Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snorkeling Tour

This is one of the new tour descriptions written this week. From initial concept to final this was a lot of work...but it seems crazy that this is part of any one's job


This fantastic tour, which lasts two hours, is in association with the Turks and Caicos National Museum. It offers visitors a behind the scenes guided tour of the conservation labs at the National Museum, the chance to learn about the preservation of historic artifacts, and the opportunity to snorkel around the Grand Turk “wrecking” yard. Here, wrecked ships were taken to be dismantled. In a very easy snorkeling environment you can see several anchors and the remnants of an 85 year-old shipwreck, all while learning about the history of shipwrecks in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

After boarding a bus at the cruise terminal, tourists will visit the beginning of a shipwreck-laden bank stretching from Grand Turk to Salt Cay. They will then proceed to the National Museum, where they will receive a guided tour of the conservation labs and will see actual work in progress. Visitors will hear about the unique history of “wrecking,” as well as seeing artifacts recovered from around Grand Turk. They will be able to watch a short DVD on the HMS Endymion, which was discovered 25 years ago and will learn about identifying shipwreck sites. Visitors will proceed to the waterfront in front of the museum where they will get the unique opportunity to snorkel around the shipwreck “wrecking” yard. Here they will learn about the schooner David Morris, which was blown ashore in a 1926 hurricane. After 30 minutes of snorkeling, visitors will travel to the north end of the island to see firsthand the lighthouse and perilous reef that claimed countless ships over the past 500 years. After viewing this reef, and learning the history behind the lighthouse, the tourists will return to the Cruise Terminal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Picture Worth a Thousand Bubbles

I saw this picture over at Andre's house this week. It was taken in July on a dive with Lucas and Martin.

I had written a big blog about watching the Bachelor on ABC and how all six girls who are left look exactly alike. But I changed my mind.

When you make a decision about who to marry, I think rarely does it cross your mind which girl would be a better mother. But I am finding that as I get closer to my mid forties, this quality actually begins to matter. I miss my boys this week. I have been snorkeling all over the west side of Grand Turk looking for shipwrecks with Rory. I have been on amazing reefs that I had not seen before. Today, I saw fifteen lobsters hiding under a rock shelf. That's here.

In Columbus Lucas has a 4.0, Martin pulled his grades up to a 3.2, Martin had a flat tire at school, he ran the car off the road in the snow, Lucas is teaching advanced karate, Davis was speaking Turkish tonight on the phone. I feel like I am missing it. But then I also wish they were here diving.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finally, Something New..A Shark

I have spent a lot of this week in the water. New cruise excursion descriptions are due. Rather than waiting for companies to come to us, we are writing several new tours and we are going to shop them around. Rory is writing these, and we are trying to get four new tours online. The big goal has been to find a shipwreck we can snorkel on. OK, but let me get ahead of myself...

Yesterday, Rory and I went to snorkel the area just below the lighthouse. I said before we went in that this is the area people talk about seeing the scary things. We had been in the water maybe ten minutes when I came across the largest barracuda I have ever seen here. He was real close to the cliffs, in pretty shallow water. I watched him swim off toward Rory, and then I thought I saw him come back, except this was not the barracuda. This was a lemon shark. The shark was small, maybe four feet and again in really shallow water. He was grey and just blended into the shadows. He passed by in a few feet to the side of me and then made three other passes. I got out of the water.

Cool. This was a first. Along our beach I have seen spotted eagle rays three times this week. We have also removed another four lion fish. But this was the first real shark I have seen snorkeling on Grand Turk.

OK, the rest of my week seems less interesting now. I could have written several blogs. We have found a ton of information on the David Morris, found that the area in front of the museum was a "wrecking yard," where ships were brought to take apart. And we found a wreck I have never heard about right off of Close Haul Road. Maybe later I will post the new tour descriptions. That will give you an idea of what my week has been like.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Deneen called yesterday to say that the last blog post was the most boring post I had ever written.

I actually thought it was good. As it turns out, I was right about the Indianapolis and Baltimore game. And I did crash at a friends house and was able to watch six hours of football yesterday. And I still managed to accomplish my goals and have a very successful quick trip to Provo.

This morning I had two breakfast meetings. I picked up the new designer coffees for the museum. We now carry an exclusive coffee made just for me called Director's Choice. I met with an event coordinator that has agreed to plan a fundraising gala we will hold this March. I had a very long meeting with our chairman of the board. I picked up a grant check for $10,000. And then I caught the first plane I could get back to GT.

Provo is always hard when I go now. I have a headache. My shoulders are unbelievable tight from stress. My jaw hurts from my teeth being clinched. and I feel like I have been talking non stop since 8:30 this morning. I am about to have the first ever cup of Director's Choice, though, so all and all, a pretty good weekend.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wishing Indy Best of Luck

It is Saturday.

I flew to Provo this morning needing to met up with three people that I missed last week when I was here. All three have something else that came up today. when I bought my ticket last evening I got back in the car and said, "I am going to miss the game, now."

Today is the second weekend of the NFL playoffs. New Orleans plays Arizona this afternoon, and the Indianapolis Colts play the Baltimore Ravens tonight. My all-time favorite team playing my all-time least favorite team. If you remember, the Colts left Baltimore in 1984 and moved to Indianapolis, Hurray! Several years later the Cleveland Browns left Ohio and moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens, Boo!

What a great game this should be, the Colts, led by Peyton Manning, just punching the Ravens right in the face. The only thing that could make this game better was if I could watch it tonight on Grand Turk with Bion, who comes in today. He is from Baltimore and loves the Ravens. I would get a great sense of self-righteous enjoyment watching him have to watch the Ravens get beat by the Colts. It is the great rivalry of the Midwest against the East Coast. Greenbacks against Gold. Farm subsidies against corporate bailouts. While the Colts eat a steady diet of corn and soybeans, I heard that the Ravens eat a steady diet of Christian babies. Hey, that's just what I heard.

But alas, here I sit in a small coffee shop with no game coverage on and with no plans to watch the game, in fact I may have to have a dinner meeting. I could have been swimming, or taken a long walk on the beach. I could have finished a book review, or written an article for the next issue of the Astrolabe. But I am sitting here waiting on a phone call that may never come. Because probably everyone on Provo is at home watching the football games.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yesterday's Earthquake

There was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Haiti yesterday at 5:00pm. I am sure that everyone has heard about it. I have been on Provo and really only got the message because when I went back to my hotel room there was a flier under my door that said something like. "Don't worry, the tsunami watch is over and you will be safe at our hotel!"

Then I turned on CNN and got the news like everyone else.

Anyway, we are fine here. I heard from someone that they felt the tremors on Pine Cay, but I did not notice anything at all. I called Aliette, on my staff, from Provo. She has heard from her mother and sister who are in Haiti and they are fine.

We will see what the fallout is in the next few days. This is a beautiful part of the world that is fragile from many things. Over the long-term, development - in a heartbeat, natural catastrophe.

Deneen and the boys left yesterday. They made it home safe and were at school today. There is a story there I will try and catch up on later. But, I thought today that it would have been a great story if they would have left on the last plane out of Provo just before a tsunami wiped out the Turks and Caicos. That would have made a great blog.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lion Fish Hunt

Yesterday afternoon we went Lionfish hunting on the reefs in front of our house. I have not been snorkeling on our reef since October maybe. Anyway, the last time I was out I think there were one or two Lionfish. Yesterday we found nine and killed six.

The Lionfish have been an issue here for quite some time. I wrote a blog once about the first time I caught a Lionfish with Dinah. That seems like forever ago now.

I like killing the Lionfish. It feels very manly. I also like eating the Lionfish. They are delicious. A very delicate white fish. I think they are the best tasting fish I have had.

On another point, the first time I ever cleaned a fish was in June 2008. Now gutting, scaling, and preparing six fish is no big deal.

Deneen does not like Lionfish. Actually, she does not like fish. But she thinks the Lionfish are too bony. We do try and kill them when they are small. The smaller the better because this means they have not eaten as many juvenile fish(this invasive species is eating all the fish on our reefs). The small ones are bony, I will admit. But no one else complained. And Lucas liked them a lot. How could you not like them? I mean could you have fresher fish? They were swimming two hours ago.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Horsing Around

We have had wonderful weather since the Harts left. Go figure. This is the last weekend that the Harrisons are on island, though. Shelby has been trying to convince everyone to go horseback riding. Today she got her way.

This morning we went down to the horse excursion area. Shelby, Lucas, and Davis were going to ride, but they had to have a parent so I went as well.

Ok,let me digress for a moment. Yesterday I looked at a website that offered a $20-200 payment to review products on your blog. Really? Like what.

Though it made me think. I love Coke. Which is made by the Coca-Cola Company. What I have found here is that when you don't drink a lot of pop, there is nothing better than an ice cold Coke. Yesterday, I bought five Cokes and put them in the fridge. Tonight I went to get one, and they were all gone. Evidently, Davis and Rory, the new intern(foreshadowing a near future blog), drank them. I was so looking forward to a nice cold glass of Coke at the end of this day. I had to have a talk with Rory about not drinking my Cokes.

Anyway, I don't really review stuff on this blog, that was a freeby. So, the question I am thinking is how should I discuss horse back riding?

The excursion, Horseback Ride and Swim, is $100 off a cruise ship. We paid a little less today. Right now the picture of the horses swimming in the water is on the front page of

I will begin with this: the staff at the excursion was great, very professional and very personable. The excursion went like this: The horse excursion is located right on the beach on the east side of Grand Turk. We waited in an open shelter for the horses to be brought up. Off of the shelter house was a small deck where we easily got on the horses. We rode in a line up one side of the east beach and down the other. Maybe 30-40 minutes. Then they put different saddles on. These saddles were a little better than riding bareback, but just a little. A horse has a very sharp raised backbone. Lets just say this was a little less comfortable than I expected. We rode the horses into the ocean. We went back and forth at a light trot in about five feet of water. No stirrups. The guy just said squeeze your legs tight on the horse. This sounds fun, and looks great in the picture. But I all I could do was concentrate on staying on the horse and keeping my backside from slamming on the horse's backbone.

In the end, I don't think the fun quotient was equal to the price. I don't think I do it again. And I certainly would not pay $100 each for my family to do it.

But Davis loved it. And his picture is probably worth a hundred bucks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Harts full of Rain

Go figure, the first time we have had friends here and it is rainy, cloudy, and the seas are unusually rough. These low pressure systems that have been plaguing the east coast of the US are ruining our week down here.

We tried to make the best of the Harts last two days. Here is a pictorial essay of yesterday.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year with a Hart

Greg, Deana, Taylor, Lee, and Michael Hart arrived on Grand Turk New Years Eve. They are the first friends who have visited in the two plus years we have been here.

Now I know what you are going to say...Dave Horn visited twice and what about all those people off of cruise ships! Anyone not spending the night does not count. And Dave Horn is somewhere above friend status, didn't I write a whole blog about that?

Anyway, New Years day we had our fist dive of the year. Great dive, and Davis and I saw a huge spotted Eagle Ray.

Then, like everyday this holiday season, we had ships in and I had to work. Over the holidays we have had many, many ships in. We are between visiting staff, and many of my local staff are off island for Christmas and New Years. Our cruise ship programs have finally begun to be successful. Yesterday we had three excursion tours. Today we have three excursion tours. Plus, with three ships in we will have in excess of 100 visitors. This would not be a big deal at most museums, but here, what happens is that all of the visitation comes at once, within the first two hours the ship docks. Today, all three ships docked at 8:00am. This means that all visitation will happen within a small window. It is work to orchestrate everything and top of that I have constant necessity to retrain a staff who were used to seven people a day, on a good day!