Per some requests, here is a
Trip Down Memory Lane
Club Med Turkoise
(Turks & Caicos Islands)
This will primarily be of interest to people who have stayed at the Club Med, but some others may find items of interest.
I recently found an old photo album, complete with corresponding negatives, from some of our early trips to Caribbean destinations. One of them was a trip to the Club Med on Turks & Caicos. I scanned the negatives into digital form and had a bit of a trip down memory lane that I thought others might enjoy. This trip was in 1996 and was probably our first trip to this Club Med or TCI.
I will include some photos in-line with the text. These photos have been edited (cropped and resized to better fit a web document) but if you want the full size photo for any reason, each photo will have a link to the “full-frame” version. I’ll add a couple of “general interest” photos at the end of the document also. Please keep in mind that these are from almost 25 year old negatives made with a relatively cheap camera at the time: don’t expect great quality photos.
Several photos were taken during a snorkel trip. One of these shows the shoreline of some of Grace Bay and from just north of the Club Med to about where Royal West Indies or Grace Bay Club is now, you could not see any structure above the height of the trees.
Another photo is of Jojo riding the prop wash of the snorkel boat. The unique thing is that there were no scars on his back at that time. He has since accumulated several scars, most likely as a result of this rather dangerous habit of getting too close to boat propellers.
Another photo is of a turtle down in the water, which tells me that it was taken in what we now refer to as “Coral Gardens”. In those days it was called “White House Reef” for the prominent white house a short distance from the beach. The Club Med snorkel trips stopped going to that reef soon afterwards. Some people say the marine park management did not want boats bringing snorkelers to the reef and some people say that the Beaches resort management did not want a Club Med boat hanging around that area.
Next is a photos of Miss Turkoise, the snorkel boat that is still used, show that it only had a shade cover over the very back of the boat, protecting the captain, whereas it now has a shade structure over most of the boat, providing shade for the snorkelers as well.
A photo taken from the 2nd floor of Club Med shows the palapa close to the beach where classical music was played each afternoon from 4 – 6 PM. It was a pleasant and restful experience, listening to classical music and the waves on the beach. In the distance you can see the beach from the Seven Stars “dock” on to Point Grace and there are no buildings visible along there at all. (The dock is just above the nearest palm tree in about the middle of the photo: a little difficult to see, but it is there.)
Several photos were taken of a ski show put on the by the Club Med ski team. The ski dock (now in ruins and referred to as the “yoga dock”) shows up well, along with the structure at the end of the dock that provided shade for the skiers and equipment. The dock was heavily damaged by a storm a year or two later and, according to stories we heard, the island government wanted to charge a high annual fee if it was repaired and put into use and the skiing was then against the rules for activities in Grace Bay. It really was not a good place to ski anyway (interfering with other activities like sailing and swimming) so I suspect that Club Med was glad to save a few $$ and eliminate that activity.
In one of the photos of the sailing area, you can barely see a part of the building that is now Sharky’s beach bar, on the extreme right in the photo, sort of in front of the rack of windsurf boards. In those days it was a boat repair shop. A concrete ramp allowed boats to be pulled into the building for repair. The ramp led up into the area that is now the restrooms.
Some other photos of less significance, but interesting……
Another ski show photo, but check the rain storms visible to the left and extreme right. As I remember it, the show was almost cancelled because of the thunder and lightning in the area.
Looking the other way (north) from the same 2nd floor walkway as the earlier photo, up along the beach toward the SCUBA dock and part of the Club Med Navy. One story said that at its peak (probably early 1990s), Club Med had something like the 9th largest navy in the world. Lots of relatively small boats.
The GOs (“Gracious Organizers” is the best fit in English) are the young people that interact with the guests (GMs or Gracious Members) to teach tennis, sailing, circus/trapeze, take you snorkeling or diving or many other activities. They very much became your friends and you ate meals and drank “soda” with them. Once a week they had an “awards ceremony” to pass out awards won in activities like the tennis tournament, sailing regatta, or accomplishing a catch and return in the circus. In the days of this trip, you actually had to earn an award by winning something significant whereas these days the awards are given for “participation”. Anyway, this photo is of the Sports GOs gathered together to hand out the awards.
It is fitting to end with a sunset photo, but I could not decide which one to use (I had several more also) so I’ll show two of them. As a sailor, the one with the boats is probably more significant to me, but they are both typical Grace Bay Sunsets.
We have reached the end of Memory Lane and you are (rudely?) returned to the present day.