Old Reviews – Bottle Creek Lodge

The Bottle Creek Lodge hosts, Jay and Sandy are a very affable couple with 3 charming children. The BCL cottages look out over a marine eco-system in the Caribbean. The flats of Bottle Creek that this little lodge is seated on is one of the most amazing Bone fish eco systems around, not by my limited experience, by the experience of other guests, I had the opportunity to get an education about these elusive sport fish from them and their 5 or so years of stalking them. As it turns out, in Bottle Creek they are not all that elusive if you have decent fly casting skills, mine are marginal and it showed, no regrets though. I believe this lodge is miss-marketed, this is a fishing lodge as you can fish from the dock for throw back reef fish and an occasional small keeper unless you opt for night shark fishing from the dock, that may be very exciting. The shore line bank is coral 3 feet above the water line as far as you can see, so walking away to fish along the shore is possible. You can kayak 30 to 40 minutes to a flat that the other guests went to and have a full day catching Bone fish, they did. Or you can have Jay take you 3 miles to the flat and save yourself some time for $40.00 each way. Or have Jay take you 3 miles to the reef and anchor as we did and fish for $300.00. The BCL also offers deep sea fishing, rates are a little less than the rates on Provo, the BCL boat is quite a bit smaller than the Provo big boys boats, so the comfort level would be a bit different as well, if you split the charter, Jay could handle about 4 at a time while the Provo big boys could handle 6 to 8 in a group at a time with ease. The difference between the Provo boats and the BCL 30 footer is huge; the Provo boats are about 100 ft in length, it would take more than 8 foot swells to make an uncomfortable ride, but good weather/seas may be on your side. Kayaking to any of the amazing places that are within 5 miles of the BCL as the kayak is paddled is truly a work out and if there is any wind like we ran into the first day, 10 to 15 mile an hour winds with gusts to 20, well it will make for a good nights sleep. You can opt for a drop off taxi from Jay; this will save you 5 miles of work each way or about 2 hours of time, which there is a lot of with nothing to do but fish. You will not see any one else while you are there except the occasional local or possibly one of the other guests, a tranquilizing experience. The only boats we saw were the locals that net the bone fish regularly from the local estuaries. Snorkeling on the reef that we were shown is a bit more than any beginner would feel comfortable splashing into, particularly children. Any one not skilled at swimming with 2 to 3 foot swells and tidal currents could very easily get washed into the coral heads that abound in this amazingly beautiful place. This is the place for seasoned snorkeling as Jay will show you how to find lobster here and spear fish the area, for a price. When we went on a charter fishing adventure and stopped at this place I thought we would not catch any fish of much size, I couldn’t have been more wrong, I caught a 20 inch Grouper and a 36 inch Barracuda and had a 48 inch or so Barracuda break off in the corals after it took 6 to 8 pounds of the fish we were trying to get in the boat, we finally got the head in the boat after feeding the barracuda, what an appetite they have. You can catch Barracuda, Grouper, Yellow Tail, Snapper and many other types of fish, Jay thought he saw a shark circling the boat when we first arrived so we started to cast bait for him, no luck though. If you think this is the place for a family get-a-way vacation think again, there is nothing to do here on this 150 ft wide by 500 ft deep section of land. There are no beaches to go to without an hour of driving or a workout, bring food and water. There is nothing else to do but sit in the sun or the shade of the boat house and drink, there are no waves to listen to as there is no beach, there is a 30 x 50 ft sand box to walk on. If you have children that can stand around for hours at a time and do nothing this is the place. There is always television in the restaurant. If you think the expression “the garden island” used by the government web-site and the BCL is real, wakeup, this island is covered in scrub trees and brush that only gets 20 feet high and thick as grass, there’s no exploring. There are a few birds to watch, about six varieties in all, mostly doves in numbers. If you opt for the boat ride from Provo to the BLC when you arrive, you will go to the first port on the west side of North Caicos just north of the Provo northern Cays and then have a 25 minute truck ride to BCL, you will want to remind Jay to stop at the grocery store during your ride. We didn’t realize we needed to remind him and we went right on by all 3 of the stores, there small and indiscrete in appearance. This made us perfect candidates to try Sandy’s cooking; she is a very good cook, I expected more than 4 oz of fish in the diner, but the cup and a half of broccoli and cup and a half of rice filled each of us up just fine. For such an informal setting and presentation I would have not expected to have spent quite that much, but with that being the only food available, we were grateful. We arrived on Saturday, all of the grocery stores are closed on Sunday, if we didn’t bring cereal and boxed milk, granola bars and pop corn we would have been rather hungry on Sunday. Our hosts didn’t mention or offer an apology for this inconvenience when conversation opened the door, only a ride to the store at 3:00pm on Monday when they were heading that way, very accommodating. During the night we wished we had pulled the mosquito net over our selves. All of the screens are in very good shape so we thought the mosquito net over the bed might have been there for ambience. Not the case, the mosquito net is required, probably due to the screen door that does not fit very well, even with the extra latch engaged to hold the door closer to the frame. The screened in porch looked sound with good screens in place, but no one gave thought to the porch floor decking, made from planks with the typical spaces in between each plank granting mosquito’s access to the cabin. After the first night we closed off the porch cutting the breeze down to almost nothing, the fan in the room worked well though. The other crawling bugs that littered the floor are a little unnerving when you wake in the night and one of them is crawling on your face. (More than once) If you like to ride bicycles they have a half dozen or so bicycles to choose from, all are vintage and have problems with the derailers shifting well, but don’t worry you only have the road to ride to town on and back again, it’s flat and a kind of boring ride, once will be enough. If you want to grocery shop by bike as we did on Monday morning, good luck hanging your groceries on the handle bars and riding back, as none of the bikes have baskets. You can rent one of the cars that they have available if you are a little daring, these cars could not pass a safety lane in any US state. The BCL site advertises the Flamingos in an estuary, 15 miles away; the birds are ¾ of a mile away or farther from the observation deck and Jay told us as we drove by this estuary on our initial ride to BCL that the visit was not worth it, thanks for advertising the attraction on the web site. You will need the car if you want to see the really amazing beaches, about 20 miles away from the BCL, worth the time though; we walked for 2 miles one-way and saw no one on these 100 foot wide pristine white coral sand beaches, ever, either direction, except the construction crews working on the four hotels under construction. The beach umbrella that was supplied by BCL was broken and about useless so bring SPF 50. This is a much better place to snorkel for beginners and intermediates as you can find small reefs with many fish and coral that are not difficult to navigate, as well you can find many areas of grass flats to stand up on and talk or rest if you desire, as you could easily snorkel out from shore a ¼ mile and more. Any of the adventures located on Middle Caicos have a BCL boating fee attached to them as you will need Jay to taxi you there, add this $120.00 cost to the advertised adventure price. The ferry that runs on Saturday only; also runs from 8:00am to 2:30pm only; that will make for a short automobile adventure as you will not want to miss the schedule.

There are many things that were amazing about this trip, there are many things that I do not want to experience again about this trip, mostly the being nickel and dimed to death part. For a $200.00 per day room that is small and furnished with a vintage stove that requires turning the gas off behind the stove on the incoming gas line or a shower that only dribbles out water, at least it was warm for 5 minutes, you might think that drinking water would be included, or if you charter the 4 hour reef fishing adventure that includes lunch you might expect to get a can of soda to be included with the package lunch, the two sodas were extra. I was disappointed to see the captain fishing while the charter guests were without bait on their lines, several times during the “adventure”. As well when it came time to fillet the catch, Jay wanted to know how much of the Grouper he would be given for the filleting service, he was serious as when he finished, he asked again; “how much are you going to give me?”. All of this is just a little worse than being worked to death to operate the only transportation (kayaking) worth using included in the rates to see this amazing beautiful eco-system. So bring your wallet or start working out 6 months prior to your departure and you better want to fish, fish, fish.

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