Air Strip at Turks and Caicos Resort means Guests can get to the Beach Faster

One of the more unique features to Pine Cay, something that many smaller private islands don’t have, is an air strip. Arriving by private plane is not only somewhat romantic, it’s quite practical and fun. Most of our homeowners and guests arrive via commercial aircraft through Provo, but there are many visitors that prefer to use their own aircraft. We thought you might want to hear about what it’s like to arrive in Turks and Caicos, at our resort, in a different way, so we asked a variety of pilots – of different ages, with different aircraft, and different usage of their planes – about what it’s like to swoop on in to Pine Cay…

aerial view of Pine Cay

How long have you been coming to Pine Cay?

BQ: Oh, about twenty years or so.
ET: I’ve been coming to Pine Cay since I was two months old, which makes it 30 years now.
RG: We have been coming to Pine Cay over the last fifteen years, and the last nine years using our own plane.

How did you originally find out about it?

BQ: I read about it in a travel magazine.
ET: My mother built one of the early homes on the island in the 1970’s.
RG: My wife brought me all over the Caribbean for 25 years. In the early nineties, we happened to visit Pine Cay, and we came back twice more before deciding to buy a house.

Do you always fly?

BQ: Yes, after I bought my plane.
ET: Majority of the time.
RG: Very rarely do we come commercially, unless our plane is being serviced.

Private Island with Airport

What kind of aircraft do you fly?

BQ: Piper Saratoga.
ET: Originally a Mooney M20J, then a Cessna T310R, now a Piper Cheyenne.
RG: We fly a Pilatus PC12 single engine turbo prop (made in Switzerland.) One of the reasons for this plane is that we can leave Michigan, USA at 7:00 a.m. and be on Pine Cay by approximately 3:30 p.m. with one fuel stop. This aircraft is pressurized, flies at 30,000 feet, goes 300 MPH and lands on a short field (Pine Cay.) This plane gives us great flexibility.

With whom do you travel?

BQ: My wife and dog.
ET: Friends and family, or whoever hops on before the doors close.
RG: Our son is our pilot, so always with him, my wife, sometimes other family members, and occasionally a friend.

pine cay water lens

What do you like most about piloting your own aircraft to Pine Cay?

BQ: Definitely visiting friends on the way from New York, and that the dog can be in the cabin with us.
ET: Freedom to come and go whenever, no lines, and the view is always better from up front.
RG: No schedule requirements, it is our call when to travel. If weather is bad, we can wait and go when we want. We can bring our own supplies for our Pine Cay home.

Which other places do you like to fly to in the Caribbean?

BQ: Bahamas, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, and the BVI.
ET: I live on Pine Cay during the winter, so it’s a great base to make excursions out to the other islands in the chain, as well as the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, etc.
RG: Because of the investment in our home, we generally don’t go anywhere else in the Caribbean.

planes on pine cay runway

What do you like about our airport?

BQ: Convenience.
ET: Being able to land my plane, immediately go barefoot, and be greeted with a golf cart, hugs, and a rum punch.
RG: It’s quaint, but it also might benefit from some work.

What do you think other pilots would like about Pine Cay and The Meridian Club?

BQ: Well-maintained runway. 11/29 orientation perfect for normal wind direction. Plenty of parking. Easy access to hotel and homes. Unicom is 122.8. Self-announce. Jet A and 100LL both available at PLS, just a few minutes away.
ET: The experience and adventure of landing on a remote private island, likely being the only aircraft there, paired with a world-class beach and a low-key atmosphere.
RG: It is a nice flight down from Florida, it’s beautiful to pass the Islands of the Bahamas, and the waters when you get here are spectacular.

pine cay runway

Do you have tips for pilots flying in?

Cancel IFR as soon as Provo is in sight to avoid holds and or DME approaches, ground, clearance, tower, and approach are generally all on 126.0, file local flight plans from Pine Cay by calling (649) 946-4420 and asking for the tower, and definitely head back up for a sightseeing flight — the entire chain can be seen from 1,000ft in about an hour.

It seems, if you want to make your way to a private island resort in the Turks & Caicos, especially if it’s secluded and remote, a private plane is an ideal way to travel.

On the day this article was written, The Meridian Club was named in Caribbean Journal as one of “10 Caribbean Hotels You Can Fly To”.

Are you a Turks and Caicos Visitor?

Unique Resorts Draw Repeat Visitors

Many who have visited the Turks & Caicos Islands notice a distinct difference in how it “feels” to be experiencing this tropical Caribbean paradise. In many ways it is unlike any other Caribbean island as most are, but unlike some islands this is not by nature, culture or typography; it’s by design.

Years ago, when I started my consulting business advising destinations and hotels on sales and marketing strategies, I started my very first day back in April 2003 with three clients. One of them was the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board. At the time the destination was losing what we call in the business an “anchor property.” That’s one where the rates are really reasonable, the experience pretty good, and there is a lot of inventory (in this case over 200, which is a lot for Provo). The property was the Allegro Resort, Turks & Caicos. It was a budget all-inclusive, which is a type of resort virtually unheard of in the Turks & Caicos Islands. I advised the destination not be to negligent about replacing this important component of tourism. The response that came back to me was very interesting. The Minister of Tourism said that there are many islands in the Caribbean that build large resorts, many of which are all-inclusive, sell at a low price – packaged with charters or discounted scheduled air – to people who go on a vacation at a destination in their mind they may never return to again. Their philosophy, as they intentionally built their tourism product, was “we are different” and “our customer is different”, most importantly, “we want our relationship with visitors to be different”, than any other Caribbean island. Essentially, they want the relationship with the Turks & Caicos resorts to be different.

In the Turks & Caicos, many visitors come back, again and again. They tend to rent condos vs. booking a large brand chain (except of course for Beaches). They often book a car rental. By having a condo and their own car, they visit the supermarket, and maybe even the liquor store. They try to frequent the local pub to watch their favorite team compete in sports. The critical difference between a visitor to the Turks & Caicos Islands and other Caribbean destinations is (more often than not), they know they will be back and thus they treat the destination differently. Visitors tend to be cleaner, pick up after themselves and treat their accommodation with more respect. They also make an effort to create a personal relationship with locals they meet there. In many ways, they feel like a pseudo resident.

Of course a lot of people come because the bone fishing is one of the best places throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean, or because the coral reef is spectacular, boasting great diving and snorkeling, or because there is an abundance of pirate history due to the multiple island, inlet typography. Some come for the conch farm, the only in the world. History buffs come because they know John Glenn actually landed off the coast of Grand Turk. While others come for the prestige of being in a destination sometimes known to attract celebrities, but every island can stake some claim to that. No, most people come to Turks & Caicos for the beach, the warm weather, and the feeling like they are in a home away from home.

At The Meridian Club, visitors can get the ideal experience; a private island Caribbean resort, that just happens to also be a Turks & Caicos resort.

Explore Little Water Cay, Turks and Caicos

Rock Iguana Population Thrilling to Experience

Little Water Cay is something to everyone, and for me it’s something different each time I visit. It’s probably one of the more interesting visits for people going to resorts in the Turks and Caicos, and one that should not be missed.

My first visit there was in the late 90’s, when a new hotel (named via a competition of travel agent submissions) invited travel professionals to their opening. As is the case with these things, the date was set for a few months after the hotel opened, and we waited with anticipation, only to learn upon arrival that Sandals had bought the property and would reopen it as Beaches. Provo would now have another luxury resort in Turks and Caicos. That did not slow down our interest in learning about the TCI. One afternoon, we boarded a boat directly from Grace Bay Beach, powered across to a small 116-acre island (with two ponds), and disembarked down a ladder off the bow. We strolled along this deserted beautiful white sand beach with turquoise waters and were greeted by its inhabitants, so many rock iguanas (Cyclura carinata carinata) I could not count them all. I had a flash through my mind that I was on a set of Star Trek. Some were smaller, others were larger, some moved quickly and feared movement from people, while others interacted with us almost like they were pets. Our guide took us along the long raised board walk, and we learned about the variety of species there, their life span, what they eat (Sea Grape and Seven-year Apple), their mating season (early May), hatching period (90 days), natural predator (more on that later), etc. After returning to the boat, we moved off the shoreline and while the guides went diving for conch, the rest of us snorkeled. Our reward was a freshly made conch salad right on the boat.

Little did I know my career would take me from Director to Vice President, to eventually starting a consulting firm advising travel and hospitality clients on their sales and marketing strategies. I opened my doors on April 1, 2003 with three clients, one of them the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board. My first trip back to TCI, I was once again hosted, this time by the government, to Little Water Cay. I had arranged for 10 of the most prominent wholesalers to visit the islands, inspect the new hotels and developments, and experience key excursions the destination had to offer. In this role I was visitor/tourist, but also partially a host. The return visit was equally enthralling, but I felt something different. I did not get that, “here we come to get you” feeling once the boat washed up along Little Water Cay’s shores. In time I asked the guide, while I also inquired about beads I noticed on their crests (which I assumed had something to do to monitor their health). He explained to me that my instincts were partially correct, and that during my first visit there were 10,000 iguanas on Little Water Cay, but now there were 6,000. The “lost iguanas” were stolen, from people who came down from the Miami area, entered the island at night, stole the poor critters, and took them back to the states for sale, largely due to the fact there were several species that were indigenous only to LWC. Their beads had as much to do with security as it did with health, so that if a boat tried to take one now, the iguanas whereabouts would be recorded. Or, so I was told.

The last record I could find was for 2008, where the count was 2,000-3,000 rock iguanas. My most recent experience wasn’t even my own visit. Last summer, I had been on Pine Cay, where one of the few private island resorts in the Caribbean is located. During my few days working there in June, I met some residents doing an internship with the National Trust. Their job was to sit on a boat off shore of Little Water Cay, and record everyone who came onto the island, then turn in their records to be counted against paying tourists. They found a great disparity in the numbers, and their work solidified more funds from the government to ensure safety for the little critters.

I cannot wait to visit Little Water Cay again, especially from The Meridian Club on Pine Cay. Going from one small private resort island with a few people on it, to another small island entirely populated by rock iguanas must be a unique experience. I hope, really hope, to see the numbers of rock iguanas on the rise.

For guests at The Meridian Club, or residents of Pine Cay, simply go by the front desk and inquire about a tour. They usually try to group interested parties together, thus the days and times of the tours, and sometimes the price per person, can change.

Melanie Alexander has been to over 75 countries and looks forward to her visits to Pine Cay as a great chance to monitor the Iguana population at Little Water Cay.

Caicos Pine Revitalization Program

Pine Cay is Site to Monitoring Program to Protect the Caicos Pine

The Meridian Club on Pine Cay is an ideal vacation destination for travelers searching for a sliver of peace and quiet in the midst of the more tourist-oriented Caribbean islands. Just 90-minutes from Miami this haven offers miles of isolated beaches, brilliant blue seas, and an exciting abundance of flora and fauna to explore. There are over 100 plant varieties identified on Pine Cay, and among them is the endangered Caicos Pine.

The Meridian Club has been at the forefront of the rescue and restoration efforts of the Caicos Pine (Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis) since the beginning of the Caicos Pine Revitalization Program, and has been home to a permanent monitoring station since 2010.

The culprit: the pine tortoise scale. Native to the US where winter weather keeps their devastating effects under control, these insects have invaded the local pine tree population with abandon. The monitoring and revitalization studies which are taking place on Middle Caicos, North Caicos and Pine Cay are being conducted in two ways, with pine trees being monitored in situ, and seedlings – many harvested from Pine Cay pines – being grown in ex situ nurseries.

The Club has hosted scientists from Kew Gardens, along with representatives of the Turks and Caicos National Trust and Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs on Pine Cay to study the infestation and the apparent resistance of the pines on the Cay to the scale insect.

The Meridian Club invites you to read the blog article by Michele Sanchez titled, “Rescuing the threatened Caicos pine in the Turks and Caicos Islands” and follow the Caicos Pine Recovery Project Facebook page

Here on Pine Cay, we are proud to be aligned with the scientists and environmental agencies that play an important part in the management and protection of our precious pine forests. Much like our work to rebalance the delicate, fresh water lens on Pine Cay, we believe our pine forests represent an important part of the island’s natural environment – one that must be protected for future generations to enjoy.

From Sea to Table – Dining in the Turks and Caicos

Fresh, Creative and Delicious Meals Highlight Your Caribbean Vacation

In the Caribbean, a good dining meridian club sample dinner menuexperience cannot be limited only to interesting and tasteful cuisine. For me, a good dining experience must also include a unique location with an ambiance that cannot easily be found anywhere else. In all my travels, while I was impressed with reputed hotels and restaurants, I was always critical of whether the interior mirrored the atmosphere of the overall destination. So if the lobby or eatery had the “interior designer” feel easily found in architectural digest, where it could be placed in Istanbul or Negril, then I wasn’t awed in the least. One of the many reasons I like eating on Pine Cay is the feeling I get simply being while I am eating. When both work in tune with each other, along with friendly genuine service, it’s truly a culinary experience…and one of the best the Caribbean has to offer.

Breakfast and Lunch

During breakfast and lunch, guests on Pine Cay tend to find their spot at a table around the pool, leave their things and seek out what they want to eat. While there is a buffet of fresh fruits, pastries and breads, cereals and yogurts, etc., there are also some cooked-to-order options. One of the most popular is the breakfast burrito, featured on this Caribbean blog not too long ago. The photo included is a great example of creative cuisine that also offers a visual experience. Note the vivid blue placemats that accent the green wrap, and bring out the colors of the orange mango salsa and deep red strawberry. What you can’t see is the natural sunlight reflecting off the pool, while whoever gets to devour this tasty creation gets to sit under a thatched hut with a built in table. Lunch is pretty much the same, though some opt for the picnic basket while exploring the wonders of Pine Cay’s 800 acre natural island sanctuary (that just happens to also have a perfect beach). For those that stay behind and benefit from more options, there is a wide range of choices including fried chicken, grouper sandwich, grilled potato salad and green bean almond salad, to name a few.

Dinner

Chef Shane has a strong following, even on this little beach island. Most of his fans would tell you it’s his creative combination of flavors and beautiful presentation,but some (fisherman mostly) will say how awed they are that no matter the day or situation he is readily available to turn a fresh catch into a tasty delight. Dinner options offer an abundant range of flavors, and often include more herbs, spices and combinations. Diners can choose from sitting among the rest of the guests in an island-themed open air restaurant or can opt to dine poolside with a special someone; both offer the same spectacular culinary dishes. A sample dinner menu is presented on the right.

One recent menu included this favorite; Grilled Mahi Mahi, with celery, green olive, caper, raisin, rice wine vinegar, honey, parsley, (see before and after photos below) and if that did not pique interest, there was also Scallop Crudo, with yuzu, ginger, caper, soy, red chili, orange. For those of you (like myself) who don’t know, yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit.
freshly prepared mahi mahi at The Meridian Club

Dessert

A frequent visitor all over the Caribbean since 1988, having been to 32 islands and many of them more than once, one of the more consistent experiences – regardless of the quality of the establishment I have chosen – is that the desserts nearly always look far better than they actually taste. Pastries have light layers of dough but taste like cardboard, fruit filled or layered desserts are colorful but have little flavor, and chocolate, well let’s just say I gave up on that experience in the Caribbean a long time ago (I resolved to have my expectations met in Europe.) I can’t count how many times I was approached by a moving tray of luscious desserts, or walked over to a stationary table and had my mouth water at the sheer curiosity of what was inside, layered, powdered over or stuffed into the fine creations, only to be severely disappointed that the anticipated taste over my tongue to the back of my throat was utterly disappointing. This has been so consistent that I rarely eat dessert in the Caribbean. However, on my first visit to Pine Cay, everyone was crowing over the desserts that I just had to try. The chocolate was smooth and strong, with the right amount of sweetness. The pastry layers were light and fluffy, and splintered into buttery flakes when I took a bite. So I kept going and found the glazes and fruit toppings were rich and flavorful, and the cookies had just the right amount of give and crunch while they burst with flavor. Fortunately, the two-mile beach enabled a daily barefoot four-mile run, so I just kept eating…

The next time you are looking for an amazing private beach vacation, but don’t want to sacrifice dining on great food while in a secluded environment, think about coming to The Meridian Club on Pine Cay to enjoy fine dining in the Turks and Caicos.

Melanie Alexander has been to over 75 countries and looks forward to her visits to Pine Cay, mostly for the beach and the food.

A Day in the life of The Meridian Club Managers

Guests are often curious about our roles, so we’re telling you all about it.

Our guests are often fascinated by our choice to live and work on a secluded island, seemingly far removed from the jostling speed of life in the big city, or even from the unhurried pace associated with the main island of Providenciales. And quite often, we are asked to elaborate how we fill our days on this serene island surrounded by clear skies, powdery sand and brilliant blue waters. Well, truth be told, life does take on a slower pace here on Pine Cay, but the tasks of managing a premier resort, training new staff, coordinating maintenance requirements, and ensuring supplies get delivered in time provide plenty of exciting moments!

pine cay water lens

Our typical day starts off early…

6 am: Rise and shine!

The day begins with taking Molly for a walk along one of the sand highways that crisscross the island. Molly is a black, German shepherd who joined The Meridian Club in 2008. She is on active duty as a member of our K-9 team, and although she has a handler she lives with Wally and me.

While we are out, Wally feeds our 3 cats (Lilo, Stitch and Thunder). They are all island cats. In May 2013, Thunder was brought to us by a guest when she was a one week old baby and fit in the palm of your hand. Her mother had died so we fed her with an eye dropper for 3 week. She is a terror now and thinks she is a flying squirrel. Is quite energetic and loves to torment Molly. (they are never in the same room but she torments her through the glass).

thunder pine cay kitty

6.30 am: Wally begins his day.

Wally goes to the office at the Club House to review accounts, restock the bar and be available should anyone require the use of golf cart to go on a bonefishing adventure at the crack of dawn.

7.30 am: All systems are a go!

On this day there is no power outage, although they can happen 2-3 times per month. Guests find the experience quite charming as it really illustrates the unplugged vacation. While we haven’t had to do so in a little while, there have been times where we have run the generator for a week!

But today I come in and get started right away, reviewing emails and running the paper. I also do a check to see if any birthday or anniversary balloons need to be placed outside any guest’s door.

8 am: Breakfast.

Breakfast is served buffet-style with several choices also available from the a la carte menu. This is a great time to join guests around the pool deck and if they have any special plans for the day. Some of our guests will join the snorkel boat at 10am, others will head to the aquarium for some kayaking and the rest will likely join the yoga class, swim, read, nap or go exploring along the beach.

8:45 am: Office time.

Office time begins in earnest with staff questions, phones ringing and getting ready for any early guest departures of the day.

bev-and-wally
11:00am: Good News!

We FINALLY received our shipment of parts for the golf carts. They had been held up in Florida for several weeks – pending paperwork that the supplier failed to supply. The golf carts are the only transportation mode for guests and homeowners on Pine Cay so getting necessary parts in time is very important.

Rule of thumb: each time we have a shipment – the rules change! Not only is there the challenge of getting the paperwork correct but then we need to wait until there is space available on the container ship. Once the items have arrived in the Turks & Caicos, we need to prepare all sorts of documentation for customs clearance. And once the goods are released from customs, we have to get them trucked to the barge to bring to ship them over to Pine Cay. But that’s not the end of it… We then have to wait for a proper tide – too low and they can’t get in – and a KING tide as well so that the barge can come to Pine Cay and then leave Pine Cay. By the time the goods have finally landed on our island, the price has almost doubled.

wesley ringing lunch bell

1pm: Lunch…and a fire

Lunch is announced by the ringing of the bell. This meal is served buffet style with an assortment of hot and cold entrees, and a delicious assortment of salads. As usual, the dessert cart is overflowing with sweet treats. This is a wonderful opportunity to join a table and chat with guests about their morning adventures and to learn about their plans for the rest of afternoon.

This is usually when – after experiencing the tranquil tropical weather, the variety of things to explore, and the mesmerizing assortment of food – our guests begin to query us as to how we got here, how long we’ve been in the islands, and so forth. In the end, almost everyone says they wish they had our job.

Today, however, they may wish differently! While we were having lunch with the guests, it was raining a little bit and there was some mild thunder punctuated by a sudden loud clap. As the sky was clearing up, we continued with lunch and chatting with guests, not giving it another thought. Then Sara our Pastry Chef called on the radio to say there was a fire on the beach road down her way. A tree had been struck by lightning and there was a brush fire going which was accelerated by the wind. Mark, Sherwyn, Jodel, Melvin, Alie and Hansel arrived first with fire extinguishers. We had buckets and were using well water to keep the fire under control until the water tanker arrived with more man power and rakes. All in all it took about 20-30 minutes from start to finish, but by the end we were all soaked to the skin as the rain hadn’t abated, and we smelled like smoke!

1:30pm: Departures and Arrivals.

This is a popular time for additional departures and new arrivals following shortly after. Departures take a little longer here at The Meridian Club because everyone wants to hug people good bye – something you probably won’t see at other resorts! Departing guests receive a Goodbye souvenir: we take a photo of our departing guests for our “Pine Cay’s Most Wanted” Album and we also send them a copy as a memento of their vacation on Pine Cay.

Afternoon arrivals – guests are met by one of our staff members at the dock on Provo. Since airlines rarely feed people anymore there is always a snack, such as a chicken caesar wrap, salad and mixed fruit, awaiting our guests when they arrive on property.

TMC Staff Bev and Wally

3:00pm: Training session with newly hired assistant.

Staff training is a great time to instill The Meridian Club hospitality and service philosophy. Labor laws in the Turks & Caicos provide a 90-day trial period to work with new employees – very helpful when we are trying to get just the right personnel who thrive in a remote environment and enjoy engaging with our guests!

4:00pm: Wally departs to exercise, usually a run or weight lifting.

4:30pm: Nurse duties.

Today, one of our guests slipped while trying to got on the Hobie Cat and had an abrasion down the arm with LOTS of blood. Fortunately, we are well stocked with emergency medical supplies to take care of minor bumps, bruises, stings, and cuts. Before long, we had the bleeding under control and the scrape bandaged up. Happy to report that guest is doing fine.

5:30pm: Leave the “office”!

Wally usually calls me on the radio to come home. We shower and change for dinner, and are back at the club by 7pm for cocktails in the upstairs bar, OR when its Sand Dollar Cinema (golf buggy movie night) when we meet at the airport where Wally has the popcorn maker going and guests assemble to watch an episode of Hogan’s Heroes or McHale’s Navy or other old style sitcom.

6:30pm: Cocktails.

Evening cocktails hour on the upper lounge offers a terrific view of the sunset and makes the perfect backdrop to share stories with others until dinner is served. Guests pore over photo albums, engage in a game of scrabble, darts or mancala, and entertain each other with their day’s adventures.

Floyd-Forbes-Bartender-Meridian-Club-Pine-Cay

7:30pm: Dinner.

The dinner bell is rung to announce the meal service. Twice a week – local night and Jump Up – dinner is served buffet style on the pool deck. Dinners in the dining room are a 5-course tasting menu sure to delight your inner foodie.

There’s a Junkanoo scheduled for tonight – a noisy Caribbean tradition that incorporates several instruments, lively costumes and singing to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. There’s usually a special cake made for the occasion and sometimes I’ll recruit our younger guests to help create even more of a fuss.

9:00pm: End of our day.

molly pine cay k9 crew

After a little bit of play time with the cats and dog, it is time for bed. With so many wonderfully unique experiences that happened over the day, it’s hard to imagine what tomorrow will bring. But, Wally and I are looking forward to the adventures (both exhilarating and frustrating) that only life on a secluded island could deliver.

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We look forward to welcoming you to our delightful haven here on Pine Cay. It would be a pleasure to spend lunchtime on the pool deck or sip a cocktail in the evening, and get to know you. If you are in the midst of planning your Caribbean holiday or if a secluded private island vacation is somewhere on your bucket list, please feel free to Contact Us for more information.

Add Crab Hunting To Your Private Island Vacation Fun

Freshly-Caught Pine Cay Land Crab Makes a Delicious Caribbean Meal

The Turks and Caicos Islands are renowned for their fresh seafood and Caribbean-inspired flavors. Wahoo, grouper, conch, lobster and red snapper are all local delicacies, freshly prepared with spiced sauces, as part of a zesty salad, or grilled to perfection. However, a lesser known local favorite is the elusive land crab.

Here on Pine Cay, staffers Rosheka and Sherwyn Drepaul like to go night crabbing in search of Blue, Black and the soft-shell Orange Crab. Crabbing season begins at the end of April and extends to the first week of September when island is pulsing with these crustaceans. “We go in-island and use flashlights to spot the crabs,” explains Rosheka clearly missing the fabulous crab meals she enjoyed over the summer months. “We move quietly, but quickly to pin the crab, and then toss it into a large bucket by grabbing onto the back of its shell.” The crabs are usually found along the sandy inland trails and under the scrubby brush all over the island, during season.

Crab Hunting Pine Cay

With harvests as large as 38 crabs on one occasion and as few as 9 crabs on most other forays, the Drepauls are quick to point out that no crabs go to waste. “Crabs are housed in a special crate, watered and fed 3 times a day. We will not harvest any more crabs until the first catch has been eaten, and if we have more than we need, we share the bounty with other staffers, friends and family,’ says Rosheka.

And guests on vacation at this secluded island getaway can also join in the fun. If you are fortunate enough, Rosheka and Sherwyn may invite you to go crabbing with them during crab season. “You have to be very, very quiet,” cautions Sherwyn. “And bring your flashlight ‘cuz you got work to do!” pipes in Rosheka with her ever ready, contagious laugh.

Land Crabs Pine Cay

Rosheka and Sherwyn Drepaul

Rosheka has worked in Guest Services at The Meridian Club on Pine Cay since, April 2011, in Guest Services and Sherwyn has been involved with Security and Grounds Maintenance since November 2003. They tied the knot in Orlando, FL in early July 2013 with 4 of their 6 children present to watch the beautiful and intimate ceremony. Going crab hunting is a unique way for the newlyweds to enjoy some very quiet time together!

Recipe for Pine Cay Crab and Rice

What you will need:

  • 3 crabs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Chopped onions, green and red peppers, and celery
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • Water
  • Browning (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Rice

Cooking Steps:

  1. Separate legs from bodies and remove the “mustard” (or the “green gland” or “tomalley”) and place in a separate bowl.
  2. Put legs and bodies into (unsalted) boiling water and boil gently for 15 to 20 mins.
  3. In the meantime, heat the vegetable oil in another large pot, and add in the “mustard”. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring regularly.
  4. Add 1 cup water, and celery, chopped peppers and onions with teaspoon of browning (optional). Return to boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove boiled crab from water and add to rice pot. Return to boil.
  6. Add more water to rice pot to bring volume to level needed for the amount rice you wish to cook. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add rice and cook per instructions until rice is fully cooked. No water should remain when rice is fully cooked.
  8. Serve hot with fried fish or fried chicken, and an icy fruit punch made with pineapple and orange juices, splash of lime juice, and EITHER a splash of grenadine or cranberry juice.

Pine Cay Crab Derby

If watching crabs is more your style, then join the Pine Cay Crab Derby fun during crab hunting season, the island equivalent of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Maybe you can enter your own crab!

Pine Cay brings delivers yet another wonderfully authentic highlight to your private island vacation in the Caribbean.

Turks and Caicos Islands – Explore Ft. George Cay

Historical Trading Post near Pine Cay Provides a Glimpse of Islands’ Past

By Susan Clark McBride
LinkedIn Profile

You’ve enjoyed several days on Pine Cay, unwinding to the rhythms of the surf and the warmth of the powdery sand seeping through your toes on strolls to Sand Dollar Point. In addition to filling out the daily crossword, swimming in the sea, and dining al fresco, perhaps you’ve taken the snorkel boat to the reef and enjoyed the underwater magnificence of “Flowers Garden” or the “Fish Bowl.” You may even have had so much energy that deep sea fishing filled one of your days, catching tuna or wahoo that Chef Shane masterfully morphed into a delicious dinner. What now? Read another book? Play some tennis? Ride a bike?

Perhaps this is the day to just go nuts and sign up for an outing to explore the Turks and Caicos Islands. If so, Ft. George is a terrific choice. The rich history of Ft. George is significant and, while this may be hard to believe, this tiny island adjacent to Pine Cay is a lovely spot to get even further “away.”

So, if stepping back into history and exploring an uninhabited island with your loved one appeals, take the complimentary transport from the dock to Ft. George. In minutes, you’ll land on its shore with the promise of return transportation arriving in a few hours. And then, in addition to languishing over a yummy picnic lunch under your beach umbrella, if you remembered your sunscreen, camera and snorkel, it’s time to explore!

Fort George Cay, Turks and Caicos

History of Ft. George, Turks and Caicos

Historians believe Christopher Columbus’ first stop in the New World was in the Turks and Caicos Islands in October of 1492, as Pine Cay allowed him to restock his ship’s fresh water supply en route to Cuba.

What isn’t as well known is the fact that Thomas Brown, an American Loyalist who arrived in America at age 24 and became an able fighter for the King (rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the King’s Rangers Regiment), settled on the Caicos Islands. Legend has it Brown encouraged the British to recognize Ft. George (originally known as Fort St. George) as a vital trading port in the Caribbean. He also requested it be fortified. Brown and his followers built the fort and outfitted the battery with 16 cannons in the early 1790s. Located at the north end of the island, the fort and gun battery defended settlements in North and Middle Caicos against attack by pirates, privateers, the French, and Haitian rebels.

Exploring Ft. George

Over the decades, archeological digs on Ft. George have unearthed countless artifacts: musket ramrod pipe fragments, uniform buttons, wrought nails, cast iron slabs that formed the base of Dutch ovens, flint from a musket’s firing mechanism, ceramics, bottles and more. Seven cannons remain today, with several visible in the shallow waters close to shore, ready to be viewed through your dive mask. As you explore Ft. George Cay, you may also discover faint remains of the old military fort. Keep in mind that the island is a protected historical site and national park; it’s illegal to take or damage any artifacts.

Pine Cay plays an important role in the history of maritime exploration. The Meridian Club takes pride in the stewardship of the island’s and its neighbors’ history and ecosystem. After packing up the remains of your picnic and skimming a couple minutes across the channel before jumping into your golf cart and heading back to the Club . . . when you sip cocktails that evening, you too can share tales of relaxing in a significant place, unique in history and scope. You’ve collected yet another Pine Cay experience and taking home yet another memory.