Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Week on Turks & Caicos

We just spent a week in a Club Med on the island of Providenciales in the Caribbean island nation of Turks & Caicos. It is truly a paradise at this time of the year. Read about the Turks & Caicos here. We left Sandy's mother's home in New Port Richey on Sunday, Dec. 2. We drove down to Naples and spent the night at the Kroodsma's condo. Thanks Melissa and Don! We had a 12:30 flight from Miami. There was a lot of road construction around the airport but our GPS helped us find our way. We parked the car at the Wyndham Hotel and took their shuttle over the airport. (What a great deal through (Thanks to Glen for this picture of us.)

It was only a 90 minute flight. We took a taxi to the Club Med Turkoise and checked into our room. Check out this Club Med here. The island nation is in the same time zone as the eastern part of the United States except Club Med Turkoise does not observe daylight savings time. This way the sun doesn't set until about 6:15. It gives us more daylight to play in.

And play is what we did. The beach is spectacular! The club is on a quarter mile of beautiful white, silky, sand beach. We took a number of walks along the beach since it's all public.

There are so many water activities to take advantage of. Tandem Kayaks, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and scuba are all available with good quality instruction. We took out a kayak one day but there really wasn't anything to see, i.e. explore mangroves. They were too far away.

The windsurfing was disappointing. Sandy never went out since he had lots of other activities to keep him busy. Becky went out three times but it wasn't very good. Either the wind was inconsistent or it was too strong. (We've never tried to windsurf in the winter and will keep this in mind when booking another trip.)

Land activities included volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball, water exercise, stretching classes, a complete fitness center, pool games and much more. We found plenty of time to play as well as down time to read and take the occasional nap. Sandy played a lot of beach volleyball and a little regular volleyball. He also had the opportunity to use a trampoline and a trapeze. Take a look at this very short video of Sandy on the trapeze.

Sandy had done this 20 years ago but he needed to see if he could do it again at 58. It turns out that he could but his knees ached for several days afterwards. It was worth it!

The food was just spectacular. All meals were done in a smörgåsbord style with one ethnic food highlighted each night. After we filled our plates we were seated at tables of eight. This way we had a chance to eat with and meet people from all over. There were many Canadians there as well as vacationers from South America, Europe and the United States. We enjoyed these meals and made many friends throughout the week.

At 10PM every night there was a show in their open-air theater put on by the workers. Most were good. A few were excellent, like the trapeze and circus shows.

Scuba and snorkeling were good but some days it was a little rough on the surface. While snorkeling we did get to see two nurse sharks and a hawksbill turtle as well as the many common reef fish in the area. Sandy took two scuba dives on Thursday and had the chance to see a 7 foot green moray eel, a reef shark, barracuda, and a hawksbill turtle swam right under him. (We're waiting for a picture to be sent to us.) Snorkeling was much better in Hawaii!!

We spent the week playing in the sun and were sad to leave on Monday the 10th. (At least we weren't returning to a really cold place.) All in all it was a nice week but not as much fun as other stays at Club Med. Becky expected to have fun windsurfing and snorkeling everyday and it just didn't pan out. But she got a couple of books read, met some great people, and had 2 really good instructors for stretching and exercise in a perfect setting.

We left about 3:30 in the afternoon and arrived in Miami around 5:00. By 6 we had cleared customs and immigration, picked up our bags and headed off to Naples to spend another night in the Kroodsma's condo. Right now we are up in New Port Richey visiting Sandy's mom. We'll head down to Fort Myers on Dec. 14 to spend some time at our home there until Jan. 2. Our wonderful renters, John and Anne Jones, will be in South America visiting Machu Picchu and and then the Galapagos islands. Scott and Libby will arrive on the 16th and Julie and Michael will arrive on the 19th. We're looking forward to a wonderful visit with the four of them.

Here are some pictures of the beach and facilities. We stayed in the first floor room.

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