Turks & Caicos Islands
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The Three Amigos ride again! Nico, Jerry, and I traveled
to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in the Caribbean for two weeks
of diving. We spent a week on Grand Turk Island and a week on
Jim, Nico, and Jerry relaxing by the ocean
The diving was fantastic. The reefs were in
fine shape and full of life. The diving in TCI is primarily
wall diving with wall tops between 35 and 50 feet deep. The
visibility ranged from 70' to 100' and was usually at the high end
of that range. The water was a bit chilly at this time of
year, however, at 78 degrees in Grand Turk and 80 degrees in Provo.
I was wearing a full length 3/4 wetsuit, hood, and additional shorty
over that and was still chilled at the end of the dives.
A reef off Grand Turk Island
We saw a great variety of sea life, including
numerous nurse and reef sharks, lobster, moray eels, jacks,
stingrays, and the especially bizarre Flying Gurnards in the
shallows off West Caicos island.
The day of diving that stands out the most was a
trip to French Cay off Provo. We chose the first dive of this
day to go deep, and dropped down to the first shelf of the wall at
166 feet. The crystalline bubbles were in abundance! We
saw a reef shark a few times, as well as a fingerprint cyphoma shell and some tiny yellow nudibranchs with a dark crossbar.
The top of the reefs at French
Cay were especially lush and full of life. During the safety
stop of the second dive while we were hanging out at 15 feet, a 6'
reef shark started swimming and circling amongst us, often within
arm's reach. As luck would have it, this was the one day we
had agreed to leave our cameras behind!
Flying Gurnards in West Caicos - most unusual!
We stayed at the Salt Raker Inn in Grand Turk but
would stay elsewhere if we returned. We dove with
Blue Water Divers in
Grand Turk and had a great time. Mitch Rolling runs a fine
operation and our experience was just what we like: a small boat and
small groups, a fun and casual staff, and the ability to dive on our
own. Definitely no cattleboat diving here - highly
recommended! We were picked up each morning from the beach in
front of the hotel and had a 7 or 8 minute ride to the dive sites.
The food on Grand Turk was pretty good. We
alternated between the Osprey Hotel, Water's Edge, and Sandbar for lunch and dinner.
On Providenciales, we stayed at the
Turtle Cove Inn right on
the Turtle Cove marina. We were pleased with this hotel, which
was clean and well-run and in a good location. We dove with
Provo Turtle Divers.
This operation definitely had a cattleboat feel to it, due to the
number of divers aboard. However, the boat was nice, the staff
was friendly, and they turned us loose to dive on our own. We
had a 10-minute bus ride to the other marina and an hour boat ride
to the dive sites.
on Provo was excellent. In the Turtle Cove Marina area, we
alternated between the Tiki Hut, Aqua, Baci, and Magnolia for lunch
and dinner. Magnolia, a wine bar and restaurant on a deck on
the top of a hill overlooking the marina, was a standout. It
was an especially good venue to have drinks and watch the sunset.
Overall this was one of the better Three Amigos
adventures. We all agreed that the Turks and Caicos merits a
return visit someday.
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