Making Easy Boating A Reality

rackStory & Photos by Kathy Borsuk

“Do you have what it takes to be a boat owner?” was a tongue-in-cheek quiz I read in a popular boating magazine. Pointing out that taking care of a boat isn’t always smooth sailing, it was easy to draw the conclusion that it is better to be close friends with a boat owner (who doesn’t mind sharing) than to actually be a boat owner.

The Caicos Marina and Boatyard is working to change that conception. Originally built by Ted Trump in 1985 to fill the need for a full-service marine repair shop and shipyard, the Providenciales facility has been under new ownership for over a year, with a number of improvements already made.

Manager David Taylor, who grew up around boat-building and has worked in and around marinas in Providenciales for nearly 10 years, says his goal is to promote “Easy Boating” . . . whether your boat happens to be a dinghy, powerboat, dive boat, sailboat, tug boat, barge or yacht. The boatyard’s huge, two storey warehouse now includes a 100 x 50 foot dry storage rack and the monthly storage fee includes an unlimited number of “ins and outs.” This means, he says with a rueful grin, “You can give me a call and we’ll have your boat gassed up and in the water that same day. When you’re finished, we’ll rinse it down, flush the engine and put it back in storage for you.” All of this is accomplished with a 20 ton marine forklift that literally scoops boats into and out of the water via a special slip at one end of the marina’s dock. Larger boats are tackled with the 75 ton marine travel lift.

David says the storage service is especially popular with people who live on the island part-time and need a secure location to store their craft when they are away. The boatyard itself is now completely fenced in and two employees live on-site to provide 24 hour supervision. The location has long been considered a “safe harbour” during hurricane season, with storing facilities in the yard available for vessels up to 24 feet wide and up to 85 feet long.

Boaters who come and go more often will appreciate Caicos Marina’s new floating dock. Rising and falling with the tides, the dock makes it especially easy to enter and exit your boat. The 600 foot long dock that lines the marina is equipped with all-new “Shore Power” electrical outlets and drinking water.

Although its physical location at the southern end of Long Bay at Juba Point is a somewhat long ride by motor vehicle, the Caicos Marina is a cinch to reach by boat. Without a barrier reef to contend with, there is no need for a guide and the 1/2-mile wide Sand Bore Channel entrance is easy to navigate. David says the marina is a haven for boats and yachts in transit between North American and Caribbean destinations and there are usually at least a half dozen visiting vessels, bearing boaters from around the world. The dock can handle boats up to 120 feet long and has an eight foot draft at high tide.

As an official port of entry into the Turks & Caicos Islands, a harbour- master is on call to clear travelers and their vessels into and out of the country. Besides selling diesel fuel and gasoline at competitive rates, Caicos Marina serves as a convenient stop to shake out sea legs and get caught up with life on land. Most days, any number of sun-baked, salt-caked seafarers can be found dumping detergent into the washing machines, hunching over the telephone or feeding documents into the FAX.

Unfortunately, the nature of boats being what they are, David says, “A lot of our boat traffic limps in or is towed or dragged here.” The Caicos Marina & Boatyard is the only facility within 600 miles that can handle major repairs, and its six workers and two independent contractors stay very busy. If a necessary part is not in stock, David will order it in Miami and have it sent in via Federal Express. Although a lot of the work David terms “reef damage repair,” such as broken or bent rudders, running gear, props and struts and keel damage requiring specialized mechanical and fiberglass work, he adds, “We also do really good paint jobs and bottom jobs (which involve scraping barnacles and other marine growth from the hulls). We use premium Awl Grip, which is an especially durable product.”

Fiberglass work and painting tends to be done outside in the yard. (Although David says, “We’re really good at painting in the wind,” a massive spray booth is planned for the future.) More complicated engine repairs take place inside the warehouse. During the annual Turks & Caicos Billfish Tournament, shipyard staff is on call 24 hours a day to ensure that damaged boats lose as little fishing time as possible.

Emergency towing is another well-used (and much appreciated) service offered via land or water, and a custom tow boat will soon be available. David recalls recent excursions to Plana Cay, Grand Turk and as far as the Dominican Republic to recover damaged, deserted or stranded vessels.

Besides ministering to visitors, the boatyard crew provides repairs and maintenance to most of the island’s working craft, including dive boats, the police fleet and resort charter vessels. With the environment in mind, the yard operates an EPA-approved incinerator to dispose of waste oils.

With the clang of halyards, the buzz of power sanders and the whisper of a grove of casuarina pines providing the music of his day, David Taylor is obviously a man who enjoys his busy job. His office is a cornucopia of nautical miscellanea including a wall of photos of boats that have been repaired here, a running “to-do” list of boats being worked on, a squawking marine band radio and a sign warning “No Cash, No Splash.” Does he ever have time to go out boating himself? “Only when I have time to work on my boat to get it ready,” he answers with a smile.

Creating Your Dream Home

doorStory & Photos by Claire Stevens

New development is rocketing like never before. One luxury resort after another are being built in the Turks & Caicos Islands. An investment also being made in this country of a similar scale to some resorts is the “Dream Home.” Stunning homes have been built here before, but just as the Islands are developing, so are the expectations of those who dream up the perfect home. How practical would it be to get exactly what you want here? Would the remoteness we otherwise cherish turn the whole process into a logistical nightmare?

As I found out, choosing to build in the Turks & Caicos Islands needn’t compromise your dreams. I looked at the 13 month creation of Barbara and Mark Pankhurst’s “Dream Home,” a home that serves every one of their passions.

How was it all possible? There are many reasons as to why the process worked for them. For example, they gave a clear brief as to what they wanted at every stage and could afford not to compromise on quality of product nor labor. But, bottom line, they wanted to use locally based companies and could. Every specialty they needed was directly available to them right here.

There was a line of communication with professional people who knew exactly how things worked in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Further still, there was company loyalty and pride. J & D Woodworks partner Chris Williams put it into words, “We stay together to be something.” These people want to be in the Turks & Caicos Islands with a passion, and share a common desire to lead the way as this country develops.

So how did the project come to be? A phone call from Parrot Cay came in to Richard Hurdle of Oasis Development & Construction Company Ltd. It was Mark Pankhurst who Richard knew from the Cayman Islands. The two would meet to look at potential sites for a home on Providenciales. The site the Pankhursts were to fall for had the most stunning views over the Providenciales north shore, and had initially been shown to them by Karen Biker of Turks & Caicos Realty Ltd. It had, of course been someone else’s “pride and joy” and not a meager “pride and joy” either. It was decided the home would be built around some of the original buildings, creating an added degree of challenge.

The knowledge and experience of Oasis and in particular, Richard’s partner Godfrey Been in conjunction with the architect and engineer, cannot be emphasized enough in moving the project expeditiously through approval stages.

Richard is very proud of the company that he and Godfrey have set up. They train and keep most of their staff in an industry where subcontracting is the norm. Throughout the project, labor levels varied between 20 and 70 construction workers.

Challenges were posed to all involved from start to finish, and I sense these added to the fulfillment. With a major role in planning this home, Oasis had to be inventive. For example, a whole new floor was formed by excavating rock that the original house was built on. Whilst supporting the original house, excavation equipment was maneuvered into place and operated (by Richard) out on an elevated rocky edge. I’m sure Barbara has images of Richard’s predicament as she stretches out on her Pilates equipment in the coolest room of the house!

Given the existing structures and cutting edge design criteria, precision floor and wall work and exacting finishes were fundamental to the quality of the end product. Benefiting from those finishes were the team who created the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Because entertaining family and friends is a passion of the Pankhursts, the kitchen had a lot to live up to. The attention this key area deserved came by way of a full custom operation, J & D Woodworks. Partner Jeff Muck started by taking the Pankhursts on a shopping trip to the States for all the kitchen appliances they could possibly want. The advice of the designer, manufacturer and fitter on hand throughout had to help. Hours of shopping would be safely warehoused, delivered and fitted by the J & D Woodworks team. Mark and Barbara together picked out the raw materials before the full custom build at J & D Woodworks’ manufacturing base in Fort Lauderdale. A crew of three granite installers and five cabinetry installers took just two weeks to put the kitchen together. The whole process had only taken eight weeks!

The Pankhursts’ delight in their kitchen, master bedroom and master bathroom is equal to the pride this company has in its work. Chris Williams, native of the Turks & Caicos Islands, started the company with Jeff in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over the years, a number of Islanders have taken apprenticeships with the company. Visits home became part of the job with many Turks & Caicos Islands projects employing J & D Woodworks. Proud crews would show their families the standard of projects they have been trained to work on. Both partners reside and have offices and warehouses in Fort Lauderdale and the Turks & Caicos Islands. The Fort Lauderdale manufacturing base will soon have its sister base here too, which can only benefit J & D Woodworks’ clients.

It was while discussing the kitchen that the Pankhursts pointed out that most fixtures and fittings in the home came from Thomas Waite of Carlisle Supplies. What he couldn’t find in his catalogue, he’d track down one way or another.

As the teams came to work together, it was the architecture that helped turn the home into a comprehensible whole. Rolf Rothermel, of Rothermel Cooke Smith architects, was given the clear brief that the project would involve high scale rebuild and extension around original structures. This meant that style was always going to be complementary to what was already there. The features that Rolf and his colleague, Wendy Been, worked into the plans are visually simple in form but stunningly clever. Rolf notes that imagination is not restricted through a need to conform to suitability here in the Islands.

There were certain features that Rolf thinks are particularly pleasing. A home needs a means of entry and with simple shape and form, an impressive entrance was created. Seated in the entranceway is a work of art, a leaded glass door purchased in Miami. It opens into a pretty entrance hall and morning sunlight illuminates the door when viewed from within.

Rolf says he is envious of the Pankhursts’ study. It is airy and has a view over comings and goings on the site. But the study’s key feature is the solid cement stairway leading up to the observatory above. One of three cantilever features in the home, the stairway’s unfathomable ability to stand seemingly unsupported creates a fitting link to the equally unfathomable world Mark sees through his telescope!

The other cantilever features were the balcony that extends out from the master bedroom, creating a platform for stunning views over Providenciales’ whole north shore, and the pool off a deck that at night looks like a sheet of glass hanging over the rocky shoreline. These imaginative features called upon expertise in the form of Peter Kerrigan of Engineering Design Services.

The interior designer was Monica Genoves of Inter Decor. Barbara worked closely with Monica in furnishing and creating character in every room in the house. Barbara could not rate Monica’s taste and relentless dedication highly enough. Inter Decor has been in Providenciales for 15 years, owned and managed by Lydwine Boeynaems–known locally simply as “Winie.”

When you live in the West Indies, outdoors is the place to be . . . whether entertaining or just looking for a quiet place to relax. Sunlight, blue skies, sea views, warm breezes, fragrant flowers, soaring birds and colorful butterflies; the lure is hard to resist. As a result, there is every reason to create just as comfortable places outside as in.
In this home, paved decking areas looking out to sea create the ideal setting for informal entertaining. Just as Rolf Rothermel used circles within buildings to balance the rectangles, curved decks and pools feature outside. The paving came from Construction Equipment and Supplies in Providenciales. Other local building suppliers during the job were Butterfield Concrete, CBMS, Provo Building Supply and Building Materials Do-It Center.

There is a wealth of building experience here in the Islands, but if garden design is your thing there are experts on hand, too.

The Pankhursts worked with Been Landscaping and Design, who continue to maintain the beautiful gardens today, adding new plants as the garden matures. If you have ever put limitations on your imagination when it comes to a garden here, then think again–although laying two miles of water piping for landscaping does help!

Pretty native trees like the Sapodilla, Lignum Vitae and Silver Palms were kept in place and worked around. Cacti were replanted to create a stunning garden full of texture and depth. Indigenous flowering plants such as Yellow Alamanda Vines, soft, airy Silver Buttonwood and spiky Sisal were grown alongside hybrids like Roses, Bougainvillaea and Plumbago.

Imagination and skill transformed sinkholes, a common feature of the Islands, to sublime effect. In one deep sinkhole, Railway Sleepers form a stairway down to a cool, roomy area. Prehistoric ferns, bromeliads, several lush banana trees, a plump papaya tree and several other varieties of creeping plants all lead up to a waterfall cascading down to give the feeling of walking straight into a tropical rain forest.
The partial filling of one sinkhole makes for yet another retreat . . . and saved beautiful surrounding trees where roots were overexposed.

Desalination plants and Klargester Managed Flow Biodisc packaged waste water treatment plants were implemented for irrigation. Mark and Been Landscaping sought out the desalination plants; both items are now available with maintenance through Thomas Waite of Carlisle Supplies.

Before I mention security, I should note that the Pankhursts like their “toys,” and stretching the possibilities is in their nature. We know about Mark’s observatory. I’ll add that he also has a media room acoustically walled with a cinema-sized screen and greater-than-cinema-sized chairs.

When it came to security, it was just another excuse to get a super cool gadget. David Ward, of Spence Security Services, provided the world’s latest in digital video recording technology. A multiplex image showing all parts of the property is networked to each of the home’s computers. Such technology allows cameras to record and store data for up to a month at a time. The beauty of DVD technology is tied in: key in the time of the frame you want to see and you’re immediately there. Headed by Evan Spencer from Grand Turk, Spence Security has been providing everything related to security for over four years here in Providenciales. Evan set up Spence Security in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas in 1993.

The nearby States certainly served as a great place to shop for some home items. The two shipping companies that were involved in this project were Cairsea Services and Al Services, both of Providenciales. They took great care of everything from construction goods to delicate wide-screen TVs.

So it seems you really can get just what you want through professionals here in the Turks & Caicos Islands. These professionals seem to love a challenge–it goes hand in hand with “wanting to be something.” Whether luxury resort development or dream home building, the country’s construction industry is certainly geared up. They are working their hardest at attracting future investment, and in doing so are training the right kind of people . . . people who share a love of this great country.

I cannot thank Barbara and Mark Pankhurst enough for sharing their home with me. They have already proved to be a great addition to life in the Turks & Caicos Islands, as the catalysts behind Turks & Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation (TCFAF).

Rising to the Top: Liz’s Bakery

breadStory & Photos by Kathy Borsuk

There is a simple yellow building midway in the settlement of Five Cays that has so much traffic going in and out that you would think something illegal was being sold there. Actually, the product in demand is addictive and probably responsible for a few extra pounds around the waistlines of some residents.

The building is Liz’s Bakery and the attraction is her freshly baked white bread, which draws folks from all corners of Providenciales, is sent via boat and plane to the other Turks & Caicos Islands and brought home by tourists, too. Being one of the addicted, I can speak from experience that it is a true sensual pleasure to bite into a hot piece of Liz’s bread, the light-brown, butter-brushed crust offering just the right resistance before your tastebuds meet the soft, slightly sweet interior. In our family, a loaf has been known to last for less time than it takes to drive home!

Not to shortchange Liz’s accomplishments, her storefront also serves as a convenience store, selling a “little bit of everything,” including groceries, meat and dairy products, produce, beverages, school supplies and even home and beauty items. Her tempting showcase always holds at least a dozen different baked goods and take-out native lunch is served daily. But it is the bread–loaves and rolls of white, raisin and whole wheat (on Fridays) that seems to be the main attraction.

“Liz” is Elizabeth Higgs, born and raised in the same settlement whose appetites she now satisfies. The cheerful and straightforward entrepreneur says, “I liked the kitchen from when I went to school and I learned a lot (including the bread recipe) from my mother, Annie Rigby.” Following graduation from high school in South Caicos, Liz baked cakes at home for special orders while working and saving up money towards her dream of opening her own bakery. It took a dozen years, but with help from a local bank, in early 1996 Liz was able to purchase the first ovens, mixer and basic equipment and move into the original smaller building in Five Cays.

She remembers the early days, when it was just herself and her sister-in-law Rosemary Rigby. “We started off baking bread only twice a week, along with pastry for the showcase. For the first few weeks, we did all the mixing and kneading by hand to get a feel for the process before using the mixer. It also took us awhile to get the bread just right in the new ovens . . . we threw out quite a few batches!”

Today, the five ovens are rarely empty, with batches of bread baked at least three times a day on weekdays and Liz says, “I can’t even count how many times we bake on Saturday.” The three hour process starts at 7 AM on weekdays and 5 AM on Saturdays and consumes almost a ton of Robin Hood flour each week. Liz’s bread is also sold in four outlets in Providenciales: Kathleen’s 7-11, Walkin Service Station, Island Pride Supermarket and in Kewtown.

Liz added on to the building in 2000 and from the expanded kitchen, a staff of five turns out treats such as bread pudding and Johnny cake; ginger, banana and plantain bread; carrot, pineapple, cherry, apple, chocolate and coconut cakes; and filled croissants and meat patties. Lunch selections include conch fritters, fried chicken, fish, curry chicken, stew beef, peas ‘n’ rice, pea soup and even pizza.

And, of course, bread. “Caicos men like their bread,” is island legend and “having an eight pack for dinner” usually refers to a package of Liz’s rolls. In fact, Liz says her biggest challenge today is simply keeping enough bread on the shelves, “If we run out, we’ll get cursed by our customers.” Other challenges include maintaining a steady supply of ingredients (although Liz says, “My mother taught me how to substitute”) and surprisingly, “getting the bread right.” Liz and Rosemary say they still have to adjust ingredient amounts and cooking times based on weather and air temperature–for instance a cool, windy day will require adding more yeast to the recipe.

But through it all, Liz was determined to be a success. Her advice to budding entrepreneurs reflects this optimistic attitude. “There will be a lot of rough times and you may think the money you are spending on your business is being wasted. But don’t give up and get discouraged. Put your business hat on and make it work.”

In the future, Liz wants to expand to a more central location on Leeward Highway, a “fancy bakery” she says, “with a sitting area for eating.” But until she has the necessary financing, Five Cays will continue to be the “hot spot” to satisfy your craving for bread.

Liz’s Bakery is open from 7 AM to 7 PM, daily except Sunday. You can expect the first batch of hot bread around 9 AM on Saturday and 10:30 AM on weekdays, with the last set out of the ovens around 4 PM. Take-out lunch is served daily.

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Gaspard Bosteels
Jul 12, 2020 17:49

Is it possible to get an e)mail adress çf mliss Lydwine Boeynaems .

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