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Dive Review of Turks & Caicos Explorer II in
Turks and Caicos/Provo, W. Caicos, French Cay

March, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Greg White, IL, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4781
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Extensively throughout Caribbean and Central America, some in California
and Hawaii.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
76   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
3 stars   
3 stars    
We have previously done Grand Turk, but wanted to try a different area of
Turks & Caicos, so a liveaboard seemed like the best option.  We were a
little worried about damage after last year's hurricanes, but we saw no
damage that we could definitely attribute to those hurricanes, which
apparently hit Grand Turk much harder than the other areas of T&C.

The T&C Explorer II is a relatively comfortable boat and Jean-Francois
and his crew do an excellent job.  Everyone seemed to honestly enjoy his or
her job and interacted well with the passengers.  We were told that several
people were filling in for others who were off that week, but we didn't
notice any problems - they never missed a beat.  My only concern was when
we were told that David, an Englishman, would be filling in for the cook. 
Knowing the reputation that English cooking has, I wasn't sure what to
expect, but I needn't have worried.  David had apparently been a
professional chef before, and his cooking was outstanding.  Not only did he
bake a different kind of fresh bread every day, but he prepared outstanding
vegetarian entrees for my wife and me, who are vegetarians.  All mechanical
systems on the boat seemed to function well for the entire week.  If there
were any problems, we were never aware of them.

We were the only outsiders in with a group organized by a dive shop from
South Carolina, but it was a diverse group with some folks from Ohio and
others from Texas.  All were friendly and made us feel welcomed.  The crew
initiated a game in which a rubber ducky was hooked onto someone's dive
gear while we were underwater.  Whoever had the ducky after the last dive
of the week supposedly had to buy beers for everyone.  This game kept us
amused all week as we tried to find more devious ways to transfer the duck
without getting caught.  It was also a great ice breaker and helped us get
to know one another.

One aspect of the T&C Explorer II, which has been mentioned by others,
is that it swings a very wide arc at anchor.  This has both advantages and
disadvantages.  The advantage is that almost wherever you go on the dive
site, you can be sure the boat will eventually swing over your location. 
This can eliminate a lot of searching for the boat.  On the other hand, it
can seem like an awfully long time waiting for the boat to swing back over
your spot if you're cold and ready to get out.  Also, doing a safety stop
on the hang line can be either a real adventure as you take a high-speed
tour of the reef, or a challenge trying to maintain constant depth as the
line tries to whip you up to the surface.

The diving was good but not great.  Diving around Northwest Point and West
Caicos was generally undistinguished, although we did see some reef sharks
and lionfish, but the reefs were covered with a thick layer of green algae.
 This area is known as a migratory path for whales, and we did see several
on the surface, but never any underwater.  Diving at French Cay, where we
spent the last two days, was much better than the other locations, with a
greater variety of life and none of the green algae.  The overall diving
would have been much better if the entire trip could have been spent at
French Cay.  

The only thing I wish I had done differntly would be to bring a heavier
wetsuit.  We knew water temperatures would be a bit cool, but I thought my
usual 3 mil with hooded vest would be okay, but it wasn't enough.  Some
people wore 7 mils and were still cold, so a heavier wetsuit is a definite
must in this area at this time of year.
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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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