In 2008, we traveled to South Caicos for our first TFB class in the Turks and Caicos islands. It was a great trip and we had perfect weather, both on land and for snorkeling. Below are samples of pictures we took during that trip.
As we entered the field station, the left picture is what we first saw! Nice! The pool picture (left) was just in front of the cabins
Next to the pool were the row of cabins (left). They had a beautiful view of the ocean. The cabins themselves were sparse (right), but that is to be expected in a field station! It matters little, since we mainly went there to sleep.
Of course the big draw for the Caicos is the coral reefs. The lab has several boats for snorkeling/SCUBA. The left picture is one of our snorkeling trips where the instructor was giving us the heads-up about what to look for, etc. Underwater was spectacular! I have dove a number of Caribbean spots, but South Caicos beat them all for beauty and diversity! The right picture shows the type of soft and hard corals we saw on one of our trips.
In my mind, the best thing about the Caicos reefs is the sheer amount of fish life. Jamaican reefs are completely over-fished, so all the fish are small. Not so in the Caicos! Unfortunately, I only had a disposable camera for these shots, but they both give an idea of the sheer biomass of fish found on these reefs!
We also got to see other, larger critters. Left is a sea turtle and right is a nurse shark swimming over the reef. It was “only” ~5 ft. long, but seemed MUCH bigger when you were right in there with it!
There were PLENTY of large stingrays (left), and almost always a barracuda (right) would follow us around to see what we might stir up!
Although the coral reefs were clearly our main draw, we also did a few hikes around the island. The left picture was a shot of a shallow, sandy bay that we stopped at for a short dip and the right picture is of some cliffs overlooking a reef on the north side of the island.
One of the few “natural resources” on the island is salt. The left picture shows a salt mining operation that is now defunct. The right shot is of one of our hikes.
Our last snorkel excursion of the trip was to the mangroves (above). It was by far the nicest mangrove encounter I had ever had! The water was crystal clear and thus one could see all the cool critters among the mangrove roots (right).
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end – the left shot is of many in the class on the last snorkel and the right is us heading back to the field station after a LONG day of swimming in the beautiful Caribbean ocean! Tough life!
So, that was the 2008 trip to the Turks & Caicos islands.
For more information, please email Dr. Steve Weeks: firstname.lastname@example.org