ACTIVITIES IN TURKS AND CAICOS
What to Do / Things to Do in Turks and Caicos Islands
The formation of the sedimentary Turks and Caicos produced a large intertidal zone along the Islands' southern edge. This sometimes submerged area is the preferred home of the red and black mangrove trees as they provide a home for juvenile marine life. Big Blue has been exploring these areas in a responsible manner for over ten years, introducing guests to the coastal ecology and oceanic nurseries that are accessible only by non-motorized means.
Guests can expect to encounter a variety of juvenile fish including Lemon Sharks, Checkered Pufferfish, snappers, Sergeant Majors and Needlefish. Young conch will utilize the prop roots of the red mangrove tree as a form of protection. Overlooking the underwater proceedings are herons, egrets, American Oystercatchers, and the national bird of the Turks and Caicos, the Brown Pelican.
The Big Blue kayak fleet features Necky's Manitou recreational kayaks, widely considered the world's most comfortable sit-inside recreational boat. The double Manitou II comes equipped with a rudder, and a third seat, which can accommodate a toddler. The single boats combine performance and comfort in a boat still suitable for a beginner. Kayak renters will enjoy the simple function of a sit on top double Ocean Kayak. Dry bags are provided free of charge.
Paddling is available on The Kayak Eco-Tour in the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve, and also in the Dick Hill Creek Nature Reserve on North Caicos, as part of the Snorkel/Kayak Combo tour. Kayaks are always available for rent from our Leeward base.
It was diving that put these islands on the traveler's map in the late 60's and early 70's and it was diving that kick started Big Blue in 1997/98, the Year of the Reef and Ocean. With the world's 3rd largest barrier reef fringing the Turks and Caicos Islands limestone plateau, Big Blue is able to explore some of the world's most awesome sheer drop walls. Starting at 45 feet and descending 6000-8000 feet into the abyss, diving here is always a surprise. Eagle rays, sharks and turtles cruise through a reef system abundant in soft corals, gigantic sponges and schooling fish. If you are really lucky even the mighty Humpback Whales may surprise you.
But let's be real. The world's oceans are in peril. Our reefs are at a tipping point. As robust as they may seem their future is uncertain. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, Big Blue has pioneered small group diving, the only acceptable way to dive the world's reefs. With fewer divers in the water we are minimizing impact, and exploring in a safe and responsible manner.
Big Blue utilizes top of the line dive equipment including Cressi-sub masks and fins, Suunto computers, O'neill wetsuits, Sherwood regulators, Aqualung BCD's. Our dive boats are comfortable, our staff is professional, and our safety record is impeccable. Big Blue Unlimited is the ultimate diving platform from which to explore our underwater kingdom.
The world's oceans occupy over 70% of the Earth. By in large they consist of massive tracts of barren, lifeless blue. The world's coral reefs are the oases in these aquatic deserts. They are a place for life to gather and teem. Hundreds of millions of years ago the continent of North America, moving through what is today the Bahamian archipelago, dotted the North Atlantic Ocean with pieces of continental shelf that provided a suitable substrate for coral polyp growth. Today, at the southern end of that archipelago, along the edge of the Caicos Bank, lives the world's third largest barrier reef.
It is impossible to overstate the fragility of the coral reef ecosystem. Big Blue prides itself on providing guests with a glimpse in to the sights of the underwater world and the mechanisms by which they operate. Featuring a staff training program designed and led by accomplished Marine Scientist Dr. Catherine Jadot, a Big Blue snorkel boat is the place to not only visit the reef, but to understand the reef.
While snorkeling the immense barrier reef and numerous patch reefs, guests can hope to encounter, Spotted Eagle Rays, Nurse Sharks, Caribbean Reef Sharks, Hawksbill Turtles, and a host of Caribbean/Atlantic corals and fish.
Big Blue uses high quality Cressi-sub fins and masks, and weight belts are available for avid freedivers. Anchors are never thrown on the reef, and biodegradable sunscreen is provided to limit environmental impact. Snorkeling is available on a variety of Eco-Adventures and Charters. It is featured on The Snorkel Eco-Tour, and the Edge of the Banks extended snorkel. It is also available as part of The Snorkel & Kayak Combo, Heart of the Islands, and the CAICOS CAYS CRUISE.
Middle Caicos is the destination for hiking and bicycling in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Backwoods tracks and newly paved roads combine with a scenic section of the historic Crossing Place Trail, to provide a customizable mountain bike experience on this sparsely populated paradise.
The Crossing Place Trail links the three villages of Middle Caicos and once provided passage for the slave populations as they made their way to the 'Crossing Place', which was a shallow water sandbar leading to North Caicos. Islanders would wait for low tide and wade between these sister islands.
Today the Crossing Place Trail is home to the country's finest hiking. The portion of the Crossing Place Trail that runs from Danny's Café in Conch Bar to Mudjin Harbor features the Indian Cave formation, and takes approximately sixty minutes.
The hike from Mudjin Harbor to the Blowing Hole features some of the most incredible coastal limestone scenery in the world. Don't mind the flotsam on this approximately two-hour hike.
Hiking is also available at the Conch Bar Caves. Over 3 miles of above ground cave are ready to be explored. The Haulover Plantation ruins outside of Lorimers provide incredible views of the uninhabited paradise of East Caicos, as part of a forty-five minute inland hike.
Biking is available on the Middle Caicos Bike Adventure, and hiking can be included as part of a full day private charter on North and Middle Caicos.
Kiteboarding/ Kiteboarding instruction at Big Blue may well come as a surprise to many, but not to us. For those who know Philip, one of Big Blue's owners, wind sports are an addiction of his.
The 2009/ 2010 season will see kite boarding offered in a destination renowned for its consistent trade winds, crystal clear, warm turquoise waters by a company known for its innovative reputation in eco adventures that span the width and depth of the TCI and have done so since its inception in 1997.
Like kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, adding kite boarding to our repertoire is just another tool that we will use to showcase the beauty of these islands while minimizing our impact. Kiteboarding is NOT wakeboarding. For those who don't know, all we need to fly is the wind.
Our years of experience and our existing infrastructure will enable some of the most mind-blowing kiteboarding experiences imaginable. Untouched, unspoiled and seriously good fun. Adrenalin junkies you have been warned.
While we always have the best intentions we are, of course, no weather gods.
"Getting skunked in the Turks & Caicos is not an option" precisely because we have the largest and most comprehension adventure program in the islands. If there is no wind we can always get you or your group out to explore the islands above or under the water, over land or by paddle. With Big Blue Unlimited there is "no such thing as a bad wind day!"
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is nothing new, at least not to the Hawaiians. Big Blue Unlimited will be the first to bring the Stand Up Paddle Boards to the TCI and in so doing we will open the waters around our mangroves up to the more active minded eco traveler. Much like kayaks the SUPs will allow you to get deep into the mangroves and cruises around the cays with the added advantage of a stable platform that not only provides a great view but also an awesome core work out. If you have balance and fancy trying something different to kayaking our top of the line Naish (www.naish.com) SUPs will put you in the driver's seat.