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

Turks & Caicos Explorer II, Sep, 2006,

by Jeremy Ellis, GA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2949.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Aruba, Bahamas, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Caymans, Cozumel, Florida Keys, St. Vincent, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Boat enforced 130 ft limit for divers using air and 110 ft limit for divers using Nitrox. They asked people to limit day dives to 70 minutes and night dives to 60 minutes.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The boat is equipped with a very large rinse bucket and a very large dry table that also has multiple charging stations. There are always 4-5 dry towels to dry camera equipment. The staff goes out of their way to look after your equipment by handing it to you after you enter the water and collecting it from you after the dives and placing it in the rinse bucket for you. The even have q-tips to apply lubricant to O-rings.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The boat is a first class operation. The captain and crew go out of there way to make the trip a memorable one and to accommodate your every need. Before you arrive they ask you to fill out forms and mail them in. On these forms, they ask you for any special requests (make sure you specify preference on beer brand, liquor or wine). They try very hard to accommodate all of your requests.

The boat set up is fantastic. There are several rooms below the main deck (which are bunk beds and a private bathroom), rooms on the main desk (which are two single beds and a private bathroom) and 2 VIP suites (which have queen size beds and a private bathroom). All of the rooms have storage space, ample room to charge devies, a desk and individual AC controls. The AC worked very well in all of the rooms except the ones below the main deck. The salon was very large with 3 tables for meals, a large couch and a 32 inch TV with DVD/VCR and stereo. They have all of the Reef Books on the boat as well as books guests have left behind and there is an extensive movie library.

You can complete 27 dives during a normal week, but you are putting yourself through a fairly grueling day. Breakfast at 7am, dive at 8:15, dive at 10:30, lunch at noon, dive at 1:30pm, dive at 4:30pm, dinner at 6:15pm and night dive at 8pm and then you repeat this every day. On the last day, you are woken at 5:30am for a 6am "dawn" dive and a 8am dive so you can get back to port for noon.

You set up your equipment on a tank on the first day and never need to touch it again as you keep the same tank all week long. The crew has your tank refilled within 20-30 minutes after each dive. Almost everyone on our boat used Nitrox and they have an analyzer and log to track Nitrox usage. The fills ran between 32% and 35% all week long between 3000 and 3500 PSI. There is ample storage space for all of your gear and hangers to dry your wetsuit / skins.

There is a briefing before each dive and then the pool is open for diving. You walk down the stairs to the dive platform, put your fins on and jump in. There are 2 hang lines down to 25 feet and the ladders to exit are very large and easy to use.

The staff could not be friendlier and give you a lot of extra touches like filling your wetsuit with hot water after a night dive and a fresh hot towel.

The food is OK but I would have enjoyed more fresh fish. All meals are buffet style and included the usual breakfast fare (eggs, pancakes, french toast, cereal, oatmeal, toast/muffins, etc.), hot and cold lunches (sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, etc.) and hot dinners (pork chops, chicken, turkey, pasta, salads, etc.). Dessert were great as well.

There is ample space for you to sprawl out on the boat including a sun deck with 10 lounge chairs and a fly bridge that can easily hold 10-15 people and remains shaded most of the day with a nice breeze. We spent most of our time on the fly bridge (which also has a 2nd fridge for cokes/beer).

The dive sites are great. You tend to anchor at a site and do 2-3 dives at that site. I would have enjoyed moving around a little bit more, but remaining at the sites did help you go back and get that photograph you missed on the last dive (such as the seahorse someone found on one of our dives). The visibility was not as good as I would have expected. Around Provo the visbility was 20-40 feet, West Caicos was 40-60 feet, French Cay was 50-70 feet and the White Sand Spit was 60-80 feet. We saw reef or nurse sharks on every dive and spotted eagle rays on almost every dive. We saw several octopus, squid, lobster, crabs, shrimps, etc. We even saw several dolphin as we cruised between dive sites. Only thing we didn't see that was in the area was a Manta Ray. The walls were stunning and the coral life was fantastic. The diving was better the further away from Provo you were with French Cay probably being the best diving.

When we arrived back in Provo on the Friday, we were able to walk around the Aggressor that was on a down week. After seeing both boats, our group made the right decision to go with the Explorer. The boat had a much better layout with more open space, larger rooms (except the VIP room), a larger sun deck, etc.

Overall, I would highly recommend the boat and crew!
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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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