They became a British Crown Colony in 1962. Despite being British, they use the US dollar. They drive on the correct side of the road, the left. Home of the world’s only conch farm. The most common names are Deniz and Chenae, for men and women respectively. The islands were mentioned in a song by Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter. Home of the largest above ground caves in the Caribbean. And they have an ambassador dolphin named JoJo, an Atlantic Bottlenose who visits the islands regularly and even has his own warden. Yes. God’s honest truth. Today, we’re on the Cactus Isle, Turks and Caicos.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a friendly, sunny and traditional British Overseas Territory in the Lucayan Archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, made up of 40 islands and cays, its nearest neighbours being Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. It covers an area of 366 square miles and has a population of 31,500 people.
The national flag contains a yellow shield, taken from the territory’s coat of arms, and contains images of a conch shell, a lobster and a cactus. The name of the territory is taken from the Turk’s cap cactus and the Lucayan term ‘caya hico’, meaning ‘string of islands’. The motto is ‘Beautiful By Nature’.
This is a safe place that consists of low flat limestone and extensive marshes and mangrove swamps, often dry and arid but with some green woodlands and caves, ringed by gorgeous sandy beaches. A musical land famed for its ripsaw music scene and its rum punch, occupied by a warm, hospitable and very kind people. They share and celebrate their music, culture and life through many festivals and events, where they also display beautiful art and hand crafted items, a very highly skilled people. They also love their sport, in particular, sailing, fishing, football and cricket, the national sport. These Turks and Caicos Islanders also believe in practising good manners and exercising respect, a happy people indeed.
There are sights to see such as the Conch Bar Caves, like some fairytale adventure, bathed in a soft glow and oozing a soulful tune of life and merriment. Almost magical, almost alien. Pulchritudinous in the extreme. Then there’s Cheshire Hall, a former plantation house now in ruins but ruins that speak an elysian sonnet, a raimentless wonder like a set from a movie set in the distant past. A land drenched in history, but now home to so much plant, insect and bird life, a hub for enthusiasts of such from around the world. One mired in rich darkness, now mired in rich vitality.
And then there’s Taylor Bay, described by many as a revelation, a secluded secret paradise, lovingly caressed by a warm breeze and a heavenly aura, a voiceful land that screams in poetic whispers a thousand tales of almost unparalleled beauty. A jigsaw that unveils a vista gorgeous and untempered.
But I think the best sight of the territory is the beautiful Chalk Sound, a wonderfully scenic lagoon with many small green islands dotted around it, each like some hump on the back of a gentle sea creature. This ethereal and charming place is breathtaking, a blithesome and divine place, radiating a simplistic elegance like some prelapsarian dream. Majestic and sumptuous indeed.
Turks and Caicos. A land of warmth, tradition and an ambassadorial dolphin.
Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) The flag of Turks and Caicos
2) Chalk Sound
3) Taylor Bay
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