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Dive Review of Salt Cay Divers in
Turks and Caicos/Salt Cay

April, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Richard R. Sziede, VA, USA
Report Number 1680
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Most Carrivean Sites
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
76   to 88    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Need camera rinse tanks on dive boats.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
Now I know what "unspoiled" means.  Good dives, healthy coral,
friendly locals, and a laid-back "island time" experience.

Turks & Caicos Air was on-time for the hop from Provo to Salt Cay - in
an island kind of way.  Overweight charge was $1.00 a kilo.  Not a big
bite.  Delta lived down to their crappy reputation on the homeward leg. 
Late & canceled flights marred an otherwise perfect trip.

Debbie of Salt Cay does a little of everything.  Gate agent at the Salt Cay
airport, transfer driver, (the back of her pickup,) rental agent, and
sometimes cook.  Trade Winds Guest Suites are condos on the beach.  Plain
but comfortable.  Excellent housekeeping.  Keys?  You must be kidding? 
This is Salt Cay!  Debbie did put our passports and such in her safe.  (At
least I hope she had a safe.)  

There is no chain anything.  All establishments are mom & pop.  There
are about 60 permanent residents, supporting four churches.  Commercial
enterprises run by Canadian or US ex-pats, frequently married to
"natives."  If you expect manicured gardens and beaches, you have
come to the wrong place.  We're unspoiled here!

Wild donkeys roam, fed and watered by locals.  Keep the fence gate closed,
or find one in your kitchen.  No museum, two gift shops.  No dive shop. 
Salt Cay Divers has rental and some repair.  Forget or bust dive gear, you
are out of luck.  Little to do for our non-diver.  Anticipating this, J.
brought her watercolors, needlework, and a pile of books.

Diving was quite good.  Water temp was on the cool side 76-78F.  Vis was
60-90 feet giving the opportunity for panoramic video shots.  Cool water
was supposed to favor whale watching, but somebody forgot to tell the
whales.  Our non-diving day we rented a golf cart and explored the island. 
THAT was the day a pod of humpbacks came right by the Salt Cay Divers dock.
 Debbie's husband loaded whoever was around into one of the dive skiffs for
an impromptu whale-watch.  We missed out.  Nuts!  

One cannot praise Salt Cay dive masters/instructors enough.  T. and I have
200+ dives under our weight belts.  C. was on her very first dive trip.  As
soon as the DMs saw us riding herd on our beginner they shouldered us aside
and began instructing her themselves.  An apt student and really good DMs
are a winning combination.  C. ended her first week of diving with her AOW

The big boat has a dry spot for gear.  The little boat is a Carolina skiff
with no shelter other than a canvas sunshade.  Most dives are within a few
minutes of the dock.  Neither boat sported a camera tank, which caused me a
problem.  After cooking in the sun the dome port of my video housing fogged
in cool water.    

Back-roll entry, hand up your gear before getting on the ladder.  DMs
escort all dives, but do your own profile once you have made your chops. 
Nurse sharks on most dives, juvenile turtles, one really big Hawks bill in
a cave on the night dive.  Barracuda are camera-shy.  Few fish bigger than
a frying pan.  Spiny lobster and a sharp-tailed eel came out to pose in the
daylight.  Got close enough to video that it really is an eel, not the
snake it looks like from a distance.  The night dive started at dusk. 
Fewer night critters than expected.  No squid or octopus.  A lone
cuttlefish posed for video under the dive boat.

Used the big boat for the 45-minute ride to the Edymion wreck dive.  This
is the Salt Cay signature dive.  We feared we'd miss it because of rough
waves, but nature relented at the last minute.  Still, the per-capita
consumption of motion-sickness drugs was high.  The wrecks (there are two
in the same site) are well worth the trip.  While divers were ooing and
aahing the cannon and anchors, a young Hawks bill came out to schmooze.

Although our condo had a kitchenette, there is precious little to cook on
Salt Cay.  Most of our food we brought in ourselves.  We ate breakfast and
lunch from our own supplies in the condo.  Limited fresh supplies on the
island.  Milk, eggs and little else.  Miss Netty periodically baked bread. 
Otherwise food is BYO.

Supper at excellent local resturants.  Hands-down, the best is Miss Pat's.
Her subtly flavored island fare brought us back for a second visit.  Miss
Pat's son is chef in the upscale (island upscale, not Manhattan upscale)
Windmills Plantation.  Very, very good, but mama still knows best.  You
call your order ahead to the resturants at about noon.  The Green Flash has
a wild happy hour.  Most resturants are in walking range of Tradewinds. 
Miss Pat's will send a car for you.

North beach on Salt Caye looks like the deserted beaches you see in travel
magazine ads.  Local law reserves building there to natives.  So you get
over a mile of empty beach framed by reef coral and dunes.  I'd go back
just to visit North Beach again.
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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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