There’s a saying amongst folks who spend their lives on the water—big ocean, small world. That’s what we were thinking when we walked down the docks with Delphine Hartshorn, a born-and-raised Turks & Caicos local and charter boat manager who we met through a mutual fishing friend of ours. We needed some local knowledge, and figured, why not do a little fishing while we’re at it? Sometimes, these things just work out.
“My dad bought our first Panoply, a 1981 Bertram 46, as basically a floating office,” Delphine told us, as we headed out of the harbor and into the chop of the Atlantic aboard Panoply II, Delphine’s 50-foot Viking Sportfish. “I’ve always been fishing, but it wasn’t until I got back from grad school that I really go into it. I caught my first marlin and I was hooked. I left my day job and started Panoply Charters.”
Over the years Delphine and her crew have grown—the fleet now boasts a 46-foot Hydrasport and a 38-foot Intrepid in addition to the Viking—and they’ve made quite a name for themselves in the offshore circuit in the process. “We represented Turks & Caicos Islands in the Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica this past year,” Delphine told us. “I bagged a 400-pound pacific blue marlin. It was pretty incredible.” Delphine and her crew came in third out of more than 50 boats.
It was right around this time that one of Delphine’s mates spotted a sailfish off the bow. “I know that y’all are taking pictures and we’ve got guests onboard,” Delphine said to our photographer, “but if I hook into a sailfish I’m jumping on it.” (We didn’t get that sailfish, but we did end up landing three wahoo. Not a bad day.)
As we pulled back into the marina and gathered our gear, we asked our most important vacation question—where do you get a drink around here? Turns out, there’s plenty of answers. “We’ve got a lot of really good restaurants down here. We’re spoiled for choice,” Delphine told us. “But we don’t do late night that much. For us, we drink early, go to bed early, and we’re up with the sun.” Not a bad lifestyle to live by.