upcoming events

Turks & Caicos Islands open water swimmingIf you’re thinking about planning a Caribbean vacation early next summer and want to beat the heat, you might consider Provo and Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos.
In early July 2012 Grace Bay will host its third annual Race for the Conch “open-water swimming” competition. July is typically a hot time of year in the Caribbean, so why not spend most of your time in the water?
The Race for the Conch is a one-mile swimming race that will be hosted by  Grace Bay’s beautiful white-sand beaches. Swimmers will share the water with the usual Caribbean suspects – dolphins, tropical fish, and many different varieties of corals – and it’s a good chance to combine your competitive instincts with a relaxing vacation.
What is open water swimming? While many runners have been traveling to all over the world for 10K’s and marathons for years, open water swimming is running’s aquatic counterpart. Hordes of swimmers gather at a beach clad in swimming trunks and not much else (while fins, paddles, and wetsuits are not be permitted, swimmers generally use goggles) and compete to see who can clear the course the fastest.
As a matter of fact, open water swim racing is one of the fastest growing participatory sports in the world and is the newest Olympic event. On the amateur circuit, the the Waikiki Roughwater Swim is one of the most famous open water swimming events, and the sport is popular around the world from Vanatu to Ireland.
The race course is marked by a series of buoys, and the first half of the course runs west roughly parallel to the beach on Grace Bay. The second half of the course goes east back toward finish line roughly parallel to beach.
Adding a unique TCI touch, a conch shell will be blown signaling the start.
In the Caribbean, besides Grace Bay, open water competitions are held on St. John (www.friendsvinp.org), St. Croix (www.swimrace.com), and Bonaire (www.aquamoonadventures.com), just to name a few. If you want more information about the sport, conact Randy Nutt at Aqua Moon adventures (www.aquamoonadventures.com); Randy has been organizing open water swimming meets since 1979.
Of course, the folks at the Sands at Grace Bay believe that Providenciales provides the ideal open-water swimming experience. After the competition, participants can enjoy Grace Bay’s great beaches, great food and great people – all less than an hour from Miami.
For more information about signing up for the 2012 Race for the Conch, check out www.ecoseaswim.com.
Charles Edwards frequently blogs for the Sands at Grace Bay.