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Dive Review of Dive Provo, Big Blue, Caicos Adventure/Sands in
Turks and Caicos/Provo

Dive Provo, Big Blue, Caicos Adventure/Sands, Jul, 2003,

by Jim Reilly and Fran Klass, PA, USA . Report 555.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Nassau, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Curacao, New Jersey
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 84 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions If you had your own computer you were free to dive by yourself. Dive Provo and Caicos Adventure established time limits, usually 45 minutes maximum.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We loved Turks and Caicos and especially the Sands Hotel, which was just super. Provo is just starting to develop. We hope the wonderful, warm, friendly atmosphere we enjoyed survives the growth.

We arrived and were through customs and had our luggage within 10 minutes. Arrived at the hotel to waiting porters and welcoming drinks. We registered and were in our room in minutes. NONE of the annoying 'it's island time' or 'your room is not ready' stuff. We stayed in a studio room, which was a REAL non-smokers room, not a room where the ash trays were removed as we entered. Nice kitchenette, modern well equipped bathroom, king bed, furnished living room, and a screened balcony with chairs and a table (great for drying dive gear). The Sands is very well run, friendly, super clean and works hard to please. Plus, they have great swimming pools and a WONDERFUL beach with real sand and no coral. The Sands had a fine restaurant where very good burgers with lots of fries cost $8.95. They offer bar and restaurant service on the beach. Great way to unwind after a ling day of diving. The only feature lacking from the hotel was a pool bar.

Food prices at restaurants were about what you might expect in the USA, although the taxi ride, 10% government tax and tip added up to make dining a bit expensive. So a trip to dinner for 2 adults with drinks, which might have cost $50 or $60 ended up costing closer to $100 for the night. Food choice was limited and sometimes what we ordered was not available. There are daily specials. We went to one and enjoyed a very good Ribs and chicken dinner for $10 per person. We also bought breakfast and lunch food at the Graceway IGA, a modern well stocked super market. A case of 24 cans of Diet Pepsi cost $7.99.

We split our diving between three operators: Dive Provo; Caicos Adventure; and Big Blue Unlimited. All of the operators had well equipped, very clean and modern boats. All boats had clean, working marine toilets. In general, diving is more expensive than elsewhere we've been. Two tank dives ranged in price for the high $80's to over $130. Two diving experiences are offered: short OK dives in Grace Bay; or, long trips to French Cay or West Caicos, where the diving is GREAT but sea conditions can be challenging.

We bought a three day package of 2-tank dives from Dive Provo. They were kind enough to split one of the days into 2 afternoon dives without extra charge. We did one afternoon dive and a 2-tank morning dive in Grace Bay and the rest off of West Caicos. All of the Dive Provo dives were relaxing and fun. The briefings excellent, and staff supervision superior for those who needed it. Snacks were provided as was ice water, soda and Gatorade.

We also did a 2-tank morning dive with Caicos Adventure off West Caicos and an evening dive in Grace Bay. Again very superior service, a WONDERFUL BOAT, and professionals on the boat and in the water. Plus Fifi, the owner, offers free lunch (very good sandwiches), lots of chilled drinks and on our trips brought his kids, who are fun to watch. In fact, we had such a good time and Fifi took such good care of us (due to seasickness 2 days earlier - more on that later), that we agreed to do a night dive that evening. Half past 7 and up roars Fifi in a smaller twin hulled outboard boat. We board through the surf and suit up. Then out into Grace Bay where the wind has whipped up 1 to 2 foot waves. But it's quickly over the back.

We also did a morning two tank dive with Big Blue Unlimited. In our opinion this operation is a rip off. They advertise that they limit the number of divers to 8. Guess what, we doubt you could get more than 8 divers on the small boat they use - in fact we found their boat to be far more crowded than on the Dive Provo or Caicos Adventure boats. Plus talk about pricey. The two tank morning dive was $125 per person and they charged $6 each way per person to pick us up and take us back to our hotel AND they had the nerve to change us a 6% service charge for using a credit card. On board they ignored all requests we made, went to a site with 3 to 4 foot seas and announced we were there, it was a drift dive - take it or leave it. They also announced ‘this is Big Blue where you dive your own profile, but no one go below 60 feet’. But first, they asked us to stay aboard while they took a DISCOVER SCUBA couple for their first scuba experience. Naturally this dangerous act did not work and the only thing discovered was how terrifying it can be to be in SCUBA for the first time and in rough seas. Finally we got wet and found we were diving a GREAT SITE. Lots of spotted Eagle rays, clouds of colorful fish, nurse sharks, good coral. After the dive we were on our own to surface. No boat in sight. Even with emergency sausage and a lift bag deployed, it was 15 minutes till we spotted the boat and several more till we got picked up. THEN after all the divers were collected, they chose to stay out in the rough seas, rather than motor a mile or so to a calm area behind French Cay. Half the divers got seasick, being pounded in a small boat for over an hour. And the other dive operators DIVE THIS SAME SITE but take shelter between dives. ALL Big Blue offers is high costs, poor service, small boat, rough rides and snooty posturing - NOT WORTH IT.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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