Sunday, February 19, 2012
What to see on Turks and Caicos...
Gem by the sea Exploring Turks and Caicos on a cloudy Sunday proved to be a worthwhile adventure. Although we were determined to find two of the island nation’s south facing beaches, they weren’t that easy to find. That was surprising, especially because the driving time to get from the island’s north west point to the ferry dock on its south east end was less than forty minutes.
Those beaches, Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay, although clearly marked on a map we were given at the airport, had accesses that weren’t. That’s why we drove past both after turning right on what appeared to be a nondescript Chalk Sound Road. It wasn’t ; less than a quarter mile onto its two lanes, we saw Picturesque Lane and turned off to picnic on the lunches we’d picked up at a local restaurant, Sarah’s, that was little more than a cubby hole on the right side of a small electronics shop we’d passed en route to Chalk Sound Road.
Our meal by the sea was delicious. We finished quickly, determined to locate Sapodilla Bay beach; we went looking for signs to guide us there. Wherever they might have been, we didn’t see them. Instead, we followed that road until we spotted a turn that took us to Silly Creek Estates. Beautiful homes and their landscaped yards hid the beach from us until we reached the end of that road.
“Wow!” I exclaimed, as I stopped our Dhiatsu and grabbed the camera. We were at a dead end, the end of that road, but were staring at Emerald Cay, a sprawling Mediterranean style villa that sat on its own island less than thirty feet from our parked car. Getting there meant crossing over a retractable moat. To say that the villa was a gem is an understatement.
I’d never seen a house more beautiful or more alluring. Nonetheless, it appeared to be empty and unused, its beauty wasted. For a while, I stared. Then, as I turned to leave, someone, a caretaker perhaps, walked to the edge of its yard to empty a small bag of what may have been kitchen waste into the clear turquoise water. He watched as it disappeared; fish may have been waiting. As he walked back to the main house, he didn’t seem to notice us.
For a moment, our overcast day had brightened. But we had to turn around to find two elusive beaches. About a mile later, we turned left onto a road that would definitely lead to the sea. Our problem was gaining access. The yards along the beachfront seemed connected; they formed a barrier to explorers. Still, we looked for an opening. Ten minutes later, we sensed there was none.
“Let’s ask those folks,” I said, as we approached the spot where our car was parked. The people looked familiar; we’d seen them at the huge gourmet grocery store, the IGF, earlier that morning.
“It took us three days to find it,” they admitted. “But you’re almost there,” one of them said, as they pointed to a path we had decided, previously, not to try. “Less than a minute’s walk,” they assured us.
And it was. The beach was spectacular, compact and a perfect compliment to the beauty we’d see at Emerald Cay. Less than ten people were on the beach.
Encouraged by our find, we didn’t stay long. We were convinced that we could find Taylor Bay beach on our own. Minutes later, we turned off the main road, found a place to park, then walked to a short street that had villas on one side, villas that appeared to be available for rent.
Between two of those parcels was an unmarked path, an obvious three foot wide trail that led us to the beach.
And what a beach it was! Much longer than Sapodilla Bay’s beach, Taylor Bay was just as exquisite. Its soft sand seemed a carpet that rolled into its clear and shallow water. Despite the overcast sky, the beach was stunning.
We resolved to return to it, perhaps the next day, after we explored the pricey beach front at Grace Bay on the north central face of Turks.
Later that evening, at our condo, we saw an article by Kathi Barrington, “Over the Top” on page 166 of the Discover Turks and Caicos magazine. Its lead story was about a place we had been, a place that could have been ours “for less than $50,000,000.” From the pictures of its opulant interior, we knew we’d viewed something spectacular when we’d stopped to gawk at Emerald Cay.
B. Koplen 2/19/12
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