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Wondering about vacationing in Turks and Caicos?

tci-looking-out-from-the-beach

White sand, turquoise water, and a dark cloud that quickly went by greeted me on my first day at Turks and Caicos

I first visited Turks and Caicos for a week in November of 2008.

My return visit was April 9-16 of this year.

Eight years ago Turks and Caicos was the first Caribbean Island I had ever visited.  Since then I have vacationed in Barbados and Anguilla.

A second time back to a place offers the possibilities of then-and-now comparisons but that will not help readers trying to decide if TCI is a place they should visit for the first time.  So I will resist comparisons.

I would make it clear immediately that if you’re looking for nightlife and entertainment, I won’t be able to enlighten you.  However, if you’re looking for a stay-put vacation, I can offer details from my experience there.

tci-pelican

Pelican in the TCI breeze

Turks and Caicos is a breezy island with plenty of sunshine.  You want to know the weather for TCI?  Get “Cockburn Harbour” (capital of TCI) onto your weather site.

The island is small so any rain there tends to be brief.  It just passes through!

Temperatures for us were in the high 70’s during the afternoons.  Nights and early mornings were in the 60’s.

One certainty is that there will be wind.  It is persistent and could get you into a windbreaker if you’re on the beach at night.  That breeze, however, is wonderful if you’re out in full sun during the day under an umbrella.

tci-Maddie-scubas

Snorkeling was a terrific way to enjoy the coral residents

The sand does not get hot.  I commented on that feature in my TCI review from 2008.  I’m used to the hot-sun, hot-sand of New England’s beaches.

That breeze can fool you into a sunburn if you’re not careful.  You’re in the sun but the breeze has you feeling cool.  Sunscreen is essential.

The water is warm and a beautiful turquoise color.  Recommendation: bring water shoes.  There are lots of beaches, but off many of them is coral.  It’s sharp but with water shoes you can get in without foot damage.

The waves were small because of a sandbar out from where we stayed on Turtle Bay.  That made it a lot easier to navigate in the water.

This trip I was introduced to snorkeling for the first time.  There was a pool at the villa (Paprika) and there I learned to snorkel comfortably.  That coral off the beach was a terrific place to take in an underground aquarium that was dazzling.

This has to be said:  I was on the beach on one particular day and saw a shark (4-foot) swim through the area close to shore that I had snorkeled in.  At that size I wasn’t imagining Jaws but my attention was gotten for sure.

TCI-shells

Some of the small shells brought home from TCI

If you have an interest in collecting shells you are in luck.  The nice thing about TCI shells is that not only are they different from each other but they are small.  Easy to carry back to the US.

tci-bougainvilla-2

Plenty of beautiful flowers at TCI

Many tropical plants to be seen including bougainvillea.  Not many birds, though.  I did get a picture of one of the few pelicans that flew by.

I strongly suggest having a camera with you if for no other reason than the sunsets.  They were awesome on a nightly basis.  The sunrises were pretty good too but nothing like the sunsets.

It always makes sense to bring food with you.  We had a suitcase full of snacks and canned food such as tuna fish.

A pleasant surprise was a significant supermarket near the airport.  What worked for us was stopping at the IGA Grocery Store on the trip from the airport before arriving where we stayed. The items available at IGA were just like back in the US.  We bought plenty of bottled water. The attention getter, however, was the prices.  But to have the foods you like available at a beautiful location lessened the sticker shock.

I avoided renting a car and never left, or wanted to leave, the villa area.  Did notice that gas was $4.97 a gallon.  It was a shocking, at the time, $3.99 when we visited eight years ago.

tci-green-bean-coffee-mug

The Green Bean served Starbucks coffee.

We did find a place nearby (Green Bean) that served Starbucks coffee.  That information gave several of us impetus to take morning walks to get the familiar brew.

I found that the television/internet connections were consistently good.  I was hardly cut off from the rest of the world.

The flights down and back were on time and uneventful.  If you travel much you know about getting to the airport early and having to wait and wait.  You also know that there are certain items that you will have to take out of your carry-on’s at security checks.  I could have prepared better for that by packing the sure-to-be-checked things on top and then repacking them after getting through security.

A clever move I noticed on the flight from Boston to TCI: It was probably in the 40’s in Boston when we left so you had to dress warmly but in flight I saw several folks strip off outer layers and pack them in their carry-on bags.  Those folks looked like geniuses when we walked off the plane and into the 70+ degree temperatures of TCI.  Those same folks probably put on warm clothes from their carry-on bags as they approached Boston at the end of the trip from TCI.

tci-sunset-pink-clouds

Remarkable sunsets were a daily occurrence.

A daily routine for me that included: being with family, beach walking, snorkeling, blogging, eating, napping, and picture-taking made the time spent in beautiful TCI delightful.

tci-peter-solo

TCI gets high marks from me!

I recommend vacationing in Turks and Caicos and I am hoping to return there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hamilton-Wenham defeats Newburyport 3-2 on Austen Michel’s homer in the 8th inning

Austin Michel is in the home run trot after a long blast in the 8th inning

Austen Michel is in the home run trot after a long blast in the 8th inning

Brett Harring forced extra innings with a 2-out RBI in the seventh inning

Brett Harring forced extra innings with a 2-out RBI in the seventh inning

(Newburyport MA)  Hamilton-Wenham remains unbeaten after rallying to defeat Newburyport, 3-2, in eight innings on a sunny/drizzly Friday afternoon of Cape Ann League baseball.

The Clippers (0-2) were one out away from winning this game in seven innings but Brett Harring singled in the hole to score pinch-hitter Ted Hogan.

Austen Michel led off the Generals’ 8th with an opposite-field bomb over the rightfield fence off hard-luck Clippers starter Cam Beaulieu.  That run was enough as HW reliever Drew Gallant retired Newburyport in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Hamilton-Wenham (2-0) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning.  Harrison O’Brien reached on an infield single, was bunted to second, and reached third with two outs.  Drew Gallant pushed the run across with a single to center.

Newburyport tied the score in the 4th.  Scott Webster (2 hits) singled to left center and reached second when HW starter Jack Clay misfired on a pickoff attempt.  Ryan Furlong (2 hits) singled to center getting Scott Webster to 3B.  Scott rounded the base drawing a throw which sailed past the HW catcher.  Fortunately, pitcher Jack Clay made a nice play backing up his catcher.  However, Jack Clay followed with a wild pitch in the dirt that Scott Webster did come home on to tie the score at 1-1.

Scott Webster heads home with the second Newburyport run

Scott Webster heads home with the second Newburyport run

The Clippers pulled in front in the fifth inning.  Third baseman Harrison O’Brien rushed a throw after a good Chance Carpenter bunt and Chance ended up on second.  Chance reached third on a wild pitch and raced home on Caleb Stott’s sacrifice fly to right.

Hamilton-Wenham forced extra innings with an exciting seventh-inning rally.  Pinch-hitter Ted Hogan walked and pitcher Cam Beaulieu balked him to second.  Mark Vivenzio singled Ted Hogan to third and took second on the throw in.  That put two runners in scoring position with no outs.

Newburyport nearly came out of the inning unscathed.  Cam Beaulieu K’d Travis O’Brien and got Henry Eager to pop to third for the second out.  The Clippers needed one more out but they didn’t get it until after catcher Brett Harring had slashed an opposite-field grounder between third and short driving in Ted Hogan with the tying run.

Austen Michel’s homer was a no-doubter.

Caleb Stott waits to tag Austin Michel in the first inning

Caleb Stott waits to tag Austen Michel in the first inning

Austen Michel was out trying to stretch a single in the first inning.  The throw in from the Newburyport outfield sailed over the cutoff man but arrived in plenty of time for shortstop Caleb Stott to apply the tag.

The Clippers turned a nifty 5-4-3 double play in the second.

Newburyport squandered a glorious chance in the second inning.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out but HW starter Jack Clay K’d Ben Ventura and got Jeremy Grabowski to ground out to second baseman Drew Gallant on a very close play.

Centerfielder Henry Eagar handles six chances.

Cam Beaulieu

Cam Beaulieu

Cam Beaulieu’s only walk was in the seventh inning.

The Clippers were held hitless during the final three innings.

Alex Demers led the Generals with two hits.

Weather?  Nice and sunny at the start but there was a storm cloud in the distance.  By the fifth inning that storm cloud was producing drizzle.  My camera and I have a deal: I keep it dry and it keeps working!  Fortunately, at Newburyport there is a storage shed nearby which provided adequate shelter.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Harrison OBrien about to be tagged out at third

Harrison OBrien about to be tagged out at third

Scott Webster hustles to beat a throw to first

Scott Webster hustles to beat a throw to first

Harrison OBrien settles under a popup

Harrison OBrien settles under a popup

reliever Drew Gallant

reliever Drew Gallant

reliever Will Cataldo

reliever Will Cataldo

Jack Clay

Jack Clay

Steve Malenfant and Reggie Maidment enjoying the pre-game

Steve Malenfant and Reggie Maidment enjoying the pre-game

James Nutter starts a 5-4-3 double play

James Nutter starts a 5-4-3 double play

catcher Brett Harring

catcher Brett Harring

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Violent weather in the Midwest and how to pray (Deuteronomy 9:19-20)

It interests me the way Scripture, written so long ago, can relate to nowadays.

I was reflecting on the deadly weather in the Midwest and thinking of it in relation to how to pray about it.  A Moses story came to mind.

Moses was up on Mount Sinai for forty days with God, receiving the Ten Commandments.  During the end of the visit God gave Moses a disastrous report about the people he had left behind.

God reported that during the brief absence the Israelites had constructed an idol (golden calf) to worship.  God cannot tolerate other gods.

God told Moses to go away and that He was going to wipe out the Israelites entirely.  God added that He would create a new group of followers with Moses as the starter.  (Sounded to me a bit like what happened during Noah’s time.)

Moses headed back down the mountain, possibly believing that things couldn’t be as the Lord had told him.  But they were……..and what was Moses’ reaction?  (Check Deuteronomy 9)

Moses fell on his face before God fasting for forty days as he interceded for the Israelites.

The interceding worked and the Israelites were spared.  Here is the great Scriptural summary by Moses of the incident.

“I feared the wrath and anger of the Lord.  For God was angry enough with you to destroy you. BUT again God listened to me.  And He was angry enough to destroy Aaron BUT at that time I prayed for him too.”  Deuteronomy 9:19-20

Reconnecting to the weather in the Midwest.  I wanted to pray for those in the area as well as pray for some individuals I know who live in that part of the country.  Moses covered both “bases.”

Moses interceded for the Israelites, in general, and for Aaron specifically.  God answered both prayers.

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2011 Hope Community Church Children’s Christmas Pageant Photos

group scene

angels

Mary, the baby, and Joseph

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Newburyport Boys and Hamilton-Wenham Girls Remain Undefeated in Cross Country

Two of the best cross country coaches around (Don Hennigar & Steve Sawyer) matched up at Maudslay State Park and both came away with a reason to smile.

(Newburyport) Two of the best, and I’m not just writing about the coaches, won easily at Maudslay State Park on a pleasant Wednesday afternoon in Cape Ann League cross country competition.

Chris Suprin (16:02) surged down the stretch to nip teammate Keith Conway for the win.

Don Hennigar’s undefeated Newburyport boys team (4-0) stayed that way capturing the first five spots.  Steve Sawyer’s undefeated Hamilton-Wenham girls team (4-0) crossed the finish line in a six-member, first place blanket. Thanks to HW athletic secretary Dianne Bucco for identifying the girls in the picture for me.

HW stuck the Clipper boys with their only regular season loss in 2010.

Chris Suprin’s late race surge was enough to edge teammate Keith Conway for first place by a second – 16:01.

(Left-to-Right) Clair Pacione, Emily Weigand, Meg Blatchford, Emily Horgan, Kerry Phelan, and Sarah Duffy finish together.

The HW girls finished in what looked like a normal workout mode with no effort made to lunge ahead late.  The official gave the six HW girls the finishing cards and told them to sort out the order of finish among themselves.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  I make a serious attempt to be accurate.  Mistakes can happen.) Clicking on a picture will increase its viewing size.

Kevin Rutigliano (14th)

Jack Blatchford (9th)

Dan Von Staats (8th)

Michael Allara (7th)

Matt Gillis (6th)

Chris Orlando (5th)

Nick Carleo (4th)

Joe Santo (3rd)

Kiley Knowlton (7th)

Kelly Conway (9th)

Erin Carroll (10th)

Kristin Mackey (12th)

Madeline Moore (13th)

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Newburyport Sweeps North Andover in Cross Country

Kiley Knowlton (20:40) wins the girls race

Alex Sullivan leads North Andover.

(Newburyport) The undefeated Newburyport (3-0) boys came at North Andover (2-1) in a bunch on Maudslay State Park’s 3-mile course and defeated the visitors, 22-35, in cross country on Wednesday afternoon in Cape Ann League competition.

(left to right) Chris Suprin, Keith Conway, and Joe Santo sweep 2-4 together.

NA‘s Alex Sullivan (16:00) easily won the event but had to wait over a minute before 6th place teammate (Greg Macarthur – 17:07) arrived.  Meanwhile, Clipper runners Chris Suprin, Keith Conway, Joe Santo, and Nick Carleo took places 2-5.  Sophomore Chris Orlando completed the Newburyport scoring with an 8th place finish.

The Newburyport Clipper girls (2-1) took out NA (2-1), 23-34, sweeping the first three spots.

Clipper senior Kiley Knowlton (20:40) finished alone.  Forty seconds later teammates Kelly Conway and Erin Carroll were in.  Getting those first three spots was crucial because the Knights covered 4-7, led by Danielle Poto.  Newburyport’s Sarah Jacqz (8th) and Rachel Rikeman (9th) ended the NA streak of runners.

Kelly Conway (right) and Erin Carroll (left) take 2nd and 3rd.

Danielle Poto (4th)

The Hamilton-Wenham Generals are Newburyport’s next opponent next Wednesday at Maudslay.

This was the first cross country meet I’ve been to at the state park.  The temperature’s were probably too high for the runners’ liking but comfortable for those of us watching.  For some reason the meet started nearly an hour late but that just seemed to increase the interaction time among runners and among spectators. I was pleasantly surprised that bugs weren’t an issue.

(I try to be accurate in these accounts.  Spelling matters to me.  Identifying runners accurately matters to me.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

Clicking on any of the pictures enlarges them.

boys start

Sarah Jacqz (8th) followed by Rachel Rikeman (9th)

NA coach Rick DelleChiaie (in blue)

Girls start

Kiera McManus (5th)

Nick Carleo (5th)

Chris Orlando (8th)

NHS coach Don Hennigar

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Regular season pictures I’ve taken of MIAA tournament-qualifying basketball team members

The pictures are sorted by Divisions and boys/girls.

Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Division 1 North

#1 seed – St. John’s Prep (19-1)

Pat Connaughton

Mike Carbone

#3 seed – Lynn English (19-2)

Keandre Stanton

Travonne Berry-Rogers

 

#5 seed – Central Catholic (19-2)

Jimmy Zenevitch

Luis Puello

 

#11 seed – Andover (14-5)

Joe Bramanti

 

 

 

 

#14 seed – Everett (12-8)

Emo Deschommes

Alain Jeanty

 

Division 2 North

#1 seed – Wilmington (17-3)

Vinny Scifo
Tim McCarthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 seed – Salem (15-5)

Antonio Reyes
Dario/Raphy Medrano

 

 

 

 

 

#3 seed – North Andover (16-4)

Zach Karalis

Derek Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

#11 seed – Masconomet

Adam Bramanti
Zach Zaniewski

 

 

 

 

 

 

Division 3 North 

 #1 seed – Hamilton-Wenham (15-3)

Stephen Tam

 

 

 

 

 

#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Matt Leavitt

Eric Meyer

 

#8 seed – Pentucket (11-9)

Corey McNamara

Will Angelini

 

 

 

 

 

Division 4 North

#2 seed – Manchester-Essex (16-4)

Joe Mussachia

Sean Nally

 

#8 seed – Georgetown (12-8)

Johnny Spears and Tyler Wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Division 1 North (Girls)

 #6 seed – Masconomet (15-3)

Brooke Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

Division 3 North

#4 seed – Ipswich (13-7)

Hannah O'Flynn

Nyra Constant

#5 seed – Newburyport (13-7)

Molly Rowe

Beth Castantini

 

 #7 seed – Triton (11-9)

Jen Rock

Alyssa Conley

#3 seed – Pentucket (18-4)

Alex Moore

Tess Nogueira

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