Chalk Sound: Pristine and Fragile Ecosystem on Providenciales
The color of the water will leave you speechless.
You ask people to describe the beauty and they struggle for words.
But when they do find the words, the questions often asked are: “Why is the color so blue?” or “Why is Chalk Sound so exquisite?” However, the better question is, “How can we make sure that future generations will still be able to enjoy this national treasure?”
National Park status protects this lagoon from the oily emissions of motorized watercraft and has contributed to the purity of the water. Chalk Sound is a three-mile long natural lagoon, almost 100% landlocked. It doesn’t receive much effect from tidal movement. Rain that falls onto the vegetation on the surrounding landmasses gets filtered before it finally spills into the sound. So the water quality is pristine.
Chalk Sound is shallow, around 4 feet in most areas. Imagine paddling along and the water coming up only as far shoulders when you stand up. This wildlife sanctuary boasts a vast variety of plants and marine life all co-existing in and above the fine white sand along the bottom of the sound. Mangrove, coral and seagrass are home to very young lobster, conch and the endangered sea turtle. And you might see rock iguanas up close and personal as you swim or paddle. They live on many of the tiny cays. This is a protected National Park, but can this status alone ensure its survival when such a desirable piece of paradise would obviously attract commercial and residential interests?
No doubt about it, Chalk Sound boasts prime real estate. It is private and the views are spectacular. And new homes are definitely going up. But development could mean threats like toxic waste from septic tanks, chemical waste from landscaping or road work and pesticide use. Fortunately, government agencies like the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources (DECR) and local groups such as the Turks and Caicos Environmental Club are all looking at ways to protect the area.
A natural fit for this beautiful piece of nature would be eco-tourism as supported by Deputy Director for DECR who has commented, “There have been ideas to use it as a place for the rental of the Caicos sloops, with some sort of visitor center guiding sailing trips, maybe maps for walking trails, that kind of thing.” Many in the community agree. As long-time resident Kevin Harvey comments, “To have regattas again there would be great.”
Yes, Chalk Sound is a gem to find along any tourist’s vacation path. As one recent visitor shared, “Words cannot describe the beauty of the water, the tranquility and serene aura is a breath taking experience.”
With careful management and National Park status, the lustre of this geographical gem will continue to shine.
Kayaking in Chalk Sound
Renting a kayak is easy and visitors to Providenciales may do so at Las Brisas restaurant in Neptune Village. Reservations are recommended. Ideal time to enjoy the water is the early afternoon when the sun’s rays amplify the beauty of the blue lagoon. When traveling from Villa del Mar, give yourself at least 20 minutes to arrive at Chalk Sound.
An alternate way to enjoy kayaking in Chalk Sound is with an organized group through Big Blue Unlimited.