The Turks and Caicos are very much like the Bahamas in geography (rocky islands with gorgeous water), weather (generally hot and breezy), language (English), and currency (US dollar). And like the Bahamas, checking in to the Turks and Caicos as an American citizen is a very easy process. The marina gave us all of the paperwork that we needed to fill out when we arrived, and both Customs and Immigration officials came to the marina.
First we saw the Customs official, who took the Pleasure Craft Report of Arrival and Temporary Importation Declaration. The Report of Arrival form asks about boat identifiers, crew information, last port of call, and how long you want to stay. This is important because it costs $50 to stay seven days; after that, a cruising permit is required, and that costs $300. No thanks! He wanted a copy of our US Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation and gave us a receipt for our $50, which we paid in cash.
Then we saw the Immigration official. He took our tourist cards and tore off the bottom, which we kept in our passports until we left. He also wanted a copy of our US Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation and stamped our passports. There was no fee.
We stayed at Southside Marina, which is a small and wonderful marina on the south side (duh) of Provo. Because it’s a small marina, dock space is maximized by requiring boats to med moor. Normally this means tying the stern of the boat to the dock so that the boat is sticking out from the dock perpendicularly and dropping an anchor off of the bow. However, the owner has an ingenious system of permanently-mounted lines that run from the docks below water to structures across from the docks; this means that instead of dropping an anchor, we simply mounted the permanent lines to our port and starboard bow cleats. Easy peasy.
The marina itself is spotlessly clean and quite lovely. It is carved out of the coral hills and incorporates the natural geography in many of its buildings.
The marina charges $50 per night for dockage plus metered electric ($0.65 per kwh), metered RO water ($0.15 per gallon), a $5 wifi “hookup” fee, and $1 per night for wifi. There is one washer and one dryer, and each costs $5 per load on the honor system. There is an 11% VAT, so that must be considered when budgeting. There is also a midday shuttle to the IGA grocery store, and cars can be rented on site. The showers are great but have only cold water, so a midday shower is the way to go.
We weren’t going to be in the Turks for very long, so we had to be strategic. The first thing we did was refuel the boat, from fuel tank to jerry jugs to our TurtlePac fuel bladder. We ended up taking on 56 gallons of diesel at $5.25 per gallon. That would have taken a thousand years if we were refueling by jerry jug, so that alone was worth the cost of admission!
The second item of business was to go the IGA, which was mind-boggling after being in the Bahamas. The array of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, and other fresh products was fantastic. It was also, like the Bahamas, expensive. The Turks is definitely not a place to do a large reprovisioning run!
We rented a teeny weeny car one day, and I made the Captain drive because I was too chicken. They drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and it was all way to damn overwhelming for me. Also, there are no traffic lights in Provo, only traffic circles/roundabouts, and combine that with the “wrong” side of the road, and I just vapor-locked. We drove all over Provo (sometimes the same place more than once as I struggled with navigating) and visited some of the highlights. In the Grace Bay district, which is the fancy-pants resort area, we had ice cream and visited Potcake Place K-9 Rescue for some serious puppy-cuddling.
We rounded out the day with an amazing pizza dinner at Baci Restaurant in Turtle Cove Marina.
All in all, our stay in Turks was enjoyable and satisfying. We got to pamper the boat, refill what was getting low, and see a swanky side of island life. While the Turks can be expensive, that can be mitigated with judicious budgeting.
When we identified our departure weather window, the marina arranged for Customs and Immigration to come so we could check out the day before. Checking out was as easy as checking in. We filled out a Pleasure Craft Application for Departure for Customs, paid our $50 departure fee, and got a receipt. We then saw the Immigration official, who took our tourist card stubs back. Done, done, and done.
On January 28, we left Provo on a four-day passage bound for Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.