|Map of Middle Caicos
Plenty of tropical islands are vacation resorts, but few such islands are actually deserted while at the same time being only an hour or two away from civilization. It's good to enjoy miles of empty beach with waving palm trees, white sand, turquoise sea, warm sun and a total absence of other vacationers. That's the kind of empty beach where Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday would not feel out of place. On the other hand, one must have a fine US hospital within easy reach in case of emergency and one can do without flying to the ends of the earth. However, these limitations rule out most of the world's deserted tropical islands.
So let me tell you about the ideal deserted tropical island. It's called Middle Caicos. Pat and I took our children there in 2005 to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary. Middle Caicos is 48 square miles in size and is the largest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are located at the southern tip of the Bahamas chain, not far from Cuba. Despite being the largest island, Middle Caicos is the least populated island with less than 300 residents. Vacationers are few. There are no hotels or restaurants in the accepted sense of those words. There are little villas for rent, some grouped and some isolated. There are one or two small cafes, but that's all. There are three communities on Middle Caicos, all located on the northern shore. They are called Conch Bar, Bambarra and Lorimers. Bambarra was created in 1842 by the survivors from the shipwreck of a Spanish slave ship en route from West Africa to Cuba. The ship was called "Gambia" and the survivors were Bamberra people, who had formerly lived along the River Niger in what is today Nigeria.
Pristine deserted beach on Middle Caicos
|Lucayan Indian Caves on Middle Caicos
Finally, it was time to leave and we waited at the deserted airstrip for that little plane to take us back to Provo in time for us to connect with our flight back to Miami. Yet that little plane did not arrive!
It had forgotten us. What a disaster! Then one of the islanders offered to save the day by taking us to Provo by boat. We accepted and raced to the quayside to embark. Then we saw the boat. It was a tiny dinghy with an outboard motor! After we had loaded with our party and our baggage into the boat, it sat very low in the water. Then the voyage to Provo began and the boat literally bounced across the ocean at top speed. Moving in a westerly direction, we soon left Middle Caicos behind. Then we traversed the whole width of North Caicos. Then we passed a bunch of tiny privately owned islands.
Bruce Willis home on Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on March 25, 2009.