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Old 21-09-2009, 16:18   #1
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Cruising Turks and Caicos

We plan to cruise through the Turks and Caicos this year and I am wondering how nice it is to cruise there. For those of you that have been please share your experiences.

Also, I noticed that the water temp and air temp is about ~7 degrees cooler on average in Dec, January, Febuary in the Turks than the Virgin Islands and Leeward Islands. Has anyone cruised the Turks in January? If so, how was the weather? Did you end up wearing a 2mm short wetsuit or was the water warm enough to stay in without one?
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Old 21-09-2009, 16:51   #2
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I wore a dive skin throughout the carribean to protect from various jellys and for warmth. I used the 2mm sometimes too, it's a nice option to have...
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:28   #3
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What do you mean by "Cruising the T&C's?" A scuba diving expediton? Sailing? Sport Fisherman? The T&C are just not big enough for cruising without a specific purpose usually involved with fishing or diving. The Caicos Banks are dangerously full of shallows, reefs, shoals, etc. and you will need a recent copy of the "Wavey Line" charts - which are the only nautical charts for the T&C's interior waters.
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:34   #4
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We live in the Turks and Caicos Islands full time. Now in our fifth year here, if I may be of any help.
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Old 23-09-2009, 07:59   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
What do you mean by "Cruising the T&C's?" A scuba diving expediton? Sailing? Sport Fisherman? The T&C are just not big enough for cruising without a specific purpose usually involved with fishing or diving. The Caicos Banks are dangerously full of shallows, reefs, shoals, etc. and you will need a recent copy of the "Wavey Line" charts - which are the only nautical charts for the T&C's interior waters.
"Cruising" to us includes sailing, exploring, diving, snorkeling and cultural etc etc. I am aware of the challenging navigation, thanks for the chart suggestions.

I notice that there are hardly any sail blogs on the internet where cruising boats stayed in the Turks and Caicos and wrote about the fun they had. Yet there are hundreds of sail blogs that are written about the Exumas, Abacos, Virgins, Leewards and Windwards. Most blogs that I have read that mention the Turks are of boats just passing through to provision or rest before traveling to one of the other destinations that I mentioned. Also interesting, there are none of the large charter compaies in the Turks.


ALso, we have two folks on board this year that snorkel only so we cannot take them diving. Are there alot of places to snorkel in the Turks, or is it more of a diving mecca?
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Old 23-09-2009, 08:31   #6
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You are correct about the lower temperatures in the Turks and Caicos vs the Caribbean. We spent a winter in the northern Bahamas after many winters in the Virgins and noticed it was quite a bit colder. The restaurant and food prices are typically higher than in the Bahamas and parts of the Caribbean. Most people think of the Bahamas/Turks and Caicos as places to cruise in the spring/early summer after the cold fronts have mellowed out and before the hurricane season. Enjoy.
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Old 23-09-2009, 22:58   #7
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- -You should get hold of Canibul above and ask for the best "not usually visited" sites to snorkel and dive.
- - I think of the Caicos Banks as the last frontier in that the various areas are difficult to get to with a deep draft sailboat. And it is easy to get caught "out there" in bad weather with little if any shelter.
- - A variety of friends who have spent more time there recommend Amergris Cays for snorkeling. I never got that far south as the routes shown are torturous and hazardous for sail boats. For us there is no open water sailing on the Caicos Banks, you are confined to the charted routes and even they have some nasty hazards. But I always stage for heading south and eastbound at Long Cay as I like the water and snorkeling. Six Hills Cays are great exploring.
- - It is my understanding that the vast majority of diving/snorkeling activity is done on local diving tour boats. And as a private sailing vessel when clearing in you only get a week there before incurring some serious charges. It is my understanding though that for serious sport fishermen and scuba divers, it is the "in place."
- - Across the Columbus Passage you find the "other half" of the T&C's - the Turks Banks. This is a very limited area with some very low islands and exposed reefs and anchorages. Virtually no place to hide if a blow comes in. All in all, the T&C's are really power boat territory. Provisioning, fueling, and just hanging around is not easy for sailboats. But for treasure hunting, diving, and sport fishing - this is the place. . .
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Old 24-09-2009, 08:12   #8
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Comparing TCI water to the Northern Bahamas is kinda like comparing Key West to Savannah. Same distances north and south.

TCI waters are more like Cuba or the DR, a hundred and thirty miles away. Or the southernmost Bahamas just north of us.
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Old 24-09-2009, 22:42   #9
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We took Jedi through the T&C and loved it. We sailed over the bank and our favorite anchorage was in between big & small Ambergris Cays. We never touched bottom and our draft is 6'2" but sure, you must be able to "read the water" to avoid the coral heads and reefs.

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Old 28-09-2009, 10:15   #10
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We crossed the banks with a draft of 7' 6" and a wavy line chart, other than steering round a few shadows in the mistaken belief they were large coral heads all went well!

Like many we just passed through which was a shame and we will try and take more time next time through.

I think the main reason it is little cruised is that if you are on your way south, it's very hard to pass up a weather window so you leave sooner than planned, and if you are just going there to cruise before returning to the USA it's a long way to windward only to find similar stuff to the Bahamas so many just don't bother.
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Old 20-12-2009, 08:28   #11
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tell y'all what, La Gringa and I are planning to get much more involved in sailing these little islands in the next year. I will try to keep an eye out for some good spots for people passing through. There are plenty of places here you could stop for a night, do some snorkelling, and move on without attracting any official attention.

Hey, by the way, I can't find Bruce Van Sant's book here locally. Do any of you know about when the best time of year would be to sail a small multihull from Florida to just south of the Bahamas? Is that a springtime thing?
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