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Close Encounters of the Wild Kind
"Fishing" for a Great Place to Vacation
President Mike Thiel
A Vintage Map
Turks & Caicos is a small archipelago southeast of Florida that could be considered an extension of the Bahamas, with which it shares some history. While the islands' administrative center is Grand Turk, the primary tourist destination is Providenciales, commonly called Provo, which is one of the Caicos group of islands.
Poetry for Life
This little poem hung in my suite at The Meridian Club on Pine Cay, a private 800-acre island occupied by just 30-some private homes and the boutique 13-room hotel. Its miles-long beach looks pretty much like the background for the poem.
Peaceful Pool Conversation
The Meridian Club is the height of casual tranquility. No boisterous crowds around this pool. Just new friends to meet, and that beautiful, long white beach to stroll.
Cocktails with a View
The intimate, two-story clubhouse is the social hub of the island and offers a restaurant plus a bar and library, where you mingle with other guests and villa owners at cocktail hour. The second-floor terrace, overlooking the pool and deserted beach, is an ideal place to socialize or curl up with a book.
The Meridian Club's restaurant combines a casual atmosphere with formal service. Dinner here is a four-course gourmet affair. The day's menu is posted on a blackboard every morning, and guests are asked to make a decision on their entree early in the day. Breakfast combines a diverse buffet and a la carte offerings, which most people choose to enjoy around the pool.
Dune-Front Clubhouse & Cottages
The hotel consists of 13 spacious suites in low-slung duplex cottages right on the broad and beautiful dune-backed beach.
The Turks & Caicos offer extensive flats for bonefishing, and The Meridian Club has a modern flats boat for searching them out. Unfortunately, wind and tide conspired to make bonefishing very trying on my day out on the Club's boat and, in spite of my guide's best efforts, all we found were baby bones.
Sandy Trails to You
The way to get around Pine Cay is by electric golf cart on a network of sandy lanes. To the east, across the channel from the harbor, are extensive and excellent bonefish flats you get to by kayak or a ride from the harbormaster. To the south are more flats, wadeable from shore. And then there's the Aquarium.
The Aquarium used to be a channel between Water Cay and Pine Cay. It was filled in by Hurricane Donna, leaving a deep inlet harboring lots of different fish, turtles, and more. A couple of sit-on-top kayaks are waiting there for you to enjoy. In the right conditions, the snorkeling is fantastic.
The wildlife on the island, like this iguana, are not at all shy. This fellow was fascinated by my shiny gold fly reel.
In Search of Big Fish
Another day, I was joined by Terry Smith, an island villa owner, for some offshore fishing aboard the Club's 25-foot Boston Whaler. It takes only about 15 minutes to get from the Club's docks to the deep drop-off beyond the reef protecting the north side of the Caicos Islands, where lots of big fish wander, like marlin, tuna, dophin and wahoo.
Catch of the Day
My hope was to land some mahi-mahi, one of the frequent catches offshore. Photo by Chris Murray
Half a Wahoo
One day, half a wahoo was my prize for the day—a shark enjoyed the best part.
But half a wahoo is better than none at all, and Chef Shane prepared and presented my delicious wahoo beautifully for dinner that night.
At Day's End
One of my favorite times at The Meridian Club was sunset. These light shows were invariably spectacular over that beautiful deserted beach.
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