Families who vacation to South Caicos together…stay together! Check out one family’s adventures in the ‘Big South’! By Haley Weldon


Although the dirt roads leading out to the Peninsula have been graded, the May rains had caused enough divots to make the ride out to the villa bumpy, especially if you’re just 40 pounds (Nate) and sitting in the “boot” of a Defender.  All the more fun, and exciting, as the rear tires kick up dust and donkeys turn to stare at you from the bush.  As a family we’ve visited South Caicos more this year than any other, and often repeat our favorite activities (including donkey spotting, of course), but I wouldn’t say our trips have gotten routine by any means;  part of the reason for that may be that we are lucky enough to have a line-up of adventurous friends and family, curious to see what the buzz on Sailrock, and South, is all about, and who make each of our trips over amazingly fun and unique.


We tend to operate on the “more is merrier” concept – which means the ferry crew most likely grits their teeth when they see us coming, loaded down with air mattresses, coolers, suitcases, camera bags, snorkel gear and whatever else we might need, multiplied by the number of families joining us.  While a bit of overload, we stay way out on the Peninsula and know it’s better to be sorted for the weekend, and our trips into town are for enjoyment not out of necessity.    My favorite part of the travel over is the last leg of the drive, when we reach the crest of the hill leading down to the Villa, and the view of the Columbus Passage opens up to the right out of nowhere.  There is always a collective gasp, followed by oohs and aahs; it’s an unexpected, dramatic delight that perfectly sums up the limitless, raw, natural beauty we get to revel in during our time there.


After the massive unpacking of groceries, bedrooms are assigned – to parents, anyway – as the kids tend to shy away from the master suites in favor of piling into the den, where most recently 6 boys used a sectional, couch cushions and an air mattress to creatively make half a dozen sleeping spots that covered every square inch of floor.


The highlight of nearly all our weekends there usually revolves around time spent on Big Cay, a spit of land we wade over to from a spot call “Jerry Camp” on the northern tip of the island – and depending on the route you take, over some treacherous roadway not for the faint of heart.  Ideally, we head over as the tide is getting low, and the tiny little beach grows and grows, forming tide pools, and plenty of area to play.  On one occasion, we were convinced there was some strange lunar pull, as the water disappeared altogether, and it looked like we were walking in a desert!  But more often, we just collect the sand dollars that pop out of the beach as the water pulls back, or play football, lounge, have lunch and look for sea creatures.


Something about the environment on South Caicos makes even seemingly high maintenance people let go – it feels a bit like stepping back in time.  Taking in the prideful raucousness of Regatta weekend, piling the kids (seat belt free) into the back of a diesel golf cart;  buying lobsters off the dock, playing dominoes at Ozzie’s;  going snorkeling with Smitty, a dozen of us piled into his fishing boat.    And wonderful, low maintenance meals at the villa, board games and card games, mini-stiks with a view, cannonballs and silliness in the infinity pool, looking over a cliff at the water.

These are weekends that I hope will be indelible in my boys’ minds – as well as in the minds’ of those that shared them with us.  The beautiful experiences of being (mostly!) unplugged, exploring untouched spaces, experiencing – and appreciating – a very different way of life,  and sharing adventures together as families.  As it would in Chicago, our lives on Provo seem to get busier with every year that passes; more homework, more extracurriculars, more business and social commitments, more pressures and obligations…it’s all relative, I know, but compared to September 2010, our life in TCI has changed drastically.
So these trips from Provo to what they call an “out island” (but the one we are most fond of and the one that caused us to up and leave Chicago) offer a welcome respite – be they non-stop action or lots of lounging, the result is the same…time together, uninterrupted in the Big South.
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