Catch the Wave Charters
Phone: (649) 941-3047
Big Blue Unlimited
Phone: (649) 946-5034
Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board
Phone: (800) 241-0824
Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association
Phone: (649) 946-2445
Turks and Caicos -- Bonefishing was on my agenda for the first time
in my life, and I couldnt wait.
winds kicked up and what had been calm waters near Stubbs Creek and
Mangrove Cay in the morning were white-capped by
Wind is bad for
bonefishing, Edward [Eddy] Missick, boat captain/fly-fishing guide
and head of Catch the Wave Charters at Leeward Marina just up the
road from Grace Bay Club, told me. You need calm, flat, placid
waters. We dont go out in wind.
Missick taught me some of the basics of holding and casting the
rod, and catching and releasing a bonefish, inside his cluttered
shop. His fleet of six boats, from skiffs to deep-sea trawlers and
dive boats, bobbed in the water at the dock outside.
seemed fairly simple to me. While he tied lures and repaired lines,
Missick told me that bonefishing is a love that is passed from
father to son.
Kids down here
know it, love it. It takes a lifetime to master it, but it sure is
fun trying. The thrill is in listening to the reel sing.
The shop and the
kiosks outside were plastered with fading pictures of smiling
tourists holding big fish. Its all catch and release. The fish are
photographed and returned to the sea.
More than 80% of
Missicks 6-year-old business is repeat and referral. His is a
year-round business, and he can customize just about any kind of
boat activity for his clients, from snorkeling and diving to beach
cruising and blue-water fishing (day or night), complete with beach
barbecues accompanied by fresh conch caught minutes
between $400 and $600 for a half-day boat charter, depending on the
activity selected. Three is the maximum number of people Missick or
his guides will take bonefishing at a time.
Missick said that
10% of his business comes through agents. He will pay 10%
commission or take agents out fishing for free when theyre on the
The wind had
quieted by next morning but not enough, so my activity that day was
a two-person kayak ride through the waters of the Princess
Alexandra National Marine Park with my guides from Big Blue
Unlimited at the same marina.
founded in 1997, promotes eco-adventures that range from half-day
kayak tours and snorkeling trips to full-day explorations of
18th-century plantation ruins on North Caicos and cave safaris on
through mangrove channels, listened to bird calls and spotted
starfish 20 feet down in the clearest waters I had ever seen. We
docked at Little Water Cay, a 150-acre uninhabited preserve that is
home to more than 2,000 rock iguanas.
A wooden sign
posted the rules of Iguana Etiquette, which included reminders to
stay on the boardwalks; not to feed, touch or harass the iguanas;
and to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
The folks at Big
Blue worry about the impact of mass tourism on the Turks and
Caicos, as does the government.
who account for more than 70% of all air arrivals, totaled close to
130,000 last year, up 10,000 over the previous year.
Well exceed that
figure this year, said Ralph Higgs, deputy director of
One percent of
the 10% accommodations tax is allocated for conservation efforts,
and there are other funding measures in place, as well.
fuels the economy, the Turks and Caicos are the pioneers in
ecotourism, Higgs said. We were working to protect sanctuaries and
marine preserves long before it was cool to do so, Higgs
support of responsible tourism, especially as we experience visitor
increases and the impact of more resorts, larger cruise piers and
Its a message
thats as clear as the waters surrounding these islands.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].