French Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

Ocean Gem
Geoff & Eileen Mander
Fri 4 Apr 2014 15:30

Position: 21:30.501N 72:12.347W

Date: Friday 4th April 2014

Time: 16:30


Conditions improved late Thursday with the skies clearing and the seas reducing. It all became very pleasant.  Our intended destination was Turtle Cove Marina on the island of Providenciales in The Turks & Caicos Islands, but in order to negotiate the long and shallow entrance channel, with associated reefs, we would have to arrive near to high tide and during good daylight.  With our current speed we would be arriving during night time, so we decided to divert to a small island called French Cay on the on the south edge of the Caicos Banks.  We arrived late afternoon and made a very careful approach to the anchorage in the lee of the small island and dropped our anchor at 16:30.  We could then plan our departure time on Saturday so that we could arrive at a good time.


The Caicos Banks are a large area of shallow water, roughly 50 miles across. Within the banks depths range between about 5 and zero metres with most of the area around 1 or 2 metres deep and with numerous uncharted coral heads, far too shallow for us to be able to sail across directly. However their most striking feature is their startling iridescent turquoise colour.  The sky reflects the colour of the water so that when on the banks you are immersed in a 360 degree turquoise experience.


Even when outside of the banks in deep water far enough away not to be able to see the turquoise water, the sky still marks the presence of the banks.  As you scan the horizon you can see the colour change from the normal blue to a contain a distinct aquamarine hue. Clouds are even more pronounced with their undersides reflecting the turquoise colours.