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Dive Review of T&C Explorer II in
Turks and Caicos

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Donna Teach, OH, USA
Report Number 3353
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Logged about 300 dives in various carribean and Pacific locations including
Cozumel, Grand Caymen, Bonaire, Hawaii, Chuk, Palau, Yap, Etc...
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Very flexible.  Max bottom time 70 minutes.  No minimum air requirments for
surfacing but bottom time and remaining air were logged by crew after every
dive.  Solo diving was allowed under guidelines  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The reefs at T&C were pristine and rich with colorful soft corals,
sponges and the full range of tropical fish.  Large Pelagics were not too
abundunt but approachable turtles on many sites.  No serious camera buffs
on our trip so hard to comment on the crews capabilities but they seem to
be accomodating of any photographers needs.  Took home some great fish
portraits, reef portraits and little critter shots.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
The T&C Explorer II was retro-fitted in Feb. 2007.  Although not at the
very top of our list of live-aboard experiences the diving was stellar, the
boat is comfortable, the crew is accomodating, and the food was
fabulous(thanks to the infamous "Stan" who has been a live-aboard
chef for over 20 years).  Reefs are healthy and fish life is abundant. 
This is not high-adrenaline diving but a great respite in the Carribean. 
Our cabin (#1) was roomy with a standing dresser, closet and more storage
under the queen-size bed. We only used a tiny portion of the available
storage. The bathroom was usual size with the typical small shower but
thankfully a well-flushing toilet (never to be discounted on a
live-aboard!).   An in-room thermostat was a great plus and we were able to
keep the room at just-right temperatures all week (another plus on a
live-aboard).  The retro-fit must have been to engine and equiptment
because although our cabin was clean and well-maintained it did show some
wear.  There was also a TV/DVD player in our room.  The Explorer is large
for a live-aboard with cabins on three decks.  The top fly-deck was covered
and great for afternoon shade, there was a sun deck with comfortable
loungers for sun worshipers and the salon and dive deck were one level
down. A few cabins and crew quarters were one deck below the salon. The
boat accomodates 20 divers but there were only 14 during our week so we all
had plenty of room to spread out.  Again, plenty of storage space on the
dive deck for everyone's gear with Nitrox available on board.  After
putting on dive gear, we walked down a few steps to the dive platform.  The
platform was large and could comfortably allow four divers to put on fins
and take a giant stride into the water.  Crew was always on hard to check
gear and hand down cameras.  The ladders on the boat were among the best
I've seen and make water exits very easy.  A crew member was always in the
water to offer a guided tour or you were free to go on your own.  The day's
schedule was published every morning with five dives offered; two morning,
two afternoon and one evening dive.  The week's weather was varied with
scattered rain showers but Captain Pierre did a great job in avoiding rain
to find stellar dive sites.  Good conditions allowed diving at French Caye
and West Sand Spit (altough visibility at this site was poor due to the
tides).  During my last trip to T&C we saw Eagle Rays on nearly every
dive but that was not our experience this trip (just one ray siting all
week).  Although the reefs were incredibly healthy, there were few large
pelagics for us (but that is always the luck of the draw).  There are few
sites in the region that we've seen recently that are this pristine.  Blue
and Purple sea anemonoes, giant barrel sponges, black coral, fan coral. 
The walls and reefs were packed with life and great photo opps abounded. 
We spent most dives over T&C's deep walls that were packed with
lobsters, eels and tons of Juveniles - I spotted juvi spotted drums on more
than 8 sites.  Captain Pierre also accomodated the group with a drift dive
off of French Caye with some of the best visibility of the trip (but still
no big critters). We did have several shark sitings throughout the week and
the sharks were not shy - often circling close enough for good photo opps -
some reef sharks appeared in the 6-8 foot range and several nurse sharks
were seen as well. The water temp was so comfortable I wasn't cold once all
week - even with night diving.  The night diving was very comfortable with
pitchers of hot water down the wet suit and hot chocolate awaiting the
group after surfacing.  I would be remiss if I didn't comment that T&C
Exploter has one of the best Chefs out there - Stan has been in live-aboard
gallies for over 20 years ( we first met him on the Sea Dancer) and he
knows how to keep a crew and guests well-fed (and he makes it look easy). 
The food and snacks were fabulous all week.  The crew on the Explorer was
welcoming and we truly felt it was "our boat" for the week.  One
challenge for the Explorer (and all live-aboards in T&C) are the
marinas - channels are very shallow running into the marinas and the
live-aboards cannot sometimes get into harbor.  This means taking zodiacs
out from the dock to the boat with all luggage in tow.  We were able to
board in the harbor but had to use a Zodiac to return to shore at the end
of the week.  Again, the crew worked to reduce guest hassles but this is
definately a bit of a pain.  Thank you to Erica, Steve, Blue, Jim, Guy,
Chef Stan and Captain Pierre for a great week.  We would recommend and
return to the Explorer.  
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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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