Friday, February 19, 2010

Cruise to the E. Caribbean - Day #4-Grand Turk

Our fourth day away marked our third day on the Holland America cruiseline, and in the morning of Monday, February 8, we docked at the island of Grand Turk (of Turks and Caicos). It was 83F and sunny with a stiff morning breeze that abated in the afternoon.
After trouble sleeping, we had breakfast at 6:30am when the dining room opened and disembarked into Grand Turk, which led us right into a gift shop! It was like getting off a ride a Disney.

(PHOTO: Tom on the hurricane-ravaged beach)
We took a 2 hour bus tour of the island and it had 4 stops. At each stop, we got out for about 10 minutes to look around and take photos. The effects of Hurricane Ike from September 2008 were still evident.
(PHOTO: A house ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008)
There were a number of buildings that were destroyed, although all the debris in the streets were cleared. Here's a video of Grand Turk taken soon after Hurricane Ike. We saw buildings like the "Scotia Bank" that pretty much still looked that same way today. (VIDEO taken in September 2008 showing the damages after Hurricane Ike slammed Grand Turk)

There are 6,000 residents of Grand Turk island and the only industry is tourism (so we were told). Wild horses (that were once raised there) and sea salt mining used to be other industries.
We stopped at St. Mary's church and looked inside. It was obviously rebuilt and one of the nicest buildings on the island. We also had a tour in the National Museum, where we learned about the 3rd largest coral reef in the world that surrounds the Turks and Caicos island chain. A young docent from the University of Vermont explained about a 1500s shipwreck found in the 1970s, the British History of the island, and how Queen Elizabeth visited in 1966. We later stopped for shopping and Tom and I gravitated to a dog wandering around the shops (we missed Dolly and Franklin).
We then stopped at what appeared to the the main street of the island, and saw various bed and breakfasts. One old ruined house had a plaque on the wall surrounding it, that said it's haunted by a one-armed ghost. It was the house of Alfred and Millicent Coverely, built in the 1830s and moved across the street (it was originally on the beach and would've been washed out to sea from hurricanes).
(PHOTOS: The haunted house on Grand Turk and Rob next to the plaque outside the house)

The plaque says, "Legend has it that an American couple who lived there following the Coverelys were greatly disturbed at night by the sound of footsteps dashing up an down the staircase, and they saw a small, plump white man with one arm. The former owner, Alfred Coverley perfectly fit that description, as he only had one arm!
Ironically, I got my tell-tale headache when we walked by the side of the house, so that was my confirmation that there is, indeed a ghost in the house. We stopped and took a picture of me next to the plaque.
When we were dropped off back at the dock, we walked around brand new shops that sold expensive tee-shirts ($28!). We returned to the ship for lunch.

(PHOTO: Tom standing in Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville store, where tee shirts cost $28 each!)
During lunch, that's when a spirit named "John" came to me and gave me his name, just as a woman walked past me. He showed me ivy growing on the side of a house, and indicated he went to an Ivy league school. He later revealed that he wanted that woman to look for a dark covered, bound book, and look where the bookmark was located in the book. Tom encouraged me to tell the woman, so I got up and told her. She said it was her uncle "Jack" who was a lawyer who graduated from Georgetown University. She would think about the book. Later, she told me Jack was gay and closeted. Interesting.
After lunch, Tom sat in the sun again and Rob went to the library. We went to the gym and then a gay group's "newlywed game." It was funny and outrageous. It was there that we saw (and would later befriend) Alain of Montreal. He was playing the game with a friend of his.
Later, Tom noticed Alain on deck and commented about his participation in the game. We would later befriend him and his partner - and they really made our cruise a lot of fun.
At night, we enjoyed the show by magician James Cielen and his wife who did incredible Cirque de Solel-like acrobatics. When James brought out his 2 trained poodles, we really missed our doggies. We found a towel elephant when we returned to our cabin that night!

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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next