GRAND TURK, MIAMI,
I last wrote from Grand Turk about the delights of Salt Cay. Since then we have had a great time in Grand Turk and returned to Cayman via South Beach Miami.
Grand Turk: Whereas Salt Cay can only be described politely as “rustic” (read smelly) Grand Turk is ”Quaint”. Grand Turk itself is quite clean and orderly in a Caribbean sort of way. Most of the town and most of the buildings on it are spread along the sea front, unimaginatively called Front Street. Many of the buildings date from the mid to late 1800’s and most have been renovated in accordance with what must be strict and traditional planning permissions. The results are that Grand Turk is a tiny but perfectly formed genuine representative of an 1800’s Caribbean town. The Island is tiny, at about six or seven miles long, and doesn’t take much seeing but what there is is lovely. People are nice too and both expats and locals rub along well together sharing the few (very few) bars and restaurants’ there are. Cars don’t need to be locked and there’s only the odd petty theft. Don’t go there if you want a wild night life!!! A- not so great - guitarist and one guy playing a wood saw with a screw driver make up the only band.
It has fantastic diving, almost as good as Providenciales which in turn is almost as good as Cayman- but not quite. The visibility is 20-30 metres and we had very few dives without a nurse shark or turtle for company. There are some humongous crabs, lobster, and even bigger barracuda there and, as I said in my Salt Cay missive, we were once joined underwater by six dolphins on one dive- a first for us in twenty years. We also had one day on its, rather spectacular, wall where we could hear the whales calling for at least half of a one hour bimble. In fact yours truly spent ten minutes dangling very still and upright of the edge of the wall just looking at the bottom of the wall 60 feet below and just listening to the whales. It doesn’t get much better. OR sow e thought until the day before we left which happened to be my birthday. We couldn’t dive due to flying next day so we booked the US$65 each whale watching trip, knowing full well it was the first trip of the season and although the whales had been heard and seen as they passed in ones and twos, there had not been many sightings. We set of in roughish water at a hell of a pelt and I asked the boatmen what his hurry was. He told me he wanted to take us to the whales playground about 15 miles away to see what the score was and promised the banging would stop when we got there after he slowed down. Well we got there in 6ft seas thumped but not broken to find five Humpback whales. The sea had dropped a couple of feet and over the next hour or so it was much comfier (added to which we had slowed down). We then spent the next three hours in and out of the water snorkelling close to these graceful giants who were as interested in us as we were in them. In and out of the water we went as the driver dropped us next to or, on two or three occasions, on top of, them. Eventually we had to go but this conveniently coincided with the whales going into playful jumping and tail smacking mode (captain would not let us in at this time) just before they swam away. It was great to be alive on that day. It was my 57th birthday but I felt 20 during that day (both of us felt about ninety when we woke up to the aches and pains of in and out the boat in rough weather the next day!!!!
Off we went to Miami. A puddle jumper to Providenciales then direct to Miami.
Miami; South Beach:
Our view of South Beach may partially be colours because of previous relatively quiet months in Cayman and days in Grand Turk and Salt Cay -but I really don’t think so!!!!!!! It’s wonderfully bonkers by any standards!!!
Generally South Beach has hundreds of thousands of people just wandering round having fun in various stages of dress and undress. From the twenty year old rollerblading up the beach in a thong (that’s only the guys) to nutters in “I’m on Miami Bitch” t shirts skateboarding down the highway the wrong way. It’s a crazy fun place with bars, restaurants, hotels, diving operations, lap-dancing clubs Spanish streets, shops blah blah.>>>>Chock full of Gay, straight , don’t knows , and don’t cares, everyone is just getting on with having fun and enjoying their lives and doing no one else any harm.
The night we arrived we ended up in a street bar eating curry and drinking beer. We were then joined by the annual -roller bladders festival- Scores of roller bladders in weird gear and flashing lights gathered beside us for a 12 mile night-ride. It was part of a festival of roller-blading taking place over the next few days and we met them many times over our wanderings. Ages varied from 16 to over 70 !! The latter lot in the same full surfer dude clothes and lights as the younger lot!!
I went to get out at three am to get some bottled water (after the curry honest) and did not have to walk more that 100yds to find a 24 hour superstore and hundreds of people still going about their business –none of them drunk!!!
In my old life I think I would have described South Beach as “an Eclectic mix of populous which would merit further study” . Now I can just say it’s full of wonderful nutters and everyone must go there at least once before they die.
Usual photos on facebook
J n M
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