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

Turks & Caicos Explorer II, Apr, 2007,

by Eric Ault, IL, U.S.A. (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 3348.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Cay Sal Bank, Los Roques, Saba, Cozumel, Utila, Belize, Cayman Brac, Grand Turk, Hawaii, Galapagos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 78 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational Limits for Nitrox or Air
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Carpeted camera table overlooking the dive platform. Dedicated camera rinse tanks.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Our group of eleven, mostly from the Chicago area, spent an enjoyable week aboard the Turks and Caicos Explorer II. The boat, which holds up to twenty, is in good shape; the crew didnt spend a lot of time fixing things as I have seen on other vessels. I found the cabins to be pretty roomy by liveaboard standards, even the lower cabins with bunks. Some people found the public areas of the boat to be a little cramped, however. Everyone agreed that the sectional sofa in the lounge was not very comfortable. The boat has a sun deck with about a dozen chaises as well as a covered flying bridge for those in the SPF 30+ crowd. Chef Stan who has been cooking on boats for years continues his culinary magic on the TCEII. His desserts were particularly good. Two refrigerators, one on the flying bridge and one in the lounge, stock soft drinks and beer. Red and white wines were available along with a limited selection of hard liquors. As on most liveaboards, no drinking and diving. There was a roomy, carpeted camera table overlooking the dive platform. A cameras-only rinse tank was available. Each diver was provided an aluminum 80 with a few larger or smaller tanks as options. Nitrox at around 31% was available for an extra charge. Most divers were using it. Each station on the dive deck had under-seat storage for small items. With everyone gearing up the dive deck became crowded. We soon learned to stagger gearing up to avoid our neighbors. The largely Canadian crew was joined by one Scot and one Frenchman. They functioned smoothly and seemed to enjoy working together. Divemasters were available to lead every dive but mostly gave a tour of the site rather than pointing out things of interest. The TCEII is a relatively tall vessel and as a result it swings at anchor as much if not more than any other of the many liveaboards on which weve been. This made site navigation a bit trickier than usual. Heavy Westerly winds with accompanying surge made diving at many of the usual dive sites impossible. Most of our dives were done at French Cay or West Sand Spit. Captain Jean-Francois took advantage of the flat calm seas on Wednesday to do a couple of semi-drift dives in an area the boat seldom visits. But by Thursday the winds had returned scrubbing the last two dives of the day. We enjoyed the healthy looking reefs during our week of diving along with the usual tropicals. Caribbean reef sharks were seen on a number of dives along with the occasional turtle, nurse shark and spotted eagle ray. We noted quite a few large Tiger and Nassau groupers, something not seen at many locales these days. Large schools of jacks swirled under the boat at many dive sites. Transfers to and from the airport are arranged but not included in the price of the cruise. Whats a dive trip without a travel snafu? The airport on Provo hasnt changed since I was last there about eight years ago and is severely taxed by the current passenger volume. USAirways computers were down leaving their small staff to handwrite boarding passes for three 757s worth of passengers on flights supposedly due to depart at hourly intervals. The airport manager (not USAirways) prevented total chaos by grouping passengers from each flight. Since we were on the last flight we waited in line over four hours to check in followed by 45 minutes more in the security line. Our 3:15 p.m. flight departed at 6:15 p.m. Passengers on other airlines did seem to fair better. Our group agreed that we enjoyed the trip and would return to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the TCEII. We also agreed that we wouldnt fly USAirways.
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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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