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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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February 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 48, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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East Bay Resort, Reef Divers, South Caicos, TCI

superb property, but the jury is out on the diving

from the February, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

It was heavenly to hit the surface and enjoy the calming sensation of clear, 82-degree November water. Indeed, a wonder to be diving again after 18 months of COVID-enforced abstinence.

South Caicos deserted beachFor decades, South Caicos has been an off-and-on destination for divers but devoid of diving facilities for the last several years. When I learned that Reef Divers from the Cayman Islands had purchased the stylish five-year-old East Bay Resort last July, it piqued my interest. Envisaged by the builders as a condo/timeshare resort with 87 units and many suites, Reef Divers is operating it as an all-inclusive vacation hotel catering to divers.

So, what better place to get wet and explore seldom-dived reefs? After all, I've dived with Reef Divers at their three first-rate Cayman venues -- Little Cayman Beach Resort, Brac Reef, and Cobalt Coast. They are continuing their high standard here: when my spouse and I first entered our ocean-view one-bedroom suite and spotted a mesh bag to stash all my gear, I knew I was in a bona fide dive resort.

However, I soon felt a bit put off when I learned that to reach the dive boat required a van trip to the dock. But the air-conditioned five-minute ride past salt ponds, flamingoes, wild donkeys, and even a wild horse was effortless. While they had no dive shop during my visit, they're completing construction on a shop behind the hotel.

A strong breeze roiled the surface for the 15-minute boat ride to Dove Cay; below the visibility ran about 25 feet, far short of what turned out on other days to be a good 50-70 feet. I finned along the 20-foot bottom in the mild surge, passing numerous coral heads, which the Aussies endearingly call "bommies." At first, I was excited to look forward to beautiful diving, but my optimism took a hit as I realized that most of the hard coral was dead, drab, dull algae-brown. Sure, the common reef fish were there, so I'd hold my judgment after more dives....

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