Island Hopping in the Caribbean

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Birds of a feather flock together at Pine Cay

Unexpected guest has The Meridian Club staff in a flutter

Pine Cay, a private island getaway in the Caribbean, has been a fascinating entry in the travel logs of early explorers. Its abundant supply of fresh water has drawn maritime voyagers to this tiny windswept island in the Turks & Caicos archipelago since the days of Columbus. Today, Pine Cay and The Meridian Club draw a different type of visitor; one who is seeking a break from everyday routine. The kind of visitor who wants to escape the crowds of travelers and the bustle of tourism associated with other more densely-populated islands, to experience, instead, a throwback to the blissful holiday times of a bygone era.

Visitors to this private Caribbean getaway tend to experience a form of addiction to the solitude that it offers. They quickly get hooked on daily doses of walks along unspoiled, talcum-powder soft sand, the unobstructed, startlingly blue vistas, and the unhurried pace of life on Pine Cay. And for most visitors, the siren song that is the Pine Cay experience lures them back year after year.

One only has to imagine the smiles breaking out on expectant faces as the Turks & Caicos come into view through the clouds as planes prepare to land.

It’s little wonder then that the stunning aerial views attracted an uncommon visitor to Pine Cay in early April. Expected to stay only a day or two, this feathered guest has made himself at home at The Meridian Club, sustained by fresh water and helpings of grain offered by the resort staff. Affectionately nicknamed “Juan” after extending his trip past a week and winning over the hearts of staff and guests alike, the beautiful racing pigeon seems quite content to enjoy his flight detour and remain in transit for a while yet.

Easy to approach and extremely comfortable with people, Juan has been spending his days on the roofs of the Club House or the beach bungalows and enjoying the ocean breezes and captivating views. He has embraced the serenity of The Meridian Club by showing his preference for dining alone, arriving on the pool deck to feast on grains and water only when other guests have finished their meals.

Banded IF 2011 UCPR 7534, Juan is associated with the International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers, Inc., otherwise known as IF. A search of the website reveals that Juan’s flight path may have originated in Puerto Rico some 466 miles (749.79 kms) from Pine Cay. Although efforts are underway to repatriate Juan with his “flight” club, they have to-date remained unsuccessful. Staff at Pine Cay continues to makes calls to find Juan’s flock.

As for Juan, he is clearly no bird brain. He alighted on a secluded Caribbean island that has beckoned travelers for centuries. Some have stopped here on their way to other destinations to refuel water supplies, others have returned year after year to lose themselves in the isolation and quiet. And while it is unclear what Juan’s plans are, it seems that he is in no hurry to leave the paradise he has found on Pine Cay. He appears to be relishing this minor detour with the zeal of a pigeon that has flown too hard for too long. Looks like Juan has discovered what other guests at Pine Cay have known for years…that this tiny private island in the Turks and Caicos offers an unparalleled respite from the daily grind.