Thursday, 30 December 2010

Getting wiped out at Mudjin Harbour: Middle Caicos

So to get to Middle Caicos from North you have to drive over this causeway. It's a bit sketchy...

there are metal rods and clumps of cement strewn all over the place, as if the whole road was destroyed by a hurricane - well that's because it was! Ike and Hanna tore this causeway apart...

it actually used to look like this:

So after a slow and bumpy ride we eventually reached Middle Caicos...the first stop off point was Mudjin Harbour.

It is meant to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Turks and Caicos, I had seen several pictures of it and read up about it before we came and none of them quite looked like the scene that greeted us on our arrival! 

Yes it was a spectacular view...but spectacular for other reasons on the day we went - the waves were HUGE! some were at least 15 ft high! 

You can't even see in the picture below, but where that big white waterfall of waves is coming down there is actually a sand path leading to Byron.  It was covered by the waves and Byron decided not to make a run for it in the end.

There is also a pretty big cave that sits beside the beach.

This is my 'isn't it time for my root beer pulled pork sandwich yet?'

We headed to the Indian Cave after that...

and found some more crazy roots!

They weren't quite strong enough for Tarzan style shots...

but Mara managed to climb one all the same! 

Our next stop was the Conch Bar Caves, more than 15 miles of underground limestone caves.  

There were tons of Stalagmites and Stalactites everywhere...the geographer in me was pretty excited! although when I heard about the colonies of bats living in the caves I was less so! 

They were massive inside, and are apparently meant to be one of the biggest set of underground caves in the Caribbean.

The roads were deserted, the only cars we passed all day were other tourists visiting the island and we only saw about 4 of those! 

Even though we couldn't bring Sunny with on our little trip, he was there in spirit! 

We stopped off at a different Flamingo pond where we could get a bit closer to the birds.

Those whities have clearly not been eating enough shrimp! 

We did a spot of sunbathing on Bambarra Beach...

and then drove to the very end of the Island and found this awesome little picnic spot.  Smiles all round as it's finally time for the root beer pork sandwiches...yesssss!

They were even better because we've found this awesome little French bakery in Provo where we could buy some delicious baguette style rolls...I've really missed good bread since I've been here! 

For some reason they are obsessed with buoy's on this island! most houses had them hung outside in their trees and you can see that big buoy tree just behind Mara! it was so funny, but I like it! and of course the buoy swing too!

On a side note, American's produce the word buoy 'boo-ey'!!

We decided on the way back through the island to give Mudjin Harbour another chance! 

The waves were still crashing high but the tide had gone down slightly and you can sort of see the sand path leading out to the giant rock.  We had been watching some people go out there and sit in little rock pools, then the waves would come roaring over the top of the rock and act like waterfalls showering down on the people below.  It looked like fun! We crossed over the sand path to the rock and the family who we'd been watching moved out the way for us to try it out, we hadn't been sat there for more than 5 seconds when the biggest wave came roaring over the top and completely wiped us out.  I had been sitting on a nearby rock, and not in the rock pool (thinking I was in the safer spot) but the wave flipped me 180 and we all got crashed against some rocks...the scars are just fading now!!! It was pretty funny, I just wish someone had taken a picture of it happening so you could have seen it in action!!  We got out of there pretty speedily after that! 

We will have to go back on a calm day and try it out again! 

We took the cliff top walk and came across this praying hands statue.  

Then you took a secret pathway which led to some steps which led down to a secluded little beach!

It was a fun way to end the day! Well done for making it to the end of this post! 

A trip to The Garden Island: North Caicos

This blog post is way overdue! but there's been so many pictures to update you all with that these ones slipped to the back of the queue!
This was our amazing day trip to North and Middle Caicos that we took on the 23rd December with Mara.  We took the 6.30am ferry to ensure that we could make the most of our day! which meant we had a 5.30am cycle ride in the dark to the ferry port from our house! but we arrived to find this amazing sunrise which made the early start a little more worthwhile! 

The 'ferry' was unlike any ferry I've ever been on before, and certainly by European standards didn't look like a ferry - more like a speedboat! and I've certainly never had such a bumpy ride on a ferry before! I wasn't sure if we were even going to make it to see North at one point...the waves we were hitting were huge and making you jump out of your seat!

We arrived in one piece though and picked up our rental car and by 7.15 we had our first stop of the day at Wades Green Plantation.  There was still a bit of an early morning chill in the air and we had the whole plantation to ourself, it was a very tranquil spot to visit and was a great start to the day.

We opted not to call ahead and book a guided tour by The National Trust, and so I can't give you all the facts about how long it's been derelict for but from the size of some of those roots that have taken over the buildings I'd say it's been a pretty long time!

Can you believe this is a spider?! at first I thought it was a flower caught in the web, it's such pretty colours!

Everywhere was overgrown and with not a soul in sight it was a little eerie!

These purple flowers were pretty cool

After that we headed to the 'Seaside town of Whitby', that is how it was described on our map.  I'm not really sure one hotel, a couple of houses, a restaurant and a stretch of beach qualifies as a 'town' but I guess it does in North Caicos! There are 2500 residents on North and I guess they all know each other well because when ever we drove past people we would get lots of waves! 

We picked a great day to go, the sun was shining, the sea was calm (well it was here) and that turquoise hue was showing through.

We came across this crab, which I initially thought was dead, until Byron poked it and it did this...

I think this is attack mode!

We took a stroll down the pier

Mara and I didn't even plan our awesome colour co-ordination!

We saw this shipwreck far off in the distance

and Mar and By made me sit on this bollard for a shot (secretly hoping I'd get hit by a passing wave but luckily the waves were good to me)


Next, we made a stop at Flamingo pond overlook.  There are over 1000 Flamingo's here, they were just dotted all over the place! We read in our guide map there is usually someone renting binoculars for a closer look, but as usual there was no-one in sight! so you'll have to make do with these far away shots.

We made our way through Bottle Creek headed towards the causeway that would take us to Middle Caicos.  I caught this view as I glanced out the window and had to stop and take a picture! 

I was going to make one monster post of the whole trip but there were just too many pictures to include so I'm going to make a separate post about Middle Caicos which is where we headed after this.

On our way back from Middle Caicos at the end of the day, we drove well off the beaten track down this tiny grass track that didn't even seem wide enough for cars to pass through - I'm pretty sure our beaten up rental car got more than a few scratches on the doors! We reached Three Mary Cays (shown above) and the water looked great with the sun beating down on it.

Our last stop before the Marina was Pumpkin Bluff Pond - what a cool name! The sun was setting at this point and making a nice pink tinge in all the clouds, the reflection of the sky in the pond was quite amazing.

When we reached Sandy point Marina to wait for our ferry home, we were greeted by more pink skies - what a way to start and end a great day!