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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II in
Turks and Caicos/Provo, West Caicos, French Key

Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II: "Turks and Caicos diving with a great crew", Aug, 2015,

by Jocelyn Gill, ON, CA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 8356.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Our flight to Provo from Ottawa, Canada was rocky, United Airlines failed to load luggage for about half the passengers out of Newark. Our delay was about one hour. I did not get my luggage until the next day. Luckily, I had a full day spare for complications like this one, but UA service and attitude were lousy, and I will not book with UA again.
The crew were quick to help us board, and orient us with the boat, including a safety drill. Our captain Jean-Francois Chabot was a sweetheart, helping fill tanks, fix computer problems, and clean up after dinner. The dive masters, Jo and Pippa were the highlight of the trip. Sisters from the UK, both university educated, they made dive briefings fun and memorable with wacky costumes, silly underwater signs for various critters, and playful banter with the divers. Their dive briefings included showing us what critters to look for in one of the ID books. Jo, and especially Pippa were outstanding in locating small (microscopic) head shield slugs, gaudy clown crabs, skeleton shrimp and nudies, pointing them out with a magnifying lens. I was very impressed with their knowledge of the fauna, including the proper scientific names. They also had a number of "up to date" fish and critter ID book on board.
However, I was shocked to see how much the reef had degraded since my last visit in the 1990's. No more big schools of creole wrasse, blue chromis, tangs or large parrot fish. However, there were juvenile reef sharks and nurse sharks (a juvie and a pup). The better dive sites are further out to sea at French Key and West Caicos.
Gearing up is easy, and the water entry is effortless. Simply step off the back of the boat, grab your camera from one of the crew, and afterwards, exit using an easy in water ladder. The crew were always quick to help with gear.
The boat had a habit of swinging on its mooring line, but once you get used to seeing your hang line whiz by, and knowing it will come back again, the swing had it's charms.
Dive times were set to a max of 60 minutes, but rarely enforced. You could follow the dive masters or do your own thing, including solo if certified. They also offered courses during the week, and each divemaster (Jo, Pippa and Andy) are also instructors.
The crew also helped celebrate milestone dives with enthusiasm and fun. My buddy did her 50th and was encouraged to wear a tutu underwater. She did: it was lots of fun for her and the others.
I have dived off of 4 other liveaboards and rate this one as the best. The boat was very comfortable, the chef was very careful to accommodate vegetarians and people with other dietary needs, the cabins very clean with individual heads (that worked), complete with cabin fairies that make your bed every day, and turn down at night, leaving a chocolate. Nice touch.
My buddy loved it so much, she stayed for a second week. At the end of her week, hurricane Erika struck, forcing her to re-book her flights, etc. Captain JF was outstanding in helping her with calls, etc. Kudos to his professionalism and level of customer service. I would highly recommend this liveaboard for beginners, and photographers who thrive on macro photos.
One negative. Turks and Caicos is expensive when eating or staying on shore. A 2 egg, bacon, hash brown, toast and coffee breakfast = $30 US. Taxis are very very expensive... ($45 from our hotel to dock). Major credit cards all accepted.
Websites Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Indonesia, Komodo, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Caribbean islands (many), Cozumel, Florida
Closest Airport Provodenciales Getting There United Airlines YOW to EWR to PLS

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minute max dive time, but loosely observed. Also, if you drink alcohol, your diving is finished for the day.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table was well set up and included compressed air for drying. Rinse tub was adequate. The crew were exceptional with their handling of client's expensive cameras, taking great care. Crew were also quite helpful in providing photography tips to those who wanted them. No big pelagics, mostly small critters. A macro photographers trip.
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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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