Meet Amy! We like to call her by her pen name Amy Caicos because, well, it fits! Amy is a Photographer, Writer, and Guidebook Author. We have been following Amy for a couple of years all while enjoying her simple, but breathtaking, captures of the naturally beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. We recently tracked down Amy to have a chat and to pick her brain on her ultimate Turks and Caicos.
Hello Amy! Tell us about yourself!
I have been taking pictures since I was a kid. I’ve always had a camera and I’ve made many photo albums. I’m not a studio or portrait photographer. I enjoy photographing scenes and objects just as I find them. 99.5% of my images are taken “on the fly” when I come upon something I think would make an interesting image. I’m almost always shooting solely with available light, most always with the camera hand held – many times out of a car window, while walking along or on a moving boat. Almost all of my images are not planned or staged. Often times I’ll be drawn to capture colors, natural or found composition, interesting angles or lines, light or an overall scene that interests me. I am 100% self taught.
In addition to sharing my images and providing digital content, I write and have authored several articles as well as a guidebook, available on iTunes.
Your photos of Turks And Caicos are so well captured. They make us feel like we are being hugged by the blue hues of the turquoise waters of these islands. How long have you been photographing the islands?
I have been photographing The Turks and Caicos Islands since my first visit in May of 2003. I started focusing on North and Middle Caicos, sister islands to the more popular Providenciales (Provo) in 2009, due to a lack of up to date information about the islands and getting there. I have concentrated on these two less developed, less populated islands ever since. I’ve been photographing Provo for so long that many of my images were made with film and slide film.
Can you recall your first trip to Turks And Caicos? How soon after did you return?
My first visit to The Turks and Caicos Islands was in May 2003. A group of family members met at Ocean Club East on Providenciales. I recall standing in the still and crystal clear water of Grace Bay Beach, having a discussion with my husband that, if someone told us we had died, and this was the afterlife, we would be 100% OK with it. We loved it so much, we bought property in The Turks and Caicos Islands within weeks of our first visit. We returned six months later in December 2003 and have been regular visitors ever since. We’ve developed many strong friendships on the islands and our trips are not so much vacations anymore as much as they are visits. I’m convinced that The Turks and Caicos Islands represent the total package in terms of a beach destination. As a local friend once told me – I’ve found my beach.
How do you split your time between TCI and home?
I try to make it to The Turks and Caicos Islands as often as I can, and like to visit every three months. Travel to the islands depends on what other adventures I have scheduled, as I like to travel the world and photograph and experience other places as well. For instance, last summer my husband and I were the only guests at the only surviving Tudor Palace in the world, Hampton Court Palace in England. However, there are plans to make Middle Caicos our “home base” once we’ve become a couple of leisure. 🙂
We know you LOVE the beach! What are your other recommendations of places to see on the island and why?
Middle Caicos is full of history. The Lucayan Indians made the island their home for over 700 years. I like to explore the caves on Middle Caicos, which were used by the Lucayans. I also like to walk out to Pelican Cay at Bambarra Beach, a sacred site for the Lucayans. During my walk I like to reflect upon those who walked the path to the cay before me. Hiking the Crossing Place Trail, which traverses along the coastline of Middle and North Caicos is another favorite past time. The trail has been used for centuries by people traveling between the islands, long before there was a manmade causeway.
Your e-book Amy’s Ultimate Guide To Middle Caicos offers a host of information on Middle Caicos. Do you have plans to uncover additional TCI islands for another book?
Yes, in fact, the next edition of my e-guidebook will feature detailed information on North Caicos and Middle Caicos, including dining, shopping, sightseeing and lodging. It will contain new maps, background and historical information about the islands, videos and lots more pictures.
Any advice on family friendly activities?
On Middle and North Caicos, the best family friendly activities are exploring the islands beaches together. You won’t find organized excursions, chain restaurants, or family fun centers on Middle Caicos. You’ll have to make your own fun and either share in meal preparation, or visit one of the two restaurants on the island. However, there are beautiful, secluded beaches that are perfect for family time. Bambarra Beach on Middle Caicos is typically calm and shallow, and is a great place to take small children who want to enjoy time in the water. In my experience, the best family activity is reconnecting with one another and nature, putting aside electronics for a while, and exploring the beauty while enjoying the serenity. Kayaking the mangrove flats is an excellent way for the family to explore the islands. Stop by The Middle Caicos Co-op to pick up a few locally made items like straw baskets, hats, and containers, made from local grasses and plants.
How about for the hopeless romantics among us?
Middle Caicos is beautifully serene. There are less than 175 residents on an island that is 48 square miles. You might encounter 10 people in a day, if you are out and about. So, the opportunity for old-school romance is great. I like to pack a cooler full of food and drinks, and head out to any one of the secluded beaches on the island, and enjoy a romantic beach date by ourselves.
Wade’s Green Plantation on North Caicos is a Loyalist Plantation from the late 1700s. The ruins and grounds are magical, and unlike anything else on the island.
Stargazing is also incredible. You’ll see more stars than you ever imagined possible, especially if it’s a new moon. If you look long enough, you are sure to see a shooting star upon which you and your love can make a wish. How’s that for romance?
If someone had only 24 hours in Turks And Caicos, where should they go, what should they see?
Mudjin Harbour on Middle Caicos should be at the top of the list for anyone visiting Middle Caicos. The limestone cliffs, bands of sapphire, turquoise and emerald water, crashing waves, pink sand, rock formations and green vegetation is completely different than Providenciales. It is truly breathtaking. They should then head “up the road” (east) toward Bambarra Beach for a completely different experience – a shallow, crystal clear beach at which, when the conditions are right, one can walk ½ mile out to a cay, through knee deep water.
If you could sum up the soul of Turks And Caicos in one photo, which one would it be? And why?
This question was the hardest of the bunch, as different images say different things to me about The Turks and Caicos Islands. However, upon reflecting for some time, I decided on the image of Mr. Brody Forbes, resident of Middle Caicos. Brody is also a founding member of The Middle Caicos Sailing Association, and a builder of the native sloops found on the island, including the miniature one in the image, raced during the Middle Caicos Valentine’s Day Cup held on Bambarra Beach. Boat carving is a skill that has been passed down for generations on the islands, and is sadly disappearing with the older generations, like so much island knowledge held by the elders of the islands (bush medicine, grass weaving, fishing, farming). The Turks and Caicos Islanders are a resilient and proud people, rich with history and heritage, for whom life has not been easy. Nevertheless, the people of North and Middle Caicos are helpful and kind to strangers, and I am grateful to have found my second home amongst them. I see all of that in Brody’s eyes in this picture.
As an aside, when I took the image, I told him it could end up in a magazine, promoting the islands and educating people about them and the people that live there. His response – “put it everywhere.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I am most active on my Instagram account, @amycaicos. All circumstances permitting, I post one image from The Turks and Caicos Islands, daily. However, I also like to supplement my daily TCI post with some of my other photography as well, which includes other places I have visited and sites I’ve stumbled upon. Instagram is also where I am most engaged with my followers. You’ll find a link to my e-guidebook, photo galleries, and published work at my website www.amycaicos.com.
In addition to Instagram and her website, you can also find Amy here:
Twitter – @AmyCaicos
Facebook – www.facebook.com/turksandcaicosguide (Amy’s Ultimate Guide to Middle Caicos)