Cruising Day 3 – Grand Turk Island

Learning from yesterday we did not order room service, so we were able to sleep in until 6:30.

We did the breakfast buffet and continued our unsuccessful process of trying everything. There are way too many things that they offer each day. For Susan the coffee is very good, so that’s making her mornings go pretty well.

Unlike other cruise lines, Holland offers an engineering tour of the boat. I was able to sign up for it, it’s during our 6th day (Saturday) at sea. I’m looking forward to it, the tour lasts about 2 hours, I’m sure that I’ll embarrass myself by totally geeking out.

We are finding some glitches in the ships communications. They printed the wrong dates and times for some of the events. I showed up to the “International Beer Tasting”, the bartender was very confused, since it does not happen until day 6.

Today I went to get the ship board printed paper, and they had reprinted yesterday’s paper again. I guess that is one way to cut costs and keep circulation going.

We docked at Grand Turk at the cruise dock. We were sharing it with the Eurodam, another Holland America boat.

Our first adventure for the day is a Segway tour of the town that is on Grand Turk. Susan and I love the Segway and pretty much every place we go we try to take a tour. We did the training class, our mounts are the X2, Segways designed for off roading. Unlike other Segways where leaning is enough to steer, on these you move the central post left and right to steer.

Helmets on, narration earpieces in place and we were off. This is where the depressing part starts. The island is pretty poor and it has been decimated by storms in the past. Lots and lots of the homes are just a mess. There are a few small shops, but it didn’t appear like there was much selection.

On the other hand the dominate item on the horizon is a huge cell and TV tower. The entire island has great cell coverage and most people get internet services via “Lime”.

Health care is cheap, gas is expensive (6.15 per gal for diesel), alcohol is cheap and lots of people work for the government or the tourist trade. You can go away to University and if you agree to work for the Government, the school is free. But there isn’t much else going on.

Other than that the tour was great and I’d highly recommend it if you are on the island. We didn’t see any other Looper boats or a marina, so we don’t know how long term visitors stay.

Our next tour was on a “Semi-submersible” boat. Think of a 45′ Bayliner with glass windows on the inside hull. We took a short boat ride out to the reef that we would be cruising around on.

Once we moved over to the “Semi-submersible” and climbed down into the hull, the Captain took us around the reef. We saw about 8 different types of fish, lots of coral and a sea turtle. After about 40 minutes of touring around, a diver jumped in and started feeding the fish.

Down in the water the colors are OK, but with the diver coaching them to come to the surface, the sunlight makes the colors POP. Bright BLUE along with vibrant YELLOW. Ok, so there isn’t much you can do with a turtle, but the fish were pretty impressive.

The diver then showed off, he blew “air rings” in the water. Fun to watch and sometimes they would link together.

On the way back Susan and I talked about the boat, it has a 5′ draft, it would be the perfect loop boat. Or maybe not, with the logs and trash on the Mississippi, there would always be the fear of smashed glass. But imagine going through the locks, the crystal clear water of Canada, dolphins and manatees in Florida.

Next up was a quest for a dive bar. We’ve tried to find as many as possible, our last success was on the way home from Key West. I had asked the Segway guides and they suggested “Jack’s Shack” and the local beer.

We navigated through the pristine port area and trundled up the beach. (The soft sand is hard to walk through and we walked about 3/4 of a mile. Pick a better word).

Jack’s is a great dive beach bar. Volley ball along with beach chairs. A huge wooden deck with tables with bright umbrellas. Cheap beer at $4 a bottle, conch fritters and fries for $10. This is truly a place I could stay at. The local beer comes in Amber, Lager and Stout and they are very good.

There is the downside of Holland’s schedule, I could sit here for hours watching the bright blue waters and the hours spin on and on. But schedules are schedules and we are back on the boat by 3PM and soon on our way.

Being European, the boat has afternoon tea at 3:30. Today was cupcake day and having a professed love for all things Tasty-Kake, cupcakes seemed to be the thing to do. I started off with Earl Gray tea, chocolate, vanilla and red velvet cakes with icing and decorations. Yum!!

Wait there is more! Flan and a fruit tart soon follow. But now I sense that I’m being judged by the “Ladies that have tea” as an interloper. So I lick the last vestiges of sugar off my fingers and head to the stateroom for a nap.

I’ll fast forward to dinner (after all this is a food blog). Susan had a seafood appetizer and an amazing piece of salmon. I went with the corn and pepper chowder, my main was the Turks Pot Roast. The calorie counter clicks past 11,000 for the day, but it’s been worth it.

Sporting sunburn, Susan heads back to the state room, I head to the “Theater at Sea” theater for tonights show. It’s called Recycled Percussion. It’s hard to describe, it’s four musicians and lots of percussion. Drums, body parts, ladders, etc. It is very loud, but it is very kid friendly and everyone has a great time.

I wandered back to the “B.B King All Star Band” show. I really liked them last night, and the first set was really good. The band is hot, and you can see how much fun they are having. The songs in this set were very different than last night and not so many dancers. Could it be that dressed up people dance more?

After watching the first set of the “B.B. King All Star Band” I headed up to the Observation deck (where I’m writing this).

It’s a nice breeze, there is a soft song with french lyrics in the background and a 1/2 moon above. Across the way is the Eurodam heading with us to San Juan. It was a very pretty day, and this is nice way to end it.

Tonight the towel was a very fancy swan, it took two different towels to make it.