WORLD CANCER DAY 2017

On the 4th February, World Cancer Day is being observed under the theme “We Can. I Can”. World Cancer Day presents the opportunity to raise awareness and draw attention to the fact that we can all help to prevent and or control cancer.

Addressing cancer in the TCI and globally calls for combined efforts between governments, civil society organizations and nongovernmental organizations to promote action and investments in areas including promotion of healthy lifestyles, tobacco control, cancer screening and early detection, allowing for improved cancer treatment services, and if there is no possible cure palliative care.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are encouraged to be inspired and take action! The number of cases of cancers being diagnosed within the TCI has significantly increased over the years. Mrs. Aldora Robinson, Director of Health Promotion and Advocacy stated; “We must take responsible action for our health, we need regular medical checkups, early detection is critical, we need to exercise and reduce our intake of the foods that increase our risk for cancer.”

The Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services the Hon. Edwin Astwood stated; “As the Minister, my team and I have embarked on the practice of maintaining a healthy diet and I encourage everyone living in the Turks and Caicos Islands to start a healthy diet plan, practice regular and proper physical activity and remember together we can reduce and prevention the risk of cancer and cancer associated ailments.”

The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services are continually improving not only access to care, but developing programs to assist individuals in the prevention and control of cancers.  For more information contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 338-2772.

Let us join forces as we take action, yes we can.

BIRDS IN PARADISE

BIRDS IN PARADISE
Grab your binoculars for an eco-adventure to the islands of North and Middle Caicos

An archipelago of 40 islands and cays boasting the slogan, “Beautiful by Nature”, the Turks and Caicos is a dream come true for naturist. The two largest islands in the chain, North and Middle Caicos, are islands of abundant natural beauty. North and Middle Caicos have remained largely undeveloped, and retain a quiet, rural, village atmosphere.

On the northern coast, the islands feature a mixture of dramatic cliffs and caves interlaced by miles of stunningly beautiful and secluded beaches. In the heart of the islands, fertile soil gives birth to a lush vegetation of fruit trees, pine forests and farmland. To the south, one of the UK’s largest Ramsar sites for protected wetlands runs through a good portion of North, Middle and nearby East Caicos, resulting in approximately 210 square miles of uninhabited and unspoiled marine and terrestrial ecosystem, making these islands an eco-adventurers paradise, with bird watching at its heart.

These areas host a variety of native and migrant bird species such as the rare whistling duck to sandpipers, plovers, osprey and pink flamingos.  In fact, North Caicos boasts the largest flock of flamingos in the Turks and Caicos Islands at the aptly named “Flamingo Pond Nature Reserve” where the pastel-colored birds frolic in their natural habitat. 

Should you take a quick daytrip over to North and Middle Caicos via the TCI Ferry (only $50 round trip), be sure to take a binoculars and a camera to capture all the action. Whether you book a guided tour of the islands or rent a car and self-explore, here are a few stops recommended by Turks and Caicos National Museum for amazing bird finds:

North Caicos:

·       In Kew, the Government Farm is a good place for Anis, Cattle Egrets and migrants.

·       A walk in Oak Tree Park in the centre of Kew may reveal a variety of bird life, including warblers and Cuban Crows.

·       At Wades Green Plantation a number of land birds, including the Key West Quail-dove and migrating warblers can be seen.

·       At the eastern end of North Caicos, before the causeway to Middle Caicos, the road passes through an extensive marsh of low Red Mangrove bushes which offers good opportunities to see a variety of water birds, including White-cheeked Pintails. 

Middle Caicos:

·       The Conch Bar Village Pond, part of the Conch Bar Caves Nature Reserve, attracts a family party of West Indian Whistling Ducks, a rare bird that gets its name from a distinctive whistling call.

·       Along the dramatic coast at Mudjin Harbour in Conch Bar, look out for Pelicans, Osprey, Kestrel and various scrub birds.

·       Bambarra Beach is another good place to see Pelicans

·       On a trip to Lorimers towards the residential end of Middle Caicos, you’ll come to Haulover Field Road which  passes through recovering tropical dry forest, and is a good place to spot the greater Antillean Bullfinch and Thick-billed Vireo endemic sub-species, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Bahama Woodstars, Bananaquits and other scrub birds.

Both North and Middle Caicos are the best also for spotting the Cuban Crow, a bird restricted to the Caicos Islands and Cuba, and the Bahama Woodstar, shared between Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas. 

To assist your bird watching adventure while visiting the Turks and Caicos, grab a copy of the guide booklet, “Bird Watching in Paradise – Middle & North Caicos; Turks & Caicos Islands: A guide to birdwatching and heritage sites”, with full color photographs of birds, maps and guiding text, can be purchased from the National Museum gift shop and other outlets on island. The guide series also features individual booklets for bird watching in Providenciales, South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.

COME HAVE A WHALE OF A TIME IN TURKS AND CAICOS

Experience the migration of humpback whales off the coast of Grand Turk and Salt Cay this winter

Winter brings much excitement to the quiet, tropical islands of the Turks and Caicos (TCI).  The destination welcomes ‘snow birds’, winter weary travelers, from the northern hemisphere and the surrounding waters welcomes one of nature’s most dramatic shows – the migration of magnificent humpback whales; a real treat for whale watchers, adventurers, and local water sports operators.

While watching is said to be one of the most amazing experiences to live. Every year at this time these magnificent humpback whales travel through the Columbus Passage from as far away as Iceland and Greenland to give birth on the Silver Banks southeast of TCI and north of the Dominican Republic. This migration occurs from late January until early April.

While these graceful and majestic giants are a wonder to behold, and come close by all of our islands, the shores off Grand Turk and Salt Cay offer the best viewing. Getting to Grand Turk and Salt Cay is easy.  Local airlines offer daily flights (about 30 minutes one way) and once there, you can take a trip with a local excursions operator.  You can even go snorkeling or scuba diving to see the whales!  Hotel accommodations are available on both islands, too.

If you’re unable to take a visit to Grand Turk or Salt Cay, you may still be in luck. Scuba and snorkel operators in Providenciales see the whales every year as they gently surface and glide through the waters just off Grace Bay Beach. Divers and snorkelers delight in the long and complex songs of the male whales as they presumably sing mating songs to their better halves.

Humpback whales are very social and regularly travel in groups of two or more. On special occasions, especially near the end of the mating season, you may see the whales returning home with their calves.

Observing the migration of humpback whales is one of the many fantastic activities the Turks and Caicos has to offer and reason enough to pay us a visit between January and April, which is when they visit us.