We had one of our most memorable vacations this summer. We visited a beautiful island in the British West Indies, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. There is something special about getting away from the day to day stresses of life at home, and spending time together in a new and different place. Every time we travel, we become closer as a family. We also learn so much from our adventures. Learning in a classroom is only a small part of educating our kids. Travel is rich with learning opportunities. When we returned home, I asked my kids to tell me what new things they had learned during our vacation. I thought that I would share some of these with you!
Why is the water so blue here? The Turks and Caicos Islands and its subterranean foundation is primarily limestone. The limestone is fine, soft, and very white. Because of this, the sand on the beach and the ocean floor has almost no gravel and is a beautiful clean white color. The light reflects off of this light colored sand creating the many hues of turquoise blue water.
What lives in a Conch shell? On the shore of the beach, we met some divers who were selling their conch shells. The men showed us live conch, also known as sea snails. The animal lives down deep in the shell. The men then removed the conch and explained how they used part of the animal for fishing bait, and the other part to eat. The shells were all different shades of pink and brown. We were told that the brown conchs were from deeper in the ocean. Later that night, we were able to taste conch made into fritters!
Sailing on a Hobie Cat sailboat. The entire family was able to take lessons from an instructor at our resort and sail our own sailboat. We learned how to take note of the wind directions, how to work the ropes, adjust our sails, when to lower the rudders, and of course, how to steer and steady the boat. We had so much fun! This was one of the highlights of the trip for everyone. In addition to sailing, we also kayaked, paddle boarded, and Emily learned to wind surf.
Exploring Coral Reefs and Sea Life. The reefs in Turks and Caicos are known as some of the top snorkeling spots in the world. Reefs here have been protected and unharmed. We were able to grab our snorkeling gear and walk a few feet from the beach to see beautifully colored fish, turtles, eels, manta rays, and all kinds of plants and coral. A family we met one morning saw some nurse sharks and a barracuda! I was secretly glad that we did not run into those while we were on the reef! During the winter months, typically January through April, you can spot Caribbean humpback whales as they migrate through this area.
What is a Sun Halo? Although this can happen anywhere, we have never seen anything like it before. We were having lunch outside near the beach and looked up to see a rainbow circling all the way around the sun. We had to do a little research to find out that the halo is formed when light from the sun is refracted by ice crystals found in upper level cirrus clouds. The light bends at a 22 degree angle producing a ring of light observed at 22 degrees from the sun. It was absolutely beautiful and amazing to see!
Twenty years from now you will be more disapppointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do...Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain