Turks and Caicos Trip Report – July 23-29 2007
Our whole family agrees that this was our best vacation ever. In spite of a rocky start and a few minor inconveniences, we had a blast. The food and drink were great and always available. (We learned mid-way to stock up on yogurts, muffins and cereals at breakfast for when we wanted to sleep in.) The staff were all exceptional – anything we asked they took care of. Inchworm even latched on to quite a few of them outside of the daycare.
Teenrager checked out the teen program but ended up pretty much doing his own thing. He spent hours at the front pool with his British bud Shiva. He especially loved being able to eat whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. His favorite memory was of all the sea life and seeing a nurse shark when scuba diving for the first time.
Inchworm adored all of the Sesame Street characters who roamed around frequently and put on all kinds of shows. She also loved the daycare which we took her to for between 4-5 hours a day. She did get sick off and on (at one point we worried she was developing a milk allergy) but she usually recovered quickly and the timing was excellent in that we were usually in the room.
Though I’m usually pretty anal about trying to stick to some sort of schedule and he wants nothing to do with any planning, for the first time ever, DH and I achieved the perfect balance of relaxation and activity. Without the worries of money, childcare, or a quick rush back home, we pulled off spending just enough time as a family, alone as a couple, and individually to truly enjoy ourselves without pressure. I hope we get to “Soon Come Back!”
Drove to ATL Sunday, July 22nd and stayed the night with Tom and Jill.
Day 1 – Monday, July 23, 2007
As we arrived at the airport, Inchworm threw up all over the place. Took her inside half naked. The airport was crazy – just one humongous security line. Fortunately, we walked straight up to the ticket counter to check in and then were ushered past all the lines since we had baby girl with us. The flight there was nice, lasting just under 2. 5 hours. We arrived at the resort around 2:00. Check in was a breeze – upon arrival, they took our luggage to our room while we checked in at a private location where they served us drinks and gave us some brief information. We were then shown to our room which was nicer than I’d actually expected. We were on the farthest back side of the resort, but there was a nice pool with a swim up bar right outside. We then went to check out the childcare and were pleasantly surprised. Ms. Fionna answered all of my questions, explaining that the ratio was 3 to 1 with no reservations required and operating hours were from 9-9 (the brochure said until 6:00). Inchworm immediately wanted to go in and play. We decided to wait a little while before dropping her off so we went off to explore some more.
We first ate at Arizona’s where Inchworm threw up. She seemed o.k. otherwise, and I was just happy that we hadn’t left her at the daycare.
After getting the kids to bed, DH and I got out for a little while. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm rolled through while we were out, but it was the only time all week and we realized how lucky we were as Hurricane Dean rolled through the south side of the Caribbean just a few weeks later.
Day 2 – Tuesday, July 24, 2007
DH & Teenrager took their scuba lessons first thing this morning and then went out on a dive. DH said that Teenrager was fearless. Both got to see a blow fish and a nurse shark.
Meanwhile, I took Inchworm out to the beach for a little morning fun. She did not care for it at all. I tried sitting with her at the water’s edge but she hated the waves (which were very mild) coming up at her.
Sesame Street Parade! – Inchworm and I lucked into the characters just as they were getting ready to start. She spent a lot of time with each of them and wouldn’t let them go. She was just so precious with them and fortunately it’s when I got most of the really cool pictures. The parade was fun to follow – the band was just awesome and the characters danced like crazy. I don’t know how they stay in those suits for so long in the heat, but just like with all of the staff, I never heard one complaint or look of discomfort.
In the evening, Inchworm and I stayed at the hotel while the guys went out to check out the fire eater show.
Day 3 – Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I went out on my very first snorkeling trip. I took a boat from the resort dock along with about 10 other folks. We went out for about an hour. I enjoyed it, but I did struggle with my mask a little which made it difficult. The fish were beautiful and would come right up to me. I also got to see a sting ray barely buried in the sand.
Teenrager spent some time snorkeling at our beach. He saw some sort of zebra crab that a large fish was messing with. The crab kept trying to move away from it.
We all three went out on the Hobie Cat. DH had taken a steering lesson the day before and did a great job maneuvering us around pretty far out.
Dinner at Schooners I think – crab legs were huge and there were lots of them, but otherwise the selection and quality of the food was a bit of a let down.
We caught the Sesame Street show in the evening which Inchworm loved of course. It was all I could do to keep her from rushing the stage. Towards the end, I did let her wander up front and dance at the edge of the stage.
Day 4 – Thursday, July 26, 2007
In the morning we all 4 went out to the pool and hung out for a little while. Inchworm was getting used to the water by now.
I went out on my own on a tour in the afternoon. I got to ride on a shuttle to the cove we departed from which allowed me to see a little bit of the island. We drove past all of the other major resorts and construction along Grace Bay. We first went to Little Water Cay – a protected wildlife island reserved for iguanas. Got to see about 10 or so of them along the path. We went out to snorkel at a large reef that had a cave like feel to it. On the way to another island we stopped while some of the tour operators and a couple of ladies went conch diving. They brought up about 5 of them all together. Our last stop was a secluded island where people hunted for shells and sand dollars. I didn’t have much luck, but one of the operators went out and picked up a bunch for everyone, so I got one from him. We got to see what I think was called an eagle sea ray at the secluded beach and it swam all around our boat as we were getting ready to leave. The operator say that they often jump up to 20 feet out of the water. All in all it was about a 5 hour tour and was totally worth the $70 or so I spent.
While I was gone, the guys took Inchworm to the Sesame Street Caravan out by the pool near our room.
Dinner at Le Petit Chateau – just DH and I while Teenrager watched Inchworm at the room. We had a very romantic dinner, though I can’t recall what we ate it was delicious. We sat next to a couple who were UT grads now living in Mississippi. Their kids were sitting outside the window. Very funny.
Day 5 – Friday, July 27, 2007
Snorkeling down the beach – DH, Teenrager and I all headed down the beach about 10 minutes to check out the reef area we’d been hearing about. On the way there, we stopped at a couple of vendor huts and DH bought a himself a hat and t-shirt for Inchworm. Once we got to the place we were going, we found a few groups of people who’d already been out and were talking about turtles and nurse sharks. We’d forgotten a lot of our gear, so only one of us could go out at a time. I went first and was just amazed out how beautiful it was – it exceeded both of my other trips by far. I did get to see a large sea turtle which was so beautiful to watch swimming along. Teenrager and DH both went out afterwards. We also found a sea urchin up close to the beach and were careful to stay clear of it. We were kicking ourselves for not checking it all out sooner – I guess I just couldn’t believe that it could be all that great and be so close by.
Took Inchworm to Bobby D’s for an Elmo birthday party. The place was packed. We hung around long enough for her to dance with Grover and the Cookie Monster (who was too wild – I shouldn’t have let her get so close to him cause he just about knocked her down!)
Dinner was at Kimonos. We all four went and sat at a table with some folks from New Jersey or New York who were of Indian descent. Inchworm loved the vegetable broth type soup they first brought out. The rest of the food was good but the show the chef put on was pretty weak – especially compared to some of the others at other tables.
After dinner we headed over to the beach party that they apparently throw every Friday night. On the way there, we ran into Zoë (Sesame Street) and Inchworm had her all to herself for a good 10 minutes. Once we got to the beach we ran into Inchworm’s performer friends, CJ and Mia. She immediately went to CJ who carried her around with him for a little while. It was too cute when it came time to get her back – she didn’t want to let him go! Once she started trying to eat sand, Inchworm and I left early, while DH & Teenrager stuck around late playing ring toss games and watching the movie they had set up.
Day 6 – Saturday, July 28, 2007
Teenrager pretty much did his own thing with Shiva while DH and I had some time to ourselves. After eating lunch at Reflections we headed back down the beach to snorkel some more. It was a lot more fun going out together. We got to see a baby turtle this time. He swam right past us up to the top of the water where he poked his head out a few times and then swam back down and away. We also noticed some rocks that appeared to have disappearing flowers. It was really cool cause they would suck back into the rock as we got closer to them. Another person said that they were actually some kind of worms.
In the evening we got to go to the much-anticipated Sapodilla’s restaurant. Shiva’s parents ended up sitting right beside us. It was a wonderful experience. Very small and quaint. The waiters were very attentive and the food was excellent. DH had a filet mignon and I had the red snapper. We finished just in time because the daycare called saying that Inchworm had a temp. When we got there Teenrager was already there holding her. We took her back to the room and started the spare antibiotics we’d brought as we suspected another ear infection.
Day 7 – Sunday, July 29
Time to go – we hated to leave, but alas our fun was ending. After checking out, we went to a departure lounge where we waited for a shuttle to take us to the airport. While waiting, we heard that our flight was delayed by an hour. That seemed tolerable at the time. Our shuttle was on time, though and we left for the airport around 11:00a.m. Our flight ended up being more than an hour late, I think it was about 2 hours late which meant sitting in the tiny airport well into Inchworm’s nap time. The flight back was pretty difficult as she cried most of the time – I suspect due to an ear infection. We finally got back to ATL around 6:00p.m. but it took well over an hour to get out of the airport. Customs wasn’t bad, but they took our luggage after we’d already cleared customs and had to make our way through some maze to get all the way out. Thank goodness Tom and Jill were there to pick us up. They brought our van and with the curbside service we were able to drive straight home. It was a long day and we didn’t get home until about 10:30p.m., but it was all SO worth it!