The nearest Caicos island, 22 miles west of Grand Turk, South Caicos; also known as The Big South or East Harbour, (pop: 1,198), was once the most populous and the largest producer of salt. It is now the main fishing port having benefited from the most naturally protected harbour in the islands and is also known as East Harbour, or the ‘rock’. As a result yachts frequently call here and a popular annual regatta is held at the end of May. There is excellent diving along the drop off to the south and the best snorkelling is on the windward side going east and north. The beaches going E & N are totally deserted. You can walk for miles beachcombing along the east shore. Boat trips can be organized with fishermen to the island reserves of Six Hill Cays and Long Cay. Further south are the two Ambergris Cays, Big and Little, where there are caves and the diving and fishing are good.
Cockburn Harbour is the only settlement and is an attractive, if rather run down, little place with lots of old buildings, a pleasant waterfront with old salt warehouses and boats of all kinds in the harbour. Stop to enjoy local cuisine in any of the little restaurants including Dora's who is famous for her lobster sandwich and Love's for a refreshing but intoxicating coconut rum with a splash of pineapple juice. This island joins Grand Turk and Salt Cay as one of the best locations for whale-watching from January through April. South Caicos is home to Boston University's Field Studies School in the old Admiral's Arm Inn.
Divers will want to check out Eagles' Nest and a Convair 29A airplane wreck that lies in about 60 feet of water. There are plenty of snapper, jacks and permit, with schools all around the wreck. Also check natural reserves on Long Cay and Six Hill Cay and to the diving and fishing areas of Big Ambergris and Little Ambergris Cay where exceptional fishing, beachcombing and snorkeling can be found.
The District Commissioner’s house, currently unoccupied, stands atop a hill southeast of the village and can be recognized by its green roof. The School For Field Studies is in the 19th-century Admiral’s Arm Inn, and attracts undergraduate students from abroad to the island to study reef ecology and marine resources, but otherwise there are very few visitors. Wild donkeys, cows and horses roam the island and several have made their home in an abandoned hotel construction site along the coast from the Residency. The Salinas (salt fields) dominate the central part of the island and there is a ‘boiling hole’, connected to the sea by a subterranean passage, which was used to supply the salt pans. It makes an interesting walk and you may see flamingos. Call the helpful District Commissioner, for further information, T 649-946-3211.
Sailrock; just off the southern tip of the Bahamas chain will be a unique, low-density, authentic Caribbean paradise that will gracefully marry a charming historic Caribbean fishing village with a world-class resort.