We woke up at 6 am, gathered our stuff, ate breakfast, and then headed to the ferry dock. When we arrived at the ferry dock we loaded all of our belongings, got on board, and head to North Caicos. The ferry ride took about an hour. Once we arrived, we got on a bus and head to the community center that we would be staying at. We unloaded the bus, dropped off our stuff and then headed to Wade’s Green Plantation on North Caicos. Wade’s Green Plantation is the best-preserved historical plantation ruin in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Here we learned about the natural and cultural history of the plantation. We learned about the different plants and animals that are there. Small lizards and the Caicos Dwarf Boa are commonly seen here, as well as some examples of the plants that traditionally grown in the Turks and Caicos can be seen. These including cotton, sisal, and papaya. North Caicos is a lusher island than south. Historically, this is where all the agriculture takes place.
We also learned the history behind that slave trade while here and it was very interesting. In some of the buildings, there are pictures drawn on the walls by slaves. Wade’s Green was established as a cotton plantation by loyalist Wade Stubbs in 1789. The land was granted to Wade Stubbs by the then reigning monarch of Britain, King George III, as compensation for losses incurred during the Revolutionary War. The pictures are usually of boats, symbolizing that some of the slaves escaped to freedom. It was really cool to see.
After the plantation tour, we went to the Government Farm, where they have a nursery for the endemic species, the Caicos Pine. This is the location for raising seedlings for the Caicos Pine Recovery Project. Here they also have bananas, papaya, and goats.
After our stops on North Caicos, we got on our bus and headed to Mudjin Harbor on Middle Caicos. North and Middle Caicos are connected by a causeway that was put in in 2007. Before that, the only link between North Caicos and Middle Caicos was by small boat. When we arrived at Mudjin Harbor we headed to the beach first. This was the first time I saw and swam in waves since I’ve been here. It was something that the East Coasters have missed since that is what we are used to swimming in. After swimming for a little bit, we explored the hiking trail that they had on top the cliffs. It leads to another beach, where you had to go down stairs that were carved into the rock. It reminded me a lot of the Baths in Tortola. This beach was beautiful and had a little restaurant where we got a snack after. Definitely, recommend visiting here if you are ever in the TCI.
After Mudjin Harbour, we went to the Conch Bar Caves. I didn’t take my camera in with fear that it would get broken. So, unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the caves. Here we got a tour of the caves. These caves, unlike most caves, are non-submerged. They were formed over extremely long periods of time by the dissolution of the soft limestone by mildly acidic water containing carbonic acid. These caves actually have a pretty interesting history. Their discovery was recorded when mining guano (bat poop) came about in the late 1800’s. Lucayan (native Indians) artifacts have also been found here. Four species of bats currently live in Conch Bar Cave, so if you are not a bat person or claustrophobic, I don’t recommend you visit here.
Eventually, we got back to the community center and then headed to our tour guides house to have dinner. Some helped cook while other hung out and played with the dogs. We ate dinner and then had a bonfire. Then we headed back to sleep. Honestly speaking, a lot of us didn’t get much sleep since we all slept on the floor. It was rough but we made it through.
We woke up after our rough night of sleep, ate breakfast, got ready, and departed for the ferry dock. We hung out at the ferry dock for a little, playing card games, dominos, and practicing our surveys for later in the day. We got on the ferry for Provo which took about a half hour. Along the way, we passed some massive yachts. When we arrived at the dock, we packed our stuff onto the bus and head to Ports of Call, the hotel that we would be staying the night at.
Once at the Ports of Call, we ate lunch, hung out a little bit, and then headed out to give out our surveys. Our surveys were looking to see a tourist impression of the TCI culture. Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun giving out the surveys. I was at a shopping center and others were on the beach. We did this 3 hours and then went back to the hotel where we were finally allowed into our rooms. We all could not wait to have a hot freshwater shower, some pizza, and a good nights rest.
Also, on this day my Mom and Dad arrived in Provo to spend mid-semester break with me.
On our third day, we went to Providenciales Primary School where we taught kids about birds that are native to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The students were all very smart, polite, and interested in learning. It was really interesting to see the difference between education systems on Provo vs South. Here, most of the students were either American, British or Canadian, who moved here with their parents. Whereas in South, they are all locals. Provo, in general, is a very different island then South. It is way more commercialized and touristy. It was weird seeing cars again.
After we finished our community engagement, we went back to Ports of Call where we were released for mid-semester break. Finally, I got to see my Mom and Dad after being away for 2 months. It was very exciting.
Well, that is all for my field trip portion. Stay tuned for my short post about mid-semester blog post.