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Grand Turk is for Lovers… and Nerds
Grand Turk brings out my inner nerd, big time. Before going into education, I did electrical engineering. I studied at Georgia Tech (Sting ‘Em, Jackets!) with scholarships from the United Negro College Fund and NASA. I wanted to apply to the space program and be an astronaut. When my principal investigator for my NASA internship showed me the requirements for the space program, I knew that I would never meet them physically/healthwise… so my dreams went swirling down the drain. It was cool, though; there are an infinite number of other dreams to pursue. Like traveling the world and making a difference in the lives of young people.
My fascination with space continued over the years, and when I was researching Grand Turk in preparation for the first time Gene and I went, I was absolutely GIDDY to see that NASA’s Friendship 7 space capsule splashed down off the coast of Grand Turk in 1962. I geeked out and could not WAIT to get there and visit the open-air exhibit dedicated to the event. If you are a space fan and were wondering what to do in Grand Turk on a cruise, I would highly recommend stopping by and visiting this exhibit. Here I am in 2016, cozying up to a likeness of John Glenn:
Looking for Some Relaxation
This time, however, we wanted to skip the busy port area and excursion activities altogether and just chill on a less crowded beach. Gene and I were tired, remember? We planned to walk through the port entrance, bust a left, pass Margaritaville, and walk down the beach to Jack’s Shack. We wanted to lie on the beach, drink rum, eat jerk chicken, and swim with the dogs, Topher and Calypso. So, that’s what we did, with a little bit of runaway-peacock action thrown in.
Jack’s Shack is a famous beach bar and chill spot in Grand Turk, prized for its convenience to the ship, great drinks, friendly staff, wonderful food, and cute, swimming dogs. It hasn’t disappointed in any of these areas the two times we have been. We got to Jack’s Shack after walking a little way down the beach, and plopped down on a couple of beach chairs. We paid one of the employees ten bucks to rent an umbrella and got comfortable – SUPER comfortable. It was breezy that day (key point for later), and the combination of the heat and the wind made us feel so lazy and content.
Seaweed and Brattiness Lead to Near-Disaster
The sea was pretty calm, but there was a lot of seaweed on this day. I don’t mind seaweed if I have my water shoes, but I had left my water shoes (these lovely, inexpensive ones from Amazon) on the ship. Gene doesn’t like it when I act like a brat, and I was kind of acting like a brat about not having my water shoes. So he went over to a spot up the beach a little where some guys were renting out floaties, paid them to rent one, and told me to pick which one I wanted to float over the seaweed on. I promise, I love that man.
I picked out the peacock floatie because it was super-cute and big enough to lie across, and hubby pushed me out a little. However, the wind was doing a little dance, and I wound up gliding out a little further than we had anticipated. He swam out and pushed me back closer to the shore, and then let go of that blasted peacock for a split second to wipe water from his eyes.
Trying to Go to Africa
Before either of us knew it, I was going out… out… out to sea. I was screaming his name, and he was telling me to paddle back. But the current was really serious about me going AWAY from shore. I considered paddling back, but the handles were too far apart to give me purchase and I was afraid that I’d lose hold of the darn peacock and be on my own. I can swim, but I can’t SWIM swim, and I was about a nanosecond away from panic mode. My better senses told me to stay put on the floatie.
As Gene became a little brown dot and I got closer and closer to the open ocean (I’m NOT even exaggerating), he gave up and swam back to shore. I knew that he would find somebody to come rescue me, so I just sat still on the floatie and talked to myself about how unbelievable this situation was, peeking over the side every now and then and trying to guess how deep the water was.
I’m not sure how long it took, but it couldn’t have been that long before a beautiful man in a boat came out to save me. He helped me onto the boat and then leaned over and plucked the stupid peacock out of water, saying, “What’s up, man, you trying to go to Africa?” I had to laugh at the visual, and it really helped to calm me down a little. He then said, “Well, at least you’re not crying,” which reminded me that I was pretty badass to have floated halfway to Africa on a peacock floatie and not shed a tear. Go, me!
Rum Makes Everything Better
Gene was nowhere to be found when I got back to shore, but the other people who were hanging out at Jack’s Shack for the day and had seen my unplanned trip out to sea seemed very happy that I had made it back safely. Poor Gene had run back to the ship because he wasn’t sure if I was hurt and had been taken directly back on board. My phone worked in Grand Turk (shout out to the AT&T International Wireless plan!), but Gene’s did not, so I had no way to contact him. He didn’t find me at the ship, so came back to Jack’s Shack, where we met back up and he satisfied himself that I was okay.
Needless to say, after that ordeal we had a LOT of rum drinks, and I had to promise to leave floaties alone forever.
For the rest of our time in Grand Turk we alternated between hanging at the bar, lounging under our umbrellas, and swimming no further than 10 feet from shore, sans floaties. It was truly a glorious beach day in paradise… near-death experience notwithstanding. AND there were dogs!
Thanks for reading this installment on our Carnival Pride Cruise! Check back soon for the next part, on our day at Half Moon Cay. Better yet, subscribe so that you receive an email when a new post is added. Cheers!