Grand Turk

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Thu 30 Apr 2009 01:10
21:28.14N 71:09.09W   Cockburn Town, Grand Turk
Yesterday we sailed the 23nm up to Grand Turk from Big Sand Cay. The wind was still strong but we were keen to get moving. Just off the south east of the island we hit a powerful squall than managed to snap our foresail sheet (the rope that holds the front sail to the winch). The rain was pelting down, but we quite quickly furled the sail and managed to anchor at the south dock with no further problems.
As we had been unable to raise the harbourmaster on the VHF radio, I had eventually phoned the tourist office from my cell phone to confirm the check-in procedure. But what a pleasant surprise we found at the dock - the tourist office had called the customs official, and he had driven down to the pier meet us. He then drove us to his office to complete all the formalities which were simple and easy. Now that is service!
We are now anchored off Cockburn Town, the capital town of the Turks and Caicos islands. We took our dinghy across the beautiful blue reef to town, and walked around a bit. Grand Turk is only known for diving and international banking services, and while the water is spectacular, the land is pretty uninspiring. This was made even worse in September last year when they were hit by Hurricane Ike, a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 260km/h. Many of the old buildings were totally destroyed, others had roofs blown off, electric poles were snapped and there is still debris everywhere. the customs official told us " It sounded like horses galloping on the roof". 
We initiated John into island cuisine with a lunch of cracked conch (battered strips) at a beachside restaurant.
We are still deciding on our next stop and our course ...should we take a few days and go south across the Caicos Banks or should we go north, around Provo, sailing overnight directly to Mayaguana, Bahama's??  Time will tell ....