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Dive Review of Wind Dancer in
Turks and Caicos

Wind Dancer, Apr, 2003,

by Ralph Baker, NV, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 474.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving PNG, Australia, Galapagos, Southern California, Vancouver Isl., Caymans, Belize, Saba, Fiji
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 77 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none. I was told no solo diving before I went. When I got there, I just dove in. Nobody said anyhting.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Excellent accomodations, but no compressed air to blow off water.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 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 The weather was unusually calm. There was some wind out of the southeast but it didn't kick up any waves or swell to speak of. We had a storm system to the north that kepts us in a calm for the week The wind did make it chilly when you came out of the water.
The water temperature required a 2 to 3mm wetsuit.
The walls start at 35 feet or deeper. Diving Nitrox will greatly increase your time at depth. I spent much longer at 60 to 80 feet and had to sit out 2 dives one day. My computer had me within 7 minutes of decompression, therefore, I thought I would sit out some dives to release more nitrogen.
The corals and most of the fish are on the walls. Behind the walls are sand flats which go from 25 feet to 12 feet or less. Most of the fish activity and corals are on the walls. The sand flats have the stingrays, flying ganards, blennies, and smaller eel species. At Salt Cay there were dozens of box jelly fish waiting in the water for the night dive. You need an exposure suit and use your regulator to blow bubbles to the surface when you ascend.
They fish the reefs so you probably won't see really big "meat fish." You will see Nassau Grouper, lots of different parrot fish, coneys, spotted morays, snapper (an exception to large fish was a hugh snapper at the Airplane on South Caicos), hog fish, french grunts, grey grunts, and lots of giant barracuda. The barracuda had an unnerving habit of approaching you if you swam directly in front of them. One actually accelerated directly at me. I held out my camera thinking it was attacking me! Instead it passed less than 12 inches from my head, went around me and chased another barracude that was behind me.
The best dive site for me was Eagle's Nest at South Caicos Isl. If you do the first dives in the morning you have the best chance of seeing the eagle rays in squadrons. Swim up behind the wall onto the sand hills. The eagle rays come through in the morning. I got very close to 4 in one group. They will also appear on the walls. When they swim off, do not think they are "gone." Wait. In about 2 to 3 minutes they will usually return. Also if you can be the first diver to get to the sand chute with the 3 pinnicales or bommies, you may see the grey reef sharks that hang out there. They leave as soon as the first diver appears. They are about 6 ft. long.
The Library on Grand Turk is also a great dive!
Although I saw many turtles, the biggest was at the Kelly's Folly on Salt Cay. The shell was about 5 ft. long. The turtles will let you get fairly close for some good video.
We dove the Endymion wreck. It is exposed to the open ocean. Many cannons, cannon balls, very large chain and many anchors are still visible. There is alot of current due to the exposure. There is also alot of fire coral so wear some protection.
The dive boat was the Peter Hughes Wind Dancer. This is an older boat. It was going to dry dock at Freeport in the Bahamas very soon. It was still a very nice boat. The dive platform was a concrete pad. It had weathered and was very rough. Some complained of it hurting their bare feet. There was also a rubber matting on the sun deck that hurt everyone's feet. If they dont' change this bring some foot protection. My room was number 9. This is next to the engine room. The smell of diesel fuel was very noticable. I am not that sensitive, but others may be. If so, you need to request another room. The crew was very saftey conscious. We even had a life jacket drill. This is probably due to the problems the Hughes operation has had lately. The boat and crew did not concentrate on the south Caicos and Turk area, rather they did many different itineraries. They did the Humpback Whale tips, a Bahamas trip, and the boat evidently will end up in Tabago. Because of this the divemasters were not very familiar with the dive sites. They could not answer questions regarding fish life or where to find a particular fish you were looking for. I don't want to complain because over all the diving and service was fabulous. They really put an effort into their work and wanted to please.
Sky King airlines will charge you for exceeding the weight limit. Everybody I saw was charged something. Mine was $15 and $20. US dollars are excepted everywhere.
I wasn't on Grand Turk but some of the group had spent a few days on the island. I was told that on Good Friday, everything and I mean everything is closed. The people that were staying on the island that day only had a banana and some peanuts. Even the hotel kitchen was closed. Just something to remember if you plan to be there at that time.
This is an out of the way location. The diving is excellent.
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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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