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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II in
Turks and Caicos

Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II, Jan, 2014,

by Dean K Knudson, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 7501.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I really wanted to like the boat, at lot, and I like it...but...there are drawbacks to this trip. The walls in Turks and Caicos are big. Really big, but that's all there is, really. The walls all look the same, and, as a result, the boat didn't move much from site to site, it didn't need to. The Aggressor and the Explorer II liveaboards both go to the same four or five dive sites, and the skippers simply switch mooring buoys at lunchtime. Both boats reportedly give good service, and I'd simply pick the cheapest, were I to return, which I probably will not. There are similar walls in the Bahamas, and those sites have shallow reefs to explore at the end of the dives. There is VERY LITTLE shallow real estate in the Turks and Caicos. The dives start at 55 feet, most days, and, as a result, Nitrox or no Nitrox, most divers are back on the boat within 40 minutes, as a result of lack of air or non-deco time available. As a result the crew pushes Nitrox/Nitrox training, in an aggressive pitch on the first day, but all divers, regardless of gas mix, were coming up at 40 minutes. I had more fun on the Explorer vessel in Saba/St Kitts, there were more shallow reefs there, allowing dives to extend to a full hour without a constant need to monitor one's computer. The variety of reefs available in, say, Cozumel is simply not available here. The walls on each site were carbon copies of other sites, both in fish variety and structure. I've crossed T&C off my bucket list, and, with respect to the WONDERFUL crew, I won't be going back. There are, also, problems with the island itself. The airport is a true, livid, dank, poorly staffed disaster, and, recognizing this, the EV staff strongly suggested going to the airport SIX HOURS EARLY. We scoffed at this, but we were glad we followed that advice. There's only one security entrance, and six full afternoon flights worth of passengers are funneled into it over four hours, in one long line, only to find out that the only available seating space is on the floor, as every chair in the waiting area is spoken for. There is an expansion in progress, but it looks as though it's on a Caribbean work schedule and will take years to finish (note to the island: do yourself a favor and charge a $20 per head exit tax, then FINISH the construction now, before you choke off your tourism economy). The marina is, also, completely empty with the exception of the T&C Explorer II, and is many miles away from the expensive strip mall identified as the downtown of Provo. Because the entrance channel is very shallow, the skipper of the boat is forced to return on FRIDAY MORNING at 9am, due to a need to squeeze by at VERY high tide. This forces several of the dives normally done on Firday to be squeezed into Thursday, resulting in two night dives, one Thursday morning and one Thursday night. Those night dives are NOT done in ideal conditions, as 60 foot minimum depths and walls descending to 2000ft are not really safe night diving conditions for anyone but an expert diver. The trip to French Cay, although advertised, is not at all a guaranteed aspect, from what I could gather the weather does NOT allow that overnight trip 50% of the time. We didn't get to French Cay, and we had pretty good weather. Some random tips: take the VERY FIRST flight off of the island, on FRIDAY if possible, or VERY VERY VERY EARLY Saturday morning, as transfers in Miami are now unreliable. The Customs officers in Miami have apparently gotten into some type of dispute/discussion with management, have gone into "slow-down" mode, and, as a result, the wait time to get through Miami customs is now about three to four hours, with officers noticeably taking longer times to examine documents, and even engage in casual conversations, of several minutes, with passengers, despite serving a line of 1500 passengers. It might have something to do with the new automated machines that are now replacing the officers at the passport control checkpoint, as it appears as though many of them are going to lose their jobs to automation. At any rate, you will miss connecting flights (as we did) if you arrive in the late afternoon, so arrive in the morning or midday, and pray for extra space on later connecting flights, or avoid Miami altogether, if you can (hard to do coming from T&C). Also, spend Friday afternoon on Grace Bay, walking the beach, from beach bar to beach bar. The purser will arrange an early cab, at no extra cost. Bring your bathing suit, kindle, and some cash, the beach is just stunning, and the resorts don't seem to mind passers-by jumping into the pools to cool off, as long as you purchase a beer and don't linger in the pool area.
Websites Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Bonaire, St. Kitts, Saba, Florida, Bahamas, upper midwest
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather dry Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Come up within 60 minutes, with 500 PSI
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Very nice camera table, large and stable rinse tank
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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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