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Dive Review of Salt Cay Divers/Twilight Zone Cottage in
Turks and Caicos/Salt Cay

February, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Sandy Falen, KS, US
Sr. Contributor   (23 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6088
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Fiji, Palau, Kosrae, Costa Rica
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, cloudy  
Water Temp
78   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
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   
4 stars    
This was a return to Salt Cay after a previous visit six years earlier.  I
was greatly relieved to find the diving was still good, and the island was
still quiet and utterly charming. This February visit was timed in order to
visit during humpback whale season, and the result was a "bucket
list" experience. 

I stayed in the "Twilight Zone" cottage, a 2BR, 1BA house located
not far from Porter and Haidee's Island Thyme restaurant. The cottage was
simple but lovely, with comfortable beds, ample hot water, ceiling fans, a
full kitchen, washing machine, and a clothes line out back. Two bicycles
were also provided, which are perfect for island exploring or just buzzing
back & forth to the restaurant or dive shop. There were also plenty of
electrical outlets, which is important for charging camera batteries and
other gadgets. 

Having a kitchen is great for snacks and cold drinks, but I ate almost
every meal at Island Thyme. The food is fantastic, Porter's bar has
anything you could wish for, and the atmosphere is simply one of a kind. 
This oasis of fine food and drink on such a tiny island is hard to believe
until you've been there, so all I can say is, "go."

Salt Cay Divers runs a excellent operation. Debbie understands customer
service, and clearly cares about the marine environment.  Divemaster
Richard was excellent, and I was glad to see him taking an active stance in
the capture and elimination of lion fish whenever possible.  Based on what
I'd seen in the Bahamas the previous year (where the lion fish population
was totally out of control and the tropical fish were severely depleted), I
believe Salt Cay Divers' approach is making a difference. 

The reefs around Salt Cay are in surprisingly good condition, with nice
hard corals and lovely, large gorgonians. There are beautiful, vivid yellow
sponges along the walls, making for great photo ops. I saw nurse sharks on
several occasions, turtles, stingrays, and the typical small tropicals.  As
in most of the Caribbean, large fish are rare. 

The months of January, February, and March are whale season in Salt Cay,
and the whales alone are worth the trip. Salt Cay Divers runs whale
watching trips, where you can enjoy viewing whales on the surface, and, if
lucky, possibly have an in-water encounter.  The staff is dedicated to a
soft encounter, and won't chase or harass the animals in any way. I was
fortunate to see numerous whales breaching, tail slapping,
"waving" their pectoral fins, as well as approaching our boat in
what appeared to be curiosity.  A mother whale and calf swam right past our
boat, and a lone whale literally swam right under us.  On one occasion I
was able to enter the water, and snapped a couple of terrific shots as
"Moby Dick" cruised slowly by me and the other snorklers. Once he
realized we weren't all that fascinating, he cruised on out of sight, but
that short interlude made for a lifelong memory.

In addition to Island Thyme, I enjoyed a couple of meals (including the
weekly BBQ bash) at Debbie's beach side restaurant. The food was good, the
beer was cold, and the service was gracious.

Salt Cay is about as laid back as it gets, and although it takes a little
more effort to get there (hopper flights from Provo run only M/W/F), it's
worth the effort. The island is mostly flat and scrubby, and if you make
the effort to get there (it's a moderate bike ride), North Beach is
absolutely stunning. The island has no night life, other than star watching
and the occasional party at Porter's, and that was fine with me. 

I made all my arrangements via email with Haidee, who manages Twilight
Zone, as well as some other accommodations. I thought the cottage was a
superb value.  Debbie at Salt Cay Divers also arranges accommodations, and
there are a number of choices in different price ranges. You're likly to
need to make an overnight stop in Provo en route, and about all I can say
about Provo is that it's worth the stop if it helps you get to Salt Cay. 
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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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