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Dive Review of Blue Water Divers/Osprey Beach Hotel in
Turks and Caicos/Grand Turk

Blue Water Divers/Osprey Beach Hotel, Mar, 2003,

by Scott Vickers and Mark Waddell, CO, USA . Report 706.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 76 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive profiles were suggested, but people were free to dive their computers otherwise.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Small Carolina skiff boats had no rinse/storage areas for cameras or platforms for changing gear or film.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Grand Turk's leeward side and underwater seascape have much to be admired, with magnificent walls and plentiful corals, calm seas, no currents, and an abundance of sea creatures and fish. On land, low-traffic Duke Street and Cannes Alley wind their way along the beachfront, where most of the major diving hotels and restaurants are located, and into the small downtown area (Cockburn Town) and pier. Three low-key dive operations host daily trips out to the wall, about a quarter-mile offshore, and special arrangements can be made to go further afield to Salt Cay or Gibbs Cay, a stingray mecca. Because of the offshore shallows leading out to the wall, all the dive operations use flat-bottomed Carolina skiffs, which have their limitations as to occupancy and amenities (no onboard heads, no camera platforms, etc.).
Blue Water Divers is owned and operated by longtime islander Mitch Rolling, and has a staff of three other dive masters. Boats pick divers up at their hotels right off the beach. Mitch also performs folk-rock and island music with friends, usually at the weekly barbeque nights at the Osprey Hotel's poolside dining area. We found Mitch to be friendly, accomodating, and deeply committed to providing a safe and memorable diving experience. He is also quite the raconteur, and full of wonderful stories. The dive staff takes care of your gear as well. On the downside, don't expect a lot of underwater guidance or creature hunting from these dive masters, and watch your fills (one of us got air fills as low as 2,200 lbs. on a couple of occasions). Blue Water supplies no Nitrox, but they will pick it up for you if you order some through Oasis Divers. And, when we were there, their downtown dive shop had few diving supplies, whereas Oasis Divers had a much larger selection.
Accomodations at the refurbished Osprey Beach Hotel were very comfortable and spacious, though their kitchen units were severely underfurnished in terms of kitchen implements. The staff quickly provided us with whatever items we requested, however, and perhaps by now all units are adequately equipped for cooking and food prep. All rooms face the ocean and have either a balcony or patio. The newly remodelled deluxe suites have tile floors and four-poster king-size beds, but no kitchens, whereas the standard suites have two queen-size beds and kitchens. The bar and poolside restaurant areas are airy and delightful, and their biweekly barbeque night features grilled lobster, steak, and fish and a sumptuous salad bar. Annamae and Iris host these areas, and do a superb job.
As to eating in, be prepared to pack in some foodstuffs from home. Grocery shopping is surprisingly disappointing. There are, however, a handful of decent restaurants, including that of the Osprey. The Water's Edge (cheeseburgers, etc.), Courtyard Cafe (good breakfasts), Secret Garden (goat curry, ribs), and the Turk's Head Inn (ahi steak, pizza, island curry) all offer good meals, though a bit pricey. For some cheaper and delicious local fare, try the Poop Deck for fried chicken or the Regal Beagle for burgers or fish and chips, both of which are located downtown.
For a very special dive, visit the pier at South Dock, which is a shallow grassy breeding ground for several species. On a daytime visit, we saw juvenile burrfish and honeycomb cowfish in abundance, a juvenile French angelfish, and several juvenile cornetfish, none of which you are likely to see in the open ocean.
Sadly, cruise ships seem to be in Grand Turk's near future. Although there was only one per week when we visited, there are plans afoot to build a large pier on the south end for daily cruise ship traffic--always a bummer for the diving community. Inquire before you go as to whether you, or the cruise ship passengers, will be serviced first by the local dive industry.



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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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