Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Every third year (it has to do with my parents owning a time share, and me having 2 siblings), Norma and I get to go to Providenciales, or Provo as the locals call it. The Turks and Caicos are a string of 40 islands and small pieces of land (called Cays) about 575 miles, or 900 or so km, off the coast of Miami. There are 8 large islands that have settlement on them, and the rest are uninhabited with some being completely protected from settlement as conservation land. Provo is one of the larger islands and lies to the west of the group. It is the most densely settled, although that only means mainly along the coast of the island, and is the tourist center, where Grand Turks is at the east end and is the capital and financial center. Provo is now becoming very “glitzy” with resorts, as the world-famous Grace Bay beach, a 10 mile long strip of white sand facing north is located there. The key tourism factor is that there is a reef that surrounds the island of Provo, the third largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier reef in Australia and another in Belize. This means there is spectacular diving, snorkelling and other water sports, like fishing, to be had, and there is history for those who care, as the islands of the TCI were spotted by Columbus in 1492 and were quite possibly his first land sighting of what was to become known as the coast of the Americas. We go and visit Providenciales and love to swim in the 75-80 degree salt water, just tour around the island and see the beautiful water and the very interesting, and expensive, houses folks are building, and eating the wonderful food. That last – the island of Provo has a specialty, and it is Conch. Think of a large snail coming out of that gorgeous shell, and you get the idea. Conch can be served in chowder, can be steamed and served in a stew or chopped fine and served in fritters, but my favourite is when they cut it into strips and serve it like fried clams – known as Cracked Conch (because to get the whole beast out to cut into strips you have to crack the conch shell open)!
Photography in the islands is tough because the gleaming white sand is very bright, and then there is the darker blue of deep water, or the gorgeous aqua or turquoise shade that you’ll want to capture of the near shore water, and so metering is tough. It pays to know how to shoot in full manual so you can over-ride your exposure meter. You’ll also want to use a UV filter on every lens, as the salt air and sand are everywhere – and there is normally at least some breeze. It is worth it though, as the Islands of the Turks and Caicos are very beautiful and very photogenic. We’ll be back – in three years - unless my brother or sister take a pass some year, and then well go sooner!

Chalk Sound

East End of Grace Bay Beach

West End of Grace Bay Beach
Old House on Provo - Providenciales Museum
Nightly Entertainment on the Beach at the Alexandra Resort on Grace Bay