TripAdvisor vote Grace Bay Beach the No 1 in the world- but we knew that all along!

18th November 2018 9:42 am

The TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards have spoken- Grace Bay beach is the best in the world. Thousands of reviews from travellers just like yourself have been analysed and aggregated, and the results were overwhelming. So if you’re planning the ideal winter getaway this year, it’s time for you to come and say ‘Hi’ to the Big Blue Collective, and bask in the sun on the-official now- world’s best beach.

Meet the island of Grace Bay Beach

Even if you don’t know much about the Turks and Caicos, chances are you’ve heard of our most populated island- Providenciales. A little bit of a mouthful, the locales tend to just call it Provo. Home to the international airport servicing the islands, it’s also where most of the hotels, villas and resorts can be found. There’s little wonder it’s so iconic a part of the TCI landscape- the exquisite lure of Grace Bay beach aside, Provo has a little bit of something for everyone. There’s an 18-hole golf course calling you to walk its greens- it’s even been voted one of the best courses in the Caribbean, so you know we aren’t kidding- tennis courts, and plenty of trails to go biking if you love to live an active lifestyle. There’s luxury day spas and shopping opportunities galore, allowing you to indulge and let go of the stress of daily life, and Pilates and yoga are even offered on the beaches to help you rebalance from the inside-out.

Being one of the most developed islands in the Turks and Caicos chain, Provo is also home to some of the best food around. Of course, there’s plenty of succulent seafood to indulge in-including that you catch yourself- but there’s a little bit of something for every set of taste buds. If you want a true taste of the islands, be sure to indulge in a conch dish or two!

Fun, sun, water and play are the name of the day on Provo

Talking about heritage and culture, there’s plenty of that too. Provo is redolent in historical sites to explore- and you’re sure to fall in love with the quaint Bermudian architecture in the older parts of town, too. Wade and Cheshire Hills offer a glimpse into the island’s time as a cotton plantation HQ, there’s the intricacies of the Conch Farm to acquaint yourselves with, plenty of sites tied to the salt industry, and natural wonders galore. You can even get an overview of the area from the air with helicopter tours!

But there’s no doubt what the biggest draw for the Grace Bay Beach area is- and that’s the beaches and the water. Head out early for a pre-dawn adventure on a stand up paddle board, or ride the winds kite surfing. Scuba and dive sites abound, with a few iconic ones nestling just off shore of Grace Bay Beach herself. Awe-inspiring marine life swirls around you in dazzling colours as you snorkel at the reef, and if you want to see nature at its most dazzling there’s a boat-trip through the marine reserve to consider. If it can be done in the wind or on the water, then you’ll find it here on Provo. And, of course, Providenciales is the headquarters of the Big Blue Collective, too, so we are perfectly placed to help you make the very best out of your experience.

Bask on the TripAdvisor number 1 beach in the world- Grace Beach

But then there is the beaches. Grace Bay and her rolling sands are beckoning to you! Imagine the very best of a Caribbean beachfront, then double it. Feel the powder-soft sand, so perfectly white and inviting, radiating the warm heat from the sun overhead. Add turquoise gem-like waves lapping softly at its fringes while boats and people play in the water unfolding below you. Only the odd palm interrupts the perfection- and it’s almost all yours. Despite her radiant beauty, the Turks and Caicos aren’t yet as popular a destination as the rest of the Caribbean, and you’ll find a place free from the typical crowds here. And if you feel like heading off the beaten track a little, there’s any number of gorgeous nature walks that start at the lush vegetation surrounding the beach. Your heart will leap out of its chest, and your soul will bask in the beauty of it all. If you’re feeling a strong need to unwind and escape from it all this season, then your home-away-from-home is waiting for you here. Conveniently ringed by many of the resorts and villas in the area, grabbing a snack [or a heady cocktail] is simple, too, so there’s really no need to move from your spot at all.

If you’re looking for some even better news, we have that too- Grace Bay isn’t the only beautiful beach the Turks and Caicos has to offer! From semi-secluded magnificent stretches of beach just begging for a romantic sunset walk, to the dramatic limestone cliffs of the bay on Grand Turk, there’s a whole wealth of natural beauty just begging you to explore and enjoy.

TripAdvisor have simply confirmed what we knew all along- that Grace Bay Beach is the very best beach experience you could ever have. Come join the fun in this gorgeous corner of the world, and allow the Big Blue Collective to help you make all your beach dreams come true today.


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New name, same great experience: welcome to the Big Blue Collective!

15th November 2018 9:41 am

With over 2 decades of experience in the Turks and Caicos, there’s very good reasons that Big Blue Unlimited is a name that came to be synonymous with quality, care and passion. A lot can change in two decades, though- as anyone who’s taken a trip back in time via their closet can attest! Sports evolve, hotels grow and the needs of visitors change- but one thing never has. Our passion, expertise and commitment to service with a smile remain as strong as ever- and we’re super proud to introduce you to the next stage in our evolution. Big Blue Unlimited is all grown up, and proud to express our growing network of friends and family as the all-new Big Blue Collective! It may be a new name- but the same superlative experience awaits you.

Twenty years of passion, pride and fun

Who could not be inspired by the staggering beauty of the TCI archipelago that surrounds us? Certainly not us! Using all the wealth of experience our local guides- we aren’t a transient company, and call the TCI our home year-round- we’re proud to offer you the very best of what the Turks and Caicos have to offer. It’s why we’ve come to be so highly sought after, after all! The Turks and Caicos may seem like a small island group, but there’s an overwhelming amount of things to do here. We know you want something more than average, which is why we work so hard to help you hand-craft the perfect trip for you. Every guest experience if fully customisable, to help you get the very best from your adventure with us. Whether it’s soaking in the peace of the back islands in our eco-tours, or powering your way through the gorgeous blue seas with a range of wind- and water sports, we love to help you achieve your dreams.

The spirit to build insider knowledge

Here at the Big Blue Collective, we live and breathe our passion for the Turks and Caicos. A key part of that is our experienced team, who call the island’s home year-round. We’ve seen the TCI at the pinnacle of perfection, and we’ve weathered a few of her less-great moments. This allows our experienced dive team to share all the secrets gathered over the last twenty years with you. We’ve experienced the odd hurricane, we’ve met the dolphins and stingray that flit through the blue waters personally, and we’ve felt the thrill of whale season each year as these gentle giants show themselves in the local seas. The Big Blue Collective is here to share it all with you- the laid back-chill vibe of the island, our party spirit with our festivals and regattas, the knowledge of how to tread lightly on the world and preserve her natural beauty for the next generation to enjoy, and all the tricks of getting the very best from your island experience.

These long years of fun, exploration and learning enable us to offer you guest experiences had nowhere else. We’re the only ones to offer all 5 dive sites for the TCI, for example, and we’re just as happy off-the-beaten-track as we are on it. We’ve explored the secrets of the unpopulated islands, and we’ve met their wildlife personally- now it’s time to share that with you. Leave your guest experience in our trusty hands, and you’ll soon experience the Big Blue Collective’s unique difference.

Enjoy your vacation your way

Don’t let all of this make you think we’re here to micromanage your time here though [unless that’s what you want, of course]! We know you’re here to kickback and relax, and allow your soul to embrace the peaceful beauty of the area. Adaptability and flow are the name of the game. Allow us to handle the nitty-gritty details of your time here, while you concentrate on enjoying your holiday your way. Whether fun means sun-drenched days and party nights, clocking up time on the waves, exploring the island’s rich history or enjoying an ecological adventure that does no harm, we’ll help you make your time here perfect. Whatever your definition of ‘fun’ we have the toolkit to help make it happened- from our experienced instructors and our private fleet right through to all the insider tips and tricks you could need.

Growing together into the future

You see, the TCI isn’t about us, or a bucket list, or a ‘must-do’ this-and-that you need to meet. It’s about you and your unique spirit, and learning to vibe with the islands. That’s why we’ve opted to become the Big Blue Collective- because every visitor, every moment and every experience is what makes us collectively better and stronger. Your unique essence is what helps us bring our passion for the TCI alive. Watching you experience this beautiful corner of the world we call home, meeting each unique personality and watching you fall in love with the Turks and Caicos the same way we have- that’s what keeps us working so hard. Once you’ve experienced the TCI for yourself, you’ll understand why we love doing what we do so much- and we just know we’ll see you back again and again, too.

Join the collective today

It’s time for you to join the adventure! No two experiences of the TCI are ever the same. Each and every sunrise brings new inspiration [and new surprises to keep us on our toes]. Each sunset is a chance to enjoy new friends and share new experiences. This keeps us grounded in the now, maintaining our commitment to the small group experience that honours nature and our guests.

It’s been twenty years, and we’re proud to have you join us in the next stage of our evolution. The Big Blue Collective is pure adventure. Pure excitement. 100% Natural. See you on, in, under or over the water soon!

 


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Early Bird Discount – Fall 2018

19th September 2018 4:24 pm

Thanksgiving is just over 10 weeks away and summer has only just finished! We are already booking super fast through the Christmas and New Years’ holidays with spaces and boats already limited. 

You’ll guarantee your spot and a big SAVE 15% across our entire 2018/19 adventure line by booking early, before 31st October, 2018, using our EARLYBIRD18 code.
NOW you can also book accommodations through us and you’ll save even more.

EARLY BIRD 18 terms and conditions

  • Must use or mention the code EARLYBIRD18
  • Bookings must be complete by 31st October, 2018
  • Offer expires midnight 31/10/18
  • Discount Not applicable to additional trips booked after 31/10/18
  • Offer good for trips booked through 30th August, 2019
  • BLACK OUT DATES: 22/12/18 – 04/01/2019 (22nd December, 2018 – 4th Janurary, 2019)
  • Standard cancellation policies apply

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High-Resolution 3D Multibeam Survey of the Caicos Platform Margin November 2017

8th January 2018 10:22 am

Introduction

A prestigious team of Geo-scientists from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas has been studying the shape, geometry, and variability of the Caicos platform. Of particular interest is the shelf margin that has been modified by sea-level changes which have occurred over the past 400,000 years. During glacial maximums (times of global sea level lows), it is believed that significant wave cut notches developed along the shelf margin at depths of -80 and -125 meters below current day sea level. These notches may be linked to the collapse of large reef blocks that can be observed at recreational dive sites along the leeward margin of the Caicos platform (e.g., Coral Stairway west of Amanyara).

 

In November 2017 they collaborated with us at Big Blue to conduct a multibeam survey from the north-west point of Provo along the western edge of the banks down to West Caicos and then along the southern edge of the banks to French Cay and onto West Sand Spit. An amazing amount of high resolution data was collected over this 70 mile stretch.

 

The objectives of the study included:

  1. Creation a high-resolution 3D bathymetry of the steep-walled rim along an approximately 70 km long survey from North West point to West-End Spit;
  2. Integrate the shelf margin with the platform that was mapped by the previously acquired airborne Topo-bathymetric survey by the University of Texas at Austin;
  3. Enable detailed characterization of the upper 400 m of the slope and steep-walled reef margin within the survey area;
  4. Improve the understanding of the dynamic between shelf margin geometry and sea-level changes.

 

The Equipment

Multibeam echosounder surveys utilize the same technology as commercial fish finders, but the instruments used by the research team, the Reson model T-50 multibeam echosounder and Edgetech Sidescan sonar, sent a wider signal to enable surveying a swath of the seafloor in 3D down to 400 meters. Our dive vessel Live and Direct was rigged with the echosounder on a fixed arm that transmitted and received data while traveling 4-7 knots along the edge of the shelf boundary. It took 6-days to cover the distance and collect the data. We were blessed with some favourable weather and the data collected was exceptional.     

 

The Results

Post-processing of the date was conducted at the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Drs. Chris Zahm and John Goff. The dataset was combined in a 3D triangulated surface to enable detailed mapping characterization of the shape and geometry of the shelf margin. Here are some of the initial bathymetric maps of West Caicos, Sandbore Channel and the North-West Point areas. There are dynamic ranges of topography on West Caicos (0 to 18 m above sea level), and bathymetry on the shelf (0 to -25 m below sea level), the wall (-25 to -150 m) and slope (-150 m to -350 m). What is very interesting to note is how deep the vertical walls go.  These maps show that the vertical walls descends to almost 400ft/120m which supports data on the extent of the sea-level fall during glaciation. The preliminary map of West Caicos is obtained from the raw data of an individual sounding from the multibeam and includes horizontal contours placed at 120ft/36m. It shows us that as recreational divers we are really only seeing the very top of the wall. Subsequent maps combine data from different runs to provide a more accurate image and we’re grateful for a better understanding of our famous walls. Does this get you excited for your next dive in the Turks and Caicos?


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Turks and Caicos Weather in December

19th December 2017 9:08 am

Turks and Caicos weather in December offers some of the best conditions you will ever have in the Caribbean. December is well into the “dry” season, and it is the time when the Turks and Caicos truly claims its top spot of being one of the world’s best paradises.

Turks and Caicos Weather in December

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in December tends to average between 24°C and 28°C (or 82°F and 75°F respectively).

November 30 is the official end of the hurricane season (that officially began June 1) so December has historically been a hurricane-free month. In fact, it’s unlikely that there will be much rainfall during December.

Turks and Caicos in December

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but December is peak travelling time. This means the Turks and Caicos will be at its busiest with tourism prices being at their highest. However, this also means the tourism sector will be in full swing, and you expect every touring operation to do everything they can to exceed your expectations.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos will be less of a nuisance in December than in most months. While the Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos, they only become a nuisance when there is flooding, which is unlikely in December.

Also, trade winds tend to pick up during December, which can greatly reduce a mosquito’s ability to fly. Tourist areas like Providenciales will practically be mosquito free.

Activities

Turks and Caicos in December is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with mostly calm conditions.

The ocean water is at a very comfortable 82°F, or 28°C.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches at this time. Even if the ocean gets a bit choppy from the higher winds, the natural reefs form a shelter that protects the beaches from high surf. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Snorkeling and Diving

Snorkeling and diving are great activities to do when you’re in the Turks and Caicos during December. The waters are mostly calm and visibility should be crystal clear.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent December activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

However, you should consider booking your snorkeling and diving trips early, as there are limited spots.

Events

Christmas

Christmas is a quiet time, and many locals spend the day with their families.

Maskanoo Parade

Winter celebrations kick off with the Maskanoo parade on December 26 in the Bight Settlement, close to Grace Bay.

Maskanoo is based on the rituals of the Africans brought to the Turks and Caicos islands two hundred years ago to work on salt plantations throughout our islands. Today, the post-Christmas Maskanoo masquerade is a reminder of the country’s rich history, unique culture and friendly, lively locals.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve starts off with an island tradition called Old Year’s Night. Residents of Turks and Caicos attend church services until late on New Year’s Eve. After church service ends, bells ring out into the night to bring good luck into the New Year.

Expect to see a fireworks show on Grace Bay Beach to help bring in the new year.

Book Early for Your Turks and Caicos December Vacation

December is one of Turks and Caicos’ busiest months in terms of tourism. It’s important that you book early—not only for your hotel and flights, but also for any activities you want to do.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


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Overcoming Nature’s Release

11th October 2017 10:33 am

During the second week of September the power of Hurricane Irma was felt far and wide across the northern Caribbean and Turks and Caicos Islands. The eye passed mere miles south of Provo and the winds lashed hard against homes, businesses and the islands. We were very grateful not to experience the anticipated 15ft sea surge, and with the exception of a handful of boats and dock systems, it was the wind that did the damage over the land.

A solid preparation plan secured the Big Blue vessels to underground concrete blocks and the water sports gear was stored safely indoors. These all weathered the storm admirably. The elevated Big Blue base, one of only four of the original iconic Leeward buildings still in existence, took a beating and the wooden front section and balcony were ripped away. It is testament to the builders that the majority of the original roof and walls stayed intact and the stone foundations held fast. Despite what seemed like a large amount of debris and rain damage our beloved adventure base will live to fight another day.

While we bare witness to the devastating power of a hurricane and sympathize enormously with those who lost of lot more and remain temporarily homeless, we have taken the opportunity for a spring clean and an office revamp. The onset of another large hurricane named Maria hastened our clean-up operation and the staff rallied around to prepare. With great relief she passed by Provo with barely a scratch so under blazing sun and through days of windless and relenting heat most of the hard work was painfully completed. The kayaks and paddleboards returned to their racks by the waterfront and the resumption of power fired up the dive compressor. The boats, new fleet and old favourites, made their way back to the Big Blue dock ready for action. Our office has been relocated to the former dive maintenance room and the effervescent Sherline is standing by to answer calls and reply to messages.  We are grateful that the cooler weather of autumn is just around the corner.

The beaches survived and the mangrove wetlands have stood up to nature’s ultimate test. The sand, churned up by the wind and waves, continues to settle and the vivid colours we all love so much are becoming evident once again. Even the wind is blowing out of the east as it should. The whole island is rallying around and while there is still much to be done we are all keen to return to our respective passions. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the magical playground of the Turks and Caicos.


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TCI Wetland Program Continues

22nd March 2017 1:11 pm

The joint expedition to assess the wetland areas of the Turks and Caicos continued through the week with visits to North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. Mark Parrish of Big Blue caught up with the team to help lead a trip to the vital wetland areas between South Caicos and East Caicos. Initial findings and observations were then presented to an open meeting of stakeholders and interested parties at the National Environmental Centre. Aspects of the proposal that will be submitted to the Darwin Initiative later in the year were discussed including the designation of particular wetlands as new RAMSAR sites, the ‘wise use’ of these areas, and available international cooperation for RAMSAR sites. Ralph Higgs of the TCI Tourist Board invited Wesley Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources (DECR) to a joint meeting with the TCI National Trust to assess cross department cooperation and use of resources. Dr. David Stroud suggested that the TCI might be the first country in the world to have a network of managed RAMSAR sites and explained how RAMSAR protection can be applied to mangroves, coral reefs, sea-grass beds and Karst or underground wetlands. This is set to be an ongoing project of significant importance to the environmental health of the Turks and Caicos Islands.


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Big Blue Short Film

22nd July 2012 12:51 pm

The Big Blue Expo 2012 was the perfect start to our year. Our event was held at the OPUS bar and grill. The Expo showcasing our team and products and our BIG BLUE SHORT FILM, it was well attended by our friends and partners through the islands and across the tourist sector. Prizes for contributions towards ECOTOURISM were awarded to our unsuspecting partners from the sister islands of North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Parrot Cay. Susan Butterfield, Lawrence “Big Mac” Campbell, Cardinal Arthur, Danny Forbes & Sara Kaufmann (middle co-op), JD Thomson and Parrot Cay resort and spa. Many of you who have been with us know our team up north and their awards were well earned through their hard work and dedication.


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Kayaking with Documentary Film Maker, Ian Cross

22nd March 2010 12:39 pm

Another great day in the mangroves south of Bellefield Landing, North Caicos. The protected RAMSAR wetlands site continues to offer world class kayaking and birdlife. Ian Cross, legendary Australian wildlife documentary filmmaker & owner of Pilot Productions joins Big Blue together with his son for an afternoon of exploration. The lower tides brought hundreds of fish out from their hiding places including small barracudas (10-20cm in length) and an assortment of Mojarras. The reddish egret we had seen the week before continued to resolutely guard her nest and we were careful not to disturb her. The highlight was probably the flock of Sandpipers that scouted the way for us all the way up the mangroves, showing off their beautiful wings and making plenty of noise. To top off the day we even saw a small group of elusive Wimbrals and a spectacular yellow crowned night heron.


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Big Blue Hosts 2013 Kalama Kamp Turks & Caicos

22nd March 2013 11:08 am

After the resounding success of the last 3 years, Big Blue’s season was again kick started by hosting our annual 2013 Turks and Caicos Kalama Kamp. Dave Kalama and John Denney teamed up with Philip, Jason and Wes as eight stand up paddlers converged on the Turks and Caicos Islands to learn the finer points of stand up paddle boarding while getting to a little bit more about the waterman’s lifestyle.

Dena, Mark, Mike, Curt, Larry, James, Joe and Colin woke up early every morning to take part in Dave’s daily beach work out. The all action dawn wake up call highlights the core concepts of why and how Dave stays in shape for not only his big wave surfing but also his grueling long distance paddles.
A hearty breakfast was followed by a trip to Big Blue to strip down the essentials processes that make up a solid and effective paddle stroke. With video, demos and on water critique, Dave, John and Philip help rebuild everyone’s stroke from a solid foundation.

With this in place the Kalama Kampers were treated to amazing down winders, mangrove excursions and reef safaris. When the waves did kick up….well you can guess what happened. Excitement and mayhem. Dave’s outstanding teaching ability and wave riding demos helped one and all catch either their first waves of make the next one better.

Another classic week, where we laughed, played, paddled, learned and surfed a little. Bring on 2014. See you there.


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New Kayak Routes – Turks and Caicos

18th March 2012 1:54 pm

Mark spent a long weekend over in South Caicos exploring new kayaking heaven. Miles and miles of channels and mangroves deep into the heart of East Caicos. Watch this space for more information. Very exciting indeed!

These routes have now been opened out and we offer tours throughout the Turks and Caicos for all levels of Kayaker, from beginner to advanced – come and see what makes our kayak adventures on TCI different. 


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Multiple Whale sightings on Turks and Caicos

11th February 2017 1:51 pm

What a season! February is not even finished and nearly the whole Big Blue team has had multiple whale sightings and encounters! Our Stand Up paddle board guide, Ray was able to get his first in water encounter as well. Needless to say he is jumping for joy. Get down here and give us a call!


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Whale watching by boat in February

16th January 2012 1:24 pm

Mark and Philip took their good friend Andy on a birthday boat ride today to show him some whales. Well February has not disappointed and nor have the whales. Within minutes of leaving the dock we found our whale. True to form, we had to work hard to keep our eyes on him in the swell. We lost him for 30 minutes and picked him up on the way to Parrot Cay. Both Andy and Mark managed to get a full frontal underwater view as he passed by. Not once but 4 times! How many people do you know get to see a for the first time whale on their birthday and then board a flight 90 minutes later? Only at Big Blue……..
We can’t wait for March. See you down here.


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