Turks and Caicos - Caribbean

by Hope LeVin
(Long Bay, Providenciales)

<small>photo:Agile LeVin</small>

photo:Agile LeVin

<small>photo:Agile LeVin</small>
<small>photo:Agile LeVin</small>
<small>photo:Agile LeVin</small>
<small>photo:Agile LeVin</small>

Turks & Caicos Kiteboarding ~ Beautiful by Nature

by Hope LeVin (Naish, Blue surf shop, Big Blue Unlimited)

The Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) are a wonderful place to kiteboard. They're located just below the Bahamas. Though relatively undiscovered by kiteboarders, they're easily accessible. Many major airlines fly to the TCI, with direct flights from London, New York, Miami, and Atlanta, among others.

The main island is Providenciales, and the main tourist area is Grace Bay. The premier kite spot, Long Bay is only 5 minutes away from Grace Bay. The Providenciales is very small; 24 miles long by 2 miles wide.

Turks & Caicos Kiteboarding: Kitefacts
Location Name: Long Bay, Providenciales
Main City: Providenciales
Best winds: November - July
Wind Conditions: 15 ? 25 knots
Water type: Chop, butter, and waves
Water Temp: Boardshorts or bikini
Nightlife: Some
Tip: Rent a car, bring loads of sunscreen

The Kiting Setup:
The main kitesurfing spot is Long Bay. It's the perfect place to learn. There's hardly anyone there. 20 kiters are considered a crowd along a five mile stretch!

Situated on what's know as the Caicos Banks -a large shallow expanse spreading for miles- at low tide the water is 2ft deep, and at high tide only reaches 4.5ft deep. This shallowness expands out for thousands of feet out. At high tide the water is choppy, but at low tide it's flat.

Two local business are taking advantage of this great location and offer kiteboarding lessons (Big Blue Unlimited, KiteProvo).

The normal winds are 15-25 knots between November and July. In August the wind turns off and doesn't reappear again until November. Normal kites sizes used are 10m and 12m.

Grace Bay is only kiteable in NW-NNE winds. During other directions the wind blows off-shore and gets very gusty from coming over the hotels, which also create a windshadow. Opposite from Long Bay, Grace Bay is deep water (12ft) along it's whole 7 mile run. The water is normally choppy. There're aren't any major dangers, just take precautions around tourists on the beach, and tour boats.

Reef waves are at the barrier reef, which is about a mile from shore. In side-on winds it's a quick tack out. However in offshore winds a boat is necessary. Otherwise, you mightn't make it back to the beach. Wave heights vary greatly, but expect smaller rather than bigger.

Other islands:
Providenciales is not the only kiting scene in the Turks & Caicos. Neighboring cays, some less than a mile away, have coves with the smoothest butter water possible and no one around.
Other islands North Caicos, and Middle Caicos are truly deserted. You can count on you fingers and toes how many kiters go there each year. Big Blue Unlimited offers kiteboarding safaris to these island. They're an unforgettable experience, and a must do while in the Turks & Caicos.

Other Activities/ Nightlife:
Providenciales has many restaurants and bars, and one casino. The night life isn't too wild, but there's some activity on Thursday and Friday nights. Check out Jimmy's Dive Bar, owned and operated by local kiteboarder Jimmy Ardavany.

No wind? No problem. There are many other activities. SUPs, hobbies, motor boats, jet skis, and ATVs are all available to rent.

Snorkeling is possible from the beach, and there're also tours out to the barrier reef and other islands. SCUBA and SNUBA is offered at many local dive shops. The Turks & Caicos has the third largest barrier reef in the world, and the diving doesn't disappoint.

Many spas offer relaxing massages. Horse back riding is here too. Finally, don't forget to tour the Conch Farm, one of only two in the world. (The other is on Grand Turk, the nations capital).

Links to check:
www. BigBlueUnlimited.com

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