At long last...

Trip Start Feb 12, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turks and Caicos Isl.  ,
Thursday, July 27, 2006

OK, so we've been here for 6 months now and we have to admit to being really crap at communicating!!!

After spending our entire first day on the island searching frantically for what we thought was a lost cat (in fright she'd climbed inside the sofa bed and wasn't making a sound!!) we got straight down to work.

Wiz is working full time as a dive instructor and is out on the boats teaching and guiding dives each day. This is hard physical work, a far cry from a desk job and he's really got into it. Believe it or not he has a tan, much better than mine!!! He currently has the distinction of having a student get bent at the shallowest depth... 40ft on a Try Dive (she did have an undisclosed medical condition). Wiz is also now learning to be a boat captain, he says it's like learning to drive a car again but with 16 paying guests in the back seat!

I am working mainly in the dive shop selling diving, excursions, clothing and snorkelling gear and stuff ... occasionally I gets let loose on students and on the boats, but not very often and that suits me perfectly at the moment. Dealing with Americans all day every day I'm having to learn all sorts of Americanised English as they don't speak properly and generally don't understand me... very frustrating!

The 'office' is 3.5 miles from home in an area called Grace Bay and its an arduous 6 minute journey by car. This is the main tourist area on the island and is currently going through a total transformation. There are condos going up everywhere and the Americans are paying a fortune for them... There are a few restaurants and casual eateries in the area and our 'local', Calico Jacks, is upstairs from the shop. We go there a few nights a week and they have good live music at the weekend.

The staff at work have an eclectic mix of backgrounds; travel agent, City insurance broker, archaeologist and professional stuntman(!) to name a few. The group is mainly Brits with a couple of Dutch and an American. An interesting combination and we all generally end up drinking together in the evenings.

Our home is the top floor of a 2 storey house. We have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open plan kitchen/living room and a large screened in deck. From the deck we have a distant view of the sea and can hear the waves crashing on the shore... It's great at night when the crickets are out and all a far cry from the traffic noise of Wimbledon! One of the local resorts quite often has a firework display at the weekend (for weddings) and we get a great free show.

The beach is a 2 minute walk out of the back garden and is generally deserted. This is more of a local beach, ie nobody rakes away the seaweed every morning and the houses are mainly residential. We have lots of turtle grass and small amounts of coral reef to snorkel around in our (very limited) spare time. Kite surfers use the beach at the weekend and it's great to watch, fairly amusing too when watching beginners! We have bars and restaurants at Turtle Cove Marina which is a 5 minute walk (or 1 minute drive) away.

Red tape on the island is interesting... We spent 2 months-worth of our one day off trying to open bank accounts, get driving licences etc but the rules change every week for non-permanent residents... It took a total of 3 months to get a bank account, another 2 to get a 'checking' account... We spent a number of weeks looking for a car (decent second hand cars are a rarity and new ones attract almost 50% import duty) which then took us 2 more of our days off to get registered... lots of to-ing and fro-ing between government offices, lots of queing up. Island life isn't about the sun, sea and surf... its all about queues!!!

We're now into hurricane season. So far it's all been quiet - but it only takes one! We've had some spectacular storms which can go on for hours and one storm rumbled on for four days. As I type the thunder is right overhead and the wind and rain are relentless!

So far we've had two sets of visitors- my Mum, Dad and Sister and Marge!! Sadly we don't seem to be able to get too much time off when people come here but it all seems to work out - everybody seems to have really enjoyed themselves so far. It's a pretty lazy time when you're here. Not too much to do except sit on the beach - swim in the sea - visit some bars - and of course go diving...

Bye for now

Caz (and Wiz) x
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