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Grand Turk Cruise Excursion
Our cruise ship sailed into Grand Turk for the day. We docked at 7.30 am. It would be hard to find a more perfect place on this earth to anchor any kind of ship. The Norwegian Jewel loomed like a tethered giant as we walked along the quay beside her (photo above).
The ocean was calm with colors ranging from deep Sapphire (where the coral reef lay below) to an iridescent turquoise blue. Grand Turk Island had only been open to Cruise ships for a year, so it is completely unspoiled. You don’t arrive in an industrial dockyard area, but on a beach; the ship anchors alongside the new quay.
Earlier that morning, as our ship approached the island, we watched from the top deck as a pristine beach came into view. From our high vantage point, we saw rows of black deckchairs along the white sand, looking like perforations, inviting you to tear off a large piece of heaven (and keep it in your mind forever); so I did.
Grand Turk boasts the third largest barrier reefs in the world, so diving and snorkeling are highly recommended onshore excursions. We decided to snorkel and were driven to another lovely beach where we put on snorkels and flippers.
The ocean was crystal clear, warm and buoyant; we began to see an array of colorful fish swimming around our legs. Then we were led out to the reef; just a short swim out to sea.
To say it was beautiful underwater is an understatement. Gone was my concern about breathing through a tube. I was entranced. There were all kinds of coral growing majestically in the rock base. The corals were pink, purple, deep blues, white and reds, either rock-like colorful tentacles or spongy. Some were tall and swaying in the swell.
Tiny Electric blue fish darted around the larger fish of deep violet, pink, neon green and yellow, some with stripes or spots; all different shapes and sizes. Within minutes a huge school of blue fish with black stripes swam by; and then later a school of yellow and black, it was easy to reach out and touch them.
We also saw small, and harmless (thank you) sharks and huge shells; their occupants moving one-footed along the sandy sea bottom.
Strewn along the sea bed were beautiful pink shells which had once been home to a Conch, but now lay vacant, sliced into by commercial divers to remove their occupants. I couldn't resist one so I dove down. I chose a King Conch and put it in the string bag I had tied around my waist.
Down below the ocean was so peaceful and calm; we swayed with the rhythm of the giant heart beat; the ebb and flow of the tide. For two hours we snorkeled through this other world.
All too soon, it was time to go back to the ship. I carried my beautiful shell back on board. When I got home, I used a weak bleach solution and was able to get off all the crud. This beautiful shell now sits proudly on my mantel; my constant reminder of paradise.