Times of the Islands Spring 2023

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.


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />




How far do <strong>the</strong>y travel?<br />


Island hives<br />


H2O Resort on Long Bay

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

contents<br />

Departments<br />

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

19 Getting to Know<br />

Commitment: Nothing Compares<br />

The journey to build TCSIR<br />

By Davidson Edens Louis<br />

26 Book Review<br />

The Last Resort<br />

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

28 Creature Feature<br />

Sea Cucumbers<br />

By Kelly Currington<br />

45 Faces & Places<br />

Royal Cup All-Star Basketball Game <strong>2023</strong><br />

By Nandina Hislop ~ Photos Courtesy TCISC<br />

60 Resort Report<br />

Not Just Kiteboard Heaven:<br />

H2O Life. Style Resort<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

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

81 Subscription Form<br />

82 Classified Ads<br />

Features<br />

46 Houses <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Hurricane<br />

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

54 Foray into Beekeeping<br />

By Diane Taylor<br />

Green Pages<br />

31 A Whale <strong>of</strong> a Project<br />

By Katharine Hart, Cathy Bacon,<br />

and Amy Avenant<br />

36 Redefining Reefs<br />

Story & Photos By Rachel Craft<br />

39 Cleaning Stations<br />

The five-star marine restaurant and spa<br />

By Hope Milo and C.E. O’Brien<br />

43 Greening Our Schools<br />

By Amy Avenant<br />

Photos By Jonathan Sayao<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



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

This aerial “selfie” was taken by local photographer/<br />

athlete/artist/adventurer Wes Matweyew. Of <strong>the</strong> location,<br />

Wes says, “It’s an amazing spot just downwind from<br />

Daniel’s Café on Middle Caicos. There are holes in <strong>the</strong><br />

boat that turn into waterspouts as <strong>the</strong> waves press up<br />

underneath—spraying you as you ride by and creating<br />

rainbows in <strong>the</strong> sun’s rays. Whales were swimming just<br />

outside <strong>the</strong> surf break, so it was just ano<strong>the</strong>r one <strong>of</strong> those<br />

dreamy Turks & Caicos kitesurfing experiences.” Wes’s<br />

YouTube channel is kite surf seclusion and GoProHobbit<br />

on Instagram.<br />

31<br />

Astrolabe<br />

67 Sleuthing <strong>the</strong> Stave Story<br />

Story & Illustrations By Jeff Dodge<br />

70 Remembering When:<br />

Operation Cossack<br />

Story & Images By Paul Ward<br />

Apollo Mission Badges<br />

By Dr. Richard Grainger<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

Designed by:<br />

Elevated<br />

Beachfront Living<br />

Arc Sky Villas, designed by world-renowned architect Piero Lissoni, <strong>of</strong>fer a new way <strong>of</strong><br />

life at South Bank, a groundbreaking managed residential resort and marina destination.<br />

Inspired by place, indoor and outdoor spaces are seamless with immense Air Gardens<br />

creating an organic, living structure where sky, sea, nature and space are <strong>the</strong>ir signature.<br />

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

Managed by:<br />

2-5 bedroom Sky Villas<br />

from $3m to $20m<br />

Register your interest today<br />

at: www.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 />

@livesouthbank<br />

@livesouthbank<br />

The Lissoni® trademark is owned by Piero Lissoni and any<br />

use <strong>of</strong> such mark by South Bank and Arc is under license.

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


Besides producing honey and o<strong>the</strong>r products, honey bees pollinate $15 billion worth <strong>of</strong> crops in <strong>the</strong> United States each year, including more<br />

than 130 types <strong>of</strong> fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Bees are endangered due to a variety <strong>of</strong> human-based activities.<br />

Bee-reaved<br />

Folks who read this editorial regularly may recognize that I am missing my late fa<strong>the</strong>r deeply—please bear with me.<br />

Diane Taylor’s article about beekeeping on Pine Cay brought back lots <strong>of</strong> memories. My fa<strong>the</strong>r was a hobbyist beekeeper,<br />

and every spring for <strong>the</strong> last decade, he would have been introducing a new colony <strong>of</strong> bees and a queen into<br />

his backyard hive. I was <strong>of</strong>ten <strong>the</strong> clumsy but willing assistant. We usually extracted honey in early summer—this first<br />

batch light and floral-tasting—and in <strong>the</strong> late fall, when <strong>the</strong> honey would be thick, dark-colored, and fiercely guarded<br />

by <strong>the</strong> bees as it was <strong>the</strong>ir winter sustenance. This year, <strong>the</strong> hive is empty, and I am sure my dad’s neighbors’ gardens<br />

will not be as abundant as when his bees did <strong>the</strong>ir job <strong>of</strong> pollination.<br />

My dad was a chemical engineer and a detail-oriented list-maker who valued “making best use <strong>of</strong> your time.” I<br />

think that’s why he was drawn to <strong>the</strong> bees. They operate in a complex, cooperative society that is stunning in its efficiency.<br />

I remember watching <strong>the</strong> “guard bees” monitoring <strong>the</strong> hive’s small opening so no “robber bees” could enter<br />

and steal <strong>the</strong>ir precious fare. As long as <strong>the</strong>re was daylight, “worker bees” would ceaselessly fly out and up and back<br />

again. (In fact, one bee travels approximately 55,000 miles and makes two million trips between flowers and hive to<br />

make one pound <strong>of</strong> honey.) And when we carefully opened <strong>the</strong> hive, hundreds <strong>of</strong> bees would be busy inside sharing<br />

a huge variety <strong>of</strong> duties.<br />

My parents’ friends and neighbors would look forward to <strong>the</strong> gift <strong>of</strong> a jar <strong>of</strong> honey from “Borsuk’s Busy Bees.”<br />

I am trying to remember that this magazine is something like that. Each idea, story, photo, and advertisement is<br />

like a precious package <strong>of</strong> nectar or pollen that comes toge<strong>the</strong>r to create a sweet end result. I can never thank our<br />

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

6 www.timespub.tc

Building Your Vision, Delivering Excellence, and Exceeding Expectations -<br />

Time After Time.<br />

Projetech <strong>of</strong>fers turnkey Construction Management and General Contracting<br />

Services for Residential, Commercial and Hotel & Condominium Projects in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Our depth <strong>of</strong> experience is unrivaled and our commitment<br />

to quality shows in <strong>the</strong> hundreds <strong>of</strong> projects we’ve completed in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

since our beginnings in 1996.<br />

ESTABLISHED 1996<br />



T: 649.941.3508 | F: 649.941.5824 | INFO@PROJETECH.TC | WWW.PROJETECH.TC |

Everything’s Included<br />

For Everyone<br />


Beaches ® Turks & Caicos has held <strong>the</strong> top spot at <strong>the</strong> World Travel Awards for over two decades by<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering families more <strong>of</strong> everything on <strong>the</strong> world’s best beach, featuring 5 villages, every land and<br />

water sport*, 5-Star Global Gourmet dining at 22 incredible restaurants, and 14 bars. Tips, taxes and<br />

Beaches transfers* are included too. And with trend-setting food trucks, live entertainment, and family<br />

sized accommodations…<strong>the</strong> World’s Best Family Resorts include everything families want and deserve.<br />


1-800-BEACHES<br />

Or Call Your Travel Advisor<br />

*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/time<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>islandfall22 or call 1-800-BEACHES for important terms and conditions.<br />

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

The Leading Private Bank in <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Where values are growing<br />

Wealth Management • Bonds/Fixed Income<br />

Investment Strategies • Foreign Exchange<br />

Stocks/Equities • Precious Metals<br />

Fixed deposits/CD’s • International Transfers<br />

Turks & Caicos Banking Company Ltd.<br />

The Regent Village, Unit H102, Grace Bay Road, Providenciales<br />

Tel: +649 941 4994<br />

Email: services@tcbc.tc • www.tcbc.tc<br />

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

- --- ---<br />

- ---<br />

-==---<br />

-·----<br />

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 />


Call: (649) 946-4970<br />


The sky is <strong>the</strong> limit.<br />

The world’s premier destination for kiteboarding and<br />

active watersports in a luxury setting.<br />

H2O provides luxury beachfront accommodations<br />

in a tranquil, intimate, and sustainability-minded<br />

setting for guests that want to engage in active<br />

watersports including a world-class destination<br />

to learn how to kite surf, kite foil, and wing foil.<br />

Our friendly staff goes above and beyond to give<br />

you a memorable and mindful experience that<br />

your whole family will cherish on one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most<br />

uniquely beautiful islands in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

11 Long Bay Beach Drive, Long Bay Hills, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

1 (649) 232-4262 | reservations@h2oresorttci.com | h2oresorttci.com

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Amy Avenant, Cathy Bacon, Kathy Borsuk, Rachel Craft,<br />

Kelly Currington, Elisann Delancy, Jeff Dodge,<br />

Dr. Richard Grainger, Katharine Hart, Nandina Hislop,<br />

Davidson Edens Louis, Hope Milo, Dr. C.E. O’Brien,<br />

Jody Rathgeb, Diana Taylor, Lisa Turnbow-Talbot,<br />

Paul Ward.<br />

.<br />


Rachel Craft, Jeff Dodge, Helen Fairchild, Eric Gorski,<br />

H2O Life. Style Resort, Katharine Hart, Chuck Hesse,<br />

Kon Studio, Denise Marrotta, Wes Matweyew, Hope Milo,<br />

Michael Monfore, Lee Munson, Dr. C.E. O’Brien,<br />

Tom Rathgeb, Jonathan Sayao, Shutterstock,<br />

TCISC, TCSIR, Lisa Turnbow-Talbot, Paul Ward.<br />


Wavey Line Publishing.<br />


PF Solutions, Miami, FL<br />

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

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

Copyright © <strong>2023</strong> by <strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd. All rights reserved<br />

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

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

reproduced without written permission.<br />

Subscriptions $28/year; $32/year for<br />

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 />

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

event shall any writer or photographer subject this magazine to any<br />

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

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

information contained herein to ensure correctness, such information is<br />

subject to change without notice. The publisher accepts no<br />

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 />

Tel 649 431 4788<br />

E-mail timespub@tciway.tc<br />

Web www.timespub.tc<br />

Advertising tfadvert@tciway.tc<br />

18 www.timespub.tc

getting to know<br />

Above from left: Joe Zahm, at 33 years old, when <strong>the</strong> band Everyman<br />

was being formed; Nina Siegenthaler, at 5 years old, in Sapodilla Bay;<br />

and Richard Sankar at 31 years old.<br />

At right: Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Directors: Joe Zahm, President/Broker; Nina Siegenthaler, Vice<br />

President; and Richard Sankar, Director/Broker.<br />

Commitment:<br />

Nothing Compares<br />

The journey to build Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty.<br />

By Davidson Edens Louis ~ Illustrations Courtesy Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty<br />

The bravest souls who manage to impact our lives, contribute to human endeavors, and make serious<br />

social advancements have one thing in common. They are committed.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 19

Commitment turns implausible dreams to attainable<br />

realities, it breaks barriers, and s<strong>of</strong>tens <strong>the</strong> most daunting<br />

fears. Commitment by no means is an easy task! It is<br />

an unshakable dedication, and staying committed is one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most demanding challenges a person may face. It<br />

is also one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most rewarding.<br />

I have always had a great curiosity and appreciation<br />

for <strong>the</strong> concept <strong>of</strong> motivation. In university, I was<br />

obsessed with it. I have watched documentaries and films<br />

and read memoirs while searching for <strong>the</strong> reasons that<br />

propel some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s most successful people to <strong>the</strong><br />

top. What links <strong>the</strong>se great minds toge<strong>the</strong>r? They are all<br />

utterly committed to <strong>the</strong>ir goal. They live and brea<strong>the</strong> it,<br />

almost as if <strong>the</strong>re was no alternative outcome o<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

what <strong>the</strong>y set out to achieve.<br />

Far from <strong>the</strong> classroom, I discovered three real-life<br />

case studies right in front <strong>of</strong> me. For market leaders Joe<br />

Zahm, Nina Siegenthaler, and Richard Sankar, <strong>the</strong>ir commitment<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong>ir careers<br />

is decades deep.<br />

Leading Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty<br />

(TCSIR), <strong>the</strong>y are musician, island mom, and dog-dad,<br />

but also experts who are committed to remaining pioneers<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos real estate industry. From<br />

record-breaking sales in dollar values to extensive<br />

involvement in <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community, it<br />

echoes in everything <strong>the</strong>y do. Being at <strong>the</strong> infancy <strong>of</strong> my<br />

career, I am astonished by <strong>the</strong>ir combined achievements<br />

and contributions.<br />

Who is Joe Zahm?<br />

My 56-minute interview with Joe was a series <strong>of</strong> stories,<br />

quotes, and chunks <strong>of</strong> music lyrics all pieced toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

in a captivating, poetic manner. The ex-lawyer and ski<br />

enthusiast (once known as <strong>the</strong> “ski-attorney”) is one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> most electrifying individuals I have worked with. Yet<br />

Joe’s story is as affectionate and full <strong>of</strong> energy as he is.<br />

Joe is also an artiste: guitarist, singer, writer, and fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>of</strong> three.<br />

Beside <strong>the</strong> Joe Zahm who has led <strong>the</strong> industry with over<br />

$4 billion brokered in real estate sales, <strong>the</strong>re is someone<br />

who takes interest in his art and community endeavors.<br />

Joe came to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos in 1989 at <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> 29.<br />

“From 22ºF below zero in <strong>the</strong> Colorado Rockies to 82ºF in<br />

Providenciales in nine hours,” he recalls. He traded in his<br />

ski boots for a pair <strong>of</strong> loafers and embarked on what has<br />

become a lifelong passion and career.<br />

In late 1998, Joe along with our current Minister <strong>of</strong><br />

Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming,<br />

and Disaster Management Josephine Connolly, formed<br />

Connolly Zahm Properties (CZP), a real estate brokerage<br />

and consulting firm specializing in luxury beachfront<br />

developments. By <strong>the</strong>n, Joe had years <strong>of</strong> real estate<br />

experience in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, including<br />

development, management, and sales. He pioneered, witnessed,<br />

and aided <strong>the</strong> drastic leaps <strong>the</strong> TCI has made as<br />

a destination and helped build <strong>the</strong> foundation on which<br />

<strong>the</strong> nation now stands. He brought <strong>the</strong> first pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

computer s<strong>of</strong>tware from Colorado, along with various<br />

operating procedures, while at <strong>the</strong> same time writing<br />

<strong>the</strong> popular song “Beautiful By Nature” with his band<br />

Everyman.<br />

Now working with <strong>the</strong> top luxury resorts and developers,<br />

Joe gains tremendous satisfaction in seeing how far<br />

TCI has progressed in over 30 years. Joe adds, “I couldn’t<br />

be more proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos people, who have<br />

stepped up to lead and support what is now a premier<br />

global real estate and tourism brand.”<br />

Joe described his journey in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to be a marathon<br />

that requires dedication, patience, and persistence.<br />

“My energy follows <strong>the</strong> keen level <strong>of</strong> inspiration and<br />

interest that Turks & Caicos continually provides. The<br />

resilience <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country and its people give me <strong>the</strong> inspiration<br />

to carry on.”<br />

Who is Nina Siegenthaler?<br />

Nina has achieved over $1.5 billion in individual real<br />

estate sales, she is one <strong>of</strong> So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty’s<br />

Top 100 Agents Worldwide, and she continues to be <strong>the</strong><br />

number one producer in dollar sales volume in Turks &<br />

Caicos for many years running. But that’s not all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

story.<br />

Nina’s love affair with <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos started<br />

when she was just five years old. “It warms my heart<br />

just thinking about it,” she says with great tenderness<br />

in her voice. Anchored in Sapodilla Bay, Nina first discovered<br />

<strong>the</strong> country on a family sailing holiday from <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas in 1981. Her fa<strong>the</strong>r decided to go on a bike ride<br />

and returned to <strong>the</strong> boat saying, “We’re going to build<br />

a house on Providenciales!” He had bought a piece <strong>of</strong><br />

land in Thompson’s Cove on <strong>the</strong> spot after bumping into<br />

<strong>the</strong>n-developer Walt Thompson. Struck by <strong>the</strong> island’s<br />

raw charm, <strong>the</strong> decision to move to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> was unified. By 1985, <strong>the</strong> family left <strong>the</strong> Bahamas<br />

and constructed a new home and life on Providenciales.<br />

Nina left <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in 1987 at <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> 11 to pursue<br />

her education, but her longing to return home remained<br />

strong. In fact, Nina’s mo<strong>the</strong>r gifted her a subscription<br />

20 www.timespub.tc

TMW2022.qxp_Layout 1 3/2/22 3:41 PM Page 1<br />

This beautiful parcel <strong>of</strong> land on Grace Bay Beach, sold for $20 million, was just one <strong>of</strong> TCSIR’s “Significant Sales” for 2022.<br />

to <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> while she was away at boarding<br />

school and college in <strong>the</strong> early 1990s to make her feel<br />

more connected to home in <strong>the</strong> TCI. She earned a BA<br />

in Art from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania before<br />

moving to New York City. The tragedy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 9/11 attack<br />

revealed that it was time to return “home,” a place where<br />

she would feel safe.<br />

Back in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos, Nina reunited with her<br />

friend Richard Sankar, who came into her life when he<br />

originally listed her parent’s house. “It was meant to be,”<br />

she said. “A chilling sensation washed over me, starting<br />

from <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> my neck down to my feet. I had<br />

goosebumps all over! The ambiguous power <strong>of</strong> destiny or<br />

fate differs from person to person. For me, it was ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

clear—I am a strong believer <strong>of</strong> ‘what-is-to-be-will-be’.”<br />

Richard referred her to Joe at Connolly Zahm Properties<br />

where she began her auspicious career in real estate.<br />

Nina was made partner when Connolly Zahm Properties<br />

merged with Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International<br />

Realty.<br />

Who is Richard Sankar?<br />

Richard is a man with an omnipresent charisma and<br />

endless love. Richard is “dad” to four loving, docile, and<br />



Serving international & domestic clients<br />

in real estate, property development, mortgages,<br />

corporate matters, commercial matters,<br />

immigration, and more.<br />



TELEPHONE 649.946.4261 | TMW@TMWLAW.TC<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21

Built on <strong>the</strong> pristine beach at Parrot Cay, Dhayni House ranked as ano<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> TCSIR’s top “Significant Sales” <strong>of</strong> 2022.<br />

totally unperturbed potcake dogs. He is a s<strong>of</strong>t spoken<br />

and calculated leader. His voice is warm and empa<strong>the</strong>tic.<br />

Brought up from a humble beginning in Trinidad &<br />

Tobago, Richard never ceases to push himself. From <strong>the</strong><br />

debut <strong>of</strong> his career at age 16 at <strong>the</strong> Bank <strong>of</strong> Nova Scotia<br />

to record-breaking real estate sales, Richard proves <strong>the</strong><br />

proverb, “From humble beginnings come great things.”<br />

Like Nina, Richard’s contribution in <strong>the</strong> local real<br />

estate market is significant. In 1997, when he moved to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, he quickly became <strong>the</strong> topproducing<br />

agent at Prestigious Properties for more than<br />

a decade. A founding member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Real<br />

Estate Association (TCREA) and a local philanthropist,<br />

Richard is heavily involved in improving <strong>the</strong> local industry<br />

and <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> young people.<br />

“What keeps you going?” I leaned in and asked. There<br />

was a slight pause. I couldn’t help picture in my head a<br />

young Richard: eager, disciplined, and very much structured<br />

from an early age. Not much has changed—his<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice is all-white, perfectly organized, and not a speck<br />

<strong>of</strong> dust on <strong>the</strong> desk. His Caribbean mo<strong>the</strong>r would have<br />

been proud. “Empowerment for <strong>the</strong> local people,” Richard<br />

answered, which brought me back into <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

Great leaders build amazing communities because<br />

<strong>the</strong>y have a vision. They do so in a variety <strong>of</strong> ways and<br />

over an extended period <strong>of</strong> time. They shape and unify<br />

individuals by sharing <strong>the</strong>ir experiences and knowledge.<br />

Richard devotes a large portion <strong>of</strong> his career to mentoring<br />

and education. In <strong>the</strong> words <strong>of</strong> Antoine Saint-Exupéry, “If<br />

you want to build a ship . . . teach <strong>the</strong> men to yearn for<br />

<strong>the</strong> vast and endless sea.”<br />

What are we at TCSIR?<br />

Individually, Joe, Nina, and Richard show tremendous<br />

resilience and commitment. Toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>y have created<br />

a premier luxury real estate brokerage firm in<br />

Turks & Caicos with a pr<strong>of</strong>ound track record and significant<br />

foothold in all market segments, particularly new<br />

development and trophy properties. The Turks & Caicos<br />

So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty (TCSIR) originally formed in<br />

1990 was revived in 2013 by <strong>the</strong> trio who came toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

with a single vision: To make a difference by serving clients<br />

and community with passion and integrity.<br />

The distinguished corner Venture House on Grace Bay<br />

Road is a mere emblem <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> labor involved in building<br />

TCSIR over <strong>the</strong> years. “Nothing happens without waiting.<br />

The seed in <strong>the</strong> ground does not become a tree overnight.<br />

It goes through seasons, nurturing, watering, pruning<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

efore it bears fruit,” said Ngina Otiende. Much <strong>of</strong> this is<br />

true for TCSIR.<br />

For instance, <strong>the</strong> COVID-19 pandemic was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

most significant disruptions <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> have ever faced.<br />

In late March 2020, our world and everything in it came<br />

to a screeching halt as TCI closed its borders to tourists<br />

and visitors through <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> July. Resorts, restaurants,<br />

airports, and businesses closed and near-to-completion<br />

real estate deals were ei<strong>the</strong>r canceled or deferred. Such<br />

crucial times beg to be innovative.<br />

TCSIR had to think creatively and adapt. They<br />

responded to this crisis with various technologies. The<br />

introduction and continuance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brand’s state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>art<br />

Matterport 3D technology (originally introduced to TCI<br />

real estate in 2018), simple narrated FaceTime tours, videos,<br />

signature high caliber photography, regular virtual<br />

internal team meetings, participation in industry Zoom<br />

conferences, and virtual showings proved to be working.<br />

Third-party expert inspections, effective documentation,<br />

quality communication, and diligent agents also helped<br />

in giving clients confidence in buying in TCI. As a result,<br />

Joe Zahm explains, “Clients felt more connected with our<br />

network, team, and community than ever. Virtual buying<br />

became a ‘thing.’”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 23

He adds, “There is light at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tunnel. Unlike<br />

<strong>the</strong> aftermath <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> financial crisis <strong>of</strong> September 2009,<br />

where we had weak fundamentals and luxury buyers<br />

disappeared, <strong>the</strong> opposite has occurred here. Buyers,<br />

interested in luxury assets remained in <strong>the</strong> game and<br />

continued to shop and purchase real estate.”<br />

These innovative ways to connect clients to Turks<br />

& Caicos worked. There was a 137% increase in video<br />

viewership on <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International<br />

Realty YouTube channel and increased activity with thirdparty<br />

web site partners like <strong>the</strong> New York <strong>Times</strong> and<br />

Mansion Global. This subsequently marked an astonishing<br />

year with significant sales including Bajacu listed at<br />

$18.8 million, Dream Big Villa at $5.75 million, Cerulean<br />

at $4.8 million, and <strong>the</strong> sale <strong>of</strong> a Leeward beach parcel at<br />

$8.5 million. This proved a demonstration <strong>of</strong> a resilient<br />

country and its real estate industry.<br />

Howard Shultz said, “When you are surrounded by<br />

people who share a passionate commitment around a<br />

common purpose, anything is possible.” TCSIR has seen<br />

tremendous results in 2022, closing its final quarter<br />

responsible for 61% <strong>of</strong> market share sales for listings over<br />

$1 million and 60% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> market for residential sales<br />

over $3 million. TCSIR and its team, now 28-strong, have<br />

long been responsible for some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country’s most significant<br />

sales, including many on Parrot Cay, rock legend<br />

Prince’s island estate, and most recently, <strong>the</strong> Forbes Road<br />

property on Grace Bay Beach. But <strong>the</strong> journey doesn’t<br />

stop <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

It has always been in <strong>the</strong> fabric <strong>of</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty to give back to <strong>the</strong> local<br />

community. Throughout <strong>the</strong> years, TCSIR has significantly<br />

contributed to many charities and non-pr<strong>of</strong>it organiza-<br />

24 www.timespub.tc

tions in need <strong>of</strong> a helping hand. “A rising tide lifts all<br />

boats,” John F. Kennedy said and it is true. It is in giving<br />

that we receive and it is by giving, we help to leverage<br />

social disparity.<br />

Located in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic Ocean, our “Beautiful by Nature”<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> are at risk <strong>of</strong> being hit by hurricanes. When<br />

Category Five Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, TCI stayed<br />

strong with <strong>the</strong> unquestionable backing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> private<br />

sector. Joe, Nina, Richard, and o<strong>the</strong>r industry leaders collectively<br />

joined hands. TCSIR partnered with Do-It-Center<br />

to provide much needed building assistance to residents<br />

who were hardest hit. It was imperative to aid in rebuilding<br />

lives in <strong>the</strong> community in which everyone lives.<br />

It isn’t only in critical times that Turks & Caicos<br />

So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty runs to <strong>the</strong> rescue; also<br />

through education, mentorship, and fundraising through<br />

art. TCSIR has been a proud sponsor <strong>of</strong> Food for Thought<br />

since its beginning in 2016. Food for Thought is a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

dedicated to ending <strong>the</strong> unacceptable number <strong>of</strong><br />

children going to school without having eaten breakfast.<br />

Joe enthusiastically supports <strong>the</strong> annual Art Auction<br />

Fundraiser held by <strong>the</strong> Edward Gartland Youth Center.<br />

Nina continues her diligent work with United Way Turks<br />

& Caicos, focusing on education, crime prevention, and<br />

youth development, along with hurricane restoration and<br />

COVID-19 relief. Richard’s advocacy and determination to<br />

empower locals shines through mentorship and working<br />

to <strong>of</strong>fer equal opportunities.<br />

There’s something important I ga<strong>the</strong>red while talking<br />

with Joe, Nina, and Richard. There is an indisputable<br />

trust between <strong>the</strong> three <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. Maybe committing<br />

isn’t enough! Maybe <strong>the</strong> marathon Joe mentioned earlier<br />

is in fact a relay race. The journey to success is one<br />

that requires a series <strong>of</strong> devoted team members. After<br />

all, where would we be without those who nudged us in<br />

moments <strong>of</strong> self-doubt? Henry Ford said, “When everyone<br />

is moving forward toge<strong>the</strong>r, success takes care <strong>of</strong> itself.”<br />

Self-commitment is only half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> equation. So, this is<br />

about everyone who has contributed, small or big, to get<br />

Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty where it<br />

is today. If we can see fur<strong>the</strong>r, it is by standing on <strong>the</strong><br />

shoulders <strong>of</strong> giants. a<br />

Graduate, writer, and artist Davidson Edens Louis joined<br />

Turks & Caicos So<strong>the</strong>by’s International Realty as <strong>the</strong> marketing<br />

coordinator, where he hopes to use his creativity<br />

to share <strong>the</strong> unparalleled works <strong>of</strong> TCSIR.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 25

ook review<br />

The Last Resort<br />

Raising <strong>the</strong> red flag on overdevelopment.<br />

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

The Last Resort by Sarah Stodola might seem an odd choice <strong>of</strong> book to review in <strong>the</strong>se pages. After all, it<br />

does not feature or even mention <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, and its author has no TCI connections. The<br />

book’s subtitle, however, explains much: A Chronicle <strong>of</strong> Paradise, Pr<strong>of</strong>it, and Peril at <strong>the</strong> Beach. This is a<br />

“beach read” about <strong>the</strong> beach that is significant for everyone in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, including tourists, entrepreneurs,<br />

all residents, and <strong>the</strong> government.<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

The book explores seaside tourism in all its facets,<br />

from its European origins in health, <strong>the</strong>n gambling and<br />

luxury, to today’s all-inclusive beach resorts. In between<br />

are topics that cover <strong>the</strong> globe: <strong>the</strong> “bure,” or bungalow<br />

format that fanned out from Fiji; erosion and rising<br />

waters; <strong>the</strong> hedonism <strong>of</strong> party places like Ibiza, Fort<br />

Lauderdale, and <strong>the</strong> early iterations <strong>of</strong> Club Med; and<br />

most importantly, <strong>the</strong> shutting out <strong>of</strong> locals in <strong>the</strong> name<br />

<strong>of</strong> luxury.<br />

Stodola brings a good amount <strong>of</strong> experience to her<br />

explorations. She is <strong>the</strong> founder and editor <strong>of</strong> Flung, a<br />

publication that challenges assumptions about travel,<br />

and has written about travel and culture for a number <strong>of</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r publications, including <strong>the</strong> New York <strong>Times</strong>, Slate,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Wall Street Journal, and <strong>the</strong> BBC. Her interest in beach<br />

vacations rose when she was introduced by a surfer to<br />

that culture’s search for worldwide waves.<br />

Globe-hopping<br />

In The Last Resort, Stodola starts with a brief review<br />

<strong>of</strong> how beachside vacations grew from spa visits and<br />

early “health resorts,” <strong>the</strong>n began to draw <strong>the</strong> rich with<br />

gambling and glamour and became “a shorthand for paradise.”<br />

Then she does some globe-hopping, looking at<br />

beach tourism from several angles.<br />

In Waikiki, she visits <strong>the</strong> high-rises along a troubled<br />

beach that has been through all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> “saving” tactics:<br />

replenishment, groins, seawalls. “No expert can assure<br />

me that in a hundred years, <strong>the</strong> Waikiki beaches will be<br />

here at all,” she writes.<br />

Exploring <strong>the</strong> origins and spread <strong>of</strong> beach resort culture,<br />

plus its future, takes Stodola to Fiji, Nicaragua,<br />

Senegal, Vietnam, Portugal, and Indonesia. But along<br />

<strong>the</strong> way she also warns <strong>of</strong> overdevelopment and partyculture<br />

tourism, which sever connections with <strong>the</strong> places<br />

that host <strong>the</strong>m. Particularly interesting is a section on<br />

<strong>the</strong> overdevelopment cycle, as laid out by R. W. Butler, a<br />

geographer at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Ontario, in 1980.<br />

This seven-phase cycle will look familiar to anyone<br />

who has traveled to find, or who lives in, “paradise.” The<br />

stages:<br />

Exploration. Small numbers <strong>of</strong> visitors check out a destination.<br />

There are few amenities for tourists. “Ra<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

locals catering to <strong>the</strong> tourists, <strong>the</strong> tourists must assimilate<br />

. . . into <strong>the</strong> local culture.”<br />

Involvement. Locals start providing tourist services, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>re’s plenty <strong>of</strong> interaction.<br />

Development. Marketing and advertising begin. External<br />

organizations, <strong>of</strong>ten foreign, build hotels and restaurants.<br />

As Stodola puts it, “ . . . <strong>the</strong> Hilton will now be<br />

happy to welcome you.”<br />

Consolidation. Tourist numbers now equal <strong>the</strong> local population.<br />

Tourism is <strong>the</strong> main driver <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> economy.<br />

Stagnation. Peak tourist numbers have been reached.<br />

“The season” is busy, <strong>of</strong>ten overwhelming. The luxury<br />

market starts looking elsewhere. Cancun is a good example.<br />

Decline. The area struggles to compete with newer areas<br />

and deal with problems <strong>of</strong> limited resources, crime, and<br />

complaints.<br />

Rejuvenation. This stage doesn’t always happen, but<br />

when it does it involves a shift <strong>of</strong> focus. For example,<br />

Myrtle Beach embraces <strong>the</strong> bikers instead <strong>of</strong> discouraging<br />

<strong>the</strong>m. Some resorts market more heavily toward LGBTQ<br />

tourists or <strong>the</strong> Chinese, for example, or promote <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

true cultural connections over a stereotype <strong>of</strong> paradise.<br />

Stodola pays particular attention to <strong>the</strong> local people<br />

and cultures affected by beach tourism, pointing out both<br />

problems and solutions. The Last Resort ends on a hopeful<br />

note with <strong>the</strong> chapter, “A Better Way,” and examples<br />

<strong>of</strong> how local communities can help to avoid <strong>the</strong> boom–<br />

decline cycle and shape tourism that is more sustainable<br />

and less destructive.<br />

Readers will not find <strong>the</strong> words “Turks and Caicos”<br />

anywhere in this book. But its importance to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

cannot be overstated. a<br />

The Last Resort, Sarah Stodola, is published by Ecco, an<br />

imprint <strong>of</strong> HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2002.<br />

$27.99 USD.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 27

creature feature<br />


The main three types <strong>of</strong><br />

sea cucumbers found in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos are<br />

(clockwise from top): <strong>the</strong><br />

Donkey Dung, <strong>the</strong> Tiger<br />

Tail—which can reach<br />

lengths <strong>of</strong> up to six feet—<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Furry. They do<br />

not swim, but caterpillar<br />

across <strong>the</strong> sea floor.<br />

Sea Cucumbers<br />

Learning more about “nature’s Roomba.”<br />

By Kelly Currington<br />

Sea cucumbers are an important part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> eco-system, yet many people know little about <strong>the</strong>m, and<br />

some divers have never seen one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se amazing and beautiful creatures. Let’s take a look at <strong>the</strong>se<br />

squishy, odd-looking “vacuums <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea.”<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

There are around 1,000 different species <strong>of</strong> sea<br />

cucumbers world-wide, usually found on <strong>the</strong> sea floor<br />

near coral reefs, seagrass beds, and o<strong>the</strong>r fixed habitats<br />

at depths between 10 and 120 feet. The main three found<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos are <strong>the</strong> Donkey Dung, <strong>the</strong> Furry,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Tiger Tail, which can reach lengths <strong>of</strong> up to six<br />

feet. They do not swim, but caterpillar across <strong>the</strong> sea floor.<br />

They have an elongated body covered in a lea<strong>the</strong>ry skin<br />

with varying textures, patterns, and nodules. While <strong>the</strong>y<br />

do not have a “true” brain or any distinct sensory organs,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y instead have a complex network <strong>of</strong> neurons that help<br />

<strong>the</strong>m experience touch and <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> light.<br />

How do sea cucumbers help <strong>the</strong> eco-system? That’s<br />

a great question, since based solely on appearance, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

don’t look like <strong>the</strong>y have a whole lot to <strong>of</strong>fer, but <strong>the</strong>y<br />

definitely do. They are suspension feeders, roaming <strong>the</strong><br />

sea floor using small, tube-like feet to feed on algae, tiny<br />

animals, and decomposing matter; <strong>the</strong>y also ingest sand,<br />

mud, and o<strong>the</strong>r sediment. They pull <strong>the</strong> nutrients from<br />

everything <strong>the</strong>y ingest and <strong>the</strong>n poop out clean sand and<br />

filtered water. Voila—an underwater Roomba!<br />

Under normal circumstances, <strong>the</strong>y are ei<strong>the</strong>r stationary<br />

or moving in a cumbersome way, like a big clumsy<br />

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

caterpillar. However, if <strong>the</strong>y feel threatened, <strong>the</strong>y can kick<br />

into high gear by flexing <strong>the</strong>ir bodies and rolling away in<br />

an act <strong>of</strong> fear and self-preservation. If you happen upon<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se sea dwellers while swimming, snorkeling,<br />

or diving, please do not touch <strong>the</strong>m, encroach on <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

space, make loud noises, or follow <strong>the</strong>m if <strong>the</strong>y start to<br />

roll away, as this causes great stress. If <strong>the</strong>y continue to<br />

feel threatened, <strong>the</strong>y can expel part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir toxic guts in<br />

an attempt to defend <strong>the</strong>mselves from a predator, and<br />

some species even shoot sticky threads from <strong>the</strong>ir bodies,<br />

entangling and confusing a predator to give <strong>the</strong>m<br />

time to escape. But continued or repeated stress at this<br />

level can eventually be fatal, so please be respectful and<br />

quietly admire sea cucumbers from a healthy distance.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea urchin’s self-defense is <strong>the</strong><br />

ability to blend in with <strong>the</strong>ir environment and be nearly<br />

or completely unnoticeable. This is crucial when trying<br />

to hide from natural predators like crabs, turtles, fish,<br />

and some species <strong>of</strong> shark. Sadly, <strong>the</strong>ir biggest threat is<br />

humans who farm and fish <strong>the</strong>m for consumption, depleting<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir numbers significantly, pushing <strong>the</strong> species<br />

towards <strong>the</strong> threatened list. They are also at risk from<br />

climate change, ocean acidification, habitat destruction,<br />

and water pollution. If <strong>the</strong>y can manage to stay <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

menu and not succumb to o<strong>the</strong>r factors, sea cucumbers<br />

can live between five and ten years.<br />




Lures and Live Bait<br />

Marine Hardware & Gear<br />

Fishing Gear & Supplies<br />

Marine Paints & Varnish<br />

Marine Batteries<br />

Sebago Docksiders<br />

& Sperry Topsiders Shoes<br />

BLUE<br />

BLUE<br />

HILLS<br />

HILLS<br />

ROAD<br />

ROAD<br />



TURKS<br />

TURKS<br />

& CAICOS<br />

CAICOS<br />

ISLANDS,<br />

ISLANDS,<br />

B.W.I.<br />

B.W.I.<br />

PHONE: 649-946-4411<br />

FAX: 649-946-4945<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 29

john redmond associates ltd.<br />

architects & designers<br />

construction consultants<br />

project management<br />

p.o.box 21, providenciales, turks & caicos is.<br />

tel.: 9464440 cell: 2314569 email: redmond@tciway.tc<br />

My first encounter with a sea cucumber was a funny<br />

one. My son and I were walking along Grace Bay Beach<br />

and wading in <strong>the</strong> water when we saw this large brown<br />

thing in <strong>the</strong> water. I thought it was excrement and all I<br />

could think about was how huge <strong>the</strong> creature must have<br />

been to excrete it. When I discovered that it was actually<br />

an animal, I laughed until my cheeks and sides hurt!<br />

Even this did not give me all <strong>the</strong> education I needed<br />

before my first up-close encounter with a Furry sea<br />

cucumber while diving. There she was, so beautiful and<br />

intriguing, just lying <strong>the</strong>re on <strong>the</strong> white sandy bottom.<br />

She suddenly lifted one end <strong>of</strong> her body up <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> floor<br />

and opened and closed her mouth repeatedly. I couldn’t<br />

believe what I was seeing. I used my camera to record this<br />

incredible encounter. She continued this for 10–15 minutes<br />

and I was paralyzed with excitement. This secured<br />

my fascination with sea urchins, and I couldn’t wait to tell<br />

my mates what I seen and filmed. When I pushed play, <strong>the</strong><br />

laughter was immediate and robust, so much so that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

had a hard time getting <strong>the</strong> words out to tell me what<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were laughing at.<br />

After <strong>the</strong>y caught <strong>the</strong>ir breath, <strong>the</strong>y told me that I had<br />

spent half my dive filming her bottom, her bum—not her<br />

mouth! I laughed with <strong>the</strong>m, but held firm on my happiness<br />

at witnessing an amazing sight.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> years I have come to love <strong>the</strong>se little squishy<br />

pickles and all <strong>the</strong> good <strong>the</strong>y do for <strong>the</strong> oceans. I can<br />

spend a whole dive watching one inch across <strong>the</strong> sea<br />

floor, studying its behavior, skin texture, and <strong>the</strong> deliberateness<br />

with which it moves.<br />

Sea cucumbers typically reach sexual maturity around<br />

three years <strong>of</strong> age. Their eggs are externally fertilized<br />

after <strong>the</strong> female releases her eggs into <strong>the</strong> water column<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y come into contact with sperm released from a<br />

male. The best chance for this to be successful is for<br />

<strong>the</strong>re to be numerous males and females toge<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong><br />

same area at <strong>the</strong> same time.<br />

There is a whole wonderful world below <strong>the</strong> ocean’s<br />

surface, so slow down and take <strong>the</strong> time to really see all<br />

<strong>the</strong> amazing and interesting creatures that are right in<br />

front <strong>of</strong> your eyes. They all play a vital role in keeping<br />

<strong>the</strong> reefs healthy and <strong>the</strong>y all have interesting behaviors<br />

and characteristics. Everyone wants to see <strong>the</strong> big-ticket<br />

creatures like sharks, turtles, rays, and octopus, but <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are so many fascinating unfamiliar creatures on <strong>the</strong> reefs<br />

that deserve <strong>the</strong> same respect and notoriety. The more<br />

you know about <strong>the</strong>se creatures, <strong>the</strong> more you will want<br />

to protect <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> ocean to you . . . treasures galore! a<br />

30 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 />

A breaching humpback whale is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most majestic animals in <strong>the</strong> ocean. It was photographed by Katharine Hart on February 13, <strong>2023</strong><br />

under SRP #2022-12-22-44.<br />

A Whale <strong>of</strong> a Project<br />

Monitoring <strong>the</strong> presence, distribution, and behaviour <strong>of</strong> humpback whales.<br />

By Katharine Hart MSc., Cathy Bacon MSc., Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Whale Project, and Amy Avenant,<br />

TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources.<br />

Photos by Katharine Hart, Deep Blue Charters, under SRP #2021-12-29-26<br />

Every season, <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (TCI) become <strong>the</strong> winter haven for one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most majestic and<br />

charismatic animals in <strong>the</strong> ocean, <strong>the</strong> humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Visitors and residents<br />

alike follow suit, making a seasonal migration to Grand Turk and Salt Cay in <strong>the</strong> hopes <strong>of</strong> encountering<br />

<strong>the</strong>se whales from a boat or, if everything aligns, <strong>the</strong> possibility <strong>of</strong> slipping into <strong>the</strong> water to see <strong>the</strong>m<br />

eye-to-eye.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 31

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

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Whale Project (TCIWP)<br />

is a collaborative project between TCI’s Department <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR), Deep Blue<br />

Charters (a private boat charter company in Grand Turk),<br />

and independent researchers. The primary objective is<br />

data collection regarding <strong>the</strong> distribution and behaviour<br />

<strong>of</strong> North Atlantic humpback whales within TCI’s territorial<br />

waters. North Atlantic humpback whales migrate annually<br />

from feeding grounds in <strong>the</strong> north to <strong>the</strong> warmer<br />

waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, which act as breeding and nursery<br />

grounds. The objectives <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCIWP include <strong>the</strong><br />

establishment <strong>of</strong> a long-term humpback whale project<br />

based in <strong>the</strong> TCI, developing a consistent presence and<br />

TCI-wide data collection through dedicated surveys, and<br />

citizen-based science.<br />

For <strong>the</strong> 2022 season, data collection took place<br />

between January 22 and April 6, with a total <strong>of</strong> 55 surveys<br />

on 38 survey days. Data was primarily collected through<br />

vessel-based surveys and in-water observation, with GPS<br />

data, photographs and videography for identification,<br />

whale behaviour, and environmental parameters (e.g.<br />

wea<strong>the</strong>r conditions, depth) recorded. Over <strong>the</strong> three and<br />

a half months <strong>of</strong> surveys, three species were identified:<br />

humpback whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella<br />

frontalis), and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).<br />

A total <strong>of</strong> 112 cetacean groups, comprising 288 individuals,<br />

and 108 humpback whale groups, comprising 243<br />

individuals, were encountered during TCIWP surveys, as<br />

shown in <strong>the</strong> table below.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 2022 season, mo<strong>the</strong>r and calf pairs were <strong>the</strong><br />

most commonly encountered groups <strong>of</strong> humpback whales,<br />

followed by adult pairs and mo<strong>the</strong>r-calf pairs with an<br />

escort. Less frequently encountered were single whales,<br />

competitive groups <strong>of</strong> adults, and singing males. This season<br />

(<strong>2023</strong>), <strong>the</strong>re appears to be a notable difference in<br />

<strong>the</strong> first few weeks, with a greater number <strong>of</strong> single adult<br />

whales being encountered and fewer mo<strong>the</strong>r-calf pairs.<br />

Citizen science<br />

Citizen-based science is a key aspect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCIWP, with<br />

<strong>the</strong> submission <strong>of</strong> photographs by whale watching operators<br />

and passengers contributing valuable information to<br />

<strong>the</strong> understanding <strong>of</strong> humpback whales in <strong>the</strong> TCI. At <strong>the</strong><br />

start <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2022 season, <strong>the</strong> TCIWP established <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Humpback Whale Catalogue (TCIHWC)<br />

in collaboration with DECR for photo-identification <strong>of</strong><br />

whales in <strong>the</strong> TCI to facilitate matching <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se whales<br />

to o<strong>the</strong>r areas in <strong>the</strong> North Atlantic. It is exciting to see<br />

members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> public getting involved, and to share<br />

<strong>the</strong> excitement when interesting matches or information<br />

about <strong>the</strong> whales is discovered through photographs and<br />

videos. We recently received a match to a whale who is<br />

46 years old, which holds a record <strong>of</strong> being <strong>the</strong> longest<br />

time between <strong>the</strong> first and last sightings <strong>of</strong> an individual<br />

humpback whale!<br />

The TCIHWC now holds more than 330 individual<br />

humpback whales that have been catalogued, 292 at<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 2022 season. Ninety-six (33%) <strong>of</strong> those<br />

292 individual humpback whales have been matched<br />

to ano<strong>the</strong>r breeding and/or feeding ground. TCIHWC<br />

includes images dating back to 2008 and re-sightings to<br />

all known feeding areas in <strong>the</strong> North Atlantic. To date,<br />

matches have been made to multiple breeding and feeding<br />

grounds in <strong>the</strong> North Atlantic, primarily <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Maine in <strong>the</strong> USA, Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada,<br />

Iceland, Norway, West Greenland, <strong>the</strong> mid-Atlantic region<br />

(consisting <strong>of</strong> Virginia Beach, New Jersey, and New York),<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Silver Bank and Samaná Bay in <strong>the</strong> Dominican<br />

Republic. Some individuals observed in <strong>the</strong> TCI were<br />

matched to Bermuda, although Bermuda is recognized as<br />

a mid-point during <strong>the</strong> whale migration between breeding<br />

and feeding grounds.<br />

Identification <strong>of</strong> some well-known whales generates<br />

a lot <strong>of</strong> interest with humpback whale lovers both locally<br />

and on <strong>the</strong> feeding grounds. “Pinball” is an extremely<br />

Marine Mammal Species Encountered during <strong>the</strong> 2022 Season<br />

Species Common Name Species Scientific Name Total Number <strong>of</strong> Total Number <strong>of</strong><br />

Groups<br />

Individuals<br />

Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 108 243<br />

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Stenella frontalis 1 25<br />

Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 3 20<br />

Total 112 288<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

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

This is a photograph <strong>of</strong> TCI-96, known as “Pinball,” taken on <strong>the</strong> Turks Bank in February 2022. It was submitted by citizen scientist Denise<br />

Marotta and helped determine that Pinball did not have a calf at <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

popular whale and has been a repeat visitor to TCI for<br />

many years. In <strong>the</strong> 2022 season it was expected that she<br />

may potentially be seen with a calf. Through submission<br />

<strong>of</strong> photographs by citizen scientist Denise Marotta, it was<br />

determined that she was with o<strong>the</strong>r adult whales and was<br />

without a calf. Pinball was seen in <strong>the</strong> following weeks<br />

as part <strong>of</strong> a competitive group <strong>of</strong> adult whales and later<br />

with an individual male, or escort. It was exciting to hear<br />

reports from <strong>the</strong> feeding grounds in <strong>the</strong> north that she<br />

was looking particularly large in <strong>the</strong> summer months, and<br />

hopes that she was pregnant were confirmed early in <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> season when she was <strong>the</strong> first whale to be identified<br />

with a calf on <strong>the</strong> Turks Bank.<br />

While images <strong>of</strong> tail flukes are <strong>the</strong> most desirable in<br />

terms <strong>of</strong> photo-identification, <strong>the</strong> project also encourages<br />

<strong>the</strong> submission <strong>of</strong> dorsal fin photographs, as <strong>the</strong>se can<br />

be valuable when matching whales. The image at right<br />

was submitted by Lee Munson with Big Blue Collective<br />

in February 2022. The unique dorsal fin <strong>of</strong> this mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

with her calf allowed her to be identified as TCI-205,<br />

“Ventisca,” from <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Maine feeding ground.<br />

This is a dorsal fin photograph <strong>of</strong> TCI-205, known as “Ventisca,”<br />

observed with her calf in February 2022 on <strong>the</strong> Caicos Bank.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 33

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


Identification <strong>of</strong> whales can also be made through<br />

unique markings, scars, and physical damage. The image<br />

at left is a screenshot taken from a video submitted by<br />

Michael Monfore, clearly showing unique damage to <strong>the</strong><br />

tail stock <strong>of</strong> this female humpback whale. From this scar,<br />

<strong>the</strong> whale was identified as TCI-204, or “Angie”, from <strong>the</strong><br />

Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador feeding ground,<br />

seen early in <strong>the</strong> season on <strong>the</strong> Turks Bank with a calf.<br />

Angie and her calf were encountered again later in <strong>the</strong><br />

season.<br />

Even if you think your images may not be useful,<br />

please always submit <strong>the</strong>m! As seen here, we can use<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to help identify individual humpback whales and<br />

gain valuable knowledge about <strong>the</strong> whales coming to TCI.<br />


From top: This image is <strong>the</strong> damaged tail stock <strong>of</strong> humpback whale<br />

TCI-204, known as “Angie,” on <strong>the</strong> Turks Bank. These are <strong>the</strong> unique<br />

tail flukes <strong>of</strong> a male humpback whale (TCI-81). Here is TCI-207,<br />

“Pendiente” (Pinball’s escort), blowing bubbles.<br />

New and exciting data<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> submission <strong>of</strong> our 2022 Scientific Research<br />

Report to <strong>the</strong> DECR, a manuscript titled: “First documented<br />

humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) photo-identification<br />

match and round-trip migration between Iceland<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>,” has been submitted to<br />

a peer-reviewed scientific journal for publication. This<br />

manuscript details <strong>the</strong> first reported match between<br />

Iceland and <strong>the</strong> TCI and includes information regarding<br />

<strong>the</strong> individual humpback whale’s (TCI-36, also known as<br />

na12473 in <strong>the</strong> North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog)<br />

round-trip migration, which took place within one year. It<br />

was photographed in Iceland and re-sighted 88 days later,<br />

approximately 6,224 km away, in <strong>the</strong> breeding grounds<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> TCI. It was <strong>the</strong>n photographed in Skjálfandi Bay,<br />

Iceland, approximately six months later, 6,229 km away,<br />

showing a round-trip migration <strong>of</strong> approximately 12,453<br />

km between <strong>the</strong> two locations. This manuscript includes<br />

an image taken by a citizen scientist, Lee Munson, who<br />

was included as a co-author.<br />

Watch, don’t touch<br />

The Turks & Caicos Island Whale Project would like to remind those on <strong>the</strong> water that we are in <strong>the</strong> realm <strong>of</strong> humpback<br />

whales and we need to respect <strong>the</strong>m and give <strong>the</strong>m space. Following too closely or approaching whales can be<br />

dangerous and cause behaviour changes that could have long-term consequences for <strong>the</strong> whale population here.<br />

Please contact tciwhales@gmail.com or DECR for more information on best practices and guidelines for interacting<br />

with cetaceans in <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

Acknowledgments<br />

We would like to thank our captain, Captain Kellison Talbot, for his unwavering commitment and expertise throughout<br />

this and previous seasons.<br />

34 www.timespub.tc

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

It is a thrill and an honor to witness a humpback whale using its powerful tail fin to launch <strong>the</strong>mselves out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water (known as breaching).<br />

This beauty was photographed by Katharine Hart on January 26, <strong>2023</strong> under SRP #2022-12-22-44.<br />

We would like to thank <strong>the</strong> operators and whale<br />

watch charter companies that submitted videography<br />

and photographs to <strong>the</strong> TCIHWC during <strong>the</strong> 2022 season.<br />

The operators include: Deep Blue Charters, Ocean Vibes—<br />

Grand Turk Shore Excursions, Reef Divers, Flamingo<br />

Divers, AquaTCI, Big Blue Collective, Salt Cay Divers, Dive<br />

Provo, Diventures, and Navis Charters.<br />

We’d like to thank and recognize <strong>the</strong> citizen scientists<br />

who graciously shared <strong>the</strong>ir images and videos with<br />

us: Aailyah Oudman, Ann Hawkins, Bruce Hyde, Bryony<br />

Rushton, Christine Hughey, Connie Dalziel, Denise<br />

Marrotta, Dominique Wright, Edward Wright, Jill Mumford,<br />

Jim Frey, Joanne Buddle, Karin Rödl, Kaylam King, Kelly<br />

Edmonds, Kyle Furness, Lee Munson, Lou Middleton,<br />

Mat Slattery, Melinda Volkert, Merche Llobera, Michael<br />

Sch<strong>of</strong>ield, Mike Monfore, Myhoa Bird, Nancy Johnson,<br />

Philip Shearer, Richard Langhorne, Roddy McLeod, Rosalie<br />

Bergeron, Shelley Jensen, Tasia Simons, and Tazmara<br />

Gowans. a<br />

Katharine Hart is a marine biologist and co-owner <strong>of</strong><br />

Deep Blue Charters on Grand Turk. Cathy Bacon is a<br />

marine biologist based in <strong>the</strong> United States. Both are lead<br />

researchers for <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Whale Project.<br />

Amy Avenant is <strong>the</strong> DECR Environmental Education and<br />

Outreach Coordinator.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 35

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

These Reef Balls—concrete structures designed to grow coral and attract fish—are arranged <strong>of</strong>f Malcolm’s Road Beach on <strong>the</strong> western side<br />

<strong>of</strong> Providenciales.<br />

Redefining Reefs<br />

Reef balls <strong>of</strong>fer one way to protect coral reefs.<br />

Story & Photos By Rachel Craft<br />

On a recent trip to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>—my first visit, and hopefully not my last—I discovered that<br />

half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ beauty lies underwater. I swam with hawksbill turtles at Smith’s Reef, spotted moray<br />

eels at Bight Reef, and nearly choked on my snorkel when an immense eagle ray soared past me through<br />

Triggerfish Reef. But <strong>the</strong> least expected sight, and <strong>the</strong> one that most captured my interest, was <strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

remote Malcolm’s Road Beach on <strong>the</strong> western side <strong>of</strong> Providenciales. As I paddled far<strong>the</strong>r from shore,<br />

goggles down, I found myself in an eerie, o<strong>the</strong>rworldly sea <strong>of</strong> “Reef Balls”: concrete structures designed<br />

to grow coral and attract fish.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

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

At first I wondered if I was looking at some kind <strong>of</strong><br />

garbage, or perhaps <strong>the</strong> remnants <strong>of</strong> some long-lost civilization.<br />

I later learned I’d stumbled upon 925 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

largest Reef Balls in <strong>the</strong> world, each nearly as tall as I<br />

am and weighing around 5,000 pounds. These aren’t <strong>the</strong><br />

only artificial reef structures to have been built in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos—over <strong>the</strong> last three decades, countless<br />

Reef Balls have popped up all over TCI to create new coral<br />

habitat and aid existing natural reefs.<br />

Reef Balls were news to me, but <strong>the</strong> plight <strong>of</strong> coral<br />

worldwide was not. Reefs everywhere have been struggling<br />

under various (mostly anthropogenic) stresses:<br />

overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, climate<br />

change. Nearshore reefs are under even more pressure<br />

from hundreds <strong>of</strong> thousands <strong>of</strong> tourists each year, who<br />

cause inadvertent damage by standing on corals, leaving<br />

behind trash, or wearing toxic sunscreen.<br />

The loss <strong>of</strong> our reefs would be a tragedy to anyone<br />

who, like me, has experienced <strong>the</strong> wonder <strong>of</strong> watching<br />

fish in <strong>the</strong>ir natural habitat through a pair <strong>of</strong> snorkel goggles.<br />

But sadly, if humans cause reefs to go extinct, that<br />

would be <strong>the</strong> least <strong>of</strong> our worries. Reefs buffer coastlines<br />

from storms, provide jobs through fishing and tourism,<br />

and support thousands <strong>of</strong> species <strong>of</strong> fish, many <strong>of</strong> which<br />

are key sources <strong>of</strong> food for coastal communities. Losing<br />

coral reefs would mean losing food, income, and protection<br />

for roughly half a billion people—including many in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos. It is clearly in our best interest, not<br />

just Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature’s, to do what we can to protect coral<br />

reefs. The Reef Balls are one <strong>of</strong> several ways scientists are<br />

tackling this challenge.<br />

While I was excited to see <strong>the</strong>se Reef Balls in action,<br />

I was also curious. As a former materials engineer,<br />

I’m familiar with <strong>the</strong> harshness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> marine environment.<br />

Few materials can withstand <strong>the</strong> corrosive salt<br />

water for long; most will start to disintegrate after a few<br />

years, leaching chemical and particulate pollution into<br />

<strong>the</strong> ocean. Seeing <strong>the</strong> vast rows <strong>of</strong> Reef Balls outside<br />

Malcolm’s Road Beach, I wondered how <strong>the</strong>y were built<br />

to help <strong>the</strong> environment without causing more harm. The<br />

answer turned out to be a relatively simple design—but it<br />

took a few decades to figure out.<br />

Although ancient hunters experimented with <strong>the</strong><br />

first artificial reefs as a way <strong>of</strong> luring more fish to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

nets, using <strong>the</strong>m for eco-friendly purposes was mostly<br />

a 20th-century idea. People started to notice how shipwrecks<br />

evolved into flourishing man-made reefs, and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

got <strong>the</strong> idea to kill two birds with one stone by dropping<br />

garbage into <strong>the</strong> ocean.<br />

Florida’s Osborne Reef is a prime example: In <strong>the</strong><br />

1970s, a huge effort was undertaken to “recycle” over<br />

a million car tires by turning <strong>the</strong>m into coral habitat.<br />

Unfortunately, what was meant to become <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />

longest artificial reef ended in ecological disaster. We<br />

learned <strong>the</strong> hard way that reefs couldn’t be built from<br />

just anything. Tire rubber, for example, doesn’t have <strong>the</strong><br />

right surface texture to allow coral larvae to attach, and<br />

it’s too lightweight to stay in place over many years. All<br />

<strong>the</strong> tires managed to grow was algae, and <strong>the</strong>y floated<br />

away after <strong>the</strong> first storm, creating a massive pollution<br />

problem that’s still being cleaned up 50 years later.<br />

Since <strong>the</strong>n, scientists have learned how to build successful<br />

artificial reefs. This means using marine-safe<br />

materials that can stand <strong>the</strong> test <strong>of</strong> time in salt water,<br />

such as steel (what most shipwrecks are made <strong>of</strong>), glass,<br />

and cement. Dumping glass bottles and cinderblocks<br />

won’t work—<strong>the</strong>se structures must be large and heavy<br />

enough to prevent movement during storms. They must<br />

have enough surface texture to promote coral attachment,<br />

and enough nooks and crannies to encourage fish<br />

to take shelter.<br />

The Reef Balls, devised by <strong>the</strong> Reef Ball Development<br />

Group, are made from concrete with a pH similar to seawater,<br />

which prevents <strong>the</strong> balls from decaying. They’re<br />

expected to last 500+ years underwater! The concrete’s<br />

texture and chemical makeup mimic natural coral limestone,<br />

making it an ideal place for coral to attach and<br />

grow. It’s also easy to mold into <strong>the</strong> shapes needed for<br />

a successful artificial reef. Reef Innovations built and<br />

installed all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Reef Balls around TCI, including <strong>the</strong><br />

aptly named “goliath” model at Malcolm’s Road Beach.<br />

They make many o<strong>the</strong>r sizes and shapes <strong>of</strong> concrete<br />

reef structures, some as small as nine inches high—but<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir weight distribution keeps <strong>the</strong>m in place even during<br />

storms, and <strong>the</strong>ir hole patterns are designed so that<br />

rough seas actually push <strong>the</strong> Reef Balls fur<strong>the</strong>r into <strong>the</strong><br />

sand.<br />

Some Reef Balls are installed with coral fragments<br />

transplanted from imperiled reefs. O<strong>the</strong>rs rely solely on<br />

“natural recruitment,” meaning <strong>the</strong>y bide <strong>the</strong>ir time on <strong>the</strong><br />

sea floor until coral larvae, drifting past in <strong>the</strong> current,<br />

latch on. Natural recruitment is understandably a slower<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37

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

process, and it depends on how many larvae and nutrients<br />

are in <strong>the</strong> water—relatively few in TCI’s clean, clear<br />

water. That’s why <strong>the</strong> Reef Balls I saw weren’t exactly covered<br />

in coral during my recent visit, six years after <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

2016 installation. I did see some small yet promising corals<br />

growing from <strong>the</strong> balls, and several fish swimming in<br />

and out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> holes, but it will take several more years<br />

before <strong>the</strong> corals grow enough to obscure <strong>the</strong> Reef Balls<br />

beneath.<br />

The first use <strong>of</strong> Reef Balls in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> was in <strong>the</strong> Grace Bay area in <strong>the</strong> late 1990s. In<br />

a project funded by <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Trust,<br />

Reef Balls were used to create snorkel trails through<br />

Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef to guide snorkelers and minimize<br />

coral damage. Shortly afterward, <strong>the</strong> Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources created a separate<br />

artificial reef nearby, reducing stress on Smith’s and Bight<br />

Reefs by drawing tourists away.<br />

Since <strong>the</strong>n, Reef Innovations has installed thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> Reef Balls at sites all over <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Most are<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> Providenciales, with a few around Grand Turk or<br />

smaller islands like Pine Cay. Some are used to transplant<br />

corals that are under threat from new construction<br />

projects. O<strong>the</strong>rs, like <strong>the</strong> one <strong>of</strong>f Malcolm’s Road Beach,<br />

are intended to protect <strong>the</strong> shore from storms, floods,<br />

and erosion—with <strong>the</strong> added benefit <strong>of</strong> creating new coral<br />

habitat.<br />

Paddling over those Reef Balls gave me mixed feelings.<br />

On one hand, it was a sobering reminder <strong>of</strong> why we<br />

need artificial reefs: because natural reefs are struggling,<br />

and (let’s be honest) it’s our fault. But at <strong>the</strong> same time,<br />

it gave me hope. Seeing a thousand Reef Balls sitting<br />

patiently beneath <strong>the</strong> water, with young corals making<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir tentative way out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> concrete, reminded me that<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are plenty <strong>of</strong> people who love <strong>the</strong> ocean as much as<br />

I do, and <strong>the</strong>y’re doing everything <strong>the</strong>y can to protect it.<br />

a<br />

Rachel Craft is a Colorado-based writer and recovered<br />

engineer who loves all things outdoors. When<br />

she’s not busy exploring, she writes fantasy and sci-fi<br />

stories for children. You can learn more about her at<br />

www.racheldelaneycraft.com.<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

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


This Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) assumes a stationary, head-up position with its mouth open, a common pose at cleaning stations,<br />

as gobies (Gobiosoma spp., indicated by arrows) give <strong>the</strong> inside <strong>of</strong> its mouth a good clean.<br />

Cleaning Stations:<br />

The five-star marine restaurant and spa.<br />

By Hope Milo, Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia ~<br />

Edited by C.E. O’Brien, Ph.D., both from The School for Field Studies,<br />

Center for Marine Resource Studies, South Caicos, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Coral reefs are well known for <strong>the</strong>ir abundance and biodiversity, teeming as <strong>the</strong>y are with multitudes <strong>of</strong><br />

organisms hovering over heads <strong>of</strong> flower coral or ducking inside tunnels and hidey holes. In studying<br />

<strong>the</strong>se bastions <strong>of</strong> diversity, researchers have discovered similarities between <strong>the</strong>se marine ecosystems<br />

and our own bustling towns and cities.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39

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

Indeed, <strong>the</strong> organisms that inhabit <strong>the</strong> reefs are quite<br />

used to living communally, as <strong>the</strong>se species have co-existed<br />

for millions <strong>of</strong> years. The immense biodiversity<br />

within <strong>the</strong> rich but confined coral ecosystems has over<br />

time driven adaptive radiations <strong>of</strong> intriguing behaviors<br />

that increase organisms’ likelihood <strong>of</strong> survival and success.<br />

For instance, some fish swim toge<strong>the</strong>r, some live<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r, and some even hunt toge<strong>the</strong>r. Within species,<br />

cooperation confers benefits to individuals such as protection,<br />

coordination, and more efficient dissemination<br />

<strong>of</strong> information. However, <strong>the</strong>re are also examples in<br />

which evolution results in cooperation between species.<br />

This cooperation is known as symbiosis, quite literally<br />

meaning “living toge<strong>the</strong>r,” and it refers to a relationship<br />

in which two species live in close proximity and accrue<br />

some advantages (and sometimes, disadvantages)<br />

through <strong>the</strong>ir association.<br />

There are three primary types <strong>of</strong> symbiosis, each<br />

describing <strong>the</strong> benefits—or detriments—<strong>the</strong> species<br />

involved in <strong>the</strong> relationship exchange. The first <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

is parasitism, where one species benefits at <strong>the</strong> expense<br />

<strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r species, referred to as a host. A second type<br />

is commensalism, in which one species benefits from<br />

an association with ano<strong>the</strong>r while <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r is nei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

harmed nor helped. The third type, mutualism, involves<br />

two species forming an alliance that is advantageous for<br />

both. Mutualism is fur<strong>the</strong>r subdivided into facultative<br />

and obligate forms. The former describes a beneficial<br />

relationship in which an organism could survive without<br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r (it is helpful, but not necessary) while <strong>the</strong> latter<br />

describes one which an organism requires for survival.<br />

Much like humans, reef fish are not immune to <strong>the</strong><br />

plague <strong>of</strong> diseases or ectoparasites (“outside parasites,”<br />

think mosquitoes or ticks) that afflict us. Naturally, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

lack any trained medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals to deal with <strong>the</strong>m<br />

or, <strong>of</strong> course, any hands to swat <strong>the</strong>m away. Luckily for<br />

<strong>the</strong>se germ-riddled fish, an effective—and quite astounding—mechanism<br />

that “mass produces” mutualism across<br />

countless species has arisen over millions <strong>of</strong> years <strong>of</strong><br />

evolution: cleaning stations. It is as if aquatic entrepreneurs<br />

sensed a demand and sprang to action to meet <strong>the</strong><br />

need.<br />

Imagine, if you will, a drive-thru spa or even dentist,<br />

someplace you could drive up to and get a quick and convenient<br />

exfoliation or tooth-cleaning. That is essentially<br />

how <strong>the</strong>se cleaning stations function on reefs. Client<br />

fish—those individuals seeking <strong>the</strong> removal <strong>of</strong> dead skin<br />

or parasites—will swim up to <strong>the</strong>se stations, usually populated<br />

by gobies (in <strong>the</strong> genus Gobiosoma), juvenile or<br />

initial phase Bluehead Wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum),<br />

and Pederson Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni).<br />

They will strike a stationary, almost trancelike pose, letting<br />

<strong>the</strong>se cleaners know <strong>the</strong>y have a new client in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

midst. The cleaner fish, for its part, will <strong>the</strong>n get to work,<br />

snatching up any ectoparasites or erstwhile skin clinging<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir clients, even venturing inside potentially risky or<br />

sensitive areas such as <strong>the</strong>ir mouth.<br />

Both <strong>the</strong> client and <strong>the</strong> cleaner benefit from this. The<br />

client gets cleaned, while <strong>the</strong> cleaner acquires a tasty<br />

snack. Whe<strong>the</strong>r this relationship is facultative or obligative<br />

(i.e. essential to survival or just a nice perk), however,<br />

is species-specific. While it’s usually facultative for <strong>the</strong> client,<br />

it can be obligative for <strong>the</strong> cleaner, as some depend<br />

entirely on cleaning for sustenance. Interestingly, some<br />


C.E. O’BRIEN<br />

At left: Some cleaner species, like <strong>the</strong> Sharknose Gobies (G. evelynae, solid arrows) and <strong>the</strong> Pederson Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni,<br />

dashed arrow) on this Nassau Grouper (E. striatus) are cleaners all <strong>the</strong>ir lives. At right: O<strong>the</strong>rs, such as <strong>the</strong> five Bluehead Wrasse (T. bifasciatum)<br />

cleaning this initial phase Princess Parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus) as an initial phase Redband Parrotfish (Sparisoma aur<strong>of</strong>renatum)<br />

looks on, are only cleaners as juveniles and during <strong>the</strong>ir initial phase.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc

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


At left: Whereas many marine organisms attempt to be inconspicuous, like <strong>the</strong> Peacock Flounder (Bothus lunatus, arrow designates upper eye),<br />

many cleaner organisms, (at right) like <strong>the</strong> vibrant Pederson Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni) go <strong>the</strong> opposite route, adopting bright<br />

colorations that will help <strong>the</strong>m stand out.<br />


cleaner species, like <strong>the</strong> Sharknose Goby (G. evelynae)<br />

and Pederson Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni)<br />

are cleaners all <strong>the</strong>ir lives while o<strong>the</strong>rs, like <strong>the</strong> Bluehead<br />

Wrasse (T. bifasciatum), are only cleaners during one<br />

stage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lives, usually when <strong>the</strong>y’re young.<br />

In order to advertise <strong>the</strong>ir services, cleaner fish have<br />

evolved a “uniform” <strong>of</strong> sorts—a particular color scheme<br />

which signals to potential clients that <strong>the</strong>y’re “open for<br />

business.” Where many marine organisms attempt to be<br />

as inconspicuous as possible (like <strong>the</strong> flounder, who’s<br />

flat, tan body is almost undiscernible against <strong>the</strong> sandy<br />

sea floor), cleaners go <strong>the</strong> opposite route. They deck<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves out in bright colors that have been shown to<br />

provide <strong>the</strong> most distinct contrast to <strong>the</strong>ir surroundings:<br />

blue, which has been shown to stand out <strong>the</strong> most when<br />

juxtaposed with a coral reef background, and yellow,<br />

which <strong>of</strong>fers a stark contrast against <strong>the</strong> blue <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> open<br />

water. These colors are made even more obvious by <strong>the</strong><br />

tendency <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cleaner fish to have a black lateral stripe<br />

along <strong>the</strong>ir sides, making <strong>the</strong>m stand out all <strong>the</strong> more.<br />

This Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), a fearsome predator, is being cleaned by several Sharknose Gobies (G. evelynae).<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 41

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


This Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris) is enjoying a “spa treatment” from its attendant remoras.<br />

Not every organism has to visit a cleaning station<br />

to get its spa treatment. Some larger organisms have<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir own personal cleaning attendants. Turtles, whales,<br />

sharks, rays, and o<strong>the</strong>r large fish <strong>of</strong>ten have one or more<br />

remora fish that travel along with <strong>the</strong>m. These “groupies”<br />

attach to larger animals (or sometimes people or boats)<br />

with a modified dorsal fin that forms a suction cup. This<br />

mostly mutualistic relationship benefits remoras with free<br />

transportation, as well as food scraps and tasty skin parasites<br />

from <strong>the</strong> host organism, and benefits <strong>the</strong> host by<br />

keeping it parasite-free.<br />

Alongside cleaning, cleaner fish have also been<br />

observed providing ano<strong>the</strong>r service—tactile stimulations,<br />

or “touch <strong>the</strong>rapy.” Research demonstrates that fish enjoy<br />

and even benefit from <strong>the</strong> sensation <strong>of</strong> touch. In fact,<br />

tactile stimulus has been shown to lower cortisol (<strong>the</strong><br />

hormone associated with stress) levels in fish. It has even<br />

been shown that fish actively seek out <strong>the</strong>se tactile sensations,<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y have been observed posing for cleaners<br />

even when free <strong>of</strong> ectoparasites.<br />

Like your favorite spa or massage studio, cleaning<br />

stations are also peaceful retreats from <strong>the</strong> chaotic world.<br />

Studies have shown that in <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> cleaner species,<br />

aggression from piscivores (fish-eaters) on nearby<br />

prey species decreased by 50–60%, depending on species.<br />

This fact may be attributable to <strong>the</strong> “touch <strong>the</strong>rapy”<br />

cleaner fish employ as a method to avert any potential<br />

conflict from ever arising.<br />

Some cleaners do a better job than o<strong>the</strong>rs. Within<br />

this class <strong>of</strong> cleaning individuals, some fish may occasionally<br />

“cheat,” meaning that instead <strong>of</strong> nibbling <strong>of</strong>f any<br />

ectoparasites, <strong>the</strong>y nip at <strong>the</strong> client fish itself, removing<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir much-needed scales or mucus. In order to combat<br />

this, clients have been shown to prefer cleaners that provide<br />

better—and less painful—services, refusing to revisit<br />

“cheaters,” or even spurning cleaner fish that aren’t attentive<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir needs.<br />

These “cheating” behaviors have called into question<br />

<strong>the</strong> true nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se cleaning stations. While <strong>the</strong>y do,<br />

undoubtedly, provide a crucial service to many clients,<br />

increasing fish biodiversity and abundance, <strong>the</strong> spectrum<br />

<strong>of</strong> cleaning behavior—from mutualistic to parasitic, as<br />

when those nefarious “cheaters” nibble at <strong>the</strong>ir hosts—<br />

show that nature doesn’t always fit neatly into human<br />

definitions and demonstrates <strong>the</strong> sheer amount <strong>of</strong> diversity<br />

<strong>of</strong> lifestyles present in <strong>the</strong> natural world.<br />

Indeed, cleaning stations and o<strong>the</strong>r instances <strong>of</strong> symbiosis<br />

on coral reefs indicate that evolution may promote<br />

higher levels <strong>of</strong> coordination among <strong>the</strong> species living<br />

in densely packed environments. If a coral reef is like an<br />

underwater city, <strong>the</strong>n cleaning stations are truly akin to<br />

marine spas: a place fish may go to enjoy a time <strong>of</strong> rest,<br />

relaxation, and rejuvenation. a<br />

For detailed article references or more information<br />

about The School for Field Studies, contact Director Heidi<br />

Hertler on South Caicos at hhertler@fieldstudies.org or<br />

visit www.fieldstudies.org.<br />

42 www.timespub.tc

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

Students are introduced to <strong>the</strong> new “Greening Our Schools” programme by popular National Trust mascot Rocky <strong>the</strong> Iguana.<br />

Greening Our Schools<br />

Letting education foster hope.<br />

By Amy Avenant, DECR Environmental Outreach Coordinator &<br />

Elisann Delancy, TCI Government Department <strong>of</strong> Education Curriculum Development Officer<br />

Photos By Jonathan Sayao<br />

Climate Change. These two words cause much anxiety for today’s global population, particularly our<br />

youth. This generation is <strong>the</strong> most informed yet, with access to technology like none before <strong>the</strong>m. This<br />

means <strong>the</strong>y are aware <strong>of</strong> global affairs and concerns, particularly climate change’s impact on local and<br />

international communities. However, providing hope for our young people in <strong>the</strong> face <strong>of</strong> an imminent<br />

global environmental disaster is <strong>of</strong>ten challenging. As 2050 (<strong>the</strong> predicted tipping <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> environmental<br />

scales) hurtles towards us and we are faced with irreparable damage to our natural environment, <strong>the</strong> onus<br />

is on us—<strong>the</strong> adults—to find a solution to global warming and climate change . . . and quickly.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 43

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

One such way is involving our young people<br />

in being part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> solutions instead <strong>of</strong> perpetuating<br />

<strong>the</strong> problem! The Department <strong>of</strong> Education<br />

(DoE) recognised <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> fostering a<br />

“green” culture through youth engagement, as<br />

our island communities are some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most<br />

vulnerable to <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> climate change.<br />

As a result, <strong>the</strong> department’s Curriculum<br />

Development Unit has partnered with <strong>the</strong> DECR’s<br />

Outreach and Education Unit to “green” school<br />

campuses nationwide through <strong>the</strong> “Greening Our<br />

Schools” programme.<br />

The programme is an exciting and innovative<br />

initiative, encouraging sustainable approaches<br />

and environmental management on school campuses.<br />

It requires schools to develop practical<br />

and creative ways to reduce <strong>the</strong>ir carbon footprint,<br />

increase or conserve biodiversity, and<br />

sustainably use <strong>the</strong>ir natural resources. In addition,<br />

<strong>the</strong> program aims to develop energy- and<br />

environmentally-literate citizens through service<br />

projects, leadership, and activism.<br />

Greening Our Schools addresses four “problem”<br />

areas: Waste management, electricity<br />

conservation, water conservation, and biodiversity.<br />

It aims to make environmental awareness<br />

and action an intrinsic part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> life and ethos<br />

<strong>of</strong> a school—which hopefully will rub <strong>of</strong>f onto<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir community, and carry right through to<br />

adulthood.<br />

Introducing critical-thinking skills and applying creative<br />

and scientific thinking will foster ingenuity and green<br />

consciousness among <strong>the</strong> generation who may require<br />

it <strong>the</strong> most. Although <strong>the</strong> program <strong>of</strong>ficially launches in<br />

September <strong>2023</strong>, <strong>the</strong> DoE and DECR have been working<br />

hard to promote it throughout private and public schools<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Supported by <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos National Trust’s charismatic mascot, Rocky <strong>the</strong><br />

Iguana, <strong>the</strong> departments have visited schools, educating<br />

teachers and students alike about <strong>the</strong>ir role in <strong>the</strong> fight<br />

against climate change and <strong>the</strong> benefits <strong>of</strong> being awarded<br />

<strong>the</strong> coveted “Green Ribbon” award!<br />

This award will be bestowed upon <strong>the</strong> school with <strong>the</strong><br />

most outstanding performance-enhancing sustainability<br />

practices among all <strong>the</strong> schools qualified for Green Flag<br />

status. The program is a sustainable initiative that will be<br />

From left: TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Education Curriculum Development Officer Elisann<br />

Delancy, “Rocky” <strong>the</strong> Iguana, and DECR Environmental Outreach Coordinator<br />

Amy Avenant are visiting schools across <strong>the</strong> country to educate teachers and<br />

students about <strong>the</strong>ir role in <strong>the</strong> fight against climate change.<br />

carried out annually.<br />

If your school has yet to be visited, don’t fret! Rocky<br />

will be <strong>the</strong>re soon enough, and all schools will have an<br />

opportunity to register before <strong>the</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/2024 school<br />

year begins. In <strong>the</strong> meantime, students are encouraged<br />

to put <strong>the</strong>ir thinking caps on and consider reducing <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

school’s overall carbon footprint and making a difference<br />

to <strong>the</strong> TCI’s natural environment. a<br />

44 www.timespub.tc

faces and places<br />

Above: HRH The Earl <strong>of</strong> Wessex presents <strong>the</strong> Royal Cup to Walken Gedeon, coach <strong>of</strong> winning Team East. At far left is Jarrett Forbes, director/<br />

CEO <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Sports Commission. Below: MVP Dylan Morris spent much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> game in <strong>the</strong> air.<br />

Royal Cup All-Star Basketball Game <strong>2023</strong><br />

To commemorate <strong>the</strong> visit <strong>of</strong> Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess<br />

<strong>of</strong> Wessex, <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Sports Commission (TCISC) hosted <strong>the</strong><br />

first Royal Cup High School All-Star Basketball Game <strong>2023</strong>. Over 500 students<br />

filled <strong>the</strong> stands from 20+ schools, cheering on <strong>the</strong>ir respective teams.<br />

Pooling TCI’s top 24 players, Teams East and West were formed using<br />

athletes who competed in <strong>the</strong> TCISS Inter-High School Basketball Season<br />

2022/23. Team East consisted <strong>of</strong> players from H.J. Robinson High School,<br />

Wesley Methodist School, Louise Garland Thomas High School, Marjorie<br />

Basden High School, and Elite High School. On Team West, players came from<br />

Raymond Gardiner High School, Alpha Christian Academy, British West Indies<br />

Collegiate, Maranatha Academy, and Clement Howell High School.<br />

The Earl <strong>of</strong> Wessex took time to meet with <strong>the</strong> All-Star players, our pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

athletes, sport federation executives, sponsors, and unsung sports<br />

heroes. These include leaders <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sport governing bodies; major donors<br />

to sports development; and those who have accomplished greatness in sport<br />

such as Delano Williams (our Olympian who represented Great Britain in 2016),<br />

TCI’s 2022 Commonwealth Game athletes, TCI’s pro boxer Gary Lightbourne,<br />

and Collegiate Ice Hockey player Krist<strong>of</strong>f Malcolm.<br />

His Royal Highness presented <strong>the</strong> Royal Cup to Team East who came out<br />

victorious, and <strong>the</strong> MVP trophy to top player Dylan Morris. HRH was presented<br />

with a keepsake from Mr. William ‘Bill’ Clare. In <strong>the</strong> end, <strong>the</strong> game was thoroughly<br />

enjoyed by all. The only question is “When can we do this again?” a<br />

By TCI Sports Commission Media & Communications Specialist Nandina Hislop ~ Photos Courtesy TCISC<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 45

feature<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crumbling remnants <strong>of</strong> houses seen across North Caicos can be traced back to homes built just after Hurricane Donna struck<br />

<strong>the</strong> country in 1960.<br />

Houses <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Hurricane<br />

A hidden history in <strong>the</strong> “bush” <strong>of</strong> North Caicos.<br />

Photo essay by Tom Rathgeb ~ Text by Jody Rathgeb<br />

The beauty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> isn’t always about turquoise water and white sand. There is also<br />

beauty to be found in <strong>the</strong> “bush” and in <strong>the</strong> echoes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past.<br />

On North Caicos, crumbling and overgrown one-room houses peek through <strong>the</strong> bush and talk to those<br />

who are interested in hearing about “<strong>the</strong> old days.” Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m are reminders <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> recovery from<br />

Hurricane Donna, which hit hard on September 7, 1960.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 47

Wilbert Forbes, who was nine years old September 1960 and living by <strong>the</strong> beach in Whitby, recalls that news <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

storm came from Nassau through <strong>the</strong> radio. His fa<strong>the</strong>r Aaron was in <strong>the</strong> Bahamas at <strong>the</strong> time, but he says his mo<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Wealthy, “was well-informed.” Told to move to high land away from <strong>the</strong> sea, she took her (<strong>the</strong>n) four children—Agnes,<br />

Shirley, Wilbert, and Shirrington—to nearby Musgrove Hill. Joining <strong>the</strong>m were relatives and o<strong>the</strong>r families who lived<br />

in <strong>the</strong> same area: a crowd <strong>of</strong> Swanns, Robinsons, Forbeses, Handfields, and Lightbournes.<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

The storm brought down nearly all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> beachfront houses, and on Musgrove Hill a large tree (“it was ei<strong>the</strong>r an<br />

oak or a tamarind”) toppled, killing a donkey that had been brought <strong>the</strong>re. Gary Lightbourne was only two years old<br />

at <strong>the</strong> time and lived in Bottle Creek. He recalls that his family stayed in <strong>the</strong>ir house because it was high on a hill. He<br />

says, “At first <strong>the</strong> creek was sucked dry and lots <strong>of</strong> people were picking up snapper, shad bar, and o<strong>the</strong>r fish—some<br />

were still jumping! Then it seemed like <strong>the</strong> water poured back in ‘like a river.’ Afterwards, <strong>the</strong>re were creeks and<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 49

50 www.timespub.tc

The longest established legal practice<br />

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

Real Estate Investments<br />

& Property Development<br />

Immigration, Residency<br />

& Business Licensing<br />

Company & Commercial Law<br />

Trusts & Estate Planning<br />

Banking & Insurance<br />

waterholes all about, even in <strong>the</strong> Pineyard. Creek Mouth<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r entrances from <strong>the</strong> sea were a lot deeper after<br />

<strong>the</strong> hurricane. It was like a natural dredging.”<br />

Hope James-Hamilton was 10 years old when<br />

Hurricane Donna hit <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, but she remembers <strong>the</strong><br />

event like it was yesterday. She recalls, “When we first<br />

heard <strong>the</strong> hurricane was coming, it was kind <strong>of</strong> exciting.<br />

Everyone was baking bread, frying fish, washing and<br />

packing away clo<strong>the</strong>s to get ready. My daddy (<strong>the</strong> late<br />

Charles Hubert James), <strong>the</strong> late Raymond Gardiner, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r men were checking <strong>the</strong> barometer and watching<br />

<strong>the</strong> creek. When he saw <strong>the</strong> creek was dry, my daddy said<br />

we had to go to <strong>the</strong> shelter. But mummy didn’t want to<br />

go! I remember he pulled me through <strong>the</strong> last open window<br />

in <strong>the</strong> house, which was closed up, and tied me to<br />

a tree so I wouldn’t blow away while he tried to convince<br />

mummy to leave.” The family made it to <strong>the</strong> shelter at<br />

<strong>the</strong> school, where Hope honors <strong>the</strong> “brave, strong men”<br />

who held <strong>the</strong> iron door shut against <strong>the</strong> winds while o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

went to a nearby shack and cooked rice in a big pot.<br />

The men <strong>the</strong>n crawled between <strong>the</strong> shed and <strong>the</strong> shelter<br />

clutching handfuls <strong>of</strong> rice for <strong>the</strong> people to eat as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

rode out <strong>the</strong> storm.<br />

1 Caribbean Place, P.O. Box 97<br />

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 />

Ph: 649 946 2245 • Fax: 649 946 2758<br />

E-Mail: ffdlawco@tciway.tc<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 51

Amazingly, no human lives were lost in <strong>the</strong> hurricane,<br />

but <strong>the</strong>re was plenty <strong>of</strong> destruction island-wide<br />

to homes and <strong>the</strong> boats that were a livelihood to many.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, Wilbert Forbes calls <strong>the</strong> storm “a blessing in<br />

disguise.” The reason? Recovery assistance came quickly<br />

and generously from <strong>the</strong> West Indies Federal Government,<br />

Jamaica, <strong>the</strong> United States, and Canada. In addition to<br />

food <strong>of</strong> all types, <strong>the</strong>re was cement, lumber, and ro<strong>of</strong>ing<br />

materials. The Islanders set to rebuilding <strong>the</strong>ir homes and<br />

repairing <strong>the</strong>ir sloops.<br />

They built quickly and simply: one-room structures<br />

<strong>of</strong> native stone and cement, with corrugated metal ro<strong>of</strong>s.<br />

Skills and tools varied; only one man, says Wilbert, had<br />

a level and a square. O<strong>the</strong>rs crooked <strong>the</strong>ir elbows to<br />

approximate a right angle.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> years, residents added improvements and<br />

built larger and better homes which can be seen across<br />

<strong>the</strong> island today. But <strong>the</strong> “hurricane houses” remain as a<br />

testament to island resilience. Created as <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> a<br />

natural disaster, <strong>the</strong>y, too, are “beautiful by nature.” a<br />

Sources: Wilbert Forbes <strong>of</strong> Whitby, North Caicos; Gary<br />

Lightbourne and Hope James-Hamilton <strong>of</strong> Bottle Creek,<br />

North Caicos, and H.E. Sadler’s Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Landfall,<br />

Second Edition.<br />

52 www.timespub.tc

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 53


feature<br />

Opposite page: Bees work toge<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> hive in complex interactions to turn pollen and nectar ga<strong>the</strong>red from flowers into honey. Without<br />

<strong>the</strong> pollination provided by bees, certain flowering plants could not exist.<br />

Above: Honey bees are swarming honeycomb cells nestled in a fallen tree trunk in Jamaica.<br />


Foray into Beekeeping<br />

Pine Cay was <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> TCI’s first bee hive.<br />

By Diane Taylor<br />

The 2021 David Attenborough film, “Breaking Boundaries,” tells <strong>of</strong> a time not too long ago when England<br />

had no more short-haired queen bumble bees, a species important for pollination, not a single one. In<br />

1990, <strong>the</strong>y were extinct in <strong>the</strong> UK due to loss <strong>of</strong> grassland habitats. To stave <strong>of</strong>f potentially bleak harvests,<br />

England sent a brigade <strong>of</strong> scientists to France where <strong>the</strong>ir mission was to steal a hundred <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

nectar-drinking insects to ensure a functioning ecosystem that would, in turn, ensure good crops. Theft<br />

was an immediate solution to a desperate situation. Bees are that important.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 55

What are <strong>the</strong> ways that we become part <strong>of</strong> a new place,<br />

to feel that we know <strong>the</strong> place, to feel like we belong?<br />

Becoming friendly with trees is one way. And so, after<br />

several months on Pine Cay, I set out one afternoon in<br />

1981 to introduce myself to some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long-time rooted<br />

members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island.<br />

Walking through <strong>the</strong> scrub brush, arms covered in<br />

a long sleeved shirt, I scarcely noticed <strong>the</strong> mosquitoes<br />

buzzing and biting about my face so taken was I with <strong>the</strong><br />

graceful green boughs <strong>of</strong> Caicos pine trees, <strong>the</strong>ir long<br />

needles like fountains. Walking innocently on, I met up<br />

with a tree I did not recognize, and could not find in my<br />

Caribbean tree book. I stepped into its welcome shade,<br />

pulled <strong>of</strong>f a glossy dark green leaf and crushed it between<br />

my fingers in an effort to identify it by <strong>the</strong> smell <strong>of</strong> its<br />

juices, as <strong>the</strong> book said to do. By <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong> bites on my<br />

face were itchy, so, with <strong>the</strong> sap <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> leaf still on my<br />

fingers, I scratched. And scratched. The next morning,<br />

my face was unrecognizable—completely covered in large<br />

weeping blisters.<br />

The tree was poisonwood, Metopium toxiferum. I’d<br />

given myself a good dose <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> irritant urushiol, <strong>the</strong><br />

same oil that is in poison ivy. This tree, with its own<br />

defensive strategies, had things to teach a newcomer.<br />

Soon, I would discover that poisonwood trees have a<br />

sweeter side. As part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> PRIDE (Protection <strong>of</strong> Reefs and<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> from Degradation and Exploitation) experimental<br />

organic garden, it was my job and delight to bring honey<br />

bees to <strong>the</strong> island to ensure pollination. Could a hive <strong>of</strong><br />

bees survive on Pine Cay? I contacted Dr. Julia Morton, a<br />

pioneer in economic botany, by letter (<strong>the</strong> days before<br />

e-mail!) at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Miami and she said, yes, <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are many nectar- and pollen-producing trees and plants<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos. She sent me her booklet, Medicinal<br />

and O<strong>the</strong>r Plants Used by People on North Caicos. Prime<br />

among <strong>the</strong>m was poisonwood, which is especially abundant<br />

in nectar and pollen. I was beginning to feel like I<br />

knew this tree, like I could engage respectfully with this<br />

arboreal neighbour.<br />

Dr. Morton’s o<strong>the</strong>r related booklet Honey Bee Plants<br />

<strong>of</strong> South Florida describes many plants (trees, shrubs,<br />

palms, vines, herbs, grasses, cacti, and field crops) that<br />

are worked by honey bees in Florida. Of <strong>the</strong> sources she<br />

rates as excellent, Pine Cay had ten that are plentiful:<br />

seagrape, buttonwood, poisonwood, inkberry, necklace<br />

pod, beach morning glory, mahoe, castor bean, palmetto<br />

palm, and thatch palm.<br />

We started with just one hive that included five frames<br />

<strong>of</strong> comb, and a colony <strong>of</strong> 8,000 mild-mannered Italian<br />

honey bees, Apis melifera, with its one queen, all purchased<br />

from a beekeeper in Miami. These three pounds<br />

<strong>of</strong> bees were contained in a small wooden box, screening<br />

on two sides so <strong>the</strong>y could brea<strong>the</strong>, and transported with<br />

me by plane. At first, airport staff were leery about allowing<br />

bees on <strong>the</strong> plane, “No ma’am! No bees!,” but when<br />

I pointed out <strong>the</strong> extra steel mesh screening around <strong>the</strong><br />


These images were extracted from <strong>the</strong> PRIDE Newsletter, Volume VII,<br />

No. 1, 1982. In <strong>the</strong> newsletter, Diane Taylor wrote an article about her<br />

experience in beekeeping on Pine Cay.<br />

At left: “Dee” Taylor, wearing protective headgear, shows <strong>of</strong>f PRIDE’s<br />

first bees.<br />

Above: The beehive was set in a plastic tub filled with water to discourage<br />

lizards from eating <strong>the</strong> bees.<br />

56 www.timespub.tc

whole box, <strong>the</strong>y agreed to carry <strong>the</strong>m in cargo. Back on<br />

Pine Cay, excitement was in <strong>the</strong> air as we assembled <strong>the</strong><br />

knocked down hive kit’s several cut-to-fit pieces <strong>of</strong> wood,<br />

and installed <strong>the</strong> bees in <strong>the</strong>ir new quarters.<br />

A few mornings later, while still at home (about a ten<br />

minute walk from <strong>the</strong> garden), I heard a strange sound<br />

coming from just outside <strong>the</strong> house. What was that? I<br />

walked out <strong>the</strong> screen door and followed <strong>the</strong> hum down<br />

<strong>the</strong> path to where <strong>the</strong>re was a large poisonwood tree that<br />

had been in blossom for some time. The bees had found<br />

it! Hundreds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m! Even as I write this 40 years later, I<br />

still feel <strong>the</strong> amazement and relief I felt that morning. I’d<br />

brought <strong>the</strong>m to a foreign land and <strong>the</strong>y were adapting<br />

just fine. Now, I know that bee colonies are routinely and<br />

safely flown thousands <strong>of</strong> miles to ensure pollination <strong>of</strong><br />

many kinds <strong>of</strong> crops.<br />

However, a foreign land had hazards, as in lizards that<br />

saw a free meal in bees as <strong>the</strong>y left <strong>the</strong> hive first thing<br />

in <strong>the</strong> morning to forage. One flick <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tongue and<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r bee was devoured. To circumvent this predation,<br />

we added stilts to <strong>the</strong> hive. Still <strong>the</strong> onslaught continued.<br />

We placed <strong>the</strong> stilts in a plastic tub filled with water. This<br />

worked. Upon examination, <strong>the</strong> queen bee was still laying<br />

eggs, and still keeping a sense <strong>of</strong> unity among her<br />

numerous colony.<br />

If <strong>the</strong> surviving and even thriving colony wasn’t sweet<br />

enough to our ears and minds, <strong>the</strong>re was <strong>the</strong> honey.<br />

Eventually, we harvested 70 pounds <strong>of</strong> comb honey and<br />

tasted <strong>the</strong> golden liquid. Ah, when <strong>the</strong> floral bouquet<br />

Above: In spite <strong>of</strong> being an irritant to humans, <strong>the</strong> Poisonwood tree<br />

is especially abundant in pollen and nectar, and thus attractive to<br />

honeybees.<br />

Below: This image was taken by Helen Fairchild and given to PRIDE<br />

for use in its October 1976 newsletter.<br />



<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 57


Above: Each hive has one queen bee (shown in center) who lays about 1,500 eggs in a day. All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> worker bees and drone bees are her<br />

<strong>of</strong>fspring. The queen lays a single egg in each cell that has been cleaned and prepared by <strong>the</strong> worker bees to raise new brood.<br />

Below: Honey bees undergo four states <strong>of</strong> development inside a cell <strong>of</strong> wax comb.<br />

touched our tongues, we noticed a more gentle sweetness<br />

than store-bought honeys, and a slightly less viscous<br />

texture. We were very pleased with <strong>the</strong> alchemy that had<br />

been wrought from soil and sun, blossoms and bees.<br />

Beekeeping is a real possibility for an enterprising<br />

soul in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. The initial outlay is<br />

small, and a hive can multiply from 8,000 to 80,000—<br />

depending on equipment size and capacity—in <strong>the</strong> first<br />

year. In addition, <strong>the</strong>re are side businesses like propolis,<br />

bee pollen, bee venom, wax, and queen rearing. Queen<br />

rearing is potentially <strong>the</strong> most lucrative business, and is<br />

<strong>the</strong> most important aspect for healthy hives world-wide.<br />

Queens need to be raised in isolation to keep <strong>the</strong>m free<br />

from disease and to prevent <strong>the</strong>m from breeding with<br />

inferior strains. Because <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos is an island<br />

domain, and because bees do not travel over large bodies<br />

<strong>of</strong> water, TCI is potentially a good place to raise queens.<br />

Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce<br />

by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate ga<strong>the</strong>red<br />

from tree buds, sap flows, or o<strong>the</strong>r botanical sources.<br />

It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in <strong>the</strong><br />

beehive. Propolis seems to help fight against bacteria,<br />

viruses, and fungi. It might also have anti-inflammatory<br />

effects and help skin heal.<br />

Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates,<br />

lipids, and protein. It comes from <strong>the</strong> pollen that collects<br />

58 www.timespub.tc


Stingless bees, specifically Melipona beecheii, could thrive in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos. They are smaller and able to extract nectar from tiny,<br />

narrow flowers.<br />

on <strong>the</strong> bodies <strong>of</strong> bees as <strong>the</strong>y fly from one flower to<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r. Bee venom is <strong>the</strong> poison that makes bee stings<br />

painful. It is given as a shot for bee sting allergy. It is<br />

also used for osteoarthritis, Parkinson disease, multiple<br />

sclerosis (MS), nerve pain, and o<strong>the</strong>r conditions. Beeswax<br />

has been used since prehistory as a lubricant and waterpro<strong>of</strong>ing<br />

agent, in wax casting <strong>of</strong> metals and glass, as<br />

a polish for wood and lea<strong>the</strong>r, for making candles, as<br />

an ingredient in cosmetics, and as an artistic medium in<br />

painting.<br />

There are challenges! Varroa mites are reddish<br />

coloured parasites that live and feed on adult honey bees.<br />

They can weaken <strong>the</strong> colony and make it susceptible to<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r diseases. Neonicotinoids are insecticides used on<br />

farms and urban landscapes. They are absorbed by plants<br />

and can be present in pollen and nectar, which are <strong>the</strong>n<br />

toxic to bees. Some poisonous plants including oleander<br />

have a nectar that is harmless to bees but produces a<br />

honey that is toxic to humans. Bee stings can be painful,<br />

and a small percentage <strong>of</strong> people have anaphylactic reactions<br />

that can cause death. All things considered, working<br />

with bees can be addictively fun and introduce you to a<br />

lifelong passion for one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s most complex and<br />

social species.<br />

Speaking <strong>of</strong> stings, <strong>the</strong>re is such a thing as stingless<br />

bees, over 400 species <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m in fact, all <strong>of</strong> which produce<br />

honey which sells for much more than honey-bee<br />

honey. They are native to tropical and subtropical countries<br />

around <strong>the</strong> world, and were domesticated by <strong>the</strong><br />

Mayans for <strong>the</strong>ir honey and wax.<br />

Specifically, Melipona beecheii is a species native to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Yucatan and <strong>the</strong> entire Caribbean basin that would<br />

no doubt thrive in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos. They are much<br />

smaller, and <strong>the</strong>refore able to extract nectar from tiny<br />

narrow flowers that are inaccessible to <strong>the</strong> larger honey<br />

bees. Their hives are much smaller, too, and can be miniature<br />

clay pots. Ano<strong>the</strong>r plus is that <strong>the</strong>y continuously<br />

produce queens that do not need to be isolated. They<br />

help maintain <strong>the</strong> health <strong>of</strong> ecosystems, and are used to<br />

pollinate crops, such as strawberry fields in Brazil. And<br />

just think—no stingers means no smoke needed to calm<br />

aggressive moods <strong>of</strong> bees that have stingers and know<br />

how to use <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

David Attenborough is 96. When he tells a story about<br />

queen bee <strong>the</strong>ft in a documentary on how to save <strong>the</strong><br />

planet, you perk up your ears and listen. We and fellow<br />

travellers—<strong>the</strong> bees—have things in common. We both<br />

depend on Earth for sustenance and shelter, and we both<br />

need oxygen to brea<strong>the</strong>. Our destinies are intertwined.<br />

a<br />

Many thanks to B Naqqi Manco, Assistant Director <strong>of</strong><br />

Research and Development for DECR, for sending me<br />

research articles on <strong>the</strong> raising <strong>of</strong> Melipona beecheii bees.<br />

A beehive creates a variety <strong>of</strong> products, from left: honey, propolis, pollen, bee bread (a mixture <strong>of</strong> pollen and nectar or honey) and wax.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 59

esort report<br />

Opposite page: H2O Life Style. Resort <strong>of</strong>fers a luxury lodging experience for kiteboarders and active travelers alike.<br />

Above: The resort is positioned on Long Bay Beach, known as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best kiteboarding places in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Not Just Kiteboard Heaven<br />

H2O Life. Style Resort combines wellness and sustainability.<br />

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos Courtesy H2O Life. Style Resort<br />

The wind was blasting out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>ast with mild chop in <strong>the</strong> blue-green sea and <strong>the</strong> dune grass<br />

bending towards <strong>the</strong> sand. Mmm . . . not a quiet beach day today, I thought. But as I looked towards <strong>the</strong><br />

horizon, I saw what appeared to be <strong>the</strong> fluttering <strong>of</strong> huge butterflies, swooping and diving in <strong>the</strong> breeze.<br />

Below <strong>the</strong> “wings” were intrepid thrill-seekers on boards, swiftly skimming across <strong>the</strong> waves. A young<br />

Islander ran over with a huge grin, “The wind’s at 18 knots! We’re having fantastic rides this morning!”<br />

He was <strong>the</strong> beach concierge at H2O Life. Style Resort on Long Bay—<strong>the</strong> only luxury kiteboarding resort<br />

located in one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s best places to enjoy <strong>the</strong> sport.<br />

But I soon learned that you don’t have to be a kiteboarder to enjoy this world class resort.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 61

For many years Long Bay in Providenciales has been<br />

known to <strong>of</strong>fer nearly perfect conditions for kiteboarding<br />

and related watersports. Here, <strong>the</strong> water is warm, shallow,<br />

and buffered with s<strong>of</strong>t white sand. The beach is wide,<br />

with plenty <strong>of</strong> room to launch and land safely. And best <strong>of</strong><br />

all, <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos benefits from one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> longest<br />

ideal “wind seasons” in <strong>the</strong> world: steady 14 to 22 knot<br />

onshore breezes from November to August.<br />

Rob Ayer is an avid kiteboarder and seasoned developer<br />

in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. The first project for this transplanted<br />

Canadian was in 2009 with <strong>the</strong> 59 room Wymara Resort<br />

on <strong>the</strong> western end <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay Beach. It morphed into<br />

<strong>the</strong> chic Gansevoort Turks + Caicos before rebranding as<br />

<strong>the</strong> Wymara Resort and Villas in 2019.<br />

A savvy prognosticator, Rob purchased <strong>the</strong> three-acre<br />

Long Bay beachfront property in 2016, just before prices<br />

in <strong>the</strong> area started to skyrocket. He says, “I always loved<br />

<strong>the</strong> color <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water on this side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island. After Stan<br />

Hartling invested several years in removing all <strong>the</strong> old<br />

conch shells from <strong>the</strong> beach for The Shore Club, I knew<br />

<strong>the</strong> time was right to start planning <strong>the</strong> perfect ‘lifestyle’<br />

resort.”<br />

Rob teamed up with fellow Canadian Nicolas Boucher.<br />

From experience, <strong>the</strong> pair knew <strong>the</strong> beach was perfect for<br />

kiteboarding and that <strong>the</strong>re was a market for kiteboarders<br />

who wanted a luxury experience. He explains, “They<br />

are active travelers, who like nice things and who want to<br />

experience ‘kiteboard heaven.’ This side <strong>of</strong> Providenciales<br />

is less touristy and has a more natural feel. It is mostly<br />

upscale, residential villas along <strong>the</strong> beach. So we positioned<br />

H2O as a wellness resort for folks with an active<br />

lifestyle who value sustainable travel.”<br />

The resort is modern and sleek in <strong>the</strong> “building block”<br />

style that is prevalent in new construction. Besides being<br />

able to bear hurricanes with minimal damage, <strong>the</strong> flat<br />

ro<strong>of</strong> design allows for solar panels and a stunning ro<strong>of</strong>top<br />

terrace with a bird’s eye view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island. H2O<br />

includes 16 condominium units that can be divided into<br />

25 rental units. The condos sold out quickly, as investors<br />

and island residents realized <strong>the</strong>ir unique appeal.<br />

Interiors feature cool, muted tones, much welcome<br />

after a day in <strong>the</strong> sun and sea. The design is understated,<br />

ultra-modern elegance, with every detail well considered.<br />

Spacious living areas feature picture windows and outdoor<br />

terraces facing <strong>the</strong> ocean. Suites are available with<br />

one to four comfortable bedrooms, full kitchens, elegant<br />

bathrooms, and many include dedicated <strong>of</strong>fice spaces<br />

with desks.<br />

The peaceful, private site includes two pools and a<br />

selection <strong>of</strong> outdoor spaces for enjoying <strong>the</strong> Caribbean<br />

H2O Life. Style Resort includes three buildings on three acres <strong>of</strong> land fronting Long Bay Beach. Note <strong>the</strong> solar panels on <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>s. They contribute<br />

at least 1/2 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> electricity used by <strong>the</strong> resort.<br />

62 www.timespub.tc

vibe. The central pool is for fun and frolic, flanked by <strong>the</strong><br />

HangTime outdoor bar, where guests can enjoy made-toorder<br />

cocktails and nutritious smoothies. The oceanfront<br />

infinity pool is a dedicated quiet area where sunba<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

can enjoy <strong>the</strong> breeze and natural dunes. Nearby, a shaded<br />

“hammock garden” and hot tubs <strong>of</strong>fer additional peaceful<br />

places to relax. As a result, <strong>the</strong> resort is perfect for couples,<br />

yet equally family friendly.<br />

And for kiteboarders and watersports enthusiasts?<br />

The boutique service is supreme, with no detail forgotten.<br />

There is a certified “kite valet” whose sole purpose<br />

is to teach, assist, launch, land, and encourage guests to<br />

enjoy <strong>the</strong>ir favorite sport, be it kiteboarding, kite surfing,<br />

wing surfing, E-foils, or sailing Hobie sailboats. There is a<br />

rescue boat on call for those who might go astray. A wind<br />

meter keeps track <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hourly breezes. And <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

plenty <strong>of</strong> like-minded aficionados on <strong>the</strong> beach to share<br />

tips and tricks.<br />

H2O guests can choose from a full quiver <strong>of</strong> top quality<br />

rental gear, “<strong>the</strong> latest and greatest” Rob says. There is<br />

a well stocked retail store <strong>of</strong> beachwear and accessories.<br />

Guests can rinse and store <strong>the</strong>ir own gear in dedicated<br />

locker areas below <strong>the</strong> beachfront buildings. Lessons by<br />

top island pros are readily available. There are also boats<br />

to be chartered for fishing trips or jaunts to <strong>the</strong> Tiki Bar<br />

floating in <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong> Long Bay.<br />

From top: The penthouse outdoor terrace overlooks <strong>the</strong> magnificent<br />

expanse <strong>of</strong> Long Bay Beach and <strong>the</strong> Caicos Banks beyond.<br />

Interiors feature cool, natural tones that highlight <strong>the</strong> colorful vistas<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea from <strong>the</strong> large picture windows in each suite.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 63

Above: The central pool is for fun, sun, and frolic, with <strong>the</strong> HangTime bar front and center. Heated Jacuzzis are poolside.<br />

Below: The beachfront building ro<strong>of</strong>top is an ideal place to start <strong>the</strong> day with a yoga session.<br />

However, Rob explains, a stay at H2O is meant to be restorative to all, with a variety <strong>of</strong> health and wellness<br />

options. Especially popular is ro<strong>of</strong>top yoga, with its cool breeze and stunning sea views, especially sunrises and<br />

sunsets. O<strong>the</strong>rs partake <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fitness center and spa, with massage <strong>the</strong>rapists on call. There is a pickleball court on<br />

site, with tennis available nearby. Many folks enjoy strolling <strong>the</strong> beach and allowing <strong>the</strong> simple beauty <strong>of</strong> sea, sand,<br />

and sun to work its soothing spell.<br />

64 www.timespub.tc

Among <strong>the</strong> many thrilling watersports popular on Long Bay Beach is wing surfing. H2O <strong>of</strong>fers guests <strong>the</strong> chance to try out <strong>the</strong> latest and<br />

greatest gear from <strong>the</strong>ir large inventory.<br />

As a luxury property, H2O’s “lifestyle concierge” is prepared to attend to any and every need. This includes prearrival<br />

grocery stocking and <strong>the</strong> services <strong>of</strong> a private chef. There are multiple restaurants within a short beach walk<br />

from <strong>the</strong> resort, while <strong>the</strong> glitter and glamour <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay is an easy drive across <strong>the</strong> island.<br />

Sustainability is key as <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> become more developed. From H2O’s inception, Rob and Nicolas chose a<br />

“consciously designed setting that honors <strong>the</strong> planet.” In conjunction with local power company FortisTCI, ro<strong>of</strong>top<br />

solar panels are currently contributing about half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> energy used by <strong>the</strong> resort. The property is cooled with high<br />

efficiency air conditioning units and uses energy-efficient lighting. Biomass treatment tanks turn wastewater into<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 65


Above and below right: Watersports that rely only on wind power help keep <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos “Greener by Nature,” and have a quiet beauty<br />

and grace all <strong>the</strong>ir own.<br />

irrigation for landscaping. A reverse osmosis device in<br />

each unit allows for filtered drinking water directly from<br />

<strong>the</strong> taps, eliminating thousands <strong>of</strong> throw-away plastic<br />

water bottles. A Tesla electric “house car” is available<br />

for guests’ use. And thanks to a government protected<br />

“green space” to <strong>the</strong> east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> property, <strong>the</strong> views <strong>of</strong><br />

native vegetation will remain untainted.<br />

I realized that <strong>the</strong> sports favored here are also<br />

helping keep <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos “Greener by Nature.”<br />

Kiteboarding, kite sailing, wind surfing, wing surfing,<br />

and sailing use no fuel, contribute no emissions (except<br />

exclamations <strong>of</strong> joy), and are naturally quiet. It’s a far cry<br />

from <strong>the</strong> bustle <strong>of</strong> engine-driven boats that pass along<br />

Grace Bay all day.<br />

So what’s <strong>the</strong> buzz? Guests are raving about this small,<br />

niche resort. Since opening in December 2020, <strong>the</strong> repeat<br />

rate is rising like <strong>the</strong> kites in <strong>the</strong> wind. Many guests travel<br />

from Europe and South America, lured by <strong>the</strong> beach’s reputation<br />

and overjoyed to have lodging that makes <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

vacation so perfect.<br />

BOLD Traveller magazine is Canada’s leading luxury<br />

travel and leisure publication, catering to an audience<br />

<strong>of</strong> discerning travellers who want a richer and more<br />

meaningful connection ​with <strong>the</strong> places and culture <strong>the</strong>y<br />

experience. H2O Life. Style Resort recently made <strong>the</strong><br />

magazines’s first #BoldHotels List: 10 newcomers that<br />

are leading <strong>the</strong> charge and pushing <strong>the</strong> boundaries <strong>of</strong><br />

what makes a great hotel—not just gateways to a place,<br />

but destinations in <strong>the</strong>ir own right. a<br />

For more information, visit h2oresorttci.com.<br />


66 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 />

Author Jeff Dodge is an avid collector <strong>of</strong> vintage Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> postcards. He recently turned sleuth trying to determine how a paper<br />

salesman in California in <strong>the</strong> late 1920s obtained a wide-ranging collection <strong>of</strong> early postcards and photographs <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk Island.<br />

Sleuthing <strong>the</strong> Stave Story<br />

What is <strong>the</strong> origin <strong>of</strong> a mysterious collection <strong>of</strong> vintage images <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk?<br />

Story and Illustrations By Jeff Dodge<br />

What was <strong>the</strong> connection between <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and a paper salesman from Los Angeles,<br />

California? This question came up after I noticed that a number <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vintage Turks <strong>Islands</strong> postcards in<br />

my collection had <strong>the</strong> name and address <strong>of</strong> a Los Angeles man stamped in light blue ink on <strong>the</strong>ir backs.<br />

My curiosity finally grew to <strong>the</strong> point that I had to know who this man was and what was his connection<br />

to <strong>the</strong> TCI. The name stamped on <strong>the</strong>se postcards was “George A. Stave.” My first guess was that he had<br />

visited Grand Turk Island in <strong>the</strong> late 1920s or early 1930s. That guess would have been wrong.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 67

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This postcard was published circa 1906. The cactus farthing stamp was issued between 1922 and 1926, but was in use until 1938. The King<br />

George V stamps were issued between 1928 and 1935/1938. (Note: The stamps weren’t cancelled and <strong>the</strong> postcard wasn’t posted.)<br />

What made <strong>the</strong> mystery more interesting was that <strong>the</strong><br />

earliest postcard with Stave’s name and address stamped<br />

on it was produced in 1906 (see above) and <strong>the</strong> latest<br />

postcard bearing Stave’s name and address was produced<br />

about 1928 (see below). In addition to factory produced<br />

postcards, Stave’s name and address also appeared on<br />

photographs <strong>of</strong> scenes on Grand Turk.<br />

George A. Stave (née Arne Georg Stave) was born in<br />

Norway in 1892. He arrived in New York in 1907 with<br />

two <strong>of</strong> his eight siblings—two years after his fa<strong>the</strong>r, who<br />

immigrated in 1905. His mo<strong>the</strong>r and <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> family<br />

immigrated to <strong>the</strong> U.S. in 1911. By 1910, George,<br />

his fa<strong>the</strong>r, and his two bro<strong>the</strong>rs were living in Seattle,<br />

Washington. His fa<strong>the</strong>r worked as a baker.<br />

Following his service in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy during World<br />

War I, George returned to Seattle where he was employed<br />

as a paper salesman—probably for <strong>the</strong> American Writing<br />

Paper Company. He married Wilma A. Moore in 1922 and<br />

by 1923 <strong>the</strong>y were living on Deane Avenue in Los Angeles,<br />

California. By 1930 <strong>the</strong> Stave family was living at 1152<br />

Murifield Road in Los Angeles—<strong>the</strong> address stamped on<br />

<strong>the</strong> postcards bearing Stave’s name and address. The<br />

Stave family was still living on Murifield Road in 1936,<br />

but by 1940 <strong>the</strong>y had moved to Salinas, California. In<br />

1942, <strong>the</strong> Salinas city directory notes that Stave had his<br />

own paper company and by 1962 he was <strong>the</strong> manager <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Salinas Valley Wax Paper Company. George Stave died<br />

in 1981.<br />

Based on when Stave lived at <strong>the</strong> Murifield Road<br />

address and <strong>the</strong> dates when <strong>the</strong> stamps that were affixed<br />

to <strong>the</strong> front <strong>of</strong> some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> postcards he collected were<br />

issued, one can deduce that Stave must have acquired<br />

<strong>the</strong>se postcards and photos between about 1928 and<br />

1930.<br />

There is nothing to suggest that George Stave had <strong>the</strong><br />

opportunity to travel to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> during<br />

<strong>the</strong> years he resided on Murifield Road. As a wholesale<br />

paper salesman and <strong>the</strong> head <strong>of</strong> a family <strong>of</strong> four—five<br />

This sepia postcard <strong>of</strong> South Creek was published circa 1928. It was produced from an Edmund Neale Coverley photograph that was first<br />

used to produce a colored postcard in 1909. Both color and sepia postcards from this photograph were printed for Coverley by Stengel &<br />

Co. <strong>of</strong> Dresden, Germany. The King George V ½d stamp was issued between 1928–1935. (Note: The stamp wasn’t cancelled and <strong>the</strong> postcard<br />

wasn’t posted.)<br />

68 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This photograph with a hand-written title below <strong>the</strong> image shows Stave’s name and address stamped on <strong>the</strong> reverse side.<br />

counting his mo<strong>the</strong>r-in-law—it is not likely that he ever<br />

traveled to <strong>the</strong> West Indies. A search <strong>of</strong> passenger and<br />

passport records bear this out. Therefore, one must conclude<br />

that Stave was a collector <strong>of</strong> postcards and possibly<br />

stamps as well. But how did he acquire <strong>the</strong>se postcards<br />

and photos? There are several possibilities.<br />

Perhaps a friend <strong>of</strong> George Stave visited Grand Turk<br />

Island in <strong>the</strong> late 1920s. However, this is unlikely, because<br />

a short-term visitor to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> would not have been<br />

able to find or acquire <strong>the</strong> wide variety <strong>of</strong> postcards and<br />

photos dating from 1906 to 1928 that found <strong>the</strong>ir way<br />

into Stave’s collection. This suggests that Stave’s contact<br />

was probably a resident on Grand Turk.<br />

If you assume Stave was put in touch with a resident<br />

<strong>of</strong> Grand Turk, <strong>the</strong>n how might this have occurred? He<br />

may have known someone on Grand Turk through his<br />

work as a paper salesman, though it is unlikely since his<br />

sales territory was most likely <strong>the</strong> western United States.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r possibility is that he might have written someone<br />

such as <strong>the</strong> American Consul on Grand Turk for <strong>the</strong> name<br />

<strong>of</strong> a person on <strong>the</strong> island who could obtain a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

postcards and/or stamps for him. This is possible, but,<br />

who might this contact have been?<br />

One name that comes to mind is Robert O. Challis.<br />

He was stationed at Cable and Wireless on Grand Turk<br />

from early January 1926 to 1932. There is evidence that<br />

Challis, who was himself a photographer and who turned<br />

some <strong>of</strong> his photographs into postcards, took at least one<br />

or two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> photographs in Stave’s collection.<br />

The photo and postcard below supports this thinking<br />

that Robert Challis might have been Stave’s contact on<br />

Grand Turk and <strong>the</strong> person who sent him <strong>the</strong> postcards<br />

and photos.<br />

The photograph above has a title written below <strong>the</strong><br />

image. There are six like this in <strong>the</strong> collection <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos National Museum and <strong>the</strong>y all have Stave’s name<br />

and address stamped on <strong>the</strong>ir backs. The Museum’s<br />

founder, Gre<strong>the</strong> Seim, acquired <strong>the</strong>se photographs from<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> same photograph as above, but printed on postcard stock. Someone noted that <strong>the</strong> photo was by Robert O. Challis—an employee <strong>of</strong><br />

Cable & Wireless and a photographer. Challis <strong>of</strong>ficially reported to work on January 11, 1926, but probably moved to Grand Turk in late 1925.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 69

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>the</strong> Smithsonian Museum sometime between 1980 and<br />

1998—where <strong>the</strong> Smithsonian got <strong>the</strong>m is unknown. It<br />

is believed that most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> photographs were taken by<br />

Robert Challis about 1926. However, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> photos<br />

with <strong>the</strong> hand-written title (Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> – Sponges) was<br />

probably taken by Edmund N. Coverley before 1910,<br />

though someone o<strong>the</strong>r than Coverley probably printed<br />

this picture from his negative.<br />

Robert Challis was one <strong>of</strong> three known early photographers<br />

residing on Grand Turk in <strong>the</strong> 1920s and early<br />

1930s—<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r two were Edmond N. Coverley and John<br />

C. Crisson. Note however, that Coverley passed away in<br />

1927—before some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> stamps on <strong>the</strong> postcards sent<br />

to Stave were issued. John Crisson, best known as a newspaperman,<br />

printed some <strong>of</strong> his photos on postcard stock.<br />

He sometimes marked <strong>the</strong>m with his name using an<br />

embossing stamp. The Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

has in <strong>the</strong>ir collection both embossed and unmarked<br />

postcards and photos by Crisson—none bear Stave’s<br />

name on <strong>the</strong>ir backs. Crisson owned The Chronicle and<br />

Dependency News from about 1924 to 1930. It’s possible<br />

that Crisson, being a newspaperman and photographer,<br />

was Stave’s contact on Grand Turk.<br />

Unfortunately, <strong>the</strong>re is no way to pinpoint <strong>the</strong> source<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> postcards and photos in George Stave’s collection<br />

with certainty. Stave descendants that could be located<br />

did not know about his postcard collection, however most<br />

<strong>of</strong> his descendants could not be found. Consequently, <strong>the</strong><br />

mystery <strong>of</strong> how a wide variety <strong>of</strong> vintage photographs and<br />

picture postcards <strong>of</strong> scenes on Grand Turk ended up in<br />

<strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> a paper salesman living in California in <strong>the</strong><br />

late 1920s and early 1930s remains an enigma.<br />

If you have pre-1938 picture postcards or photographs<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong> (Grand Turk) with George<br />

Stave’s name and address stamped on <strong>the</strong>m, I would be<br />

interested in hearing from you. Postcards from Stave’s<br />

collection have been found in o<strong>the</strong>r collections—especially<br />

in California. You may email me (Jeff Dodge) at<br />

tinqua@aol.com. a<br />

Remembering when:<br />

Operation Cossack<br />

Story & Images By Paul Ward<br />

Experiencing <strong>the</strong> hustle and bustle <strong>of</strong> development<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos today, especially on<br />

Providenciales, it is hard to believe that <strong>the</strong> basic infrastructure<br />

was put into place only a little more than 50<br />

years ago.<br />

In 1967, Provident Limited, a development company<br />

headed by Fritz Ludington, identified <strong>the</strong> potential<br />

<strong>of</strong> Providenciales’ beautiful beach and pristine turquoise<br />

seas. The TCI Government granted 4,000 acres<br />

<strong>of</strong> Crown Land to Provident in exchange for constructing<br />

an airstrip, roads, a jetty, and a hotel. By 1970,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Third Turtle Inn and Turtle Cove Marina were in<br />

operation.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are a British Overseas<br />

Territory and in 1970, <strong>the</strong> UK initiated Operation<br />

Cossack. It had dual benefits. According to Dr. Richard<br />

Grainger, medical <strong>of</strong>ficer in TCI from 1970–71, “In <strong>the</strong><br />

1970s, <strong>the</strong> trade unions in <strong>the</strong> UK were powerful and<br />

prevented or severely limited <strong>the</strong> activities <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

Engineers in using or practicing <strong>the</strong>ir essential skills—<br />

such as building roads or bridges—in <strong>the</strong> UK.” As a<br />

result, 97 men from <strong>the</strong> 15th Field Support Squadron<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal Engineers (and three RAF divers) were sent<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> to carry out a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> civil engineering tasks such as road building and<br />

repair, updating <strong>the</strong> telephone system, constructing a<br />

large water tank at South Caicos airport, and removing<br />

obstructions from several channels to make it easier<br />

for boats to navigate.<br />

According to Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Landfall: A History <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, “The detachment was based<br />

at South Caicos and comprised about 100 men. . . . A<br />

diving party blasted a passage from Fort George Cut to<br />

Sandy Point. From Sellers Cut to Long Bay <strong>the</strong> channel<br />

was opened. At Middle Caicos, <strong>the</strong> canal near Lorimers<br />

was opened.”<br />

Paul Ward was part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> diving team <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

Engineers. He recently contacted us about sharing his<br />

memories <strong>of</strong> that brief, but important, time <strong>of</strong> his life.<br />

He recalls that <strong>the</strong>ir mission was to mark out a channel<br />

70 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Above and right: The Sunday Mirror on March 8, 1970 describes<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> escapades <strong>of</strong> British servicemen taking part in Operation<br />

Cossack.<br />

Below: Royal Engineer divers used explosives to blow up coral to open<br />

up channels for boats to navigate through <strong>the</strong> reef.<br />

from <strong>the</strong> breakwater to enable low-draft yachts and boats<br />

to get to shore, which would ultimately aid <strong>the</strong> tourist<br />

trade for <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. “For me, it was a dream assignment<br />

— camping on <strong>the</strong> beach and experiencing <strong>the</strong> most pristine<br />

waters and beaches in <strong>the</strong> world.”<br />

The servicemen landed by a troop carrier in late<br />

January, 1970 and left in early April. In a somewhat-sensationalized<br />

article in <strong>the</strong> Sunday Mirror (March 8, 1970),<br />

<strong>the</strong> newspaper reports “daily confrontation with sharks,<br />

vicious barracudas and aggressive eels up to 12 feet<br />

long.” Paul Ward says that <strong>the</strong> RAF divers were employed<br />

as shark guards for his team <strong>of</strong> Royal Engineer divers<br />

who used explosives to blow up coral obstructing <strong>the</strong><br />

channel.<br />

The main camp site for <strong>the</strong> divers was at Parrot<br />

Cay. Paul recalls that George Stubbs provided <strong>the</strong> petrol<br />

to power <strong>the</strong> outboard motors <strong>the</strong>y used to get to <strong>the</strong><br />

clearing sites. He also remembers an Islander who had<br />

a donkey called Lulabell, who <strong>the</strong>y could hear approach<br />

through <strong>the</strong> bush chatting away to <strong>the</strong> animal. He says,<br />

“I was very lucky to experience <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> before development,<br />

especially meeting up with an American diver<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 71

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

From top: The main camp for Operation Cossack’s divers was located<br />

on <strong>the</strong> beach at Parrot Cay.<br />

Servicemen lived in tents on <strong>the</strong> beach and used small boats to travel<br />

between <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

The Royal Engineers at “Camp Caicos” received mail via carefully<br />

placed drops from airplanes.<br />

who with his wife and daughter set up home in a cave on<br />

one part <strong>of</strong> Parrot Cay. He was an artisan who used pieces<br />

<strong>of</strong> wreckage he found whilst diving to make furniture.”<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r favorite memory is going on a night dive to<br />

experience some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea creatures that lived in <strong>the</strong><br />

waters around <strong>the</strong> coast. As well, Paul notes, “We would<br />

see <strong>the</strong> occasional very large manta ray leap out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

water and flying fish come into our boat. Our diet was<br />

supplemented by turtle and parrotfish that were stunned<br />

72 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

or killed during some<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> explosions in <strong>the</strong><br />

water. Occasionally a few<br />

<strong>of</strong> us would go to <strong>the</strong> Third<br />

Turtle Inn for a change <strong>of</strong><br />

scenery and a few drinks,<br />

following <strong>the</strong> sandy dirt<br />

tracks through <strong>the</strong> bush<br />

to get <strong>the</strong>re. For R&R we<br />

were taken to <strong>the</strong> ‘Pan Am’<br />

Base (originally US Guided<br />

Missile Tracking Station<br />

at South Base) on Grand<br />

Turk.”<br />

Paul returned to <strong>the</strong><br />

UK sporting a Caribbean<br />

tan, a detail that helped<br />

impress his wife-to-be in<br />

a bar in Southampton.<br />

(They recently celebrated<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir 50th wedding anniversary.)<br />

To mark <strong>the</strong><br />

experience, <strong>the</strong> team created<br />

a tie to commemorate<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir time in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. a<br />

The Royal Engineers diving team<br />

created a tie to commemorate <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

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

and individuals with <strong>the</strong>ir own stories about <strong>the</strong>ir contribution<br />

to <strong>the</strong> mission.<br />

The Apollo 15 was <strong>the</strong> first “J” mission with a longer<br />

stay on <strong>the</strong> moon, with <strong>the</strong>ir badge representing<br />

three stylised birds flying in close formation to represent<br />

<strong>the</strong> three crew members working towards <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

common goal. Two crew members descended to <strong>the</strong><br />

moon while <strong>the</strong> third remained in lunar orbit. This is<br />

symbolised in <strong>the</strong> badge as two symbolic birds fly close<br />

to <strong>the</strong> moon with <strong>the</strong> third remaining at a distance.<br />

The landing point on <strong>the</strong> moon is shown with <strong>the</strong> 15<br />

number <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mission shown in Roman numerals just<br />

behind <strong>the</strong> symbolic birds.<br />

These badges are not intrinsically valuable but are<br />

<strong>of</strong> significant historical importance as <strong>the</strong>y represent<br />

what was a major period <strong>of</strong> manned space exploration<br />

and are symbols <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hopes and aspirations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

individual mission teams. Our son Andrew was only a<br />

child when he was given a full set <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original Apollo<br />

mission badges that had been issued up to 1972. They<br />

were a remarkably generous gift from our American<br />

friend, Macy, and will be treasured forever as a lasting<br />

memory <strong>of</strong> our friends, South Base, and Grand Turk.<br />

Note: The Royal Engineers returned to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in<br />

January 1971. During this visit, <strong>the</strong>y resurfaced <strong>the</strong><br />

South Caicos airport runway and opened up Ingram’s Cut<br />

near Lorimers, Middle Caicos.<br />

Remembering when:<br />

Apollo mission badges<br />

By Dr. Richard Grainger<br />

A curiosity we discovered from our friend Macy Riepe<br />

was that one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tasks that astronauts on Apollo missions<br />

had to undertake was to design a patch to represent<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir flight. The astronauts were conscious <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> historic<br />

nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir venture so took great care in <strong>the</strong> creation<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir mission patch design. Each member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> team<br />

involved was presented with a patch—which included <strong>the</strong><br />

down range team members on Grand Turk—so I think<br />

<strong>the</strong>re may be original badges in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to this day<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> badge created for <strong>the</strong> Apollo 15 space mission. US Air<br />

Force team members at <strong>the</strong> tracking station at South Base in Grand<br />

Turk were part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mission team.<br />

Apollo 15 was <strong>of</strong> particular interest as it was <strong>the</strong><br />

ninth crewed mission in <strong>the</strong> Apollo program but only<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 73

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>the</strong> fourth to land on <strong>the</strong> moon. It had a longer stay<br />

on <strong>the</strong> moon than previous missions and a significantly<br />

greater focus on science. It was <strong>the</strong> first to use<br />

<strong>the</strong> Lunar Roving Vehicle.<br />

The Apollo 15 mission started on July 26, 1971<br />

and ended on August 7, 1971. The moon landing took<br />

place between July 30 and August 2. Commander<br />

David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin<br />

landed and explored <strong>the</strong> local area using <strong>the</strong> Lunar<br />

Rover. In total <strong>the</strong>y spent 18 1/2 hours on <strong>the</strong> moon’s<br />

surface and collected 170 pounds <strong>of</strong> moon rocks.<br />

A number <strong>of</strong> us watched <strong>the</strong> journey towards <strong>the</strong><br />

moon in real time from <strong>the</strong> mess hall at South Base<br />

on Grand Turk, but were taken aback when <strong>the</strong> final<br />

landing was superceded by <strong>the</strong> evening bingo session!<br />

This was incomprehensible, as moon landings<br />

were so rare and <strong>the</strong> principal function <strong>of</strong> South Base<br />

was tied to <strong>the</strong> space program.<br />

The astronaut crew <strong>of</strong> Apollo 15 never flew in<br />

space again as <strong>the</strong>y were involved in a scandal after<br />

<strong>the</strong> flight. They had taken a number <strong>of</strong> stamps to <strong>the</strong><br />

moon which <strong>the</strong>y sold to a German stamp dealer in an<br />

unauthorised deal. a<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Children’s club returns<br />

We are pleased to be <strong>of</strong>fering <strong>the</strong> Children’s Club again<br />

on Grand Turk. In December 2022, we held a Christmas<br />

day, where <strong>the</strong> children made Christmas cards, painted<br />

ornaments, played games and received gift bags.<br />

In February it was Learn to Paint Day—much enjoyed!<br />

Local artist Aysha walked <strong>the</strong> children through <strong>the</strong> steps<br />

to paint a donkey in honor <strong>of</strong> Sandy from <strong>the</strong> popular<br />

Where is Simon, Sandy? book.<br />

We plan to hold <strong>the</strong> club every four to six weeks,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> annual week-long club scheduled during <strong>the</strong><br />

summer.<br />

Proceeds from <strong>the</strong> book sales <strong>of</strong> Satchie and Little<br />

Star and Where is Simon, Sandy? pay for all <strong>the</strong> activities<br />

we do for <strong>the</strong> Children’s Club. a<br />

Helping hands are much appreciated<br />

After Hurricane Fiona, a group from Diamonds<br />

International assisted with debris clean-up. The museum<br />

did not suffer any major damage and it was mostly tree<br />

branch collection. We appreciate <strong>the</strong>se volunteers!<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r group from <strong>the</strong> American multinational pharmaceutical<br />

company Merck & Co. assisted in cleaning<br />

up <strong>the</strong> Heritage Garden at <strong>the</strong> museum’s Providenciales<br />

campus. This included laying path markers and removing<br />

old, damaged signs from <strong>the</strong> building. The Merck<br />

program allows <strong>the</strong>ir employees extra time <strong>of</strong>f if part <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> time is spent volunteering for non-pr<strong>of</strong>it groups. We<br />

74 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Visitors from <strong>the</strong> pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. volunteered to clean up <strong>the</strong> museum’s Heritage Garden in Providenciales.<br />

were <strong>the</strong> lucky association <strong>the</strong>y selected.<br />

Grand Turk gift shop volunteers help <strong>the</strong> employees<br />

during busy times and extended hours. Thank you to<br />

Patsy, Annette, Jackie, and Jennifer for all you do.<br />

We can not express enough thanks to our most<br />

valuable volunteer Marjorie Sadler. She keeps <strong>the</strong><br />

Providenciales museum location running smoothly. We<br />

could not do it without her!<br />

The Heritage Garden in Providenciales received a<br />

generous donation <strong>of</strong> three large trees from Marius<br />

Giese, owner/manager <strong>of</strong> Sunshine Nursery. a<br />

New exhibits and updates<br />

Grand Turk:<br />

• We have updated <strong>the</strong> John Glenn and Scott Carpenter<br />

exhibit with new storyboards and banners. People <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

comment that <strong>the</strong>y did not realize that <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> played such an important role in <strong>the</strong> US<br />

space race <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1960s.<br />

• A donkey and cart were added to <strong>the</strong> Salt Industry<br />

section along with information about both. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

most frequently asked questions by museum visitors is<br />

“What’s up with all <strong>the</strong> donkeys?” This exhibit explains<br />

why <strong>the</strong>y are on <strong>the</strong> Salt <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong> integral role<br />

<strong>the</strong>y played in <strong>the</strong> salt industry and early settlement <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

• Work continues on <strong>the</strong> People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> exhibit.<br />

We have new banners <strong>of</strong> several <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people interviewed.<br />

Additional storyboards and banners are being<br />

added regarding <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> inhabited<br />

islands.<br />

Providenciales:<br />

• New cement stands were constructed for cannons<br />

that were recovered from a construction site.<br />

• New televisions have been purchased to replace <strong>the</strong><br />

very old ones that play <strong>the</strong> information videos. The old<br />

TVs were still using CDs!<br />

• New signs for <strong>the</strong> Lucayan posters displayed at both<br />

locations were added. a<br />

Current days & hours <strong>of</strong> operation:<br />

Grand Turk (Front Street): Hours vary daily, but in general<br />

open on all cruise ship days 9 AM to 1 PM. When a<br />

ship arrives on or after 11 AM, we will open one hour<br />

after arrival for three hours.<br />

Providenciales (The Village at Grace Bay): Open<br />

Tuesday and Thursday, 10 AM to 2 PM.<br />

Both locations include interesting exhibits and artifacts<br />

related to <strong>the</strong> history and culture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Visit our gift shops for souvenirs, history books, and<br />

locally made products such as baskets, jewelry, salt<br />

products, and more.<br />

Days and times <strong>of</strong> operation are subject to change<br />

so please check our website or email us for updated<br />

information:<br />

www.tcmuseum.org• info@tcmuseum.org<br />

Story & Photos By Museum Manager Lisa Talbot<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 75

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 />

As <strong>of</strong> May 1, 2022, all visitors ages 18 and above<br />

must be fully vaccinated but are no longer required to<br />

apply for travel authorization nor provide evidence <strong>of</strong> a<br />

negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival nor present evidence<br />

<strong>of</strong> travel insurance nor wear masks/face coverings.<br />

Pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> vaccination in ei<strong>the</strong>r a digital or paper record<br />

must be presented on arrival. Visitors are fully responsible<br />

for <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong> quarantine/isolation, hospitalization,<br />

or medical repatriation in <strong>the</strong> event <strong>the</strong>y test positive<br />

during <strong>the</strong>ir stay. For more information and details, visit<br />

www.turksandcaicostourism.com.<br />

76 www.timespub.tc

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 />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 77

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 />

and some stores and restaurants <strong>of</strong>fer wireless Internet<br />

connections. 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 are<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. There are also a number <strong>of</strong> local<br />

radio stations, magazines and newspapers.<br />

78 www.timespub.tc

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 />

<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 premier,<br />

leading a majority Progressive National Party (PNP) House<br />

<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 fishing<br />

generate <strong>the</strong> most private sector income. The <strong>Islands</strong>’<br />

main exports are lobster and conch. Practically all consumer<br />

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 />

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 />

SEE<br />

THE<br />



Ophthalmologist Dr. Sebastian Guzman is now available<br />

for consultation in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Dr. Guzman and his team are a group <strong>of</strong> doctors<br />

representing three generations <strong>of</strong> ophthalmologists.<br />

They specialize in <strong>the</strong> diagnosis and treatment <strong>of</strong> eye<br />

diseases and those linked to <strong>the</strong> throat, nose, and<br />

ears. At MD OJOS, we have our own equipment,<br />

with all <strong>the</strong> advantages <strong>of</strong> a private clinic. We <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

a fast, complete, and comprehensive response to our<br />

patients. We are trained in <strong>the</strong> application <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

latest technological advances for <strong>the</strong> correction <strong>of</strong><br />

different visual dysfunctions.<br />


CALL 809 880 2020<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 79

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 submitted at port <strong>of</strong> entry to obtain clearance<br />

from <strong>the</strong> TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture.<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 />

sashes and hat bands. The National Song is “This Land<br />

<strong>of</strong> Ours” by <strong>the</strong> late Rev. E.C. Howell. Peas and Hominy<br />

(Grits) 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. There is also a<br />

ban on importation <strong>of</strong> plastic straws and some polystyrene<br />

products, including cups and plates.<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, snuba, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding,<br />

mermaid encounters and beachcombing. Pristine reefs,<br />

abundant marine life and excellent visibility make TCI<br />

a world-class diving destination. Whale and dolphin<br />

encounters are possible, especially during <strong>the</strong> winter/<br />

spring months.<br />

Tennis and golf—<strong>the</strong>re is an 18 hole championship<br />

course on Providenciales—are also popular.<br />

The <strong>Islands</strong> are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can<br />

enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in<br />

33 national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and areas<br />

<strong>of</strong> historical interest. The National Trust provides trail<br />

guides to several hiking trails, as well as guided tours <strong>of</strong><br />

major historical sites. Birdwatching is superb, and <strong>the</strong>re<br />

is a guided trail on Grand Turk.<br />

80 www.timespub.tc

There is an excellent national museum on Grand<br />

Turk, with an auxillary branch on Providenciales that<br />

includes <strong>the</strong> Caicos Heritage House. A scheduled ferry<br />

and a selection <strong>of</strong> tour operators make it easy to take day<br />

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 are<br />

two casinos on Providenciales, along with many electronic<br />

gaming parlours. Stargazing is extraordinary!<br />

Shoppers will find paintings, T-shirts, sports and<br />

beachwear and locally made handicrafts, including straw<br />

work, conch crafts and beach jewellery. 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 />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



One year subscription<br />

$28 U.S. addresses/$32 non-U.S. addresses<br />


Name____________________________________________________________________<br />

Date ____________________<br />

Address__________________________________________________________________<br />

City _____________________________________________________________________<br />

State/Province____________________________________________________________<br />

Country/Postal Code_____________________________________________________<br />

E-mail address (not required)_____________________________________________<br />

r New Subscription r Renewal<br />

r U.S. Cheque/M.O. enclosed<br />

Mail with payment to:<br />

<strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd., c/o Kathy Borsuk,<br />

247 Holmes Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514<br />

Please allow 30 to 60 days for delivery <strong>of</strong> first issue.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 81

classified ads<br />

B R A Z I L I A N<br />

B I K I N I<br />

L A S E R<br />

H A I R<br />

R E D U C T I O N<br />

$95<br />


+1-649-432-7546<br />

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 autorental@dnbautoparts.com<br />

1 2/16/17 9:10 AM Page 1<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) Vice President <strong>of</strong> Corporate Services and CFO Aisha Laporte; Vice President<br />

<strong>of</strong> Grand Turk and Sister Island Operations Allan Robinson; President and CEO Ruth Forbes; Senior Vice<br />

President <strong>of</strong> Operations Devon Cox; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Engineering and Energy Production and Delivery<br />

Don Forsyth (seated); and Vice President <strong>of</strong> Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning Rachell Roullet.<br />

In a rapidly evolving electricity sector, energy leaders <strong>of</strong> today are<br />

focused on driving <strong>the</strong> transformation to cleaner, more sustainable<br />

energy sources.<br />

At FortisTCI, our purpose and passion are unwavering – to serve our<br />

customers, community, and <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> with <strong>the</strong><br />

safe, reliable, and least-cost electricity <strong>the</strong>y need – whenever and<br />

wherever.<br />

Every day, we are working towards an energy future that is cleaner,<br />

more resilient, reliable, and sustainable.<br />

www.fortistci.com | 649-946-4313 |

We help you turn some day into right now . . .<br />

nothing compares.<br />

Hesperides House<br />

Silly Creek Estate<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.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!