Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12-6-16 Grand Turk (11am-5:30pm) --- off to Pillory Beach:

This was our 2nd time to Grand Turk.  It was suppose to be our 3rd time, but we missed that port a few years ago when hurricane Tomas beat us there.   This time looked promising.  The water here by the port was calm.  Love that there are free loungers here, too.  Behind them is a Margaritaville with a large pool.  We ended up hanging out there the other time we were on the island.
  I had read that Pillory Beach was the place to go to snorkel.  We had tried to go there the other time we were here, but there was a south surge and the waves were really rough.  That time we took a taxi there, looked at the water, then took the taxi straight back to the port.  Ended up being a $28 taxi ride to nowhere.  This time we tried it again.
Some views along our way.

don't know what area this is, but it looked swimmable, too.
 The little town along the way.
 not much of a town. 
 Finally got to Pillory.  As I recall, our fare was the same as last time -- $7/person @ way.  This time the water looked inviting.
Heading in!
 Looking back towards the beach.  There were facilities here and water sports rentals, but we like having our own gear.
I was a bit disappointed.  If this is the best snorkeling on Grand Turk, they don't have very good snorkeling.  But the water was about 80 and calm, so we enjoyed it there for 3 or 4 hours.
Some of the few fish
 not much in the way of coral
Waited for this little guy to come out, but he was content staying fairly hidden.
another small Caribbean wrasse
 a blue tang (type of surgeon fish)
 a couple half buried lizard fish.
 school of tangs.
 bunch of tiny shells.
 a kind of fish we don't see in Hawaii
beautiful calm waters.
one of the few corals there.
another guy we don't see in Hawaii.  I think it's a goat fish.
a cowfish
 the jack pot in coral for this area.
 Back on shore
 the little bar here. 
There were several taxi drivers waiting at Pillory to take passengers back to the port, so after about 3 hours of snorkeling we were on our way back to the port.   Grand Turk has a lot of these pond areas that use to be salt ponds. 
 We were here with one of the ships that left Fort Lauderdale the same day we did. 
As we were walking to the loungers, someone tried to charge us $10 for chairs.  I commented that they use to be free and he said the ones with the green umbrellas were free.  He had ones in front of those that he was charging $10 for. 
We put our stuff on a couple free chairs, then headed into the water.   
I knew there were a lot of fish here since we had snorkeled here before, but I didn't realize until now that it was even better then Pillory.  Now we know!  If we're ever back on Grand Turk, we'll just stay by the port.
 our greeters
 one of the boat anchors in the surf here.
 a couple more parrotfish

a couple butterfly fish
 another parrotfish
 lots of parrotfish here.
 a French Angelfish
 looking back towards the many loungers.

 Another kind of parrotfish
I've never seen one of these guys before.  He was a glowing blue.
I believe this is a type of grouper.  Looks like he's had a tough time.
 On our way out, we noticed a rental booth here, too. 
Wish we had more time so we could have hung out at Margaritaville, too, but it was time to get back to the ship.
 another view of all the free loungers on the beach.
Artwork in one of the port shops as we were heading back to the ship.
 Got back to our room to find we couldn't get in!  The keys are now a card that you hold up to a reader and it flashes green to let you in or red to tell you you're stupid and at the wrong room.  Our keys did nothing.  So wet and hair all matted from a day of snorkeling, I went to the front desk and told them we couldn't get in and it was probably the battery in the reader.  She went into the back room and came back and said it can't be the battery since the ship is new; then she made me 2 new keys and sent me on my way.  It was the battery!  So Ken called from a phone by the elevators and told them the batteries are dead.  Then we waited and waited and waited for someone to come fix it.  Finally someone came and said---So you locked yourselves out of the room?!  Not amused we told her NO, the battery is dead.  She seemed shocked and surprised that she wasn't able to open the door with her card.  Finally she left to get the 1 and only hard key they have (on a ship of over 2500 passengers).  So we stood in the hallway for another half hour in our wet clothes waiting for her to come back.  Finally she came back and let us in and said a locksmith was called to change the batteries.  We waited and waited and waited for the locksmith---not wanting to leave the room since we couldn't get back in.  Ken called the office again and was told the locksmith was on the sail away crew and we'd have to wait until after sail away.  We also called, again, about the 4 bottles of water we were suppose to receive for free because we're in a spa room and were told they couldn't deliver it because we always had our Do Not Disturb sign out.  Another inaccuracy, we only used it when we were going to sleep from about midnight - 8am.  She said she'd send someone again and not to put our sign out again!  Later we found we were charged for 2 of the 4 bottles!  Another trip to the front desk to fix that. 
 I was able to see sunset from our room, so watched that from our verandah. 
 Again not too great.  Lots of heavy clouds. 
 We sailed away shortly after sunset, then the locksmith came.  Took him all of about 15 seconds to get the back of the lock off and replace the batteries.  Yea, we can leave and get back in our room again!
 By now we were pretty hungry.  Went to Lido for dinner again.  Ken was on his 2nd glass of ice tea when he lifted the glass and the bottom of it fell off!  Tea everywhere!  Somehow, we weren't even phased!  Somewhat damp, we made it to the World Stage for the comedian---Erin Jackson.  She was pretty good.  No movie shown today.  By the time the show was over, we were ready to call it a day.
We were met in our room by this little guy.  I will say, our stewards---Victor and Yamin---were great!  They always are, but Victor had a personality that made him even more exceptional.
Already 3 days into the cruise and enjoying it even with all the trials and tribulations!

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