Author Topic: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos  (Read 8149 times)

Don Stark

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Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« on: July 21, 2008, 11:41:44 UTC »
Anyone interested in diving around the Turks and Caicos should feel free to contact me with any questions.  I have been visiting Provo since 1993 and have gone diving with all the local dive operators and have visited all the sites around this island as well as West Caicos, Pine Cay, French Cay and even a little around North Caicos.  I now spend about a third to half my year on Provo, so would be happy to provide information on the wonderful diving here.

You can also check out some of the dive sites on my website, www.scubavisions.tv
Don Stark
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smlnd

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 12:26:23 UTC »
We agree that this area has some wonderful and easy Caribbean diving.  We just returned from there where we dove with Caicos Adventures again.  "Fifi" runs a first class operation.  This was our third trip there to dive with him and enjoy the wonderful beaches at Grace Bay.  We get a condo at The Sands.  We go in the summer as it's the offseason.

Bruce & Rondi

Irene

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 23:32:02 UTC »
I was thinking about doing a liveaboard there and then maybe spending an extra week on one of the islands. Do you think that 2 weeks diving from land would be better?

Do the land based operators require guided dives or can we do our own thing? Guided diving is a deal breaker for me unless I choose to follow the DM for a specific reason, like finding a critter that only she knows the location of.

smlnd

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 02:51:06 UTC »
As you probably know time on a live-aboard dive boat and living in a beach condo are very different.  We’ve done both but not in Provo.  We see the Aggressor dive boat at least once per trip diving the same sites that we are diving.  I would think that they also go elsewhere to places we don’t see.

With Caicos Adventures they asked ahead of time if we wanted to be included in a group or do our own thing.  We said the latter and that was it.  We were invited into the water first and did our own thing every day.  It might, I would think, require that show a skill and experience level to warrant.  I’ve been diving since the late 60’s and been an active instructor for 16 years.  My buddies had 500+ dives.

We think the beach at Grace Bay is unsurpassed.  The sand is soft and clean and the water clear.  I love to sail a Hobe Cat when I’m not diving.

Our first trip to Provo was in 2002 and we’ve always gone in (quiet) July.  We went to Grand Turk in 1990, long before the cruise ships.  Provo has new casinos and we read has signed a letter of intent to bring in Indy Racing.  Who knows what’s ahead.

I hope that helps.

Bruce…

Irene

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 03:03:05 UTC »
Yes, it helps. I like liveaboards because of the 5 dives a day and no need to haul gear around. But I also like the condo on a beach ambiance. For us it will come down to which is the better bargain (more dives for the dollar), accessibility of dive sites from shore, and freedom to dive as an independent buddy team.

Your info about the dive ops being flexible is particularly helpful. Thanks for taking the time to reply :-)

Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 11:04:49 UTC »
Yes, it helps. I like liveaboards because of the 5 dives a day and no need to haul gear around. But I also like the condo on a beach ambiance. For us it will come down to which is the better bargain (more dives for the dollar), accessibility of dive sites from shore, and freedom to dive as an independent buddy team.

Your info about the dive ops being flexible is particularly helpful. Thanks for taking the time to reply :-)

The good news about diving around Providenciales - the dive operators take you to all the same places the live aboards do (there are two - the Aggressor and the Explorer).  The bad news is that all the land base dive operators operate out of Turtle Cove or Southside Marina and they have to travel to the dive sites.  From Turtle Cove, Grace Bay sites are a short ride (15-20 minutes) from the dock, but the Grace Bay sites are pretty silted up right now due to dredging underway at Leeward Going Through (up current from the reefs). NW Point, West Caicos, French Cay, Molasses Reef and SW Reef are all at least a 30 minute boat ride away from the dock and can be as long as 45-60 depending on the boat and where they depart from.   Ocean Vibes (the only native owned dive operation on the island) and Caicos Adventures probably have the fastest boats, but Flamingo Divers offers true small group (max of 8) diving on a fairly fast boat (plus Mickey and Jane are great folks to dive with).  Provo Turtle, Dive Provo offer more traditional dive boats (Newton 42's and 46's) with room for as many as 18 -20 divers.  All that I have dove with will let you do your own thing with your buddy.

So if you want max dives for the dollar, as always liveaboard is the best deal.  With a land based operation here on Provo, you will get two dives a day leaving the dock around 8 am and returning sometime between noon and 2 pm depending on departure marina and destination.  The advantage of land-based is after those two glorious dives, you can go back to your condo and enjoy the wonderful Grace Bay beach or desalinate yourself in a nice fresh water pool.  Really a personal preference.
Don Stark
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smlnd

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 13:47:03 UTC »
Hi Don,

You have much more general information and fill-in gaps on our experience.  We've visited Provo in July 2002 and July 2007 and just got back from 10 days there.  As I said, we always dove with Caicos Adventures and always got a condo at The Sands.  We loved every trip.

My iimpression is that the place is very different in the winter (high season - snow birds, etc.)  In July, we find no crowds and the beaches and boats are usually lightly populated.  Can you give us a picture of the rest of the year? When do you go?  Do you have your own place?  If so, how has that worked out?  We've thought about it.

Thanks,
Bruce...

Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 14:02:05 UTC »
Bruce and all,
We come down during all times of the year (except over Christmas - it's too busy).  I like the summer the best for the same reasons you stated - fewer people, less crowded, etc. (in fact we are on Provo now and will be until mid-August).  But I haven't found a time of the year (other than Christmas) that is bad.  Yes high season (mid-November to mid-March or so) is busier, but the people get spread out.  If you go around Point Grace to the east of the Sands even in January, the beach is practically deserted in front of the Point Grace and Mansions complexes.  We own a condo here (Ocean Club West - same management company running the place since they opened Ocean Club East in 1993 when I first started coming here) and spent 5 months here last year and will spend about 4 months here this year. So far this year we have been here from mid-January to mid-February (whale watching season), the month of May, mid-July to mid-August (our current visit) and will be back for the month of November (nothing like Thanksgiving under the palm trees!).  Already booked our mid-January trip for next year.

With airline cutbacks, there are fewer seats available to fly into Provo and so there will be low vacancy rates at most places which means fewer crowds most of the year on all the beaches and boats.  I wouldn't hesitate to come at any time of the year, other than Christmas and New Year's.  Even in November, we have rarely had a problem getting into any restaurant even without a reservation.  Some of the smaller dive operators (especially Flamingo) do book up early (by the way their max is eight divers, I see in my earlier post my eight turned into a smiley face).  But most of the larger operators, like Caicos Adventures, Provo Turtle and Dive Provo, usually can accommodate another diver or two on short notice.

I have been diving with all the operators on the island and i generally go with Ocean Vibes (small operation and the only natively owned operation - plus Wayne is a great guide/captain/person).  Flamingo is another favorite because of the small groups (plus I have known Mickey and Jane for many years).  If I go with a larger operator, I generally go with Provo Turtle Divers primarily because I have got to know Art Pickering quite well when he owned it and have gotten to know the new owners since they took over in 2003 or 2004.

Hope that additional insight is helpful. 
Don Stark
ScubaVision Productions
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www.ScubaVisions.TV

jacky

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2008, 18:21:27 UTC »
Hey Don,
Do you know of a hotel/resort on Grand Turk that's on the beach with good snorkeling on site (our wive's don't dive)  ?
thanks

Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2008, 18:46:40 UTC »
sorry, I haven't been to Grand Turk sin e before the cruise line terminal opened. Lots of changes their that I am not up on.
Don Stark
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Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2008, 20:08:20 UTC »
Typo in my last post (that's what I get for doing it on my mobile phone) - I haven't been to Grand Turk since before the cruise ship terminal opened.  I hear there have been lots of changes to cater to the cruise ships, but don't know what impact it has had on hotels.  Sorry.
Don

Don Stark
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rkrigg

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 02:46:55 UTC »
Grand Turk spent a week at the Osprey Beach and dove with Oasis Divers (July 2007), see my review in the Chapbook 2008.  The Cruise ship terminal has had zero impact on Grand in the area of Cockburn, the cruisers stay in the mega resort (south end of island) they built at the terminal.  Very sad for them as they never see the charm of this island but great for us divers as Grand Turk is still undeveloped like it has been for years.  Grand Turk Diving is 10xs better than Provo diving.  Sites are so close.  Accommodations, well it is Grand turk so enjoy he diving.

Jacky before you take non divers to Grand Turk be aware there is not much to do but dive.  My wife is a non diver and after a week in Grand it cost me some very nice emerald earrings (to get the smile back) as she got bored as shore life (snorkeling, reading, etc.) is limited.  Osprey beach is the best place to stay and it is like a upscale motel 6.  Pool is in the court yard where the restaurant is so no pool time.  Don't take this wrong diving is the best I have ever done, accommodations are rustic Caribbean.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 02:58:11 UTC by rkrigg »
Diving since 2003 sites visited Aruda, Bonaire, Curacao, Bahamas, Belize, Grand Cayman (8 times), Provo, Grand Turk, Jamaica, Roatan, St Thomas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Florida Keys,  Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum (Cenotes and Ocean) - like small dive groups and quiet resorts

Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2008, 21:33:22 UTC »
Haven't heard any reports on the condition of the reefs around the TCI since Hanna and Ike hit the islands.  Grand Turk and Salt Cay were pretty well wiped out (on land) by Ike, but Provo was less affected.  Last report I received from my friends on Provo was that it looked like all the dive operators would be up and running again by this week, as flights returned to a normal schedule again.

Don
Don Stark
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wendyphill

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2008, 16:18:16 UTC »
Hey Don,
Do you know of a hotel/resort on Grand Turk that's on the beach with good snorkeling on site (our wive's don't dive)  ?
thanks
The Osprey has a nice beach and fair snorkeling, but there is little shade(not sure of the hotel's status since Hurricane Ike.)  Bohio has a nice beach, shade and good snorkeling but is a little isolated from the few restaurants on the island.

Don Stark

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Re: Diving Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2008, 16:46:20 UTC »
Sorry - only stayed at Osprey when I have gone over there and not familiar with any of the other hotels (other than Salt Raker, which isn't on the beach).


Don Stark
ScubaVision Productions
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www.ScubaVisions.TV

 

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