Eco-friendly Way to Experience Local Flora and Fauna
There is neither the roar of an outboard nor the smell of fuel in the air. There are only the songs of seabirds or the swish of the paddle.
Wildlife appear no longer as images on a postcard, but stand perched or walk gracefully along the shore.
All this splendor is not from the distant deck of a ship but from the same sea level perspective as that of a flying fish floating over the water’s surface.
This is kayaking in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
While you can rent a kayak from a number of resorts, the ideal way to kayak in the islands is to book with local companies who can guide you to interesting places, teach you about the wildlife you see, provide you with kayaking tips, and, of course, ensure that your trip is safe.
Big Blue Unlimited
Located off Leeward Highway on Providenciales, Big Blue Unlimited is the oldest outdoor adventure company in the islands offering a multitude of water activities including charter boat excursions, kayaking, snorkeling, kiteboarding and diving. The Turks and Caicos Islands are home to large intertidal areas featuring mangrove forests and unique bird and marine life. Kayaking is the ideal way to really see it all.
“It’s an incredible way of getting around, exploring the back waters and the shallow channels and the areas that you’re going to find the bird life and the juvenile marine life”, says co-founder Mark Parrish in the Big Blue Unlimited 2012 Movie. “You just can’t get in any other way by motorboat”.
Big Blue runs its operations on an eco-friendly philosophy. “Less is more” is Big Blue’s motto, meaning less impact to the environment translates to sustained life of the reef, the ocean and the islands. A large portion of their watercraft is kayaks, and the few boats that are operated are petrol 4-stroke and diesel which are kinder to the environment than other types of engines. No eco-aware step is overlooked in the Big Blue tours. Tour groups are kept small. There is emphasis on making sure garbage is picked up, and clients are asked to use only biodegradable sunscreens and are educated in proper paddling technique. For Big Blue, the program is aimed to bring in people to experience the island, but to do it in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible.
As one tourist commented on TripAdvisor, “Big Blue has some important advantages such as environmental awareness – this company is serious about caring for the environment. Other companies are inconsistent in their commitment to protecting the reefs and aquatic life but Big Blue makes this a top priority.”
Big Blue is about exploring in every sense of the word. There is a variety of kayak tours available, so there’s really something for everyone. Clients can go on half day or multi-day trips opting for single or tandem kayaks. There is the eco-kayak tour, snorkel-kayak adventure, or custom kayak excursions to a multitude of places such as Caicos Cays, Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve or Middle and Caicos Islands.
One tourist raved on TripAdvisor, “I highly recommend Big Blue Unlimited because of their knowledgeable staff, respect for their natural environment and genuine interest in sharing their love of the Turks and Caicos Islands with the vacationers who visit!”
Splash Kayak and Eco Adventures
Following in Big Blue’s eco-footprint is Splash Kayak and Eco Adventures operating from Lower Bight Road, Providenciales. The enterprise is a newer one but guests are beginning to give positive reviews.
“We had the best time and will definitely be joining you again!” said one visitor on TripAdvisor.
Owned and operated by Shaune and Lucie Stubbs, Splash offers a service whereby clients can either rent a kayak and conduct their own independent trip or take advantage of several guided eco-tour packages. The kayaks are fitted out with backrests and storage areas to make them ideal for paddling around the mangrove flats or ocean surf. Excursions available are set up according to kayaker’s level of ability. For example the Turquoise Guided Eco-Tour is an introductory kayaking trip aimed at the novice paddler. Alternatively, there is the Red Mangrove Guided Eco-Tour aimed at novice to intermediate levels which is a longer kayak excursion and covers different water areas.
For something beyond basic kayaking, Splash also offers some unique excursion packages. The Green Flash Sunset Eco-Tour allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular Turks and Caicos sunsets and to possibly witness the “green flash”, a phenomenon of nature where an emerald green flash of light appears just as the sun is setting over the horizon. Also available is Kayak Fishing. The pace is leisurely. Kayaks allow for greater range of travel, so guests are able to get closer into the mangroves or to the flats. Fishing is catch and release only, and trips are tailored to the destinations clients prefer.
A Terrific Way to Experience Nature in the Turks and Caicos
There’s a wonderful world of wildlife waiting for you in the Turks and Caicos Islands. What better way to see it up close and personal than by kayaking?
“Hopefully people don’t just leave with these Turks and Caicos Islands with just a suntan,” shares Philip Shearer, co-founder of Big Blue Unlimited, in the above video. “Hopefully they can also go back with memories, and nice photographs, but also having learned what this place is about.”
Kayaking adventures: the new eco-friendly way of experiencing the Turks and Caicos Islands in a way that’s up close and intimate.