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Dive Review of Grand Turk Diving Co. Ltd/Island House in
Turks and Caicos/Grand Turk

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Stephen Anania, NY, US
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 5423
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
72   to 76    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Recreational of 130 Feet  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
There are no dedicated rinse tanks, but when we asked for a rinse bucket,
one was provided for boat which was only for cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
There were 5 of us who came down to dive with Grand Turks Diving Company.
We arrived early enough on Saturday that 3 of 5 were able to check in, fill
out a very simple "C card" form and not have to deal with it
again. Met the owners, Al and Smitty who would also be our dive masters for
the upcoming week. Diving with Al and Smitty is different than anywhere
else we have been. There are no real rules except be back on board with air
in your tank, dive a reasonable profile and be back in time so we can go
out again tomorrow. I have never had divemasters who cared so little for
time (This is meant as a compliment) . I'm not sure either owns a watch.
They were never in a hurry to leave the dock, nor more importantly, in a
hurry to return. Most dives were 60-70 minutes, with the only thing
stopping us from staying longer was our use of air.

Be aware if you dive with these guys, you are immediately on "Smitty
time". This means there isn't much looking at clocks. A typical dive
day was
1. Arrive around 8:45 for the 9:15 boat
2. Mill around time for 10-20 minutes (or more)
3. Start to go get the boats from their moorings
4. Load gear, tanks, camera buckets (only if requested), and get ready to
dive (Smitty and Al will do all the lifting and setting up your tanks if
you let them)
5. Maybe 9:30 or 9:45 leave the shore to go diving
6. Return around 11:00, or 11:30 or whenever from the 1st dive for surface
interval at the shop
7. Somewhere around 45-75 minutes after the first dive, we departed for the
second dive.
8. Return to dive shop around 1:15-2:00 after 2 dives for the day
9. Go eat lunch
10. Sleep and repeat 1 through 9.

Want to do an afternoon dive? Just let them know, even that morning,
they'll do it.
An evening dive, sure.
Trip to Gibbs Key? Let's go.

As mentioned, we had 5 in our group, and there was another group there with
4. There were also 1-3 other, local divers who came for a dive now and then
during the week. Most days, they sent out 2 boats, with Al or Smitty taking
turns with each group. This made the 24 foot Carolina Skiffs feel very open
and uncrowded. Even on the most crowded day, there were 9 divers and 2
divemasters. This was great diving.

There wasn't too much out of the ordinary that isn't seen in other parts of
the Caribbean. The reefs were in great shape and there was plenty of fish
life. There are many sites that have coral heads in between patches of
sand, which made looking for small, hidden things, enjoyable in between
searching the nooks and crannies of the coral heads. Some unusual things we
found were ghost blennies, Spanish Dancer and a large number of Flamingo
Tongue shells. There had to be 20-25 Flamingo Tongue shells on every dive.
There were also some of the invasive Lion fish on various reefs, but Smitty
is doing his part to capture and kill as many as he can find. So far, they
seem to be holding their own and keeping them at bay, unlike other parts of
the Caribbean.

Diving with Smitty and Al is a pleasure. Both are laid back and just love
to dive. If you come to Grand Turk to dive and go with these guys, you will
only be disappointed if you are on a strict time schedule. But, if you just
want to dive, get every breath out of a tank of air, and be treated like an
adult, you'll be very pleased.

And if you ask nicely for Conch fritters, maybe Smitty will have Enid make
some for you ;-)

For accommodations, we stayed at Island House, which is about a 10 minute
ride from the dive shop.  We rented 3 rooms, and they included 2 cars for
us to get around with.  Typical island cars, nothing fancy, but they
worked.  We were able to use these to explore the island, go for groceries,
etc.  Donna and Jerzy (the owners) were very helpful giving directions and
advice on places to go, where to eat and directions, although it's hard to
get really lost on this island.  Rooms had Internet available, but no TV or
phone as they were still out from a recent hurricane.  The pool was out in
the courtyard and there were 2 grills available for us to cook locally
caught food from the "fish market" not far from Island House. 
While there is nothing fancy on Grand Turk, we had a blast between Island
house and Grand Turk diving and would easily go back.
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Diving Guide to Turks and Caicos
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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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