Atlantic Ocean, Turks and Caicos - Katharine Varaklis

My name is Katharine Varaklis and I am a first year Life Science student at UofT. I was born here in Toronto, but have always lived in Oakville. My favourite season is summer so I always try to spend as much outside then as possible. I love swimming and being at the beach especially.

A few years ago, my best friend, Anika, and her parents, Brendan and Judit, invited me to go with them on their trip to Turks and Caicos for part of Christmas break. Of course, I excitedly accepted. Even though it was winter here, it was warm every day down there, so I was really looking forward to spending time in the sun and at the beach. On the first day when we got to our hotel, we all immediately changed into our bathing suits and walked to the beach, which was conveniently 2 minutes away. The particular beach was just off of the Coral Gardens Reef, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean, on the NW side of the island. When we got there, there were very few people in the water and we could see a few waves in the distance. We were very excited to be there, and the water looked inviting so we decided to go in, not realizing how rough the water was. The first few minutes weren’t too bad, but as we made our way out a little further, the waves grew stronger. Before we knew it, we were all pushed back to shore by the current and were covered in wet sand and pieces of seaweed. It was lots of fun initially, but we decided that was enough for the first day, so we walked back to our hotel. This experience did not necessarily make me scared of the ocean, just more aware of how strong it is. Now whenever I go to a beach near my cottage in PEI, I know to just be more mindful about it.

Bonnie McElhinny
Katharine Varaklis

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