Five secrets that you probably didn’t know about the Turks and Caicos Islands are…
1) The great explorer, Christopher Columbus, decided to drop anchor on Grand Turk’s Pillory Beach, proclaiming the sandy stretch as the first docking point of the New World. For those who are familiar with Pillory Beach, this comes as no surprise — the beach boasts powdery, soft sands against a backdrop of Casuarina Pines and Palm Trees. No wonder Columbus was drawn here after a long voyage.
2) The Turks and Caicos Islands take their name from both the Turk’s Head cactus (Melocactus communis), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning string of islands. For even more fun facts on the Turks and Caicos history, make sure you visit the Grand Turk’s museum located on Front Street.
3) There are rumoured to be in the region of 1000 shipwrecks surrounding the Turks and Caicos Islands. Although many have been identified, some remain lost and are only written about in shipping logs and history books. This is great news for underwater explorers who hope to find a lost wreck on their next dive with Bohio!
4) America’s first man in orbit, John Glenn, splashed down near Grand Turk after completing his mission, and was debriefed at the Air Force facility on the island. Grand Turk was chosen as it was the nearest island with a U.S. base, but very few people know about Grand Turk’s involvement in the space race.
5) Some 60 species of coral live in the waters off of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hard coral varieties include staghorn (Acropora cervicornis), elkhorn (Acropora palmate), pillar (Dendrogyra cylindricus), great star (Montastraea cavernosa), and brain (Faviidae) – which does, quite literally, look a little bit like a human brain. Sea fans (Alcyonacea) and sea plumes (Pseudopterogorgia) number among the soft varieties.