Pillory Beach is beautifully positioned on a sinuous curve of pristine sand — it’s one of the finest examples of an unspoilt Grand Turk beach. It remains a stretch of clean, white sand and its ocean is a translucent-turquoise, crystal-like mass of marine life wonders. It is said that Christopher Columbus set anchor on Pillory Beach when he first sailed the Atlantic in 1492. The shoreline runs along the western coast of the island of Grand Turk and it’s one of the most celebrated beaches for diving and snorkeling in the world.
Bohio Dive Resort offers snorkeling trips out to the reef and provides all the necessary equipment. Perfectly located right on the secluded beachfront, shaded by elegant Casuarina Pines, Bohio offers the chance to marvel at the jeweled wonders of the world beneath the ocean, or a comfortable beach lounger within the seafront bar from which to lose yourself gazing into the crystal-blue distance.
First class snorkeling off of the beach
One of its most favourable qualities is that snorkelers can walk right in off of the beach and get instant access to some of the most fascinating marine life in the Caribbean. The famous coral reef wall on Grand Turk is 62 miles (100 km) wide and over 185 miles (300 km) long and is known simply as The Wall.
If you venture into the ocean for just 985 feet (300 metres) from Pillory Beach, you’ll come into direct contact with the reef as it plunges suddenly an incredible 6,560 feet (2,000 metres) into the Columbus Trench, which is the huge undersea passage separating the Turks from the Caicos. Snorkeling on Pillory Beach can be just as rewarding as diving along the reef in deeper places visited by divers.
Abundant marine life
Turks and Caicos diving boasts walls of reef punctured with water chutes, caverns, ledges and tunnels. The passage itself is overloaded with an amazing array of strikingly-coloured coral gardens and home to an abundance of exotic-looking marine life, including juvenile fish, critters, nurse sharks, purple gorgonian fans, stingrays, reef fish, angel fish, groupers and turtles.
Pillory Beach is also THE place to be between January and April when an entire herd of about 2500 humpback whales pass by the shoreline on the migratory journey.
Getting crazy with coral and sponge
The most amazing thing about the coral reef is the subtlety of the hues, the amazing pinks and purples, and the strange tubular shapes of the living sponges. However, the most distinctive coral for many who visit Grand Turk is the deep dwelling black coral. This can sometimes appear to be dark blue, red, white or orange depending on the light and can be found in endless supply if you visit the Black Forest dive site; a once in a lifetime experience, for both diving fanatics and interested novices.
For anyone with a real passion for coral reefs, Grand Turk is for you. When diving from Pillory Beach or snorkeling along this particular stretch of Grand Turk’s huge coral reef, you’ll come into contact with an abundance of coral and sponge varieties including, Elongate Smooth Flower Coral, Wire Coral, Black-Ball Sponge, White Star Coral, Angular Sea whips, Sea Plumes, Barrel Sponges, Lobed Star Coral, Pillar Coral, Red Boring Sponge, Carmine Sea Sprays, Giant Slit Pore Sea Rod and Stove-Pipe Sponges, to name a few! They hang from the steep areas of the reef wall and so are pretty easy to distinguish.
Relaxing in paradise
For anyone not wishing to dip into our underwater world, Pillory Beach is still one of the best beaches to visit on Grand Turk because of its seclusion. Its sand is incredibly soft and powdery to the touch. The ocean is tranquil, usually with very few waves in sight. It’s fantastic for strolling along, making it an idyllic place to think, unwind, and put life back into perspective.