2009 Big Loop travel blog

On this day we finally got the Caribbean cruise day we originally signed up for. The winds were down, the waves were down, and the temperatures were up. It was perfect for our balcony breakfast and after breakfast we stayed on the balcony and read and just enjoyed the time until the sun finally drove us inside. It was a beautiful morning!

The temperatures continued to climb until we were happy to be inside. This was the first time we have been HOT since we left home. Finally it was shorts and tee shirt weather. As we approached Grand Turk we swung off our northwest heading to run south down the west side of the island. As we sailed along the island the temperature seemed to ease, although maybe it was just us. We had felt earlier that it was warmer than they were posting on the tv, but on our approach it seemed to moderate.

According to our ship’s paper Grand Turk has about 3,700 residents on an island that is 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. The ship has a passenger capacity just over 3,000 and as we made our way to the cruise terminal we could see another large ship already along side. Between the two ships we must have nearly doubled the local population.

Grand Turk is also quite low. I wonder how they cope when a hurricane hits them. It looks to me like a strong storm surge could almost wash clear over the island. As we approached the water was beautiful in various shades of blue and aqua.

We wandered around the shops at the cruise terminal. One of us actually enjoys that and the other one went along fairly willingly. Some of the places were fun to browse and others we so crowded that all I wanted was me out of there. It was warm ashore, but not unbearably so unless one was standing around in the sun. I did get Joyce to buy a hat so she would not end up the cruise as a hurting, crispy critter.

We did check out some of the beach, although neither of us is inclined to lay out and cook. The set up here looked pretty nice and we took a few pictures before heading back to the ship.

We had skipped lunch when we went ashore so after dropping our stuff in the room and freshening up a bit we made our way to the ice cream bar. Joyce had a strawberry sundae and I had a hot fudge sundae with sliced banana. VERY Good! The only problem was we stayed there to eat it which just happened to be next to the pizzeria. The smell from the pizzeria was driving us both wild so we went back to our balcony. I guess I need to see if I can get Princess to incorporate a gluten free pizza in the future. I doubt I will ever see that.

The balcony was in the shade and we were able to sit out for the rest of the afternoon until Joyce went in to do her hair which had been ravaged by our visit ashore. I even took my laptop out and worked on updates for the journal. I normally do not expose it to the salt air, but it has been acting up this whole trip so…

Our neighbor, Costa Fortuna, was to depart at 6 and we were to leave at 7 PM. Costa was ready to go, somewhat before 6, but they still had one gangway out with several officers and crew at the top or bottom, all watching up the pier. They had also sounded their horn a couple of times. I might mention all passengers are to be on board one half hour before sailing. Right at 6 a couple came hurrying up the pier to a loud, I mean loud, chorus of whistles, hoots, cheers, and jeers. Their “welcoming committee” rushed them up the gangway. The crew was pushing the gangway aboard almost before the late comers were off the other end. I don’t think it took them 2 minutes to secure the hatch, through off the remaining lines, and start to ease away from the dock.

We watched them pull away into the lowering dusk, almost full darkness. The ship was very pretty with all the lights as they backed straight away along the side of the pier until they cleared our stern. They then did a 180 turn and sailed into the night, although we could see their lights for a long time.

Our ship also had a gangway out after our scheduled boarding time of 6:30. At about 6:35 one guy came aboard and the crew started buttoning things up. As the guy came up the plank a lady with a British accent in a balcony above us gasped: “That was my husband. I will kill him!” She had left him at Margaritaville to have one more beer. She said he must have had 2 or 3 and he was in trouble. Later he appeared on the balcony with her and swore it was not him. He was dressed just like the late guy though.

Soon we followed the same routine as the Fortuna by backing straight back along the pier, doing a 180, and sailing up the coast, retracing our arrival route. After we had dinner and returned to our room we could see the lights of several cities off the port side. Looking at the map we could see we were sailing past and not very far from some of the other Turks and Caicos Islands.

As it was so nice out in terms of temperature, wind, and waves, we went to bed with our balcony door open and listened to the sound of the small waves as we moved fairly slowly along. This was really great until the bunch in the 2 or 3 cabins forward of us came home and were talking on their balconies (and from balcony to balcony). Since we were surrounded by smokers and thinking about the Star Princess I decided it was time to close the door and really call it a day.

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