Turks and Caicos – Get Away From It All

Feeling the chill of winter?  Warm up with a trip to Turks and Caicos. Warm weather and good food await-and it’s not a long flight, either.

A great way to start our trip, The Conch Farm is both beautiful and educational. With conch being such a huge part of the island (a major food, source of many festivals, it was even on the flag) making sure that it is sustainable is vital. Located on the island’s eastern end, and first created (and still used as) a research facility, this is the only spot in the world that conch is commercially produced and grown.

turks and caicos

According to the farm, it “exports much of the conch you eat in the Florida Keys and Miami, (and) it’s breeding techniques could help save the conch from extinction”. With many predators (man being number one) and only a small percentage of eggs surviving to adulthood, this farm and it’s research are important to the island and to the conch in general. More then 25% of conch eggs grown to maturity at the farm, and the money made from the tours help fund research that goes into better farming, sustainability, and new techniques. Soon, completely round geodesic fish pens that will further help these and other fish from being depleted from over-fishing. This “revolutionary and state-of-the-art form of environmentally conscious commercial fish farming referred to as off-shore deep water submerged cage farming” spells good news for conch and conch lovers alike. While on the tour, you can the life cycle of the conch, shells in various parts of it’s life, breeding basins where they grow, a hatchery and laboratory, and even some fish hatcheries. You can hold tiny, growing conch, as well as meet the mascots- one male, and one female (Jerry and Sally). Yes, you can tell the difference- the male has a piston, which apparently is a delicacy.
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PaddleBoarding For Dummies

 

Let me start out by saying that I’m quite out of shape. I like to say that the past year has not been kind to me, but in truth, I’ve not been kind to myself, either. While I’ve always been an active and physically fit woman, in the past year I stopped hitting the gym and doing my morning yoga, and it shows (body, mind, and flexibility). There was never such a wake up call for me as going paddleboarding in Turks and Caicos.

 paddle boarding

This had been a relaxing, welcome few days of tranquility at Ocean Club Resorts, something I had been in short supply of as of late. When the chance came to go paddleboarding, I jumped at it. I loved my past experience with this sport, and was honestly looking for a little action. (I get squirmy sometimes.) I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

I had previously tried paddleboarding in Florida, on calm, flat, and shallow water in a quiet lagoon. In better shape and with regular yoga practice, I hopped right onto the board, and stayed up the whole time, falling in only after about 2 hours right before we finished the tour. This time, however, was not the same. I was not able to even get onto the board without a whole lot of falling, tipping, and rolling right into the ocean. I finally got on, but could not get to a standing position. The rocking of the ocean had me completely off balance, and I was also quite frustrated with myself.

Two other members of the group went on ahead of us before myself and another “newbie” were able to right ourselves on the paddleboards, which (being both of us competitive in nature) made us want to catch up and figure out how to get up on that thing without drinking half the ocean in the process.
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