Provo, Turks & Caicos

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Thu 24 May 2018 01:08
21:48.15N 72:10.50W  Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
After an overnight stop on the west coast of Mayaguana, we left The Bahamas and headed for “Provo”, the main tourist island of Turks & Caicos. Once again it was into wind and weather and we arrived quite late in the day – too late to go into the marina, so we anchored in Grace Bay, the main tourist beach area.
The next morning, we weaved our way through the reef, following closely behind a guide boat from the marina, and took our berth at Turtle Cove Marina.  Customs was pretty easy, but immigration was weird, as the official insisted on seeing our USA visa’s. She told us quite firmly that South Africans need a visa – either the TCI one, or a British, Canadian, USA visa would do. As we have USA visas this was not a problem – but my issue is, that on both their tourist and Govt website, it clearly states that South Africans do NOT need a visa.  But the dear lady was not interested in having this discussion.
We stayed in the marina for a few days, hired a car, drove around a bit – and Mike got to see a local chiropractor who helped him tremendously with sciatica.  We also caught up with Tom (sv Benediction), a friend we met last year in the Bahamas and got to meet the delightful couple on La Vagabonde – surely the most famous of all the sailing blog/ vloggers. 
There is not a lot going on in the Turks & Caicos. Tourists fly in here for a week on the beach, but there is little personality or local flavour to the place.... very vanilla! Quite boring!  
So we were ready to leave. BUT ... there was no weather window – strong winds and swell out of the south east ... and that were we want to go.  So we moved out of the marina, back to Grace Bay for another week.  We, like many other cruisers on the island were going nuts – we all wanted to go south east, but couldn't, until the weather settled.
So after 10 days, we decided that the weather was good enough to make a move. Time2 is a strong powerful boat, and how bad can 400nm into 20knots be. WELL ... it was bad, it was uncomfortable and no fun at all. Took us two and a half days of relentless crashing and bashing to get to Puerto Rico.  Water was pouring over the bow, hitting the windshield every few minutes, sometimes even going over the flybridge. And of course water got in – water came through a front hatch, also through a loose seal on a spotlight, and then my worst ... through the galley door (which we discovered after a few hours was not properly closed) Everything that was not wedged down, went flying.  Nasty, Nasty!  As someone once said... “Gentlemen don't sail to windward”
When we finally hit the Mona passage (between Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico) the weather settled down somewhat – which is bizarre, as yachtsmen are always talking about how tough the Mona Passage can be.
A week after we left, a weather window did open up – and a few yachts left.  But one, leaving from Providenciales SANK ... Yip – their small Prout catamaran broke up after too many of these “into windward” passages, before they could get to the Dominican Republic.  Luckily for them (mom; dad & young daughter) on sv Lost Marbles, were rescued by a passing Bahamian cargo ship and taken to San Juan.