Tuesday we enjoyed a lazy day on the internet, reading, cleaning and generally just chilling…. and thoroughly enjoyed it. In the evening we popped up to Bob’s Bar which sits above the marina and had a nice couple of hours chatting to Bob, Cam and the two dogs Effie and Gemma. We also met our marina neighbours Ken and Margaret who are cruising on their large catamaran called Rocking B. The views out across the channel and further out to sea are quite beautiful…..
Wednesday we took Bob up on his offer to take us into town to visit the IGA supermarket – so we quickly took the opportunity of topping up drinking vouchers at the ATM – and got some basic provisions.
Arriving back in the marina and Effie and Gemma were disgusted with our efforts – no dog treats in the bags…. Must try harder! We also investigated doing some diving – $160 each for a two tank dive using our own gear. And one of our pet hates is a very busy dive boat, so I watched carefully when they left and counted 18…. We are not sure we want to spend $320 for the experience – and don’t forget we’ll have to pay the $300 cruising licence to stay here. Hmmmmm….not sure…..
After a long debate we decided to wait to go diving until we get to the Bahamas – so close geographically it can’t be that different….. Disappointed but never mind. Morphie quite likes it here……..and I quite like not having to climb up or down onto huge concrete docks either.
In the marina there are a couple of mangled large props sitting around – and they belong to a $5mn motorcruiser which was put up onto Molasses Reef by the delivery captain at 25 knots having only 40 hours on the engine since new! The bottom was ripped out and they have filled it with plywood and epoxied over it to make it waterproof – but it is a right off and will never go to sea again probably.
What a sorry tale and certainly puts our bent anchor into perspective – oh yes, and we’ve got it straightened…. Yay!
In the evening we went to a pot luck BBQ at Bob’s Bar and met a lot of locals and more cruisers who are in other small marinas dotted around. Was quite a lively and fun event but eventually torrential rain stopped play…. Bob is a real character – born in the UK, raised in Canada, and moved here almost 40 years ago…. Here is an old photo of him with the dogs.
Thursday morning and we headed out to hire a car and explore the island. We arrived at the rental place to be told you can’t hire a car without a credit card – not here, not in the Bahamas and definitely not in the USA. Damn….this is going to be difficult going forward…. Eventually the guy said – OK take the car we’ll take cash – and we got away with it. But not sure that is going to happen anywhere else – once we get to Florida we’ll have to stay put long enough to get the replacement cards sent to us…… Our little hire car was adequate and pretty reasonable at $49 a day – so we headed off. First stop was the port to get our departure papers……and then we drove the whole length of the island.
We headed out on the main dual carriageway – and Richard enjoyed driving on the left and having proper roundabouts again – eventually we arrived at the Blue Haven resort where the brand new IGY marina on the Leeward end of the island is located. The marina was spectacular although the entrance is tricky through the extensive reef and they send out a pilot for all the boats coming in. A bit disappointed that we didn’t get to stay here but, to be honest, it was all a bit sterile and totally lacked any ambience whatsoever.
Moving on we admired the canal system and the very large homes that were built along the waterfront.
Then we came to the main tourist spot – Grace Bay – and it was full of large resorts with most of the big hotel chains present with very few public accesses to the beach. The beach is stunning – beautiful blue water lapping onto white powder sand…..
Not that many tourists around and certainly no small vending operations set up by locals although I did see some jewellery sellers and one hair braiding lady in operation. All the action is in the hotels it would appear… Driving back towards downtown Providenciales we saw the huge mall – yep designer shops again – and noticed the stark difference between the opulence of the homes and the poverty that the locals clearly live in…… This may account for their less than friendly attitude we have encountered so far here in Providenciales.
Moving on and we drove around the flamingo lake – yes we saw two – and continued on the dirt roads which are littered with rubbish thrown out of cars.
The interior of the island is virtually desert sitting on a limestone base with scrubby vegetation and swamps – the beautiful manicured grounds all belong to the hotels and the luxury houses. And money does not equal taste – some of them were downright ugly! The scrub land was all parcelled off into lots ready for development which seems to be a theme on this island with Sotherbys offering every other house or lot for sale…
So what do we think? Well, actually we are not impressed…… If you came here for a relaxing hotel holiday on a fantastic beach then I think you would enjoy it a lot. If you went all inclusive so you could actually afford to go diving then yes that would be great too! But overall Providenciales has little charm and is a bit soulless….
Friday morning – today – and we were supposed to be leaving to stage for our passage to the Bahamas. But the weather is not good – strong winds and squalls – so we told the marina office and they said that customs will not force us to leave into bad weather as they would have some liability – don’t worry about it, have a good day and enjoy yourselves. So we extended the hire car and took ourselves off to that stunning beach armed with a cooler and went bobbing…. Was lovely!
Back in the marina now – and we are definitely leaving tomorrow and should arrive into Mayaguana, our port of entry into the Bahamas, on Sunday. But, of course, it is Easter Sunday so we don’t know whether we can actually check in or not – and also whether we can get any internet access either….. So just to manage expectations we’ll be back on line the minute we are able.
Bye for now