strong> children in anthropological<br />

studies proved nearly impossible. In fact, a scholarly<br />

article written less than 20 years ago asked, “Why don’t<br />

anthropologists like children?” Despite being important<br />

members <strong>of</strong> all communities, and <strong>of</strong>ten <strong>the</strong> most numerous,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir activities have rarely been studied. One rare<br />

example that highlighted children’s activities comes<br />

from Doug Bird and Rebecca Bliege Bird, who conducted<br />

research among islanders <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Torres Straits <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

nor<strong>the</strong>astern coast <strong>of</strong> New Guinea.<br />

The Birds studied child’s play in <strong>the</strong>se traditional fishing<br />

and farming communities, and it was what you would<br />

expect from watching children today — games <strong>of</strong> speed,<br />

strength, caring for pets and mimicking adult activities.<br />

Instead <strong>of</strong> “Doctor” <strong>the</strong>y played “Shaman,” where one<br />

child would pretend to heal ano<strong>the</strong>r who pretended to be<br />

a sick patient. The process involved a dramatic ritual in<br />

which <strong>the</strong> shaman removed an <strong>of</strong>fending foreign object,<br />

<strong>the</strong> “cause” <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> illness, by sucking <strong>the</strong> object out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

afflicted individual. The Spanish described this practice<br />

for adult shaman (behique in Taíno) in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

The Birds also observed that children <strong>of</strong>ten played<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r just beyond <strong>the</strong> watchful eyes <strong>of</strong> adults; close<br />

enough to reassure <strong>the</strong>mselves that adults were nearby,<br />

but free from adult supervision. This gave us a simple,<br />

yet illuminating, insight — we won’t see children in <strong>the</strong><br />

archaeological record <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past until we look for <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Yet children have received even less attention from<br />

archaeologists. What should we be looking for in terms<br />

<strong>of</strong> preserved archaeological (“material”) evidence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

activities?<br />

Our search for children intensified as part <strong>of</strong> our<br />

effort to develop a more comprehensive curriculum for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bahamas Ministry <strong>of</strong> Education. The story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Lucayans, <strong>the</strong> first people to live in The Bahamas and TCI,<br />

was woefully out <strong>of</strong> date. Yet, secondary school students<br />

were expected to pass a comprehensive history exam<br />

which includes writing an essay about Lucayan “recreation.”<br />

None <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> resources provided to <strong>the</strong> teachers<br />

even mentioned recreation.<br />

In fact, <strong>the</strong> only mention <strong>of</strong> children at all concerned<br />

<strong>the</strong> practice <strong>of</strong> flattening an infant’s forehead. This was<br />

illustrated with what looks like a Medieval torture device<br />

— a hinged board supposedly used to squash <strong>the</strong> skull<br />

flat. Wrong! The actual procedure involved tightly binding<br />

<strong>the</strong> front and back <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> skull with a cloth bandana and<br />

leaving it in place for six to nine months. The six main<br />

bones <strong>of</strong> a child’s skull are held toge<strong>the</strong>r by cartilage<br />

so <strong>the</strong> brain can grow to its adult size. Binding <strong>the</strong> skull<br />

permanently adjusts <strong>the</strong> relative positions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bones to<br />

create what was considered a beautiful appearance and<br />

provided a permanent mark <strong>of</strong> identity. While flattening<br />

<strong>the</strong> forehead was easily associated with infants, finding<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r accounts <strong>of</strong> children proved much harder.<br />

Our first archaeological encounter with children<br />

happened when Betsy and Bill collaborated on an archae-<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> “archaeological rescue project” undertaken by <strong>the</strong> authors in St. Thomas, US Virgin <strong>Islands</strong> in January 2014. They excavated a<br />

1,600-year-old site that had been sealed beneath <strong>the</strong> roadbed. In addition to pottery and o<strong>the</strong>r tools, <strong>the</strong> site contained thousands <strong>of</strong> whelks<br />

(Cittarium pica) and o<strong>the</strong>r tiny clam and snail shells that could have been collected by children.<br />

30 www.timespub.tc

What better way to keep <strong>the</strong> Taino kids busy <strong>the</strong>n to have <strong>the</strong>m glean <strong>the</strong> rocks while <strong>the</strong> adults engage nearby in more productive fishing<br />

and ga<strong>the</strong>ring? Small shellfish are especially well suited for a child’s size and attention span.<br />


ological rescue project in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas,<br />

US Virgin <strong>Islands</strong> in January 2014. New sewer and utility<br />

lines were being installed under Main Street, and <strong>the</strong> team<br />

quickly, but carefully, excavated a 1,600-year-old archaeological<br />

site that had been sealed beneath <strong>the</strong> roadbed.<br />

In addition to pottery and o<strong>the</strong>r tools, <strong>the</strong> site contained<br />

thousands <strong>of</strong> whelks (Cittarium pica) and o<strong>the</strong>r tiny clam<br />

and snail shells. Kelly Delancy, who now works for <strong>the</strong><br />

National Museum <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas, helped with <strong>the</strong>ir analysis<br />

when she was a graduate student at <strong>the</strong> University<br />

<strong>of</strong> Florida. Our study attracted international attention in<br />

<strong>the</strong> article, “Children Have Been Helping Their Families<br />

‘Grocery Shop’ for Centuries” printed in Martha Stewart<br />

Living on March 27, 2019.<br />

Almost all <strong>the</strong>se shells came from animals that live<br />

in <strong>the</strong> rocky intertidal zone. If you walk along <strong>the</strong> rocky<br />

shorelines in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos today and look closely,<br />

you will see chitons, nerites, limpets, star shells and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

denizens <strong>of</strong> tide pools and splash zones. Over <strong>the</strong> years<br />

we have eaten most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se (<strong>the</strong>y taste best in garlic<br />

butter!), but <strong>the</strong>y are a lot <strong>of</strong> work for a very small morsel.<br />

From a strictly economic perspective, <strong>the</strong>y require more<br />

energy to collect and cook than <strong>the</strong>y return in calories.<br />

Economics is not always <strong>the</strong> best way to explain what<br />

people do. We know that everyone likes variety in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

diet, and we sometimes choose <strong>the</strong> most expensive item<br />

on <strong>the</strong> menu. (A choice made easier when <strong>of</strong>fered a discount.)<br />

The large whelks at <strong>the</strong> Main Street site are something<br />

we expect adults to collect, but why were <strong>the</strong>re so<br />

many tiny shells? Our sample looked like as if someone<br />

was instructed to collect every animal living on <strong>the</strong> rocks<br />

without regard to size. What better way to keep <strong>the</strong> kids<br />

busy <strong>the</strong>n to have <strong>the</strong>m glean <strong>the</strong> rocks while <strong>the</strong> adults<br />

engage nearby in more productive fishing and ga<strong>the</strong>ring?<br />

These small shellfish had o<strong>the</strong>r characteristics that<br />

are especially well suited for a child’s size and attention<br />

span. They are abundant so <strong>the</strong> children won’t get<br />

bored, predictable so you know <strong>the</strong>y will find something,<br />

lightweight and easy to carry by even small children, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are easy to collect, especially by small hands. Smallsize<br />

resources that are easy to capture are best suited to<br />

foraging by children. Modern studies <strong>of</strong> children helping<br />

adults with mollusk collection confirmed this idea.<br />

Children were less selective, captured a higher diversity<br />

<strong>of</strong> taxa, rarely engaged in field-processing (extracting <strong>the</strong><br />

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

Could this small figurine (radiocarbon dated to AD 1426–1515) made<br />

<strong>of</strong> finger coral be a doll? Its simplicity suggests that it may have been<br />

made and carried by a child.<br />

meat from <strong>the</strong> shell) and focused on resources located<br />

close to <strong>the</strong>ir habitation or base camp. In addition, <strong>the</strong><br />

seemingly small contributions from children made longer<br />

collecting trips more rewarding.<br />

A related activity is worth considering. Every archaeological<br />

site that we have studied has evidence for <strong>the</strong><br />

manufacture <strong>of</strong> tiny (2–4 mm) disc-shaped beads. White<br />

beads were made from <strong>the</strong> queen conch shell, and red<br />

beads from <strong>the</strong> cherry jewelbox shell (Chama sarda).<br />

The jewelbox shell has <strong>the</strong> unusual quality <strong>of</strong> retaining<br />

its bright red color for hundreds <strong>of</strong> years if protected<br />

from sunlight. Based on our experience walking beaches<br />

in The Bahamas and TCI, jewelbox shells are rare, and it<br />

is unlikely that enough shells for bead making could be<br />

collected in a single foraging trip. It is more likely that<br />

<strong>the</strong> shells were accumulated over time. Given <strong>the</strong>ir small<br />

size and haphazard distribution, we propose that children<br />

were tasked with collecting <strong>the</strong>se shells in <strong>the</strong> beach<br />

wash. The advantage <strong>of</strong> collecting <strong>the</strong> dead shells from<br />

<strong>the</strong> beach was that <strong>the</strong>y were already partially shaped and<br />

polished. This may have been a way for children to curry<br />

favor with adults while at <strong>the</strong> same time playing along <strong>the</strong><br />

Atlantic coast beaches.<br />

Archaeological evidence for toys is much harder to<br />

find. Kids pick up all manner <strong>of</strong> objects and pretend that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are something else, but anything made <strong>of</strong> a perishable<br />

material is long gone. The long running joke is that<br />

when archaeologists find something <strong>the</strong>y can’t explain<br />

<strong>the</strong>y attribute it to “ceremonial significance.” Perhaps we<br />

need to ask instead whe<strong>the</strong>r things we can’t explain are<br />

due to child’s play?<br />

For <strong>the</strong> past four years we have been investigating a<br />

Lucayan archaeological site near Wemyss on Long Island,<br />

Bahamas. Site LN-8 is a Lucayan settlement with three<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

superimposed living surfaces. Large stains from house<br />

posts show that we were excavating inside Lucayan<br />

houses that were rebuilt in <strong>the</strong> same location over a period<br />

<strong>of</strong> 500 years. One <strong>of</strong> many mysteries is why we found so<br />

many small pieces <strong>of</strong> finger coral (Porites porites) inside a<br />

house. There are no known practical uses for this type <strong>of</strong><br />

coral. We wondered, could <strong>the</strong>y be associated with a kid’s<br />

game, perhaps a kind <strong>of</strong> ancient LEGO? Such speculation<br />

may seem farfetched, but while counting and weighing<br />

dozens <strong>of</strong> pieces we made a discovery that may point to<br />

children.<br />

A small figurine, perhaps a “doll,” made from finger<br />

coral was recovered. The object was found at <strong>the</strong> second<br />

living surface (28–38 cm below surface), which is<br />

radiocarbon dated to AD 1426–1515. It measures 6.2<br />

cm in length and has two eyes incised on ei<strong>the</strong>r side<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> head. The coral was abraded in places to produce<br />

<strong>the</strong> figurine shape, and <strong>the</strong> coral polyps are worn<br />

smooth through handling. A “mouth” appears on one<br />

side, although this may be from suspending <strong>the</strong> doll on<br />

a string necklace. There are a set <strong>of</strong> eyes on ei<strong>the</strong>r side<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> head, which could reflect symmetry, but also gives<br />

<strong>the</strong> object <strong>the</strong> same appearance when viewed from ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

side. Or, <strong>the</strong> two sets <strong>of</strong> eyes might reflect <strong>the</strong> “twin spirits”<br />

ascribed to cemís. The conventional interpretation <strong>of</strong><br />

this artifact would be a cemí idol, <strong>the</strong> representation <strong>of</strong><br />

a spirit(s), which would elevate it to <strong>the</strong> status <strong>of</strong> a ceremonial<br />

object associated with adult practices <strong>of</strong> worship.<br />

Yet cemís are rarely manufactured from coral, and <strong>the</strong><br />

simplicity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> artifact suggests to us that it may have<br />

been made and carried by a child. We call this object a<br />

“doll” to emphasize this point and interpret it as a child’s<br />

talisman.<br />

When we were children <strong>the</strong>re were no car seats, no<br />

bike helmets, no sunblock; but if you went swimming<br />

less than 30 minutes after eating you would drown. Even<br />

recent notions <strong>of</strong> childrearing don’t always provide sound<br />

guidance. Walking through a burning garden and carrying<br />

a machete might not concern parents in Amazonian<br />

communities, but crayons are certainly a better gift for a<br />

five-year old today. a<br />

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

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

Florida Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History (University <strong>of</strong> Florida);<br />

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

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

and 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 />

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

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


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

looking back<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 />

Opposite page: These days, fishermen come to TCI’s abundant waters to fly cast for bonefish. Flamingo Lake, opposite Harbour Club Villas,<br />

is a favorite spot for anglers.<br />

Above: Although this man is using a cast net to collect bait fish, “hauling” for bonefish also involves surrounding <strong>the</strong> fish with a net.<br />

Bonefish Ahead!<br />

Hauling bonefish with Willis Taylor “back in <strong>the</strong> day.”<br />

By Diane Taylor ~ Photos By Marta Morton<br />

It was Easter Monday <strong>of</strong> 1982. On a whim, a small group <strong>of</strong> us (six, to be exact) sailed from Pine Cay to<br />

Sandy Point on North Caicos with Richard Kriss on his 22' sailboat Little Wing. It was beautiful sailing as<br />

we threaded our way through reefs and tied up to <strong>the</strong> dock. The same dock where I’d seen Haitian sloops<br />

with <strong>the</strong>ir cargo <strong>of</strong> Haiti-grown fresh vegetables <strong>the</strong> crew would trade for dried conch that Caicos fishermen<br />

had dived for. We all had to be back on Pine Cay <strong>the</strong> next morning for jobs, and arranged for trans<br />

(transportation) with one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few cars on <strong>the</strong> island to pick us up early <strong>the</strong> next morning.<br />

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

We chatted with people at Sandy Point and <strong>the</strong>n our<br />

“trans man” Zander drove us to Horse Stable Beach where<br />

we walked <strong>the</strong> beach and marvelled over <strong>the</strong> shells and<br />

<strong>the</strong> stillness. As <strong>the</strong> sun descended perilously close to <strong>the</strong><br />

horizon, <strong>the</strong> no-seeums began to hunt <strong>the</strong>ir large human<br />

prey, so we headed over to Susan Butterfield’s for supper.<br />

For some reason, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r five were able to spend<br />

<strong>the</strong> night at a friend’s house that could only take five.<br />

We heard that someone had a place where one person<br />

could sleep and that’s where I spent <strong>the</strong> night. I got up at<br />

5:15 Tuesday morning to wait for trans that never came.<br />

Fortunately!<br />

How Willis Taylor knew my situation, I don’t know, but<br />

he came by and said he was heading to Pine Cay by motor<br />

boat from Bellefield Landing. Would I like to come? Well,<br />

yes! Broad smiles all around. His two teenage sons straddled<br />

one bicycle, he ano<strong>the</strong>r, and my place was behind<br />

him.<br />

Off we rattled on <strong>the</strong> gravel road under pedal power.<br />

The last half mile or so veered down a steep hill, and we<br />

plunged down at a mad pace, me holding on to him. Willis<br />

knew and steered around every pothole and in no time we<br />

arrived at <strong>the</strong> low tide water, and he and <strong>the</strong> boys tucked<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir bikes away in <strong>the</strong> underbrush.<br />

We loaded ourselves and our belongings into <strong>the</strong> skiff<br />

that had a huge pile <strong>of</strong> netting in <strong>the</strong> stern. Willis showed<br />

me his lunch bag that contained several whelks he’d collected<br />

from <strong>the</strong> north side <strong>of</strong> Dellis Cay—his wife had<br />

boiled <strong>the</strong>m for him earlier that morning. The engine<br />

came to life and we headed out across <strong>the</strong> flats. I’d be<br />

home for breakfast.<br />

Suddenly, <strong>the</strong> boy at <strong>the</strong> bow pointed ahead and <strong>of</strong>f to<br />

<strong>the</strong> port side. “Bonefish!” I didn’t see anything, but Willis<br />

immediately steered over to an area several hundred feet<br />

away, and as we approached I could see <strong>the</strong> water alive<br />

with large silvery fish, lots <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, just below <strong>the</strong> surface.<br />

I looked at Willis who gave me a little frown. “We<br />

have to stop for <strong>the</strong>se,” he said. The work day starts now.<br />

He threw <strong>the</strong> anchor over and he and his sons leapt<br />

into <strong>the</strong> waist-deep water, carrying <strong>the</strong> huge net. Within<br />

minutes, <strong>the</strong> two boys carried one end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> net in one<br />

direction towards <strong>the</strong> school <strong>of</strong> fish and Willis carried <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r end in <strong>the</strong> opposite direction until eventually <strong>the</strong><br />

net formed a large circle that trapped many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fish<br />

inside. All three began catching <strong>the</strong> two- and three-foot<br />

long fish with <strong>the</strong>ir hands, giving <strong>the</strong> necks a quick twist<br />

and tossing <strong>the</strong>m into <strong>the</strong> boat.<br />

“You, too,” Willis, worried look on his face, motioned<br />

to me to give <strong>the</strong>m a hand. Really? Okay, I could do this!<br />

Into <strong>the</strong> den <strong>of</strong> circling fish I slid. “Break <strong>the</strong>ir necks if<br />

you can, o<strong>the</strong>rwise, just throw <strong>the</strong>m in <strong>the</strong> boat,” he said.<br />

Okay. I’d caught smelt (seven inches long) in Ontario with<br />

my bare hands, I could do this! Well, this was different,<br />

and I wasn’t a big help but I did add a few to <strong>the</strong> several<br />

piling up in <strong>the</strong> skiff. I didn’t have <strong>the</strong> know-how to snap<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir necks, though.<br />

Those guys moved FAST! The excitement lasted all <strong>of</strong><br />

fifteen minutes. The boys carefully walked <strong>the</strong> net back in,<br />

folding it just so, so that it would be ready at a moment’s<br />

notice again. At least fifty bonefish. A good haul, a good<br />

hunt. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m he would sell to <strong>the</strong> Meridian Club on<br />

Pine Cay. Calm now, he weighed anchor and steered <strong>the</strong><br />

boat and cargo back on course over <strong>the</strong> milky turquoise<br />

flats.<br />

The next day, I ran into Willis on Pine Cay and he gave<br />

me a slow warm smile and slight nod <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> head. Not<br />

long after, I somehow wound up on ano<strong>the</strong>r bonefishing<br />

trip with him, and “we” captured over eighty. He said I was<br />

his good luck charm.<br />

No, Willis, you were mine. How many people can say<br />

<strong>the</strong>y have been bonefishing <strong>the</strong> traditional time-immemorial<br />

way? a<br />

Diane “Dee” Taylor lived and worked for three years on<br />

Pine Cay with her husband Gary Hodgkins in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1980s. They worked with PRIDE (Protection <strong>of</strong> Reefs and<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> from Degradation and Exploitation) under <strong>the</strong><br />

direction <strong>of</strong> Chuck Hesse.<br />

She teaches memoir writing and has published The<br />

Gift <strong>of</strong> Memoir: Show Up, Open Up, Write. She is part<br />

<strong>of</strong> Spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Hills Writers. For more information, visit<br />

https://dianemtaylor.com.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

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 />

The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is trial testing a new treatment against Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. Here, <strong>the</strong> infused hemp has been<br />

applied to Grooved Brain Coral (Diploria labyrinthiformis) in May, <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

A New Hope?<br />

TCRF tests alternate, non-antibiotic treatment against SCTLD.<br />

Story & Photos By Alizee Zimmermann, Turks & Caicos Reef Fund<br />

From wreaking havoc on <strong>the</strong> Florida Reef Tract to now threatening <strong>the</strong> stony coral population <strong>of</strong> reefs<br />

in 17 countries and territories, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is proving itself to be <strong>the</strong> most<br />

aggressive, virulent and indiscriminate coral disease in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic/Caribbean region to date.<br />

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

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

“Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is a new<br />

lethal disease first reported in Florida in 2014. The cause<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease is unknown but it is affecting more than 30<br />

species <strong>of</strong> corals especially brain, pillar, star and starlet<br />

corals. The disease spreads quickly causing high coral<br />

mortality. Since <strong>the</strong>n, outbreaks <strong>of</strong> SCTLD have been<br />

confirmed in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean <strong>of</strong>f Jamaica, Mexico, Sint<br />

Maarten, <strong>the</strong> US Virgin <strong>Islands</strong>, Dominican Republic, Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, Saint-Martin, Belize, Sint Eustatius, The<br />

Bahamas, Puerto Rico, British Virgin <strong>Islands</strong>, Cayman<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Honduras and Martinique.”<br />

(https://www.agrra.org/coral-disease-outbreak/)<br />

As I attempt to wrap my head around what has<br />

happened in <strong>the</strong> past two-plus years since SCTLD first<br />

appeared on <strong>the</strong> reefs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, I<br />

suddenly realize that it was two years to <strong>the</strong> day that I<br />

had my first face-to-face encounter with an invasion zone<br />

at <strong>the</strong> far south end <strong>of</strong> West Caicos. That day changed<br />

everything. Before May 23, 2019, I had never heard <strong>of</strong><br />

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. Two years later, it is a<br />

focal point <strong>of</strong> my career and my life.<br />

I’m not special or<br />

unique; <strong>the</strong>re are dozens<br />

<strong>of</strong> people across<br />

17 nations—scientists,<br />

researchers, government<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers, NGO staff, citizen<br />

scientists, scuba divers,<br />

volunteers—whose lives<br />

have all shifted focus,<br />

who have been on <strong>the</strong><br />

frontlines <strong>of</strong> an unseen,<br />

underwater battle. We<br />

share a mutual sadness.<br />

As stated in previous<br />

articles, SCTLD was first<br />

observed by <strong>the</strong> School<br />

for Field Studies (SFS) in<br />

South Caicos in January<br />

2019. Since <strong>the</strong>n, it has<br />

spread locally to all <strong>the</strong><br />

fore reefs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, now having<br />

been confirmed on<br />

<strong>the</strong> reefs <strong>of</strong> East Caicos in<br />

March <strong>2021</strong>. (Initial inva-<br />

sion date undocumented but evidenced to be some time<br />

earlier based on observed coral mortality.)<br />

The School for Field Studies has collected extensive<br />

baseline data on <strong>the</strong> reefs <strong>of</strong> South Caicos and in<br />

February <strong>2021</strong> published a paper comparing <strong>the</strong> average<br />

percentage <strong>of</strong> live coral cover between 2012–2018 to <strong>the</strong><br />

one-year post-SCTLD live coral cover recorded in 2020.<br />

These studies indicate a 60+% loss <strong>of</strong> live coral cover on<br />

<strong>the</strong> reefs studied.<br />

Once again, we are not alone. St. Thomas recorded<br />

34% loss <strong>of</strong> live hard-coral cover in <strong>the</strong> span <strong>of</strong> four<br />

months in 2019, attributed to SCTLD. These numbers<br />

are being repeated on reefs across <strong>the</strong> region. Not only<br />

is this disease deadly and <strong>of</strong>ten resulting in entire colony<br />

mortality, it is also spreading like wildfire through <strong>the</strong><br />

water column, able to infect large tracts <strong>of</strong> reef in very<br />

little time.<br />

Research into transmission vectors is still ongoing<br />

but it has been affirmed that that <strong>the</strong> pathogen(s) is<br />

waterborne and can be carried by dive gear (especially<br />

If you see a tagged coral asking you to photograph it and email to SCTLD@tcreef.org please do! This project<br />

aims to engage divers and citizens to help in a wider monitoring effort.<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

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

neoprene and <strong>the</strong> inner bladder <strong>of</strong> a BCD),<br />

as well as through ballast water from recreational<br />

and commercial vessels.<br />

Although hit hard, scientists and managers<br />

in <strong>the</strong> TCI are also fighting hard to<br />

track, treat and manage SCTLD locally as well<br />

as continuing to participate in <strong>the</strong> regional<br />

conversation and effort. An incredible line <strong>of</strong><br />

communication and collaboration has opened<br />

amongst managers and scientists, governments<br />

and NGOs, neighbouring islands.<br />

The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) has<br />

been working alongside <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) to<br />

test trial different intervention and treatment<br />

methods as well as <strong>the</strong> continued tracking <strong>of</strong><br />

disease presence.<br />

You may remember an article on <strong>the</strong><br />

success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> treatment used by multiple<br />

strike-teams region-wide— amoxicillin mixed<br />

into a specially designed paste called Base2B.<br />

This intervention method continues to be <strong>the</strong><br />

most effective at halting disease progression<br />

across a colony. In TCRF’s Final Status<br />

Report based on a permit received to test <strong>the</strong><br />

efficacy <strong>of</strong> antibiotic treatment, up to a 90%<br />

success rate was still being recorded in up to<br />

six months <strong>of</strong> monitoring.<br />

TCRF currently has a Scientific Research<br />

Permit allowing us to expand our intervention<br />

efforts and treat large, priority colonies<br />

along <strong>the</strong> reef tract. If you see a tagged coral<br />

asking you to photograph it and email to<br />

SCTLD@tcreef.org, please do! This project<br />

aims to engage divers and citizens to help us<br />

in a wider monitoring effort. We can’t be everywhere at<br />

once, but with an active local dive community, we’re hoping<br />

to engage opportunistic monitoring <strong>of</strong> our expansion<br />

efforts.<br />

Alongside this effort, over <strong>the</strong> past month, we have<br />

started testing an alternative, non-antibiotic treatment<br />

This Maze Coral (Meandrites meandrina) was treated with <strong>the</strong> original treatment<br />

method, amoxicillin in Base2B, in May <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

created by Ocean Alchemists, <strong>the</strong> same company that<br />

developed <strong>the</strong> Base2B currently used. TCRF has been<br />

working closely with <strong>the</strong> team at Ocean Alchemists and<br />

we were excited for <strong>the</strong> opportunity to be <strong>the</strong> first to<br />

test trial <strong>the</strong>ir newly developed non-antibiotic treatment<br />

on SCTLD in <strong>the</strong> field. This particular treatment has<br />

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

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

had notable success against Black Band Disease in <strong>the</strong><br />

labs at <strong>the</strong> MOTE Marine Laboratory in Florida. It is an<br />

all-natural, non-antibiotic proprietary formula (it smells<br />

like Christmas with a heavy cinnamon component!) that<br />

has been imbued into flat braided hemp ropes which are<br />

<strong>the</strong>n stapled into <strong>the</strong> coral along <strong>the</strong> lesion margin. In<br />

May <strong>2021</strong>, TCRF tagged approximately eighty colonies<br />

along three transects on <strong>the</strong> dive site Catacombs in Grace<br />

Bay, Providenciales and ei<strong>the</strong>r treated with one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two<br />

treatments or kept as a control.<br />

We are conducting a head-to-head trial <strong>of</strong> Coral Cure<br />

D versus amoxicillin in Base2B with a selection <strong>of</strong> control<br />

colonies left untreated. Although ongoing, we were able<br />

to revisit <strong>the</strong> site with up to three weeks since treatment<br />

and <strong>the</strong> results are positive! Soon we will be reporting on<br />

our experimental trials to help continue improving <strong>the</strong><br />

product. Not only are we looking at efficacy compared<br />

to <strong>the</strong> amoxicillin treatment, we are also making observations<br />

on ease <strong>of</strong> application as well as o<strong>the</strong>r properties<br />

such as <strong>the</strong> swelling capabilities <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> product which<br />

affect how deep into <strong>the</strong> grooves <strong>of</strong> certain corals <strong>the</strong><br />

product can reach. If <strong>the</strong> treatment doesn’t reach down<br />

into <strong>the</strong> valleys <strong>of</strong> a brain coral, for example, it is less<br />

likely to be successful is stopping <strong>the</strong> disease progression.<br />

We will be monitoring <strong>the</strong> treated coral heads and<br />

documenting each tagged colony photographically every<br />

two weeks (wea<strong>the</strong>r dependant) for two months and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

once a month after that for a total <strong>of</strong> six months from<br />

treatment day. We will be looking at <strong>the</strong> comparative efficacy<br />

<strong>of</strong> this new treatment approach to that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> current<br />

standard <strong>of</strong> care, <strong>the</strong> amoxicillin in Base 2B.<br />

As mentioned above, preliminary observations are<br />

positive and if this treatment proves successful, it will be<br />

ground-breaking in SCTLD interventions. Even those most<br />

in favour <strong>of</strong> antibiotic intervention do so with a “time is<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> essence” motivation. If a successful alternative can<br />

be found, this will ease environmental fears as well as<br />

probably easing permitting difficulties across <strong>the</strong> region<br />

and allowing strike teams to act faster.<br />

Is this a new hope? Well, I sure hope so! If you are<br />

interested in learning more about Stony Coral Tissue<br />

Loss Disease log onto https://www.agrra.org/coral-disease-outbreak/<br />

and email alizee@tcreef.org. There are<br />

many ways in which we can all help <strong>the</strong> fight. a<br />

40 www.timespub.tc

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

Editor’s note: In <strong>the</strong> Spring <strong>2021</strong> issue <strong>of</strong> Green Pages, <strong>the</strong> photo on <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> page 52 and <strong>the</strong> two photos on <strong>the</strong> bottom<br />

<strong>of</strong> page 56 should have been credited to Anna Handte-Reinecker. Our sincere apologies!<br />

Several blue, yellow and brown sponges can be seen in this photograph. Sponges come in all shapes and sizes but are characterized by <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

pore-like structures that filter water through <strong>the</strong>ir bodies for nutrients and oxygen.<br />


Sponging It Up<br />

The hidden beauty <strong>of</strong> sponges.<br />

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

Sponges, in my humble opinion, are likely <strong>the</strong> most underrated <strong>of</strong> all marine organisms. Often underappreciated<br />

and tossed aside as a bathing accessory or <strong>the</strong> feature <strong>of</strong> children’s TV shows, sponges don’t<br />

necessarily come to mind when one thinks <strong>of</strong> extraordinary marine life. That, however, should change.<br />

Sponges—although classified as <strong>the</strong> simplest animal forms (and yes, <strong>the</strong>y are animals!)—have extraordinary<br />

characteristics, features and life stages that are truly awe-inspiring.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 41

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

Let’s start with a quick<br />

crash course in sponge<br />

biology. Sponges are considered<br />

to be some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

simplest animals due to<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir structure—<strong>the</strong>y lack<br />

true tissue, organs or<br />

even a brain, and instead<br />

rely on specialized cells.<br />

These cells work toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

to filter water through<br />

<strong>the</strong> sponge, allowing <strong>the</strong><br />

organism to absorb oxygen<br />

and gain nutrients.<br />

This filtering occurs when<br />

cilia, or hair-like projections,<br />

move in order to<br />

create an area <strong>of</strong> negative<br />

pressure inside <strong>the</strong> atrium<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge, driving<br />

water into <strong>the</strong> sponge’s<br />

cavities via pores, or ostia,<br />

and out through <strong>the</strong> main<br />

opening, or osculum,<br />

located near <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

sponge. Sponges also contain spicules, which act as support<br />

to <strong>the</strong> structure, as well as spongin, which is a type<br />

<strong>of</strong> collagen which give sponges <strong>the</strong>ir “spongy” structure.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ways to capture a sponge’s beauty is<br />

to put it under a microscope. Spicules—those support<br />

structures mentioned earlier—can come in a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

different shapes, all <strong>of</strong> which are unique to different<br />

sponges. By figuring out whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> spicules within a<br />

certain sponge are composed <strong>of</strong> calcium or silica, as well<br />

as by determining <strong>the</strong> shape <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> spicules, scientists<br />

can identify sponge species.<br />

Peeking inside <strong>the</strong> atrium <strong>of</strong> sponges is my favorite pasttime while scuba diving. You can <strong>of</strong>ten find brittle<br />

stars or shrimp that call <strong>the</strong>m home hiding inside.<br />

Sponges can reproduce in three ways: By spawning,<br />

fragmentation and budding. Spawning occurs when<br />

sponges release <strong>the</strong>ir sperm into <strong>the</strong> water column in<br />

hopes that it will reach ano<strong>the</strong>r sponge. If it does, <strong>the</strong><br />

cells <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge can capture <strong>the</strong> sperm and transport it<br />

to <strong>the</strong> eggs for fertilization and brooding <strong>of</strong> larvae. Later,<br />

<strong>the</strong> sponge will release <strong>the</strong> brooded larvae. This is <strong>the</strong><br />

only time in <strong>the</strong> sponge’s life when <strong>the</strong>y’re not immobile,<br />

as <strong>the</strong> sperm, and later <strong>the</strong> larvae that form, can move<br />

with ocean currents until <strong>the</strong>y find a spot to settle on <strong>the</strong><br />

sea floor. Interestingly, most sponges are actually hermaphroditic,<br />

and produce both egg and sperm.<br />

Fragmentation occurs when a part <strong>of</strong> a sponge<br />

breaks <strong>of</strong>f, for example, and <strong>the</strong>n is perhaps moved by<br />

currents or wave action to settle in a nook elsewhere.<br />

Finally, budding occurs when part <strong>of</strong> a sponge actually<br />

begins growing a clone <strong>of</strong> itself, which can eventually<br />

break <strong>of</strong>f to settle elsewhere, or remain attached to begin<br />

a colony <strong>of</strong> sponges.<br />

Freshwater sponges have a unique adaptation that<br />

allows <strong>the</strong>m to survive dormant in unfavorable conditions,<br />

such as cold water, droughts or anoxic (low oxygen) environments.<br />

These sponges can create gemmules, which<br />

have an outer protective layer and can remain dormant<br />

for long stretches <strong>of</strong> time. When conditions become<br />

favorable again, <strong>the</strong>se gemmules can release cells that<br />

create new sponges, and some gemmules have even been<br />

stored for up to 25 years!<br />

Sponges and corals are <strong>of</strong>ten confused for one<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r and I’ve even heard someone refer to a sponge<br />

as a “coral-sponge.” Sponges and corals are, however, two<br />

42 www.timespub.tc

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

different types <strong>of</strong> organisms. Sponges can be identified<br />

by <strong>the</strong>ir telltale ostia and osculum. Sponges will have<br />

what look like pores all over <strong>the</strong>ir structure, which are<br />

<strong>the</strong> ostia, as well as a main large opening, usually near<br />

<strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge, which is <strong>the</strong> osculum. Corals don’t<br />

have <strong>the</strong>se pores or <strong>the</strong> osculum. If observed closely,<br />

corals do have polyps—structures with tentacles used to<br />

capture food—and will lack any opening or osculum.<br />

Sponges are fascinating and bizarre creatures that<br />

have incredible abilities. The following are some ways<br />

that scientists have researched sponges in order to learn<br />

more about <strong>the</strong>se unique organisms. With a quick search<br />

online, interesting videos can be found <strong>of</strong> this research,<br />

but please keep sponges safe and don’t try this on any<br />

sponges you see in <strong>the</strong> water!<br />

One interesting way to check out a sponge’s flow <strong>of</strong><br />

water is to fill a syringe with water and food dye and<br />

release this concoction around <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong> a sponge.<br />

You will soon see <strong>the</strong> colored water being released out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> osculum at <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge, which shows<br />

how sponges can filter water very quickly in order to get<br />

proper nutrients and oxygen!<br />

Sponges are widely considered <strong>the</strong> most basic animal<br />

form, yet <strong>the</strong>y actually have incredible abilities to<br />

regenerate. Scientists have studied this characteristic by<br />

separating sponge cells by squeezing <strong>the</strong>m through a silk<br />

cloth. Sponges are <strong>the</strong>n actually able to re-form <strong>the</strong>ir cells<br />

into a sponge. Even more interestingly, if two sponges<br />

are separated in this method, <strong>the</strong>y can recognize <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

own cells and re-form as two sponges!<br />

Although <strong>the</strong>re are several types and body plans<br />

<strong>of</strong> sponges, one in particular stands out as an awe-inspiring<br />

and incredible animal. The Venus flower basket<br />

(Euplectella aspergillum) is a type <strong>of</strong> glass sponge. These<br />

sponges live in <strong>the</strong> deep sea, and have an intricate shape<br />

created by layers <strong>of</strong> silica made in a precise pattern to<br />

keep <strong>the</strong>m structurally sound. The most interesting<br />

part <strong>of</strong> this sponge, however, are its inhabitants. These<br />

This giant barrel sponge stands tall at a dive site <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> South Caicos named The Spanish Chain.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 43

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

This sponge is actually being colonized by sponge zoanthids (Parazoanthus parasiticus), which are <strong>the</strong> round, yellow tentacle structures seen<br />

all over <strong>the</strong> sponge. Inside this sponge, you can see <strong>the</strong> red arm <strong>of</strong> a brittle star.<br />

This giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta) looks like it’s missing<br />

a piece, creating a horseshoe shape. Sponges have incredible abilities<br />

to regenerate, and it may form back into a single cylindrical structure.<br />

sponges are almost always seen with two shrimp living<br />

inside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, one male and one female. It is thought<br />

that <strong>the</strong>se shrimp swim into <strong>the</strong> small pores <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge<br />

as larvae and are soon too large to escape.<br />

A bit closer to home in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are several o<strong>the</strong>r types <strong>of</strong> sponges that you might<br />

encounter. From <strong>the</strong> giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia<br />

muta) that can grow as large as six feet across, to <strong>the</strong> red<br />

boring sponge (Cliona delitrix)—so named for its ability<br />

to bore into rock and o<strong>the</strong>r substrates and only growing<br />

about a foot long—sponges throughout <strong>the</strong> Caribbean<br />

can come in a variety <strong>of</strong> shapes and sizes. Sponges<br />

can also be a habitat for many smaller creatures that<br />

live among <strong>the</strong> reef. Brittle stars—closely related to sea<br />

stars—and shrimp call some species <strong>of</strong> sponge home. So<br />

<strong>the</strong> next time you’re snorkeling or diving on one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI’s beautiful reefs or walls, keep an eye open for <strong>the</strong>se incredible eyeless creatures. a<br />

For additional information about The School for Field Studies,<br />

visit www.fieldstudies.org or contact us on South Caicos at hhertler@fieldstudies.org.<br />

44 www.timespub.tc

faces and places<br />

From top left: Kadra Been-Handfield arranged <strong>the</strong> Snack & Paint event on North Caicos. Max Gardiner, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> younger participants, took<br />

to <strong>the</strong> task immediately. Susie Cortez <strong>of</strong> Dallas, Texas added to <strong>the</strong> artistic aura <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day by doing a live painting <strong>of</strong> a flamingo while <strong>the</strong><br />

children worked. The finished painting will be displayed on North Caicos at <strong>the</strong> welcome center for Flamingo Pond.<br />

Snack & Paint<br />

To paint a picture <strong>of</strong> TCI’s future, look no fur<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong> Snack & Paint event held on North Caicos at Horse Stable<br />

Beach in May 1, <strong>2021</strong>, where children spent an afternoon painting and socializing in games.<br />

Organized by North Caicos businesswoman Kadra Been-Handfield, <strong>the</strong> event drew 30 participants who were<br />

encouraged to paint ei<strong>the</strong>r a fish or something <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own imaginations. While <strong>the</strong>y painted, artist Susie Cortez <strong>of</strong><br />

Dallas, Texas, worked on a painting that will, after framing, be displayed at <strong>the</strong> welcome center at Flamingo Pond.<br />

Mrs. Been-Handfield was helped by a number <strong>of</strong> volunteers and supporters, including Barbara Gardiner, Joylyn<br />

Handfield, District Commissioner Cynclair Musgrove, Al<strong>the</strong>a Ewing, Merrica Handfield, Jody Rathgeb and Sara<br />

Kaufman. They, too, enjoyed refreshments and <strong>the</strong> delight <strong>of</strong> seeing TCI’s future leaders express <strong>the</strong>mselves.<br />

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

From bottom left: Future artist in <strong>the</strong> making Kamron Gardiner eagerly takes brush to canvas.<br />

A helper selfie includes, from left, Maxine Beswick, Barbara Gardiner, Joylyn Handfield, Kadra<br />

Been-Handfield and Al<strong>the</strong>a Ewing.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 45

feature<br />

Opposite page: Robust, funnel-shaped flowers in bright hot colors are <strong>the</strong> Bahama woodstars’ favorite food.<br />

Above: The next generation <strong>of</strong> Bahama woodstar hummingbirds is ready to leave <strong>the</strong>ir nest at Harbour Club Villas. The mo<strong>the</strong>r (at right) is<br />

carefully supervising her young chick.<br />

The Stars <strong>of</strong> Our Woods<br />

The Bahama woodstar is TCI’s only regular resident hummingbird.<br />

By B Naqqi Manco, TCI Naturalist ~ Photos by Marta Morton<br />

Some years ago, while drilling drift seeds for a craft project, a bay bean Cannavalia rosea seed escaped<br />

and rolled across <strong>the</strong> floor, at some point getting swept out <strong>the</strong> front door. Seed coat compromised<br />

and sitting in an enriched flower bed, it took in <strong>the</strong> rain and did its best to out-show Jack’s beanstalk. It<br />

wound up a shrub, <strong>the</strong>n up a string to <strong>the</strong> eaves, where it scrambled eastward and dropped numerous<br />

runners, eventually cloaking <strong>the</strong> entire front <strong>of</strong> my house, eaves to ground, in a thick tangle <strong>of</strong> leafy<br />

vines. Following a heavy rain, it bloomed with such ferocity—its purple blooms like succulent sweet-pea<br />

blossoms—that it became something <strong>of</strong> a buffet line for nectar feeders.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 47

During <strong>the</strong> day, butterflies and carpenter bees visited;<br />

at night sphynx moths and beetles came for <strong>the</strong>ir shifts.<br />

Such a productive viny tangle is irresistible to wildlife, but<br />

<strong>the</strong>re was one creature that filled <strong>the</strong> role <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> supreme<br />

diva <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bay bean façade, to which all o<strong>the</strong>rs —even<br />

members <strong>of</strong> her own species—gave deference. The prima<br />

donna who chose to sup at <strong>the</strong> vines ruled <strong>the</strong>m heartily,<br />

but never so much as when she decided that <strong>the</strong> bank<br />

<strong>of</strong> lianas was a suitable place to nest. It was <strong>the</strong>n that a<br />

Bahama woodstar showed her specific nature to me and<br />

my visitors.<br />

The Bahama woodstar Nesophlox evelynae is <strong>the</strong> only<br />

hummingbird regularly resident in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> and given its pugnacious nature, that’s not surprising.<br />

Its species name honours <strong>the</strong> daughter, Evelyn,<br />

<strong>of</strong> Conrad Loddiges (1738–1826), a German-born British<br />

botanist. (Noteworthy here is that <strong>the</strong> generic epi<strong>the</strong>t was<br />

changed from Caliphlox to Nesophlox in 2014; and <strong>the</strong><br />

woodstar populations on Great and Little Inagua in <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas were named as <strong>the</strong> separate, endemic species<br />

Nesophlox lyrura in 2015.) One wonders about <strong>the</strong> general<br />

social comportment <strong>of</strong> namesake little Evelyn, as <strong>the</strong><br />

feisty Bahama woodstars hardly tolerate one ano<strong>the</strong>r;<br />

much less chance <strong>the</strong>y would countenance ano<strong>the</strong>r competing<br />

species.<br />

Far from <strong>the</strong> damp, muggy habitat <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> over 360 hummingbird species in <strong>the</strong> humid riparian<br />

and montane forests <strong>of</strong> South America, <strong>the</strong> Bahama<br />

woodstar stakes out territory in some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> driest, most<br />

stunted, scrubby forests available. Hummingbirds are <strong>the</strong><br />

third most speciose family <strong>of</strong> birds, and <strong>the</strong> bee clade—<br />

<strong>the</strong> group to which woodstars belong—is <strong>the</strong> youngest<br />

and most rapidly speciating group.<br />

Bahama woodstars are found throughout <strong>the</strong> Lucayan<br />

Archipelago from Abaco (Bahamas) southward into Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, but <strong>the</strong>y tend to be more numerous<br />

on <strong>the</strong> central and sou<strong>the</strong>rn islands where a heavy competitor<br />

in <strong>the</strong> larger nor<strong>the</strong>rn island forests—<strong>the</strong> Cuban<br />

emerald hummingbird Riccordia ricordii—is absent.<br />

Indeed <strong>the</strong> Cuban emerald has been noted in Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, but only as a vagrant on two confirmed<br />

occasions. Our only o<strong>the</strong>r very unlikely vagrant hummingbird<br />

is <strong>the</strong> world’s smallest bird and a close relative <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

woodstar, <strong>the</strong> Cuban bee Mellisuga helenae. (There are<br />

two credible records <strong>of</strong> Cuban bee sightings in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.) With <strong>the</strong>se species generally absent,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bahama woodstar has free range <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI and with<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir frightful brand <strong>of</strong> militantly weaponized gumption,<br />

<strong>the</strong> larger birds tend to steer clear <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m too.<br />

Hummingbirds are known for being fearless defenders<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir territories, including nests and feeding<br />

areas. It’s not unusual to see <strong>the</strong>m interacting with o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

birds —including larger birds <strong>of</strong> prey—in a way that is<br />

surprisingly severe. They chase, stab and harass o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

birds away with <strong>the</strong>ir superior flight capacity, powered<br />

by wings that beat over 60 times a second and can allow<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to attain true hovering, and to fly forward as well as<br />

up, down, sideways, backwards and even upside down.<br />

This is due to <strong>the</strong> structure and movement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wings,<br />

which move more like human hands treading water than<br />

<strong>the</strong>y do o<strong>the</strong>r birds’ wings. Angling each wing forward<br />

on <strong>the</strong> down-stroke and backwards on <strong>the</strong> up-stroke in a<br />

figure eight motion, <strong>the</strong>y fly on vortices as much as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

do lift.<br />

Flying and hovering on vortices is energy expensive,<br />

and hummingbirds have <strong>the</strong> highest metabolisms <strong>of</strong> any<br />

vertebrate. Their heart rates average 250 beats per minute<br />

at rest, spiking to over 1,000 beats per minute during<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir most demanding flight manoeuvres. Fortunately,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir main food source as adults—nectar—is sugar-rich.<br />

They can digest and burn this sugar as little as thirty<br />

minutes after a sweet sip.<br />

Malaika Lakhani’s examination puts into perspective how tiny <strong>the</strong><br />

hummingbird nest really is.<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

Above: This female hummingbird has completed her nest with silky wisps <strong>of</strong> air-plant seeds.<br />

Below: The first egg—roughly <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> a soybean—has just hatched; at right are <strong>the</strong> pair <strong>of</strong> baby hummingbirds.<br />

In Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, Bahama woodstars encounter<br />

numerous plant species that have specifically evolved<br />

to accommodate bird pollinators. Robust, funnel-shaped<br />

flowers in bright hot colours are <strong>the</strong>ir favourites. These<br />

blossoms also carry <strong>the</strong> typical trait <strong>of</strong> having scent only<br />

at night (for <strong>the</strong> sake <strong>of</strong> long-tongued sphynx moths<br />

which also visit <strong>the</strong>m) or no scent at all. Hummingbirds<br />

have no significant sense <strong>of</strong> smell, and find <strong>the</strong>ir food<br />

exclusively by sight and memory, so plants don’t bo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

perfuming <strong>the</strong>ir flowers for <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahama woodstars’ favourite nectar<br />

plants are very showy—<strong>the</strong> Christmas hog potato Ipomoea<br />

microdactyla with its waxy scarlet trumpets, and <strong>the</strong><br />

five-fingers Tabebuia bahamensis with its blousy crepe<br />

paper funnels in pale pink. These are seasonal bloomers,<br />

and so <strong>the</strong>y do what <strong>the</strong>y can to attract <strong>the</strong>ir pollinators.<br />

But just as attractive are <strong>the</strong> subtly orange tube-blooms<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> golden creeper Ernodea littoralis and pineland<br />

creeper Ernodea serratifolia which bloom year-round and<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore spend less energy making gaudy displays.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 49

While <strong>the</strong>se flowers are certainly custom fit to <strong>the</strong><br />

woodstars, o<strong>the</strong>r birds that cannot fit inside <strong>the</strong>m still<br />

sometimes get to <strong>the</strong> nectar. It’s common to see five-fingers<br />

flowers with rough holes ripped in <strong>the</strong>ir tube bases,<br />

<strong>the</strong> delicate pink browning from <strong>the</strong> damage done by<br />

<strong>the</strong> scimitar bills <strong>of</strong> bananaquits, more robust nectar<br />

feeding birds. Bananaquits are one <strong>of</strong> many species for<br />

which woodstars have no time, and will bravely scold and<br />

chase from <strong>the</strong>ir favourite plants. As bananaquits are<br />

more social birds that live in family flocks, a sacrificial<br />

bananaquit sometimes diverts a defensive woodstar from<br />

a favoured flower patch while <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> family tears<br />

<strong>the</strong> posies up and loots <strong>the</strong> juice.<br />

This well-defended precious nectar is put to good<br />

use by <strong>the</strong> woodstars. Throughout <strong>the</strong> year but mostly<br />

in summer, females ga<strong>the</strong>r spider webs, wild cotton, fine<br />

grass and air-plant seed fluff to built tiny nests, <strong>the</strong> size<br />

<strong>of</strong> walnut shells, on branches <strong>of</strong>ten just 1–2 meters <strong>of</strong>f<br />

<strong>the</strong> ground. Males take no part in nest-building; <strong>the</strong>y<br />

spend <strong>the</strong>ir time defending territories especially rich with<br />

nectar plants that are likely to attract females. Male hummingbirds<br />

are, like most birds, most flashy than <strong>the</strong> hens,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> male woodstar is equipped with an iridescent<br />

gorget (chin-to-throat patch) and small crest. He will flash<br />

his gorget and raise and lower his crest while twittering at<br />

a female, hoping to attract her attention. The gorget can<br />

be angled, and it can flash as amethyst purple or blood<br />

red, depending on <strong>the</strong> light angle. He can even “turn it<br />

<strong>of</strong>f” to almost black, by angling it downward.<br />

The male woodstar achieves that colour show by<br />

way <strong>of</strong> his fea<strong>the</strong>rs, which in hummingbirds rely on both<br />

pigmentation and structural refraction <strong>of</strong> light to create<br />

colour. In fact, it is <strong>the</strong> melanin itself that is arranged in<br />

a structured formation within <strong>the</strong> fea<strong>the</strong>rs that refracts<br />

<strong>the</strong> light, and <strong>the</strong> fea<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>the</strong>mselves incorporate both<br />

melanin and carotenoids for <strong>the</strong>ir pigmentation.<br />

Once a female is sufficiently wooed and mates, she<br />

completes her nest. The nest is camouflaged with bits <strong>of</strong><br />

lichen stuck to its outside. The silky wisps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> air-plant<br />

seeds, usually cuttlefish air-plant Tillandsia balbosiana,<br />

silvery air-plant T. streptophylla, flexuous air-plant T.<br />

flexousa or scorn-<strong>the</strong>-ground T. utriculata, tend to find<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir placement on a tree limb bound into a moisture-retaining<br />

nest <strong>the</strong> perfect place to germinate, and this is<br />

how many air plants wind up in trees. The germinating<br />

seedlings fur<strong>the</strong>r assist in <strong>the</strong> camouflaging <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nests.<br />

Into <strong>the</strong> disguised nest <strong>the</strong> female will lay two white<br />

eggs roughly <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> cooked soybeans. Pound-forpound<br />

(so to say), Bahama woodstar eggs are massive in<br />

From top: The female hummingbird ga<strong>the</strong>rs insects and nectar to feed<br />

her quickly growing young.<br />

The male Bahama woodstar is equipped with an iridescent chin-tothroat<br />

patch and small crest. Both are used to attract <strong>the</strong> attention<br />

<strong>of</strong> a female.<br />

50 www.timespub.tc

elation to <strong>the</strong> female’s body size. To compete relatively,<br />

a chicken would need to lay two eggs <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> goose<br />

eggs. The female incubates <strong>the</strong>m stalwartly for two to<br />

two-and-a-half weeks, and <strong>the</strong>n ga<strong>the</strong>rs insects and nectar<br />

to feed her quickly growing young. Fully fea<strong>the</strong>red<br />

within ten days, <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>ten leave <strong>the</strong> nest for <strong>the</strong>ir first<br />

uncertain flights in as little as 15 days. They need to be<br />

able to fly strongly, and will be able to do so within a<br />

week, in order to find food and—perhaps most importantly—survive<br />

hurricane season.<br />

Bahama woodstars are known to survive hurricanes<br />

by hunkering down near <strong>the</strong> ground in dense scrub, <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

on <strong>the</strong> leeward side <strong>of</strong> a tree trunk. But many are lost in<br />

<strong>the</strong> strong winds, and <strong>the</strong>y may also succumb to starvation<br />

if a hurricane has been strong enough to damage<br />

vegetation severely enough that nothing is in flower.<br />

Scarlet cordia Cordia sebestena becomes a lifesaver for<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, as <strong>the</strong>se trees <strong>of</strong>ten throw out <strong>the</strong>ir orange blooms<br />

right after storms. Oddly, while o<strong>the</strong>r populations <strong>of</strong> hummingbirds<br />

seem to take quickly to hummingbird feeders,<br />

Turks & Caicos woodstars don’t seem to—but planting<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir favourite native species definitely helps <strong>the</strong>m and<br />

attracts <strong>the</strong>m to home gardens.<br />

But my diva hummingbird arrived after a happy gardening<br />

accident, and I had no idea any nesting was going<br />

on—I never actually found <strong>the</strong> bay bean vine diva’s nest,<br />

so well she hid it. I only knew it was <strong>the</strong>re from <strong>the</strong> sudden<br />

shift in her behaviour. Where she would previously<br />

defend <strong>the</strong> flowers from bumblebees and bananaquits<br />

with an authoritatively selfish demeanour, she suddenly<br />

became downright kamikaze at anything that flew too<br />

close to <strong>the</strong> vines even as <strong>the</strong> flowers acquiesced.<br />

Hummingbirds—thankfully—tend to completely<br />

ignore anything <strong>the</strong>y don’t see as a threat, and so I didn’t<br />

have to watch my head <strong>the</strong> way I do for <strong>the</strong> repugnantly<br />

aggressive American kestrel that nests in <strong>the</strong> corner<br />

<strong>of</strong> my <strong>of</strong>fice ro<strong>of</strong> every year. But one mid-morning, a<br />

passing male Bahama woodstar caught sight <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few<br />

remaining purple bay-bean flowers and zoomed in for an<br />

inspection. Diva must have heard his wing hum, because<br />

she emerged in full Amazon warrior mode quite ready<br />

to lance him through. The moment he saw her, he spiralled<br />

upward behind me <strong>the</strong>n dropped behind my head<br />

by inches; I could feel his wing-paddled vortices puffing<br />

against my neck and hear <strong>the</strong> low hum just beyond my<br />

ears.<br />

Diva Woodstar suddenly—for <strong>the</strong> first time ever—<br />

took an interest in me. She flew accusingly at my face<br />

and hovered a foot in front <strong>of</strong> my nose, glaring as she<br />

darted left and right. Within a few seconds <strong>the</strong> interloping<br />

male tried to peek around me (as evidenced by <strong>the</strong> buzz<br />

and breeze near by right ear), and <strong>the</strong> jig was up. Diva<br />

rocketed at him past my right temple, he tightly circled<br />

around <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> my head and to <strong>the</strong> front, and both<br />

twittering <strong>the</strong> entire time, she chased him in three full<br />

circles around my head (I felt like a noggin-knocked cartoon<br />

character) before he pulled up and careered over my<br />

ro<strong>of</strong>, sacrificing elegance for speed. Once she was sure<br />

he was forever vanquished, she retired back to her nest<br />

in <strong>the</strong> tangles, ignoring inconsequential me again, as a<br />

woodstar should, forevermore. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 51

feature<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are ready, willing and able to receive visitors again—and <strong>the</strong>y are flocking to <strong>the</strong>se beautiful shores!<br />

Paradise Waiting<br />

TCI’s reopening an unqualified success.<br />

By Jayne Baker ~ Photos By Paradise Photography<br />

It’s <strong>the</strong> morning <strong>of</strong> July 22, 2020. Just after noon, American Airlines is due to fly in <strong>the</strong> first visitors to our<br />

shores since <strong>the</strong> borders closed four months prior.The mood on Providenciales is a muddled brew <strong>of</strong> optimism,<br />

relief and caution. Aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dire need to re-open <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ economic lifeline,<br />

island businesses and tourism partners have worked tirelessly alongside local government to establish<br />

protocols in <strong>the</strong> hope that visitors would feel safe visiting our shores again, all <strong>the</strong> while protecting <strong>the</strong><br />

health <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country, its residents and its valued visitors.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 53

Questions hung in <strong>the</strong> air as <strong>the</strong> plane descended.<br />

Would <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> see an overwhelming surge <strong>of</strong> cases by<br />

allowing <strong>the</strong> borders to open? Would tourists even come?<br />

While <strong>the</strong> need to open was vital, this small island nation<br />

didn’t want to be a cautionary tale <strong>of</strong> what could happen<br />

by allowing a stream <strong>of</strong> visitors back too soon. Limited<br />

hospital facilities meant that <strong>the</strong> health system could<br />

quickly become overwhelmed. The PDM Government at<br />

<strong>the</strong> time, led by Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson,<br />

alongside Governor Nigel Dakin, made it very clear:<br />

Protocols could change quickly and <strong>the</strong>y were ready to<br />

take swift action to shut things down again should it be<br />

necessary.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> country somewhat holding its breath, AA<br />

1279 touched down, complete with water-cannon fanfare,<br />

and with that <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> were open for<br />

business.<br />

Well, almost. A little more than a week after opening,<br />

<strong>the</strong> TCI found itself in full-on preparation for a possible<br />

visit by Hurricane Isaias. Thankfully <strong>the</strong> storm brushed by<br />

to <strong>the</strong> south, but <strong>the</strong> irony <strong>of</strong> opening <strong>the</strong> airport only to<br />

have Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature close it down again a few days later<br />

seemed apropos for 2020. As <strong>the</strong> tropical cyclone moved<br />

<strong>of</strong>f, <strong>the</strong> airport again re-opened and with it <strong>the</strong> economic<br />

lifeline—tourist arrivals.<br />

In recent years, visitor arrivals (by air) to Turks &<br />

Caicos have been steadily increasing, growing from<br />

416,000 in 2018 to 486,000 in 2019. 2020 had <strong>the</strong> makings<br />

<strong>of</strong> a bumper crop. For <strong>the</strong> months <strong>of</strong> January and<br />

February 2020, air arrivals totaled 95,810 versus 84,653<br />

for <strong>the</strong> same period in 2019.<br />

Then in March <strong>of</strong> 2020 <strong>the</strong> world stopped, and along<br />

with it <strong>the</strong> only meaningful source <strong>of</strong> income for <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Government and its residents. It was a<br />

never-before-seen crisis, challenging for any nation, and<br />

indeed <strong>the</strong> entire world, to navigate. Being a small island<br />

country whose only industry is tourism, combined with<br />

limited health care resources, <strong>the</strong> government had to<br />

respond quickly but not rashly. As borders around <strong>the</strong><br />

world closed, <strong>the</strong> TCI Government came to <strong>the</strong> only sensible<br />

decision at <strong>the</strong>ir disposal—<strong>the</strong> country shuttered for<br />

business on March 23, 2020.<br />

Initial lockdown restrictions for residents were strict<br />

—beaches were closed, non-essential travel on <strong>the</strong> roads<br />

was forbidden, exercise periods were specified, to name<br />

a few. Over time, internal restrictions lifted somewhat,<br />

allowing for local businesses to reopen with capacity limitations.<br />

But without tourists, it was a mere drop in <strong>the</strong><br />

ocean (albeit a beautiful turquoise one). Entry protocols<br />

for visitors were established in <strong>the</strong> hope that <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

stringent enough to mitigate risk, while not so prohibitive<br />

<strong>the</strong>y would discourage travelers.<br />

Arrival numbers at first were predictably low.<br />

According to arrival statistics published by <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos Tourist Board, August 2020 saw 5,595 visitors<br />

versus 36,550 in <strong>the</strong> same period <strong>of</strong> 2019, representing<br />

about 15% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous year’s arrivals. As <strong>the</strong> months<br />

passed, that percentage has consistently increased.The<br />

months <strong>of</strong> September to November saw about 23% <strong>of</strong><br />

comparative 2019 arrivals. In December that number<br />

jumped to 34%, seeing 17,241 visitors (versus 51,160 in<br />

December 2019).<br />

The cogs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> economy were slowly grinding back<br />

to life as <strong>the</strong> page turned on a new year, welcoming in<br />

<strong>2021</strong>. Not long into <strong>the</strong> new year however, following<br />

trends in <strong>the</strong> neighboring US (where approximately 83%<br />

<strong>of</strong> our tourists come from in a typical year), <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

saw a concerning surge in COVID-19 cases. It was a stark<br />

reminder that although <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos had been<br />

managing <strong>the</strong> crisis well, it was not time to let <strong>the</strong>ir guard<br />

down. The virus still posed a threat to both <strong>the</strong> health <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Islanders and <strong>the</strong> economy itself. The government<br />

responded with fluctuating protocols, increasing restrictions<br />

internally as needed to help curb local transmission<br />

while still allowing tourists to come to our shores.<br />

Amidst <strong>the</strong> surge, in February <strong>2021</strong>, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

went through a local election and change <strong>of</strong> government.<br />

Changes in a ruling party can create an unsettled feeling<br />

at <strong>the</strong> best <strong>of</strong> times and questions lingered: How<br />

would this new government respond? Would restrictions<br />

be tightened? Too much? Too little? One thing became<br />

quickly evident—<strong>the</strong> new PNP Government, led by<br />

Washington Misick, was as committed as its predecessor<br />

in its efforts to balance <strong>the</strong> management <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> virus<br />

while still welcoming visitors.<br />

The ready availability <strong>of</strong> vaccines was a large part <strong>of</strong><br />

what made it possible to keep <strong>the</strong> country open for business.<br />

On January 7, <strong>2021</strong>, courtesy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> UK Government,<br />

a British Airways plane landed with precious cargo—9,750<br />

doses <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.<br />

The roll-out was immediate and impressively efficient.<br />

While priority was initially given to those working<br />

in health care and essential services, <strong>the</strong> vaccine quickly<br />

became available to anyone wishing to receive it. Within<br />

a short time, local clinics and pharmacies were <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

<strong>the</strong> vaccine with walk-in capabilities. Those receiving <strong>the</strong><br />

vaccine consistently reported being impressed with <strong>the</strong><br />

ease and pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> process.<br />

54 www.timespub.tc

February 24, <strong>2021</strong> saw <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r 23,400<br />

Pfizer-BioNTech doses via a special British Airways cargo<br />

flight. That same plane carried CPAP machines and laboratory<br />

supplies to support automation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> PCR testing<br />

facility. A fur<strong>the</strong>r 14,040 doses <strong>of</strong> Pfizer-BioNTech and<br />

300 doses <strong>of</strong> AstraZeneca vaccines arrived March 31,<br />

<strong>2021</strong>. The result was that frontline tourism partners<br />

(resort, watersports, restaurant and spa staff) quickly<br />

become fully vaccinated, allowing an added layer <strong>of</strong> comfort<br />

and security to those visiting.<br />

Combined with new data emerging daily regarding<br />

vaccine efficacy, <strong>the</strong> potential <strong>of</strong> a more normal tourism<br />

season seemed within reach. A recent Cleveland Clinic<br />

study shows that between January 1 and April 13, <strong>2021</strong>,<br />

99.75 % <strong>of</strong> patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were not<br />

fully vaccinated.<br />

Statistics out <strong>of</strong> Bermuda in April <strong>2021</strong> also echo <strong>the</strong><br />

importance and efficacy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vaccine. Facing a surge <strong>of</strong><br />

COVID-19 cases in late spring, <strong>the</strong> island nation reported<br />

that 88% <strong>of</strong> those admitted to hospital were unvaccinated,<br />

11% were partially vaccinated (one shot) and 1% had both<br />

shots but had not yet reached <strong>the</strong> two week mark when<br />

a person is considered fully protected. But perhaps <strong>the</strong><br />

most important statistic is that <strong>the</strong>re were ZERO cases <strong>of</strong><br />

a fully vaccinated person being hospitalized.<br />

Like most countries, <strong>the</strong> vaccination surge in Turks &<br />

Caicos slowed as time went on and <strong>the</strong> TCI Government<br />

put considerable time and resources into outreach to <strong>the</strong><br />

communities where vaccine hesitancy was most prevalent.<br />

Educational campaigns as well as a community<br />

mobile vaccine unit have helped to increase <strong>the</strong> numbers<br />

<strong>of</strong> vaccinations amongst those that may have o<strong>the</strong>rwise<br />

continued to live in fear and misinformation. At time <strong>of</strong><br />

writing (May <strong>2021</strong>) it’s estimated that approximately 56%<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> population is vaccinated.<br />

If <strong>the</strong>re is a silver lining to be found in navigating<br />

<strong>the</strong> pandemic, it may be that local hospital facilities have<br />

been improved throughout <strong>the</strong> crisis. Hospital bed capacity<br />

has increased, a National Laboratory now exists, as<br />

well as <strong>the</strong> capability to generate oxygen at both Grand<br />

Turk and Providenciales hospitals (versus using filled cylinders<br />

only), meaning <strong>the</strong>y have no fear <strong>of</strong> running out<br />

<strong>of</strong> oxygen. These improvements, alongside vaccinations<br />

and continued protocols, means <strong>the</strong> tourist season ahead<br />

looks hopeful.<br />

Island businesses echo that optimism. A local hotelier<br />

reports that bookings for <strong>the</strong> <strong>2021</strong>/22 season are not<br />

only “back to normal” but have <strong>the</strong> potential to be record<br />

breaking. An important factor in making that happen was<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 55

that resorts and health care facilities quickly stepped up<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> required COVID-10 antigen tests for US<br />

visitors returning home. The establishment <strong>of</strong> convenient<br />

and inexpensive testing was ano<strong>the</strong>r component in making<br />

<strong>the</strong> destination a viable and safe choice for travelers.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r small businesses such as restaurants, watersports<br />

operators and spas report a similar promising<br />

outlook, seeing pre-pandemic numbers or better for <strong>the</strong><br />

future. The local real estate sector is reporting record<br />

sales.<br />

With all <strong>of</strong> this hopeful news, it’s an important<br />

note that <strong>the</strong> cruise ship industry worldwide has been<br />

decimated through <strong>the</strong> pandemic. In 2019, Grand Turk<br />

welcomed 359 cruise ships, bringing with <strong>the</strong>m 1,111,818<br />

visitors and <strong>the</strong> associated income for <strong>the</strong> island’s residents<br />

through jobs and small business opportunities. The<br />

year 2020 saw only 69 cruise ship arrivals—representing<br />

a little over 200,000 visitors. <strong>2021</strong> to date has seen zero.<br />

The current estimate is that <strong>the</strong> industry won’t resume<br />

until October <strong>2021</strong>. So, while <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong> Providenciales<br />

is rebounding, Grand Turk and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sister islands<br />

are still facing struggles.<br />

Through it all <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Tourist Board has<br />

been working tirelessly with a new public relations firm<br />

to promote <strong>the</strong> destination in feeder markets. The portal<br />

for visitors to receive <strong>the</strong>ir travel authorization, found<br />

at (www.turksandcaicostourism.com) was rolled out<br />

seamlessly and response time is generally quick and<br />

easy to receive <strong>the</strong> necessary approval to travel. The TCI<br />

Government, even through a change <strong>of</strong> administration,<br />

has proven its ability to manage a never-before-encountered<br />

pandemic scenario while keeping <strong>the</strong> health <strong>of</strong><br />

both <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and its economy paramount. Their focus<br />

appears to have remained unchanged throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

year: Make good decisions with <strong>the</strong> best information at<br />

hand, be ready to adapt, and tell <strong>the</strong> world that Turks &<br />

Caicos is ready to welcome you.<br />

And that message appears to have been received,<br />

loud and clear. A look at popular social media sites for<br />

Turks & Caicos backs this up, providing <strong>the</strong> best source <strong>of</strong><br />

testimonials to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ recovery—its visitors. Recent<br />

tourists consistently remark how easy it is to travel here,<br />

and how impressed <strong>the</strong>y are with local adherence to<br />

COVID-19 protocols. Every now and <strong>the</strong>n, questions pop<br />

up on <strong>the</strong> forums such as, “Is it safe to visit? Should I<br />

worry about traveling?” They are inevitably met with a<br />

chorus <strong>of</strong> island praises but perhaps one traveler said<br />

it best recently: “I just returned from a week stay, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> people were as welcoming as <strong>the</strong> gorgeous turquoise<br />

waters and white sand beaches. I can’t wait to go back.<br />

If you’re considering a trip, don’t hesitate for a moment.<br />

Book it now.” Paradise is waiting. a<br />

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Boutique Diving Experience - Private charters - Sol Sister Canal Cruises<br />

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dive@flamingodivers.com solsister@flamingodivers.com www.flamingodivers.com<br />

56 www.timespub.tc

eal estate<br />

Opposite page: TCI’s pristine, uncrowded beaches are but one reason that people with <strong>the</strong> means are seeking to purchase an island hideaway<br />

here in record numbers.<br />

Above: This Amanyara resort villa, tucked away on Providenciales’ northwestern shore, is an example <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lovely, exclusive properties<br />

available.<br />


Hot, Hot, Hot!<br />

TCI’s real estate market is on fire.<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

There’s no doubt summer has arrived in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. The somewhat-cooler days, low<br />

humidity and slanted sunshine <strong>of</strong> winter and spring have given way to bright, hot days bookended by<br />

lusciously pastel early mornings and long, tawny evenings. It’s prime time for watersports in <strong>the</strong> warm<br />

turquoise sea and basking on <strong>the</strong> beach with a cool drink.<br />

Also hot? The TCI real estate market! Property sales at all price points are ablaze as world-weary buyers<br />

seek safety and solace in this quiet island nation.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 59

Besides <strong>the</strong> much-heralded natural beauty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ sparkling seas and sugary<br />

beaches, <strong>the</strong> country has yet to be as densely populated<br />

as many <strong>of</strong> her Caribbean sisters. Because serious development<br />

<strong>of</strong> resorts and villas didn’t start until <strong>the</strong> turn <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> millennium, <strong>the</strong> TCI—and especially <strong>the</strong> out islands<br />

—can still boast plenty <strong>of</strong> space for sprawling out. At <strong>the</strong><br />

same time, infrastructure from electricity to telecommunications,<br />

airports to roads, is more than sufficient to<br />

meet <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 21st century.<br />

As a British Overseas Territory, <strong>the</strong> TCI benefits from<br />

a well-established land registry, stable political framework,<br />

tax-free status, and more recently, <strong>the</strong> benefit <strong>of</strong><br />

receiving COVID-19 vaccines more quickly and in greater<br />

number than many o<strong>the</strong>r warm-wea<strong>the</strong>r destinations. At<br />

<strong>the</strong> same time, a cautious and thoughtful government<br />

response to <strong>the</strong> pandemic (see “Paradise Waiting” in this<br />

issue) has allowed <strong>the</strong> country to reopen safely when<br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r vacation havens are still struggling.<br />

The Turks & Caicos Real Estate Association (TCREA) is<br />

a group <strong>of</strong> 15 independent real estate agencies who work<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r under a managed Multiple Listing System (MLS)<br />

accessed at www.tcrea.com. The industry compiles and<br />

reports detailed statistics and <strong>the</strong> most recent are staggering.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> close <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first quarter <strong>of</strong> <strong>2021</strong>, <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

real estate market made history with nearly $128 million<br />

in closed transactions—up 60% over <strong>the</strong> same period last<br />

year, just prior to <strong>the</strong> pandemic and <strong>the</strong> country’s fourmonth<br />

border closing in late March 2020. As reported by<br />

TCREA in April <strong>2021</strong>, <strong>the</strong>re were also over $463 million<br />

in pending and conditional transactions, not including<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r potential $100 million in new development sales.<br />

Whew! What is going on?<br />

The first point is that ultra-luxury and luxury buyers<br />

are flocking to TCI as a preferred destination. This is<br />

evidenced in an average sale price (residential and commercial<br />

market) <strong>of</strong> nearly $1.5 million in <strong>the</strong> first quarter<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>2021</strong>, a 63% increase! For single family homes, <strong>the</strong><br />

average price increased 38.5%, with a list to sell ratio <strong>of</strong><br />

92%. For condominiums, <strong>the</strong> average price jumped 31%<br />

with a list to sell ratio <strong>of</strong> 93%. Residential and commercial<br />

land average prices jumped 72%, as buyers searched<br />

for vacant land—especially rare beachfront and waterfront—on<br />

which to build. Currently, realtors report villa<br />

price ranges from $2.5 million up to <strong>the</strong> $30 million level.<br />

Condominium prices are also rising with luxury condos<br />

approaching and surpassing $1,000 per square foot.<br />

It’s clear that people with <strong>the</strong> means want to find a<br />

safe, exclusive hideaway and TCI fits <strong>the</strong> bill. According<br />

to Ivor Stanbrook, managing director <strong>of</strong> Windward<br />

Development, <strong>the</strong> pandemic and successful reopening <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> country has introduced <strong>the</strong> market to a new group <strong>of</strong><br />

investors who may not have o<strong>the</strong>rwise known about <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos. They are finding a wider choice <strong>of</strong> properties<br />

and better value here than in traditional Caribbean<br />

markets like <strong>the</strong> Cayman <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong> Bahamas, along<br />

with a sense <strong>of</strong> space and proximity to nature. Also flourishing<br />

is <strong>the</strong> villa rental market, as an increasing number<br />

<strong>of</strong> families choose to vacation in a private home or villa,<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r than a resort property. At <strong>the</strong> same time, owners<br />

are using <strong>the</strong>ir properties for longer periods <strong>of</strong> time, as<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to work and learn from home becomes easier<br />

and more accepted. Both factors are clearly driving <strong>the</strong><br />

booming real estate market in TCI.<br />

While undeveloped beachfront properties in<br />

Providenciales are nearly non-existent, you can still find<br />

oceanside vacant land on <strong>the</strong> out islands <strong>of</strong> North, South<br />

and Middle Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay. Inland on<br />

Providenciales, <strong>the</strong> neighborhoods <strong>of</strong> Long Bay, Long Bay<br />

Hills, Turtle Tail and Cooper Jack <strong>of</strong>fer new villa construction<br />

and land for a dream home. The longer-established<br />

areas such as Chalk Sound, Turtle Cove, Thompson Cove,<br />

Discovery Bay, The Bight and Leeward are already in <strong>the</strong><br />

phase <strong>of</strong> tearing down and rebuilding or renovating older<br />

structures, with new construction tucked in between.<br />

Amanyara (in <strong>the</strong> North West Point area <strong>of</strong><br />

Providenciales), Parrot Cay and Pine Cay, Ambergris Cay<br />

and West Caicos are all exclusive areas somewhat separated<br />

from <strong>the</strong> mainstream. They are punctuated with<br />

celebrities, high-end villas and ultra-upscale amenities.<br />

A recent interview by well-known US television personality<br />

Star Jones with TCI Deputy Governor Anya Williams,<br />

Minister <strong>of</strong> Tourism Josephine Connolly and local lawyer<br />

Tremmaine Harvey, reinforced what many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />

working women (and men) are declaring. They all enjoyed<br />

<strong>the</strong> freedom and flexibility <strong>of</strong> working from home during<br />

<strong>the</strong> pandemic! As this trend continues, TCI’s stable power<br />

grid, maintained by Canadian-based Fortis TCI Ltd., and<br />

excellent telecommunications service provided by Digicel<br />

and FLOW, become tremendous advantages.<br />

While commercial air service expands as <strong>the</strong> US and<br />

global airlines loosen restrictions and travelers grow in<br />

confidence, <strong>the</strong> TCI’s private airports have seen a massive<br />

influx <strong>of</strong> private jets. This supports industry trends<br />

noting a 50% increase in “new to private” travel since <strong>the</strong><br />

pandemic began. This reflects <strong>the</strong> desire to avoid exposure<br />

to <strong>the</strong> virus and well as more schedule flexibility for<br />

travelers.<br />

60 www.timespub.tc

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The longest established legal practice<br />

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

Real Estate Investments<br />

& Property Development<br />

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& Business Licensing<br />

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Leeward Highway, Providenciales<br />

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

Ph: 649 946 4344 • Fax: 649 946 4564<br />

E-Mail: dempsey@tciway.tc<br />

Cockburn House, P.O. Box 70<br />

Market Street, Grand Turk<br />

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

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According to Joe Zahm, president <strong>of</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty, buyers are coming from<br />

traditional hubs as well as <strong>the</strong> New York City tri-state area<br />

and Ontario, Canada, along with a broader geographic<br />

base including California, Texas, and <strong>the</strong> Midwest and<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>ast US. He says, “We’re also seeing ‘vacation relocation’<br />

from harder to access places such as Hawaii,<br />

Costa Rica and <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn Caribbean.”<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r advantages to a TCI lifestyle include 350 average<br />

days <strong>of</strong> sunshine, modern hospitals and health care<br />

practitioners, full service banks and temporary and permanent<br />

residence status available to qualified investors.<br />

There is a homeowner’s permit, valid for five years and<br />

allowing recipients and <strong>the</strong>ir family members to come and<br />

go as <strong>the</strong>y wish (without <strong>the</strong> right to work). Purchasers<br />

<strong>of</strong> any home or condominium valued over $300,000<br />

can apply. With a real estate purchase over $1 million,<br />

investors can apply for a Permanent Residence Certificate<br />

(PRC), granting <strong>the</strong> applicant and spouse <strong>the</strong> right to<br />

reside in TCI for life. Children can be endorsed until <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are 18 years old. The cost is a one-time government fee<br />

<strong>of</strong> $25,000, plus $1,500 for spouse and $500 per child,<br />

along with legal fees. PRC status can lead to TCI (British<br />

Overseas Territory Citizenship) and, potentially, a British<br />

passport. Note that foreigners also have <strong>the</strong> unrestricted<br />

right to purchase property, and <strong>the</strong>re are no real estate<br />

taxes.<br />

If you are planning to build or renovate, <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

many long established and well qualified local architects,<br />

builders, contractors and tradesmen for any type <strong>of</strong> project<br />

you can dream up. There is a quality skill pool from<br />

which to draw and <strong>the</strong> work force comprises 50% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

population.<br />

Besides a record number <strong>of</strong> established homes, condominiums<br />

and land transactions in progress, <strong>the</strong> TCI has<br />

many new projects under development that will strongly<br />

affect sales now and in <strong>the</strong> future. A quick read-through<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> expansive lists <strong>of</strong> features and amenities supports<br />

<strong>the</strong> ever-growing demand for a second home or vacation<br />

property in this country. Buyers will lack for nothing and<br />

are sure to find a property to suit any taste and style.<br />

Perhaps <strong>the</strong> most prominent, at 12 stories, is <strong>the</strong><br />

long-awaited Ritz-Carlton Residences due to open this<br />

summer. This five-star property spans nearly 700 feet <strong>of</strong><br />

prime Grace Bay beachfront over 10.5 acres. According<br />

to Walter Gardiner Jr., Director <strong>of</strong> Sales & Marketing for<br />

<strong>the</strong> project, “It’s extremely gratifying to watch this dream<br />

become a reality . . . The combination <strong>of</strong> having one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> world’s best resort brands on <strong>the</strong> world’s best beach<br />

62 www.timespub.tc

will solidify <strong>the</strong> position <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

as <strong>the</strong> premier vacation and investment destination in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean.” The resort features a luxury hotel, 60<br />

residences, and world-class amenities managed by<br />

renowned Ritz-Carlton, with service tailored to individual<br />

desires—with “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and<br />

gentlemen.” Oceanview residences are over 90% sold.<br />

South Bank is a new residential resort and marina<br />

community on <strong>the</strong> south side <strong>of</strong> Providenciales. Each<br />

neighborhood and lot <strong>of</strong>fers a unique relationship with<br />

<strong>the</strong> water, designed to court boating enthusiasts and<br />

watersports lovers. Covering 31 acres with 230 feet <strong>of</strong><br />

stunning beachfront along Long Bay Beach and 2,000<br />

feet <strong>of</strong> picturesque ironshore, South Bank has planned<br />

90 units ranging from six-bedroom villas to one-bedroom<br />

condominiums and townhouses with boat docks.<br />

Surrounding <strong>the</strong> fully excavated lagoon, six Lagoon<br />

Villas are progressing and showing different stages <strong>of</strong><br />

completion, with all 18 Lagoon Villas starting works. The<br />

Boathouses have an impressive 42% sold or reserved status<br />

with construction slated to start on August 1, <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Ocean Estate area, two villas are well underway,<br />

with over half a dozen in early construction phases. This<br />

community is now over 60% sold or reserved.<br />

The Beach Enclave brand was designed to combine<br />

a home environment with <strong>the</strong> services and amenities <strong>of</strong><br />

a condominium. These dream vacation homes combined<br />

low density and floor plans that seamlessly blend indoor<br />

with outdoor living spaces, with modern décor and fun<br />

amenities. Launched on Provo’s North Shore in 2014, <strong>the</strong><br />

brand now spans five phases <strong>of</strong> development in three<br />

locations.<br />

To appeal to a broader market <strong>of</strong> home buyers,<br />

Beach Enclave developers introduced The Club at Beach<br />

Enclave Long Bay now with eight private Beach Houses<br />

and a boutique condominium with just 24 hotel rooms,<br />

The Club Residences. At <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> The Club will be<br />

a ro<strong>of</strong>top Wellness Spa, featuring elevated views <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ocean backdrop, sunrises and sunsets. By <strong>the</strong> pool and<br />

beach, will be a chic lounge as well as a casual, barefoot<br />

beach bar. O<strong>the</strong>r amenities include lighted tennis courts,<br />

a fitness center, a yoga center, a kids’ club and in-house<br />

watersports. Construction is slated to begin in December<br />

<strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Developers have also cleared ground for Phase 2 <strong>of</strong><br />

Beach Enclave North Shore. It features 10 exclusive two<br />

to four-bedroom luxury beach and oceanview houses.<br />

Only one beach house and four oceanview houses remain<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 63

available. Along with a dramatic limestone design feature,<br />

this project will include an elevated oceanfront club<br />

lounge, decks with water and fire features, an upgraded<br />

fitness center and yoga deck, a lighted tennis court, kids<br />

club and a unique garden teeming with fruit trees.<br />

The Strand is <strong>the</strong> TCI’s newest residential resort<br />

community overlooking <strong>the</strong> sapphire waters <strong>of</strong> Cooper<br />

Jack Bay. This property features dramatic vistas with an<br />

array <strong>of</strong> custom oceanfront residences, all with access<br />

to shared community amenities. Currently in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

development phase, visitors can now explore <strong>the</strong> site via<br />

paths and multiple viewing areas. Infrastructure works<br />

are underway and construction is anticipated to soon<br />

start. Interestingly, The Strand developers are looking to<br />

partner with a leader in solar home integration; it could<br />

be <strong>the</strong> first such community in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

The developers <strong>of</strong> Latitude 22 broke ground in late<br />

May for Karaya Blue. This private residential development<br />

features six luxury villas, each on a private half acre<br />

estate bursting with tropical foliage and minutes from <strong>the</strong><br />

Long Bay beachfront. It will also include a fully integrated<br />

solar electrical system to be at <strong>the</strong> forefront <strong>of</strong> sustainable<br />

development in TCI.<br />

Sailrock is an evolving development on <strong>the</strong> country’s<br />

fishing capital <strong>of</strong> South Caicos. The project won<br />

<strong>the</strong> “Caribbean’s Leading Luxury Island Resort” at <strong>the</strong><br />

2020 World Travel Awards. Sailrock Resort opened its<br />

doors in January 2017 as <strong>the</strong> only five-star resort on<br />

South Caicos, bringing a new level <strong>of</strong> luxury to <strong>the</strong> quiet<br />

island, without disturbing its peaceful rhythms. Sailrock<br />

includes 33 suites and villas spread over 52 hilltop and<br />

oceanfront acres. Residences are supported by <strong>the</strong> Great<br />

House, a central hub housing a lounge, oceanview deck<br />

and upscale restaurant and bar. Investors looking for a<br />

Caribbean home-away-from-home will find it in <strong>the</strong> Private<br />

Peninsula Villas neighboring 770-acre enclave.<br />

Recently resurrected for development is <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

Reef Resort at Sandy Point, North Caicos. This condominium/hotel<br />

resort is located on 19 acres <strong>of</strong> beachfront<br />

land with over 500 feet <strong>of</strong> beachfront, and will comprise<br />

139 residential units and a 90-room hotel building and<br />

spa on completion.<br />

Realtors agree—NOW is <strong>the</strong> time to secure your safe<br />

haven in paradise, as prices continue to rise and <strong>the</strong><br />

properties available become more scarce. They note that<br />

many real estate <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong> latest technology for virtual<br />

showings. Looking to <strong>the</strong> future, <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> continue to streng<strong>the</strong>n and move to <strong>the</strong> next level<br />

as a global luxury and tourism brand. a<br />

64 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 />


This collage is a compilation <strong>of</strong> some <strong>of</strong> Dr. Michael Pateman’s memories as director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum.<br />

Saying Goodbye . . . For Now<br />

I am sad to say that this will be my last issue as editor <strong>of</strong> Astrolabe. Since I took on <strong>the</strong> responsibility, we<br />

have shared many stories, including a series on <strong>the</strong> TCI during <strong>the</strong> World Wars, various adventures and<br />

archaeological and filming projects, efforts to preserve TCI heritage and more. My experiences in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos have been life-changing and I will cherish all <strong>of</strong> my memories and relationships forged.<br />

While I am saying goodbye as editor, you will still be able to follow some <strong>of</strong> my research and adventures.<br />

I will continue to contribute articles to Astrolabe and I have joined <strong>the</strong> team <strong>of</strong> Bill Keegan and<br />

Betsy Carlson in reviving “Talking Taino”. Thank you to all <strong>the</strong> contributors who submitted articles over<br />

<strong>the</strong> last several years. I hope our readers and supporters have enjoyed <strong>the</strong>m as much as I have!<br />

In this edition, Marjorie Sadler discusses a plan created by <strong>the</strong> TCI’s first president (Frederick Forth)<br />

through a historic map <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk. This story and more are included in <strong>the</strong> newly revised book, Turks<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> Landfall, available in <strong>the</strong> museum gift shop. Lisa Turnbow-Talbot discusses “different” ways to<br />

contribute to <strong>the</strong> museum. Do you have an artistic, historic or cultural research question or article you<br />

would like to submit to 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>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 65

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />


This is <strong>the</strong> map <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk presented by President Forth to <strong>the</strong> Governor <strong>of</strong> Jamaica in 1849 to supplement his proposal to develop North<br />

Creek as a “Harbour <strong>of</strong> Refuge.”<br />

If Maps Could Talk . . .<br />

Visualizing <strong>the</strong> Grand Turk <strong>of</strong> yesteryear.<br />

Story and Images Courtesy Marjorie Sadler<br />

In <strong>the</strong> final pages <strong>of</strong> H.E. Sadler’s book, Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Landfall, <strong>the</strong> author (my fa<strong>the</strong>r) gives some history<br />

<strong>of</strong> North Creek in Grand Turk which President Forth (served 1848–1854) believed was a huge asset to<br />

<strong>the</strong> island simply awaiting development. Forth was <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ first President under <strong>the</strong><br />

newly organized and quasi-self-governing Presidency following <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ separation from <strong>the</strong> Bahamas<br />

in 1848. While Forth proved quite unpopular with <strong>the</strong> local bureaucracy because <strong>of</strong> his autocratic manner,<br />

he did have some innovative ideas to pr<strong>of</strong>it <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, although some were quite contentious at <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

66 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Foremost <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se was his proposal to develop <strong>the</strong><br />

North Creek as a “Harbour <strong>of</strong> Refuge” to provide shelter<br />

for small craft <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, but also a safe harbour<br />

for larger trading vessels, particularly salt cargoes. North<br />

Creek is a large, beautiful and calm expanse <strong>of</strong> water<br />

whose narrow entrance to <strong>the</strong> ocean was <strong>of</strong>ten blocked<br />

by past storms.<br />

Forth presented his ideas to <strong>the</strong> Governor <strong>of</strong> Jamaica,<br />

Sir Charles Grey in November 1849, along with a Plan <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Island, drawn up by Major E.C. Soden <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2nd West<br />

Indies Regiment, who had conducted a survey <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Turk with particular reference to <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new lighthouse.<br />

There was also a survey <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island’s reefs and<br />

soundings taken by Captain Owen <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal Navy.<br />

The Harbour <strong>of</strong> Refuge envisioned by <strong>the</strong> president<br />

called for:<br />

“A Civil Engineer <strong>of</strong> moderate ability . . . by a succession<br />

<strong>of</strong> ‘Blasts’ properly directed and <strong>the</strong> subsequent<br />

use <strong>of</strong> a diving bell, could in less than eighteen months .<br />

. . with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> 600 convicts 1 properly <strong>of</strong>ficered<br />

lower <strong>the</strong> reef in front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entrance into <strong>the</strong> Harbour<br />

to a depth equal to <strong>the</strong> admission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest vessels<br />

. . . Within <strong>the</strong> same period a sufficient channel could be<br />

opened into <strong>the</strong> harbour . . .”<br />

The resultant plan/map illustrating this project and<br />

<strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk was found in <strong>the</strong> UK National<br />

Archives and is shown here—first in its entirety, <strong>the</strong>n in<br />

four sections for easier viewing.<br />

It is really a remarkable depiction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island showing<br />

in exquisite detail its elemental features. Forth’s<br />

proposed harbour appears in <strong>the</strong> map section on <strong>the</strong> next<br />

page. It illustrates that, once having opened up <strong>the</strong> channel,<br />

a proper wharf could be constructed at <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> creek, and from that point a railway would link<br />

it to <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> town across from <strong>the</strong> large Town Salina,<br />

to its terminus at about where <strong>the</strong> old jail stood (Church<br />

Folly and Lighthouse Road). Presumably, its proximity to<br />

<strong>the</strong> largest salinas would facilitate <strong>the</strong> loading <strong>of</strong> salt cargoes<br />

for outbound vessels from <strong>the</strong> new harbour.<br />

It sounded like a grand, if ambitious project. Sadler<br />

writes that “<strong>the</strong> Hydrographer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Navy advised <strong>the</strong><br />

Crown against <strong>the</strong> proposed Harbour <strong>of</strong> Refuge as an<br />

expensive and impractical scheme which ‘could not for<br />

a moment be entertained.’” The plan was subsequently<br />

rejected by <strong>the</strong> Colonial Office.<br />

Ultimately, President Forth didn’t realize this dream.<br />

But was it really so far-fetched? Traditionally, <strong>the</strong> loading<br />

<strong>of</strong> salt onto vessels took place in <strong>the</strong> town’s open road-<br />

1<br />

Forth’s proposal to use convicts for this and o<strong>the</strong>r development schemes was due to <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> sufficient labour in Grand Turk to carry out large<br />

projects, but <strong>the</strong> controversial plan incurred <strong>the</strong> anger <strong>of</strong> many establishment figures and <strong>the</strong> general population who refused to countenance <strong>the</strong><br />

idea <strong>of</strong> imported criminals living amongst <strong>the</strong>m.<br />


This aerial view shows North Creek’s large expanse <strong>of</strong> calm water, along with its narrow entrance to <strong>the</strong> ocean.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 67

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

stead 2 , a circumstance not<br />

without danger to vessels<br />

in stormy wea<strong>the</strong>r. It was<br />

extremely labour intensive<br />

in <strong>of</strong>floading cargo<br />

and loading salt, requiring<br />

<strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> multiple<br />

small lighters and at times<br />

taking several days to<br />

complete a load. Against<br />

this, Forth’s harbour and<br />

rail line seems like it could<br />

have saved an immense<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> time, labour<br />

and expense. Forth’s successor,<br />

President Inglis,<br />

also saw <strong>the</strong> wisdom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Harbour <strong>of</strong> Refuge and ten<br />

years later in 1859, was<br />

pushing a proposal from<br />

an American investor:<br />

“This project . . . is<br />

proposed to be effected<br />

by means <strong>of</strong> a ship canal,<br />

entering into <strong>the</strong> creek to<br />

be combined with marine<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r railways, for <strong>the</strong><br />

repairs <strong>of</strong> shipping and<br />

conveyance <strong>of</strong> salt, would<br />

prove <strong>the</strong> means <strong>of</strong> rendering<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>,<br />

from <strong>the</strong> central position<br />

<strong>the</strong>y occupy as regards <strong>the</strong><br />

West Indies . . . An important<br />

commercial depot and<br />

coaling station for steamers.<br />

. . . Where a fleet could lie moored as in a dock,<br />

which it is, <strong>of</strong> nature’s handiwork—containing sufficient<br />

water for any class <strong>of</strong> merchant vessels and most men <strong>of</strong><br />

war . . .”<br />

This section <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> map shows <strong>the</strong> projected lighthouse and its location, <strong>the</strong> proposed channel into North<br />

Creek and a wharf at <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> creek. The inset depicts several <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shipwrecks found on<br />

<strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast Reef.<br />

The project favoured by Inglis did not come to fruition<br />

due to <strong>the</strong> American Civil War and <strong>the</strong> investor’s<br />

inability to secure financing. But it had <strong>the</strong> potential <strong>of</strong><br />

making Grand Turk a hub for West Indies shipping and<br />

who knows, may even have recaptured its status as <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean coaling station for steamers which was lost<br />

to <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong> St. Thomas after <strong>the</strong> fateful wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

RM Medina in 1842. North Creek languished <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

until <strong>the</strong> 1980s when ano<strong>the</strong>r project for its development<br />

as a yachting haven for Caribbean cruising vessels was<br />

begun but terminated after a few years due to differences<br />

between <strong>the</strong> developers and <strong>the</strong> local government. The<br />

corroding remains <strong>of</strong> that project’s machinery and elaborate<br />

equipment remain part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> landscape at North<br />

Creek even to this day.<br />


2<br />

The perils encountered by several vessels in <strong>the</strong> Roadstead are described in <strong>the</strong> book’s “Open Roadstead” section.<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Returning to President Forth and this remarkable<br />

map—his o<strong>the</strong>r important objective in completing this<br />

survey was to finally secure British approval and funding<br />

for a modern, functional lighthouse for <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>ast end<br />

<strong>of</strong> Grand Turk. It’s no secret that many ships met <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

demise on <strong>the</strong> island’s treacherous Nor<strong>the</strong>ast Reef, due<br />

largely to <strong>the</strong> inefficiency <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> antiquated lighthouse<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, described by Forth as “a miserable wea<strong>the</strong>r boarded<br />

structure—30' high.” 3 He was quick to blame <strong>the</strong> disastrous<br />

loss <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> important mail steamer, RM Medina,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> a proper lighthouse. (Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se shipwrecks<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast Reef are documented in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Landfall chapter on shipwrecks.)<br />

Happily, <strong>the</strong> president achieved that objective and<br />

Sadler states that:<br />

“President Forth must be given credit for securing <strong>the</strong><br />

erection <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first modern lighthouse at Grand Turk in<br />

<strong>the</strong> year 1852 . . . This action saved <strong>the</strong> salt trade since,<br />

because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> perils <strong>of</strong> navigation, vessels had been<br />

refusing to call for salt cargoes.”<br />

Detail in <strong>the</strong> map on <strong>the</strong> opposite page shows <strong>the</strong><br />

artist’s rendition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> proposed lighthouse, in <strong>the</strong> location<br />

where it stands today. Just nor<strong>the</strong>ast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> proposed<br />

structure is shown <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> several shipwrecks<br />

which had been found by <strong>the</strong> Royal Navy’s Captain Owen<br />

and his crew while surveying <strong>the</strong> reefs; <strong>the</strong>se were some<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most noteworthy wrecks in 1849 and earlier.<br />

Looking closely, or using a magnifier, one can see: <strong>the</strong> RM<br />

Medina (1842), Sturdy Oak (1849), Susan Currier (1849),<br />

Columbus (1847), Schooner Banner (1849), General<br />

C<strong>of</strong>fin (1842) and o<strong>the</strong>rs un-named or indecipherable.<br />

Owen would naturally have found only a smattering <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

wrecks which had transpired on that reef—those whose<br />

remains were still visible at <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> survey. But<br />

<strong>the</strong>se findings and local knowledge <strong>of</strong> many o<strong>the</strong>rs were<br />

sufficient to bolster President Forth’s case that <strong>the</strong> time<br />

had come for a modern lighthouse.<br />

What <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r areas on <strong>the</strong> island depicted in<br />

Forth’s Plan? See <strong>the</strong> smart grid layout <strong>of</strong> Cockburn<br />

Town on <strong>the</strong> following page. There one can see Queen<br />

Square (as it was <strong>the</strong>n called) running from Pond Street<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Front Street Waterfront, with a building marked<br />

—<strong>the</strong> original jail, which was destroyed in <strong>the</strong> 1866<br />

hurricane, but rebuilt later in more or less <strong>the</strong> same location.<br />

The Victoria Public Library was later to be placed<br />

The Grand Turk Lighthouse <strong>of</strong> today is quite different from <strong>the</strong> “old<br />

lantern mounted on a pole” described by President Forth.<br />

at this Square in 1889, so is not shown on <strong>the</strong> plan. The<br />

Customs House on <strong>the</strong> waterfront is noted, so is <strong>the</strong> town<br />

wharf, <strong>the</strong> streets and buildings in <strong>the</strong> north, south and<br />

east suburbs, <strong>the</strong> saltwater canals feeding <strong>the</strong> salina reservoirs<br />

(which are all still <strong>the</strong>re today) and <strong>the</strong> vast areas<br />

<strong>of</strong> salt ponds.<br />

You can see <strong>the</strong> large Town Salina, in <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong><br />

which is <strong>the</strong> little island called <strong>the</strong> old Burial Ground,<br />

where paupers, sick and <strong>the</strong> contagious were buried.<br />

Crossing Church Folly led to St. Thomas’ Church, built<br />

<strong>of</strong> Bermuda stone in 1822, <strong>the</strong> island’s oldest church,<br />

still standing and in use; next is <strong>the</strong> Ma<strong>the</strong>w Tank, built<br />

around 1845–6 and named after Governor Ma<strong>the</strong>w<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas, who visited <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> prior to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

divorce from <strong>the</strong> Bahamas and eventually sympathized<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Islanders’ pleas for <strong>the</strong> political separation.<br />

The tank remains <strong>the</strong> largest water catchment on <strong>the</strong><br />

island. Depicted also are <strong>the</strong> Baptist Church, <strong>the</strong> original<br />

Methodist Chapel on Red Salina, and <strong>the</strong> Parade Ground<br />

—all <strong>of</strong> which remain exactly where <strong>the</strong>y are today.<br />


3<br />

This was lit by 12 ordinary tallow candles without any reflectors. Before this structure <strong>the</strong>re had only been an old lantern mounted on a pole.<br />

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Looking up towards <strong>the</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern side <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Turk sits South Creek and at<br />

its mouth Columbus Island—<br />

directly facing Gibb’s Cay.<br />

(See map at top <strong>of</strong> opposite<br />

page.) At left is <strong>the</strong> high<br />

ground at Ma<strong>the</strong>rson’s Point.<br />

It was here, Sadler writes,<br />

where Columbus approached<br />

in his longboat after anchoring<br />

<strong>the</strong> fleet in <strong>the</strong> nearby<br />

sheltered harbour <strong>of</strong> Hawkes’<br />

Nest. Little Columbus Island,<br />

Gibb’s Cay, Ma<strong>the</strong>rson’s<br />

Point and land beyond on<br />

that high ridge overlooking<br />

<strong>the</strong> eastern shore were part<br />

<strong>of</strong> George Gibbs’ landholdings.<br />

Gibbs was an important<br />

figure in <strong>the</strong> island’s legislature.<br />

He was also a noted<br />

historian, and vocal proponent<br />

<strong>of</strong> Columbus’s landfall<br />

at Grand Turk.<br />

This map pinpoints <strong>the</strong><br />

Gun Hill fortification built in<br />

1791, when <strong>the</strong>re was tension<br />

over a feared French<br />

invasion from Hispaniola.<br />

Notice also <strong>the</strong> old plantation<br />

near <strong>the</strong> Hawk’s Nest<br />

Salina. The bottom map<br />

on <strong>the</strong> opposite page (SW<br />

Detail) shows <strong>the</strong> Hawes<br />

Salina; also, <strong>the</strong> plantation <strong>of</strong><br />

James Misick and his house<br />

“Waterloo” built around 1815<br />

to commemorate <strong>the</strong> famous<br />

battle. The property was later<br />

acquired by <strong>the</strong> government<br />

as <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial residence for<br />

<strong>the</strong> president and sits facing<br />

<strong>the</strong> famous anchorage <strong>of</strong><br />

“Riding Ground,” location <strong>of</strong><br />

Governor’s Beach.<br />

Above: This section <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> map shows <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn half <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk, with inset details <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Town<br />

Center and o<strong>the</strong>r notable landmarks <strong>of</strong> Cockburn Town.<br />

Below: Built around 1845–6, Ma<strong>the</strong>w Tank remains <strong>the</strong> largest water catchment on Grand Turk.<br />


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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Many more historic<br />

landmarks and areas are<br />

depicted here for those<br />

who have <strong>the</strong> eyes and<br />

patience to peruse. It’s a<br />

marvelous work <strong>of</strong> art, <strong>of</strong><br />

utmost historic interest,<br />

but more vitally, a unique<br />

pictorial record <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Turk as it was nearly<br />

200 years ago. The modern-day<br />

similarities are<br />

fascinating. a<br />

As a postcript, I am<br />

indebted to <strong>the</strong> late Terry<br />

Richardson, a friend<br />

from Grand Turk and<br />

Providenciales, retired<br />

surveyor and avid follower<br />

<strong>of</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong><br />

history, who discovered<br />

this invaluable relic in<br />

<strong>the</strong> UK National Archives<br />

years ago, and kindly<br />

brought it to my attention<br />

while I was editing this latest<br />

edition <strong>of</strong> my fa<strong>the</strong>r’s<br />

book. The UK National<br />

Archives have granted<br />

permission for its publication<br />

in <strong>the</strong> book Turks<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> Landfall.<br />

Above: Side B, SE Detail shows South Creek, <strong>the</strong> little island at its mouth (Columbus Island), and Gibbs Cay,<br />

with Ma<strong>the</strong>rson’s Point on <strong>the</strong> left peninsula and Gun Hill on <strong>the</strong> right with its fortifications. See, too, St.<br />

Thomas’s Church and Ma<strong>the</strong>w Tank <strong>of</strong>f to <strong>the</strong> left.<br />

Bottom: Side B, SW Detail shows <strong>the</strong> Riding Ground anchorage, across from Waterloo, which was later<br />

acquired as <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial Presidential Residence.<br />


This beautiful sunset took place near <strong>the</strong> mouth <strong>of</strong> North Creek in Grand Turk.<br />


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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This collage is just a small sampling <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> photos donated to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum by Barbara Currie Dailey. They represent<br />

festivals, events and <strong>the</strong> general lifestyle on Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay during <strong>the</strong> late 1970s.<br />

What’s Hiding in<br />

Your Closet?<br />

Donations are <strong>the</strong> lifeblood <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> National Museum.<br />

Story & Photo Collages By Lisa Turnbow-Talbot<br />

Everyone knows that non-pr<strong>of</strong>it organizations rely on monetary donations, but for <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

National Museum that is not <strong>the</strong> only donation that matters. Gifts-in-kind <strong>of</strong> photographs, videotapes,<br />

books, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, historical objects, business records, organization records, government<br />

records and oral histories are all important in documenting history and culture through <strong>the</strong> years.<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This collage is a sampling <strong>of</strong> images donated by Moira and Alan Bishop, who spent time on Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay during <strong>the</strong><br />

1960s and 1970s.<br />

Photographs are perhaps <strong>the</strong> most common and<br />

currently, <strong>the</strong> easiest way <strong>of</strong> documenting history. While<br />

photos <strong>of</strong> prominent places and famous people are commonplace,<br />

it is <strong>of</strong>ten those photos <strong>of</strong> everyday people in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir element that truly capture our cultural history. The<br />

lifestyles <strong>of</strong> people working, socializing, celebrating and<br />

spending time with <strong>the</strong>ir families are all part <strong>of</strong> a country’s<br />

culture.<br />

When you look at a photo, it brings that particular<br />

time in history to life. Wall carvings and paintings<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> world are <strong>the</strong> photographs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir time.<br />

A great deal <strong>of</strong> what we know about many ancient cultures<br />

is derived from those etchings.<br />

What’s hiding in your closet that may be <strong>of</strong> historical<br />

value? Many <strong>of</strong> us may remember sorting through boxes<br />

<strong>of</strong> photographs left by family members after <strong>the</strong>y passed<br />

or when cleaning out closets. Photos are now more likely<br />

to be stored on a phone or online, but you may still find<br />

older items stashed away in Grandma’s shoe box.<br />

The culture and how people lived even between <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong> in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos varied widely. This article<br />

focuses on photos from some <strong>of</strong> our collections and <strong>the</strong><br />

people who donated <strong>the</strong>m. As <strong>the</strong>re are too many to list<br />

<strong>the</strong>m all, this is just a small sample <strong>of</strong> those who have<br />

contributed to recording <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

in photographs.<br />

Barbara Currie Dailey donated a large collection<br />

(over 1,000 photographs) taken in <strong>the</strong> late 1970s. Her<br />

photos represent festivals, events and <strong>the</strong> general lifestyle<br />

on Grand Turk, South Caicos and Providenciales. It<br />

was difficult to choose which <strong>of</strong> her photos to highlight<br />

as <strong>the</strong>re are so many valuable images.<br />

Moira and Alan Bishop spent time on Grand Turk,<br />

South Caicos and Salt Cay during <strong>the</strong> 1960s and 1970s.<br />

In addition to over 300 photos, <strong>the</strong>y also donated a collection<br />

<strong>of</strong> postcards.<br />

We <strong>of</strong>ten have military persons who were based on<br />

Grand Turk or South Caicos in <strong>the</strong> past return for visits<br />

and donate various items from <strong>the</strong>ir time spent on<br />

<strong>the</strong> island. One <strong>of</strong> our largest collections <strong>of</strong> photographs<br />

was donated by Ted Philippona. He was stationed<br />

on Grand Turk from 1954 to 1968. His collection contains<br />

over 600 photos and several videos <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk,<br />

Salt Cay and South Caicos. He captures “true life” from<br />

<strong>the</strong> mid-1950s to <strong>the</strong> late 1960s—<strong>the</strong> faces <strong>of</strong> children<br />

playing and people working and living everyday life. His<br />

collection provided us with some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> only photographs<br />

from John Glenn’s landing in 1964 and <strong>the</strong> Mercury<br />

Friendship 7 being loaded from <strong>the</strong> dock and taken to<br />

<strong>the</strong> airport on Grand Turk.<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Ted Philippona was stationed on Grand Turk from 1954 to 1968. This collage is a sampling <strong>of</strong> his “true life” images.<br />

Art St. John served as <strong>the</strong> commanding <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong><br />

“Waldo II,” <strong>the</strong> temporary US Coast Guard LORAN station<br />

set up in <strong>the</strong> old Navy Base at <strong>the</strong> north end <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Turk. He lived in Guinep House, which is now <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos National Museum. He donated 150 digital copies<br />

<strong>of</strong> photos he took from 1957 to 1958.<br />

There are many o<strong>the</strong>rs who have provided us with<br />

photos over <strong>the</strong> years, including Peter Bleackley, Charles<br />

Bliley, Bengt Soderqvist, JR McCollum and Kim Ludington.<br />

We encourage you to look through your own photos<br />

taken in past visits to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and share <strong>the</strong>m with<br />

<strong>the</strong> museum. Yet photographs are not <strong>the</strong> only items that<br />

have been donated over <strong>the</strong> years. In our archives we<br />

have pottery sherds, Lucayan stones and beads, newsletters<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Navy bases, legislative records, church<br />

records, postcards, paintings and more.<br />

What special item from history do you have stored<br />

away in a drawer or storage container? The museum has<br />

interest in photos and objects that reflect any part or era<br />

<strong>of</strong> our history. It does not matter if you have one or 1,000<br />

items <strong>of</strong> interest—sometimes that one photo can reflect<br />

an immeasurable part <strong>of</strong> history.<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Top: This Art St. John collage reflects <strong>the</strong> time he served as commanding <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> US Coast Guard station on Grand Turk from 1957 to<br />

1958. Bottom: This collage is a sampling <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> photos from <strong>the</strong> many o<strong>the</strong>rs—including Peter Bleackley, Charles Bliley, Bengt Soderqvist, JR<br />

McCollum and Kim Ludington—who have provided photos to <strong>the</strong> museum over <strong>the</strong> years.<br />

We are a small museum and we make it fairly simple<br />

to donate. The biggest challenge is usually getting <strong>the</strong><br />

items here if <strong>the</strong>y are not already in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. This is<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r advantage <strong>of</strong> photographs, as <strong>the</strong>y can easily be<br />

scanned or downloaded and submitted to us digitally.<br />

There are a few things to know regarding your<br />

donations:<br />

• Not all items are included in an exhibit or put on display.<br />

Items that are not on display are kept in our secure<br />

and climate-controlled archives located in <strong>the</strong> Science<br />

Building on Grand Turk. If not used right away, your<br />

donation could be used in future exhibits, publication<br />

articles, educational materials or by researchers.<br />

• We are not able to appraise items.<br />

• Once <strong>the</strong> donation is made, <strong>the</strong> items become <strong>the</strong><br />

property <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> museum. You will receive a Deed <strong>of</strong> Gift<br />

that legally transfers <strong>the</strong> ownership to <strong>the</strong> museum.<br />

• If you request recognition, we can acknowledge you for<br />

<strong>the</strong> donation if used in any way.<br />


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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

New opening hours<br />

The Grand Turk Museum is now open every Tuesday<br />

and Thursday from 10 AM to 3 PM. No appointment is<br />

necessary for <strong>the</strong>se days. Special arrangements can be<br />

requested for large groups and we will try to accommodate<br />

any request.<br />

The Providenciales Museum reopened on May 1,<br />

<strong>2021</strong> after being closed in March 2020 to comply with<br />

<strong>the</strong> COVID-19 shutdown. Thanks to <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong><br />

several volunteers, we are able to be open from 10<br />

AM to 2 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and<br />

Saturday. We were pleased to have HE Governor Nigel<br />

Dakin and his wife attend <strong>the</strong> reopening, along with<br />

several o<strong>the</strong>r hotel representatives and guests. We look<br />

forward to continuing to improve and expand here.<br />

Everyone is encouraged to visit <strong>the</strong> National Museum<br />

at ei<strong>the</strong>r location and learn about <strong>the</strong> history and culture<br />

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

New items in <strong>the</strong> gift shop<br />

The gift shop at both museum locations is proud to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong> new edition <strong>of</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Landfall. This<br />

new and expanded second edition preserves all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

author’s original work published in <strong>the</strong> 1997 edition,<br />

but contains much new research and material. Marjorie<br />

Sadler, daughter <strong>of</strong> author H.E. Sadler, has released this<br />

updated 434-page hardcover book with color and black<br />

and white photographs and illustrations.<br />

We’re also selling copies <strong>of</strong> Historic South Caicos.<br />

This is a strikingly illustrated book with full-length,<br />

full-color historical overviews,<br />

anecdotes, illustrations and<br />

archival photographs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

island and its stunning surroundings.<br />

The 430-page<br />

hardcover is authored by Dr.<br />

Christian J. Buys.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r books we carry about<br />

<strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> include Stories<br />

from Around <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> by<br />

Candy Herwin; Coming in for<br />

a Landing by Embry Rucker; and Looking Back in Salt<br />

Cay by Patronella A. Been.<br />

For children we can’t forget <strong>the</strong> lovable story, Where<br />

is Simon, Sandy?. Written by author Donna Seim, this<br />

book tells a folktale that had been passed down by word<br />

<strong>of</strong> mouth for generations. It was recently released in a<br />

Spanish version. All proceeds from <strong>the</strong> sale <strong>of</strong> this book<br />

go to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum Children’s<br />

Club. This story, as well as Donna’s o<strong>the</strong>r books including<br />

Hurricane Mia and Satchi and Little Star, bring to<br />

life <strong>the</strong> charm <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong>ir people.<br />

These books make great gifts, c<strong>of</strong>fee table books,<br />

and additions to vacation rental villas and condominiums,<br />

providing enjoyable reading that increases<br />

knowledge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. a<br />

Story & Photos By Lisa Turnbow-Talbot<br />


• The more information you can provide about<br />

<strong>the</strong> item helps us to evaluate how we can use and<br />

document it. Information such as “who, what, when<br />

and where” are essential for <strong>the</strong> educational and<br />

research value <strong>of</strong> your donation.<br />

If you have items that you wish to donate,<br />

please email us at info@tcmuseum.org. a<br />

All photos in this article are <strong>the</strong> property <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos National Museum and any duplication<br />

or reproduction without <strong>the</strong> expressed written<br />

permission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

is prohibited.<br />

76 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 />

The TCI is requiring a negative COVID-19 PCR<br />

test result from a test taken within five days <strong>of</strong> travel.<br />

(Children under <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> 10 are not required to be<br />

tested.) Additionally, travellers must have medical/travel<br />

insurance that covers medevac, a completed health<br />

screening questionnaire, and certification that <strong>the</strong>y have<br />

read and agreed to <strong>the</strong> privacy policy document. These<br />

requirements must be completed and uploaded to <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI Assured portal, which is available on <strong>the</strong> TCI Tourist<br />

Board website (www.turksandcaicostourism.com), in<br />

advance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir arrival.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 77

The TCI has expanded COVID-19 testing capacity in<br />

response to testing requirements implemented for travellers<br />

entering <strong>the</strong> United States and Canada. Many resorts<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer on-site testing, along with numerous local health<br />

practitioners.<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 />

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 />

78 www.timespub.tc

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 colorful stamp 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 />

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 />

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 />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 79

<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 />

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 />

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 />

80 www.timespub.tc

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 />

subscription form<br />

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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2021</strong> 81

classified ads<br />

R E J O U V E N A N C E<br />

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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 />

D&Bswift_Layout 1 5/8/18 7:24 AM Page 1<br />





649-941-8438 and 649-241-4968<br />

SCOOTER BOBS_Layout 1 8/8/18 10:57 AM Page GBC2017_Layout 1 2/16/17 9:10 AM Page 1<br />

autorental@dnbautoparts.com<br />

We’re here to<br />

make your holiday<br />

<strong>the</strong> island way...<br />



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 />

www.scooterbobstci.com<br />

Grace Bay Road across from Regent Street<br />

Fun Friendly People<br />

Appreciating Your Business!<br />

941-8500<br />

www.gracebaycarrentals.com<br />

82 www.timespub.tc



Our executive team: (L-r) Senior Vice President <strong>of</strong> Operations Devon Cox; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Corporate<br />

Services and CFO Aisha Laporte; President and CEO Ruth Forbes; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk and<br />

Sister Island Operations Allan Robinson; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning<br />

Rachell Roullet and Vice President <strong>of</strong> Engineering and Energy Production and Delivery Don Forsyth<br />

The energy landscape is changing.<br />

And at FortisTCI, we are leading <strong>the</strong> transition to cleaner energy with<br />

innovative solutions, and <strong>the</strong> highest level <strong>of</strong> service to customers.<br />

With sustainability as a guiding principle, we are strategically investing<br />

in new technologies, people and processes to deliver least-cost, reliable,<br />

resilient and sustainable energy to keep <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

economy moving forward.<br />

At FortisTCI, we are powered by a team <strong>of</strong> energy experts, who are proud<br />

to serve as your energy partners.<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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