Turks & Chaos: Lost on Jewguana Island

Published January 3, 2014 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

“I can’t believe this is where we’re going to die.” said Dan as he looked at his wife – my niece – across a picnic table on a picturesque island in the British West Indies. It was one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen. Dubbed Iguana Island – for the massive amounts of Iguana’s that inhabit it – this is where we found ourselves one afternoon on my recent trip to Turks & Caicos. The Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands are tropical – known primarily for tourism and are British run with a population of about 31 thousand. Eighty percent of that population is African American – and 100 percent of that 80 percent probably thinks about murdering a white tourist at least once a day or at at the very least, spitting in their conch fritter. Have you ever noticed that white people talk to island people like they’re retarded? It’s so embarrassing listening to white people on vacation. Every word uttered to a waiter or a beach boy is done at a louder decibel level than necessary. They’re not deaf people, they’re black people. I was constantly finding myself inching away from some fat paste-y white person yelling at someone because their banana daiquiri wasn’t cold enough or – my favorite – “make sure you give me the good coffee and not the watered down stuff you’ve been using.” In case you didn’t know – island people are ripping you off every second. They are watering down your booze, giving you the bad umbrellas, not really cleaning your sheets, and going through your stuff and stealing from you every second of every day. This thankfully – is not how my family operates – that is – until we got dumped and left for dead on Iguana Island. Our four hour boat tour and lunch excursion started off innocently enough. We hired a private tour to take us snorkeling and then for a picnic lunch on Iguana Island. The snorkeling was amazing. Beautiful fish everywhere the eye could see. Then it was time to “catch” our lunch. We were instructed to follow the boats Co Captain and when we spotted a Conch Shell – to dive down and grab it. We all caught one or two but sadly found out they were too small to eat and had to toss them back. After about 20 minutes of conch diving – the white Jew in all of us kicked in. One by one we all returned to the boat empty handed and ready to bitch. “This is ridiculous, we’re never getting any. Guess we won’t be having lunch. These guys don’t know what they’re doing. What a dopey excursion. I see potato chips. That must be lunch. I’m starving. I’m tired. What do we do now. This is awful. Fuck my life.” All this said – I’ll have you know – in the most gorgeous spot I’ve seen – in quite some time – turquoise water – white sandy beaches – etc. The thing about vacations is – it takes days for your city brain to slow down to island brain – and it usually happens right as you’re boarding the plane back to the States. So here we were – a bunch of bitter Jews – wanting our damn conch lunch to hurry up and get there. Eventually the co captain found three large conch – and off we went – along with the “how is that gonna feed a group of six” conversation. The other thing white people do – is ask a lot of questions and do a lot of wondering. We rarely just let a situation unfold – especially on vacation. It’s slightly different for us Californians on vacation – because we’re used to being surrounded by island like people – except ours really are retarded. So – off we went to Iguana Island. We jumped off the boat and watched our co captain kill a conch. He made a hole in the shell and then we pulled out the conch. Attached was a little clear stem filled with liquid. “Eat that. It’s an aphrodisiac” –the co captain said.” Two of our men did. Then we laughed at them for twenty minutes saying how stupid they were to listen to a local when they said to eat something and that it was probably conch penis filled with conch semen. Then the co captain told us to – “walk towards the horizon, and find the picnic table, and watch out for the burrs.” So off we went, shoeless, because we’re idiots, and made our way to the other side of the island. It was absolutely fucking stunning. We were literally the only people on the island. I’ve never been anywhere like it. “Is this Iguana poop we’re walking in? Perfect. Ouch I caught a burr. This is stupid.” Eventually we made it to the other side of the island and found the picnic table. We figured we walked about three miles. (It was about four city blocks.) We sat at the picnic table chatting and waiting for our lunch to be delivered. After about forty five minutes later – it started – “So obviously they’re never coming. They probably took all our stuff and our hotel keys and are emptying the rooms right now. I can’t believe this is where we’re going to die. Does anyone have a cell phone. What the hell is wrong with these people. Lets go look and see if we can spot them. Is that our boat? Should we do something? I know they’re island people but how long does it take to make lunch. It was only three stupid conch. I’m starving.” Suddenly out of nowhere – a giant Iguana came out of the weeds. Probably about two feet long. It was beautiful. I have only seen them on television and never live. It was really cool. My niece tossed something to get it to look our way – it turned and charged everyone and up they went on top of the picnic table. “Okay – maybe we should just walk back towards the boat. Fuck lunch. Fuck this. They can deduct it from our overall price.” So off we went back to the other side of the island – where we found our captain and co captain and a lovely lunch waiting for us. Lobster, sandwiches, fresh conch salad etc. Yes, they had planned a full lunch. Where had we been, they asked? Guess you really liked walking around the island they said. Turns out we missed the part where they had told us – walk around – then come back for lunch. Or maybe they never said it. Who knows? They didn’t care that their work day had been extended by an hour. “No problem mon.” We had lunch, and rode back as the sun set in the distance. Stunning. Unforgettable. And we got to see an Iguana to boot. Sadly, we spent so much time jew-ing it up about being stranded that we forgot to soak in the amazing surroundings we were in – while we were there – to the fullest extent. We’re going back to Iguana Island next year – and while I’m sure we’ll be more relaxed – I’m also sure we’ll find something else to fret about – we are after all – Jews. Pissing, moaning and worrying is in our blood. And now – so is Conch Aphrodisiac.

One comment on “Turks & Chaos: Lost on Jewguana Island

  • Hi Heidi,
    What a great story. My wife and I spent a year and a half in the Bahamas diving for conch, lobster, grouper and hogfish aboard a 58′ Hatteras. I hope you get to go back to the islands and stay long enough to let the States wear off. Of all the islands in hte Caribbean, the BVI are my favorites.
    All the best,
    Howard

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