Snorkel at Smith’s Reef


Mike, GoPro in hand and ready for some snorkeling at Smith’s Reef

A new GoPro gift combined with summer “silly” season makes for ideal conditions for snorkeling here on island. Only stipulation being that I get to use any of Mike’s underwater shots in my blog. Mike’s photo’s are absolutely stunning.

Smith’s Reef is relatively easy to find but many people miss the outer mini wall. Currently you are right there if you take the little trail from the road that winds through the bush leading to the observation tower. (The old way in).


A map of the reef showing the 22′ channel where often you’ll see rays.

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The sandy area with the discoloured, slightly yellowish area closer to the horizon being the mini wall.



Another beautiful Provo day just made for some snorkeling.

Just a few words before you set out to enjoy and explore our reefs.

Please do not touch or stand on anything as coral is a living animal and be sure not to brush anything with your flippers, equipment or gear.

Do not cover yourself heavily with sunscreen before snorkeling and of course biodegradable lotions are available and better yet, buy a rash guard.

Please do not chase any sea life or try to feed.


A Green Sea Turtle poses for photos beside a Purple Sea Whip.


Smile you’re on camera.


A Spotted Eagle Ray passing through.


Love the reflections in the water.


A Porcupine Fish showing spines swims amongst the coral.


A six foot nurse shark rests on the sandy bottom.


Big and docile just resting on the bottom ready for a photo shoot.


A passing summer storm intensifies the turquoise colours.


And meanwhile along the shore, a rock pool find of a Helmet Shell.


Such beauty surrounds us and take a look at the exquisite markings on this shell.


See the eyes peeking out of the shell of this baby conch and the claw-like operculum with which they move across the ocean floor.


Back to the reef and this beauty…..a Honeycomb Cowfish apparently quite rare.


Love those eagle rays as they gracefully glide through the waters.


Mike says this green turtle took a keen interest in the camera.

All the amazing underwater photos are taken by Mike so I thank him for letting me use them for my blog.

Enjoy the reefs everyone but please take care as you snorkel to preserve and protect the coral and sea life.

Snorkel responsibly and have fun.




Posted in Conch, fish, Flora and Fauna, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Providenciales, Shells, Snorkeling, Turks and Caicos Islands, Turtles, Underwater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South West Bluff and Osprey Rock


Views of Chalk Sound and its magnificent colours on the way down to the south west tip of Provo

A perfectly beautiful Sunday and a trip is planned to head down to the southern most tip of the island at South West Bluff and Osprey Rock. I always enjoy this excursion and make sure all my batteries are fully charged. There’s always so many plants, birds, views and our extraordinary clear ocean with its’ marine life to photograph.


A Black Legged Stilt was very vocal as he tried to scare me away.

There’s a beautiful pond area as you get closer to the little beach by Osprey Rock. There seems to always be salt foam looking much like snow. This Sunday there were several Black Legged Stilts and they really didn’t like my being there. Perhaps there were nests as they tried to ward me off.


A large patch of wild sea island cotton


Sea island cotton has such pretty yellow blossoms


The first view you get of the beach and rocks at South West Bluff looking towards Bonefish Point


One section of the beach is strewn with old conch shells


The ocean looking from the pirate’s cave


Pretty beaded periwinkle shells line the jagged rocks as you wade through the shallow waters.


Sand ripples and Osprey Rock in the background


The shallows on the sandbar at Bonefish Point with a cushion sea star.


Chitons are found attached to the rocks


Interesting rock formations


The waters are so very clear …….. you can see everything!


An osprey stands in the water and he knows I’m there.


The lowest tide I’ve ever seen out on the sandbar at Bonefish Point


A cushion sea star on Bonefish Point in the shallow flats.

Such an amazing area for a picnic lunch with friends and do take a walk down to Bonefish Point. I can assure you that you will see so many interesting things as you walk along the beaches and rocks. It is one of Provo’s gems and one of my favourites.




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Nesting Mourning Dove Part 2


This little Mourning Dove set up her nest in the rafters of the Tiki Hut at Harbour Club Villas and Marina. I’ve been photographing the nest and the parent doves for several weeks now. Here are the photos taken up until today, June 19, when I caught all the action of the little birds spreading and fluttering their wings and leaving the nest for the big wide world.




Fluffing out those feathers so I was pretty sure the flight day was pretty close



Feeding time as the little dove returns to the nest to feed his/her little ones.


Getting big and ready to fly



Time to spread those wings



I’m watching you!!


Away we go as the little birds leave the nest and head along the rafters


Everyone safely down from the rafters of the Tiki Hut and onto the gravel in the parking lot


both parents are watching out for the chicks


They scuttled across the parking lot and the parents tucked them safely into a little sheltered spot off the drive way leading down to the marina


They finally flew into the vegetation on our hill


Sad to see them go…what am I going to photograph now?

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Nesting Mourning Dove


Mourning dove on her nest in the rafters of our tikihut.

We saw some twigs and straw sticking out of the rafters of the tikihut at Harbour Club Villas and Marina. As we went to clean it up, we discovered this pretty little Mourning Dove on its nest of twigs.


Close up of its head and extraordinary colours around the eye.


Here’s the nest up on a beam in Harbour Club’s tikihut by the pool.

The mourning dove is named for the rather haunting and sad cooing sound it makes. When it flies, it’s wings make a whistling sound. They are mostly seed eaters that feed on the ground and here at Harbour Club Villas, we often see them pecking at the gravel under our neem trees.



The dove definitely didn’t let me out of her sight.

I couldn’t resist shooing it off the nest so that I could photograph the two eggs. Both parents will build a rather flimsy platform nest usually up high in a tree or a bush. The eggs hatch after 14 days or so and one is laid in the evening and the second one in the morning. Now I didn’t know that both parents care for the little ones. I have noticed another dove hanging around that has been spotted on the roof of the tikihut. I also learned that it’s usually the male that incubates the eggs during the day and the female at night. I don’t know that I can tell the difference between the male and the female.



Two white eggs in a very sparse looking nest of twigs.


My hand just to give you an idea of the size of the eggs


Someone is watching me very carefully? Not sure if this is a male or female.

The mourning dove is 9-13 inches in length and has a wingspan of 15-18 inches. It has a grayish-brown body and quite a long, pointed tail that has a border of white. The dove’s head is small and rounded with a small, thin, black bill. Legs and feet are pink. The wing has black spots and there is a black spot under the eye. The eyes are brown and surrounded by a blue circle of skin. Males and females look alike, but the female is slightly smaller and duller in color.


The dove started to puff up as I brought my camera closer.


Fanning out wings and tail feathers to ward me off in the hopes I would go away.


How beautiful are those tail feathers!

Both parents will feed the chicks that are also called squabs. They are fed pigeon milk which is a mixture of water, fat, minerals, and protein that the male and female mourning doves produce in their crop.  The crop is a sac that is found at the bottom of their esophagus.


Two little baby doves huddled together……….no wonder the dove was protective.


Close up of one of the little doves.


The chicks will fledge when they are 2 weeks old.


Nestlings are cared for by both parents and fledge in about 12-14 days.

In the days to come, I will add more photos as the chicks grow and leave the nest.


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Cushion sea star or starfish in the shallows.

A more modern name for Asteroidea or starfish is now Sea Stars. Usually they have five arms but sometimes a few species have more. Here are some beautiful Sea Stars that I have found and photographed around Providenciales out at Bonefish Point, Grace Bay, Taylor Bay as well as other areas of the Turks and Caicos Islands.


Snorkeling the underwater world often brings an exciting discovery of a brightly coloured cushion sea star


Knobby spines create a geometric design of orangey brown and yellow.


Loads of starfish or sea stars found in Grace Bay


Tiny crab found on the under side. Tube feet located under the arms have small suckers.

The red cushion star can be very large, sometimes growing to about 50 centimetres (20 in) in diameter. It usually has five thick, broad arms projecting from a cushioned disc  therefore the name. The colour of adults is some shade of red, orange, yellow or brown. The juveniles are greenish-brown with mottled markings which provide camouflage from predators.


A juvenile Cushion Sea Star


Small two spined sea star washed up as the tide goes out


Front and back of the two spined sea star found out at S W Bluff on Providenciales


Burying itself in the sand


Not sure what kind this one is


Pretty shot as it buries itself in the sand


Seemed to have one longer arm?


Pretty painted toes as a size guage


Showing the underside with small suckers or tubes


Red Spiney Sea Star found out at South West Bluff on Provo


This one had lost an arm


Osprey Rock in the background with a little Red Spiny sea star

Sea stars are often found in calm shallow waters (depths from 1 – 37 m) and more commonly occur on calcareous sandy bottom. The ones I’ve found have been mainly out at Bonefish Point just off the sandbar. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy our “beautiful by nature” Turks and Caicos Islands on your next trip to Provo.

Happy Sea Star watching everyone.



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Half Moon Bay


What a treat……..I’m thinking this had to be JoJo wanting to play with the boat.

What an amazingly beautiful day as guests headed out on an afternoon excursion on the turquoise waters …… look at the colours! We were just off Leeward Going Through when look who joined us? I’m pretty sure that it was JoJo the dolphin come to play. He stayed with us for a bit and then we were off headed for some snorkeling at the reef, iguanas, conch salad, Half Moon Bay and followed by some fun tubing  and water slide. Provo has many excellent boating, cruising and water fun excursions to offer as the one we were on. For more information, just contact us and we can make some suggestions.


Our sensational waters………a turquoise like you’ve never seen before. WOW!


Turks and Caicos rum punch coming up.


Waves breaking on the reef as we prepare to do some snorkeling.


Beautiful corals and a variety of fish as we snorkel beyond the cut.


Island Vibes took us out for a glorious afternoon in the Provo sunshine.


Love those silver palms precariously perched at the far end of Half Moon Bay


The far end of the beach at Half Moon Bay is so beautiful to photograph….an idyllic spot.


Found an Oyster Catcher sunning himself on the rocks. Not at all disturbed by the camera!


A walk along the beach and such glorious colours


Such an impressive looking iguana. The Rock Iguana Cyclura Carinata has had to be re introduced to less populated cays


Conch shell on the beach. A delicious “fresh from the sea” conch salad was made and enjoyed by all.


The kids had such fun tubing , sliding and jumping off the top of the boat.


Smiling faces in the foaming wake of the boat while tubing.


For an old guy, he still has it!! Diving off the top of the boat.

Book your excursions and enjoy being on the water in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Our beaches are spectacular and you can enjoy a cruise, diving for conch, taste some “as fresh as you can get it”conch salad, stop for some snorkeling on the reef, see iguanas and simply let the world float by as you finally relax on “island time”.

You too may be lucky and have JoJo the dolphin join in the fun.




Posted in Beaches, Birds, Birdwatching, Boat Charters, Conch, Dolphins, Half Moon Bay, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Iguanas, Providenciales, Snorkeling, Turks and Caicos Islands | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jim Hill Nature Walk


Jim Hill view towards Five Cays…….such calm turquoise waters today.

What an awesome  day it was today. One look at that turquoise, flat calm water and a quick trip up Jim Hill ended up being a good two hours. There was an abundance of glorious wild flowers in full bloom after the rains of last week. The Turks and Caicos Islands are blessed with so much natural beauty.


The wispy, dried and twig like Broom Brush has undergone a transformation and now has white delicate flowers.

Most of the year, the Broom Brush goes un noticed as it looks withered and dry most of the time. The rains of last week created the greening of the branches and an abundance of delicate white flowers. The Broom Brush is endemic to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.


Jacquemontia Havanensis is a twining vine and the flowers on this one had pretty pink highlights.

Many of the shrubs were covered with this little vine with star shaped flowers. Many were white but there are variations with pink and light blue colours.


I love the scent of the Bahama Strong Back which is similar to jasmine.

This shrub provides food for birds and insects and the fragrant flowers are a source of nectar for butterflies and the Bahama Woodstar Hummingbirds found in the Turks and Caicos. And when you boil the twigs and leaves making it into a tea, it relieves back pain and has medicinal properties. I’ve heard it is good for tummy problems too.


This Old Man Cactus is about to burst out with a beautiful flower…… generally blooms at night.


Blooms are extraordinary…….satin like and with a cloying scent.

The Old Man Cactus flower is attractive to insects and butterflies and its bright red fruit is loved by our local birds.


The Wild Senna has beautiful bright yellow flowers.


The Candlewood when not flowering looks like a miniature holly bush.


The Candlewood has bright spikey orange flowers with four longer stems that look like candles, thus the name.



Encyclia Altissima, our beautiful wild orchid


I don’t know what this is but it was a pretty little daisy like weed.


Just love this one with its delicate seeds and turquoise sea background.


Sea Sage has to be one of my favourites with its multi pink and yellow cluster flowers.


Heading down Jim Hill towards the marina and Harbour Club Villas.


How I love the Wild Passionflower vine and this one was in full bloom….. check out the little caterpillar.


A little snail on the Sea Grape bush.


Pretty butterfly hovers above the passion vine.


The lovely Melochia with its’ pinkish purple flowers

A beautiful day, a wonderful photographic excursion to enjoy our local wildflowers.

Look around you as you enjoy our beautiful by nature islands.



Posted in Butterfly, Cactus, Flora and Fauna, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Providenciales, Wild flowers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Times of the Islands

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Times of the Island……….a beautiful island magazine that’s published four times a year.

Times of the Islands current issue for Winter 2015/16 is on the stands now and I’m so excited and proud of my cover photo! Taken on a stunningly beautiful day from the top of Jim Hill. It was one of those days filled with reflections and calm flat waters that you dream about and try to capture the beauty. I know I did!!


Taken on the same day, a fishing boat heads off to French Cay and passing the Five Cays in the background.

This issue had several of my photos as you browse through reading some great articles. I was surprised to find my photo of bonefishing with Darin Bain taken on another clear bonefishing day on the back side of Middle Caicos.

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Bonefishing with Darin off Middle Caicos…no land in sight just a perfect, top class bonefishing day.


Joe Cermele and his beautiful bride on his honeymoon trip to Provo. What else would you do but fish???

Joe Cermele of Field and Stream wrote an article for Times of the Islands and I arranged for him to go out with Darin on this day so I could take photographs for my bonefishing portfolio. The article is called “If You Love Me, Let Me Fish……..A newly wed’s quest for Provo bonefish.” Here’s the exert  from this moment when I had gone into the water to catch some shots of the boat.

“Are those all bonefish?,” I ask Darin in disbelief of what I’m seeing. He grins and tells me I’m not going crazy. I cast directly into the center of what must be 200 gray ghosts swimming in unison like choreographed jets in an air show. I hook one instantly and the entire school follows its struggling brother. Cameras flash as I land the fish and quickly return it to the turquoise water. The school hasn’t moved far. For the next 40 minutes, bone after bone attacks my fly in what I can only describe as the antithesis of everything I know about the species. Bonefish are sly, wary, and cunning fighters. These fish would strike a hotdog if I presented it to them, and they have no qualms about swimming right up to the boat. Christen even lands a few after I hook them up. “


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Times of the Islands winter issue has a great article on the TSPCA……….all volunteer run. Here are the judges at the annual dog show.


The TCSPCA has a remarkable and dedicated group of volunteers………they are all amazing people.

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My favourite little donkey taken on Salt Cay


He was just the cutest little guy

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A flock of flamingos on Salt Cay out at North Creek


Such beautiful flamingos taken on a trip to Salt Cay

Times of the Islands is a publication worth taking home with you. If you’d like to read the magazine from cover to cover, the link is below.



Posted in Bonefishing, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Providenciales, Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diving in the Turks and Caicos



Harbour Club Villas and Marina has dive boats leaving daily for many of our spectacular dive sites.

It’s more than time to tell you about our spectacular reefs and diving and WOW, the visibility is easily in the range of 80 feet or more. I must confess that I don’t dive and have to rely on these wonderful dive folks and our guests for underwater photos. The marina at Harbour Club Villas is home to several dive companies which makes for a very convenient few minutes walk for our diving guests. If you are diving with Flamingo Divers, Aqua TCI,  Caicos Adventures or Provo Turtle Divers, you’re just a short easy walk away from your dive boat! We have six, cottages just made for a great diving vacation for couples, families as well as small dive groups.


Our scuba divers can have breakfast in the morning overlooking a lake view.


A short walk in the morning takes you down to our docks where Aqua TCI have their boat moored.

A short walk further down the dock, you will find Provo Turtle Divers, Flamingo Divers and Caicos Adventures. All are within walking distance from our villas……….so how convenient is that! You can be up and out the door, walk down to the dock and be on your dive boat within minutes.

Divers will be amazed at the numerous dive sites (some 90 sites) found in the Turks and Caicos Islands……..North West Point, West Caicos, Sandbore Channel, French Cay and Grace Bay. Boat rides are generally 40 minutes or so from our dock.


The boat channel opens out into Cooper Jack Bay.


Harbour Club’s Marina is the eastern portion of South Side Marina where several dive operators moor their boats.


Flamingo Divers are usually the first to head out for dive sites at West Caicos, French Cay or the North West Point………..there’s some 90 sites out there.

Flamingo Divers with Mickey and Jayne are specialists in small group diving with a maximum of 8 divers. A high percentage (some 83%) are returning divers and they         tailor dive profiles to suit preferences and levels of experience. 


An amazing experience as Mickey and Jayne swim with a Humpback whale for some 60 minutes.

Jayne writes “Stairway to Heaven at West Caicos. Well….this site earned its name today!We spent 60 minutes hovering and watching this gentle giant hang in front of us, and drift up every 15 minutes for a breath of air, and promptly swim back to us again. When our air consumption finally dictated our ascent, we swam to the anchor line and slowly began ascending, only to look behind and watch him follow us! With us hanging at 15 ft, and him at about 20 ft, we simply stared at each other for another 3 minutes until, bittersweetly so, we had to finish our dive.”

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Great excitement on seeing a whale shark.

Aqua TCI is Provo’s newest dive operator and their boat, Aquatic Safaris II is a 30ft (10m) Island Hopper with a nice wide dive deck and big engine. Bill and Stephanie have been diving for 20 years and their mantra is “All that’s required from you is to relax, dive and chill! They do all the work and all you have to do is ENJOY.


Here they are heading out with a group taking a course on to become Invasive Lionfish Tracker specialty divers.


Coming out of the channel and on the way to French Cay………what a day………..flat calm.


French Cay is a protected island and bird sanctuary with numerous dive sites.

French Cay is a tiny atoll about 15 miles due south of Providenciales and offers virtually no shelter from the seas so it simply has to be dived in good, calm weather. It is well worth the 50 minute boat ride with some of the best walls and reefs in the islands. It has two distinguishing features which make for great dives. First, the wall faces south and is usually well lit by the sun’s rays. Secondly, the top of the wall is relatively shallow at 40 feet and well covered with coral clumps rather than the sand bottom which is found on West Caicos sites.


Caicos Adventures with Philipe “Fifi” is probably the dive company that heads the most to French Cay.

Philipe “Fifi” and his sleek catamaran dive and snorkel boats are a short walk away from our villas. He has been pioneering Turks and Caicos Scuba diving since 1988. He has shocked many a diver by free diving and this includes my husband Barry when he was invited to come out on the Caicos Cat one day with Fifi. This group of great people encourage their guests to relax, laugh & have a good time. Caicos Adventures wants you to have an incredible journey, viewing “life as it should be.”


Nostalgia time from 2003 as Fifi prepares to lead the dive……….this man does NOT age and it’s because he has a great passion for diving in the TCI!

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Percy, one of our guests took this photo of a hammerhead out at French Cay


Flamingo Divers have the most amazing shots of sharks………’ll see many of them on your dives.



Mickey comes face to face with a shark out cruisin’. Great photo by one of Harbour Club’s guests Jed Daniel.


Art Pickering’s Provo Turtle Divers taking a break way back in 2002.

Provo Turtle Divers is the oldest dive operation in the TCI and established in 1970.  For over 44 years they have dived French Cay, West Caicos, Northwest Point and Sandbore channel which is between NW Point  and West. Art discovered and named most of the dive sites.


Here he is, the man himself………..Art Pickering.

Dave and Melinda have owned Provo Turtle Divers since 2002 and “Chuck’s Honey” has been sold and replaced by Chuck’s Mate, a 36 foot Newton Dive special which will hold between 12 and 14 divers but capable of taking on a few more.


Here’s Chuck’s Mate heading off on a beautiful Provo morning.

Provo Turtle Diver’s commitment to guests is for you to see the walls and critters – not bubbles and fins.  


And YES, you may be lucky enough to see JoJo the dolphin. This photo is by Jodi from Snuba TCI

I wanted also to mention our friend Jodi, the “snuba lady” as she’s fondly called. Jodi operates Snuba TCI and in the winter months will dock her boat at Harbour Club Villas and Marina. If you’re not quite ready for some diving, Jodi will ease you into an amazing underwater experience with a snuba introduction. You are attached to a breathing tube that’s connected to tanks in a raft that floats above you. You’ll be able to see the coral reefs, fish and undersea life right up close. Snorkeling is available too!!


Snuba TCI with Jodi also keep their boat in our marina but only during the winter month’s when sometimes it can be rough on the North shore and Grace Bay.


Snuba TCI with Jodi and sometimes (quite often) you will see turtles.

A little note for those who don’t dive. No need to be left behind as ‘Bubble watchers’ can come out with the divers on all the boats.


Harbour Club Villas is perfect dive accommodation …. so convenient and easy. We’ll do all the work for you!

And so, when you are ready to plan that dive trip to the Turks and Caicos, give us a call or send us an email. We have most of the dive operators within walking distance of our villa accommodation. We can book everything for you and as you can see, we have the best dive operators right here. These dive operators all leave daily from close by Harbour Club’s Marina and head for Providenciales’ most spectacular diving – uninhabited West Caicos and French Cay, located on the edge of the Caicos banks where the wall drops to deep blue depths of 7000 feet.



Posted in Diving, French Cay, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Providenciales, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Turks and Caicos Islands, Underwater, West Caicos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flamingos on Flamingo Lake


Such beautiful plumage colours on these flamingos sighted in the lake by Harbour Club Villas.

The flamingos have returned to Flamingo Lake by Harbour Club Villas and Marina on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. Just recently, a friend called me to tell me she could see the flamingos feeding in the lake. She ran down to pick me up and off we drove just before sunset to find and photograph  them.


These two were honking and ruffling their wings.


It was difficult to capture them because they were busily feeding with their heads in the water.


The sun was going down as a small flock of flamingos were feeding in the lake.


Preening, neck stretching and ruffling their wings.


Such beautiful birds with amazing colours


They mainly feed during the day………this one had the most beautiful colours.


Flamingos sweep their bill upside down through shallow water picking up food as they go.


I can’t believe what beautiful plumage and colours these birds have.




Flamingos are like ballet dancers so graceful in the waters

We don’t often see flamingos but these ones were so close to us in the lake just out by the villas.



Posted in Birds, Birdwatching, Flora and Fauna, Harbour Club Villas and Marina, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment