The second downhill leg from Mayaguana to the Turks & Caicos was much the same as the day before. We were planning on going into Turtle Cove marina on the north side of Providenciales, but the northern swells were breaking, making the entrance too risky. We contacted Bob Pratt at South Side Marina. He said we could get in on a high tide, which fit nicely with our timing. We made it to the marina just before sunset, weaving through the rocks and coral heads with only about 1.5 feet under us at times. The Bahamas and the Turks are well known for having an abundance of shallows or “skinny water”. These areas can stretch for miles and miles. Absolutely beautiful to look at, but definitely a piloting challenge. Given all the shallows we have traversed, it’s amazing we didn’t touch bottom at some point. With that in mind, we always tried to enter or leave a tricky spot when the tide was rising. That way if you get stuck, you can just wait for the water to rise and float you clear – at least that’s the theory. That said, it's obviously best to keep your"bottom off the bottom".
We stayed at South Side Marina for 3 nights. One night was a potluck dinner for all the cruisers in the marina, hosted at Bob’s Bar. Benny brought chilli, cheese tartlets (same wonton shells as she and Lindsay used for the Tuna Poke, but filled with sausage, cheese and green chillies, topped with sour cream and green onions). These are always a sure-fire hit, and were gobbled up by the assembled crowd. The next night we hosted our new group of friends with drinks and Benny’s bruschetta on our aft deck. Everyone wanted a tour of Panache – I felt like a real estate agent at an open house.
The marina is nicely done with a “homey” feel. Bob, the owner, is originally from Vancouver and has been in the Turks & Caicos for decades. He is a great host and took us to the local IGA grocery store to refresh our supplies. The price of most things is really high in the Turks, similar to what you find in the Bahamas. Everything is imported, even the sand and aggregate they use for concrete. Tourism is the life blood of the islands. Without it, they would be in very tough shape.