Grand Turk – Columbus’ First Landfall?

Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos.

Our last stop on our 2018 Caribbean Cruise brought us to the Island of Grand Turk, a British Territory. Of course, on our cruise, I didn’t learn that Grand Turk might have been the place where Columbus first “discovered America.” As usual, in research for this post, I found the tidbit of information on Wikipedia. Seems the outline of the island more closely fits descriptions of the landing location than other possibilities. You can read the details here if you are so inclined.

Though there are probably interesting things to see around the island, our plan for the day was to simply wander around the cruise port shopping center and enjoy the beautiful weather. We could have gone to the center of Cockburn Town or traveled to the far north end of the island and visited the 60-ft (18 m) lighthouse and spent time in that park. We could have also just hung around on the beach or in the nearby Margaritaville at the welcome center. Souvenir shopping was the order of our day, though.

Did I mention going to hang out on the beach. Nobody does that anymore, it’s too crowded. OK, that was in honor of Yogi Berra’s famous comment. Photo integrity admonishes me to point out that the above shot, and the other beach shot in the gallery were taken with a telephoto lens. That causes the image to compress giving the illusion that it’s more crowded than it really is. None the less, it was certainly crowded with two cruise ships in port that day.

Sharing our dock was the cruise ship Azura, a Bermuda registered ship that is owned by P&O Cruises in the United Kingdom. The Azura, one of the largest ships in the P&O fleet, is almost as large as the Magic with a capacity of 3100 passengers and 1250 Crew. Given those numbers, the two ships potentially put well over 6000 visitors on the island that day. No wonder it was crowded on the beach, in the shops, and in the bars and restaurants.

The view of the beach from the dock shows how beautifully clear the light blue water is near the white sandy beach. That dark shadow in the water on the left is from the bow of the Azura. In the distance is Cockburn Town and another large cruise ship dock. As we went ashore, our only goal was to find our usual souvenir, a gaudy photo frame and to have our photo taken to be placed in the frame as a memento of our visit.

As usual, we found an appropriately gaudy photo frame to add to our collection. We now have over 30 of these crazy frames in our collection. My favorite thing about our collection is that we don’t have to think about what it is we are going to buy as a souvenir from anyplace we travel. Our biggest problem is that many places don’t have identifiable photo frames, or we didn’t happen to stop at a place that stocked them. In those cases, I’ve resorted to a more generic frame and put the place name on the photo before it’s printed.

In conclusion, I submit for your review, a gallery of images collected at Grand Turk. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner

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