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

Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II/Sibonne Hotel: "Classy Liveaboard and Great Diving", Oct, 2015,

by Gareth Richards, OH, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8547.

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 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments A week on the T&C Explorer II and then a week on land at the Sibonne hotel. Both were excellent.

My wife (Advanced, 70 dives) and myself (Rescue, 300 dives) spent a great week on the Explorer. It was her first liveaboard and I was looking for a place with warm water in October. I booked through Reef and Rainforest travel agency and this was their recommendation. I was very pleased. The boat has plenty of space in the salon and a large dive deck. Normal process, you set up your gear when you first arrive and then it stays in your slot till you depart.

Rooms are not large but very comfortable. We had cabin 6 which was set up as a queen bed with about 2 feet around it. Large drawere under the beds for storage. All suitcases, dive bags stored away for the duration, unpack when you arrive.

Food was varied and they accommodated my vegetarian partner well. For example we had steaks, she had a veggie burger; we had chicken, shed had tofu, etc. Snacks between dives and hot Chocolate with Kahlua Baileys or Rum available after night dives. All alcohol on board is included in the base price. They offer beer, wine and a full bar.

Diving was well organized. Everyone typically dives nitrox (Extra fee $150/wk) but no requirement to do so. Giant stride of large platform which is only 4 inches above the water. Large wide ladders with flat steps were easy to climb out. Hang lines at 20 feet and tag line on the surface. Boat is tall (3 decks) and the wind causes it to swing rotating around the mooring. So you get used to doing your stop and waiting for the boat to come back. Time, max depth and psi remaining are reported after each dive. All diving starts on the wall and ends on the top of the wall. Typical profile drop to 50-60 feet, over the wall down to 80-100, swim along the wall for 20 minutes, come back up to the top at 50, spend remaining time on top. Many reef sharks, few eagle rays, plentiful tropical fish, healthy walls with gorgonians, black coral, sponges, etc. Divers free to dive entirely without DM or follow DM at their choice.

Week starts on Sat with checkin at 3pm. Boat then departs. 5 dives a day offered Sun-Thursday plus 2 Friday morning, making total 27 available. Boat returns to dock Fri lunchtime because TCI paperwork must be done Friday back at dock. Friday night is included on the boat but dinner is not. Typically a dinner reservation for all the guests is made and transport to/from the marina provided, but cost of dinner is on you. We all went by coincidence to the Sibonne hotel and had a group dinner together very close to the beach. It was wonderful.

All in all it was the perfect introduction to liveaboard diving for my wife who is a newer diver. She asked me to get a photo of her with a shark and I was able to oblige!

We then had a second week on land at the Sibonne hotel. This is an older hotel but it is right on the most beautiful beach (Grace Bay). TCI hotels are not cheap but this one offers exceptional value. I booked 6 months ahead and I was able to get one of the two beachfront rooms that literally face on to the beach. After arriving I found out that there is also an apartment that is above these two rooms that has its own deck. If you shop the other resorts you will soon see that the Sibonne offers amazing value for its location. Grace bay beach goes for miles and is absolutely pristine.

You can rent a car for about $50 per day and have fun exploring the island. This is better value than cabs which tend to run about $40 each way. There are several beach bars at different parts of the island. I recommend Kalookis. I also recommend visiting the conch farm where you can see the process of raising 250,000 conchs per year.

Weather: TCI has low total rainfall. It is more southerly than the Bahamas and is less affected by hurricanes. However October has relatively more rain than other months, but still low. The first week on the boat we had no rain. The second week on land we had 3 days of rain. The months of August-October are considered low season and high season resumes in November.

Airport is very small with only one single security line on departure. No equivalent of precheck or elite priority line. You are advised to arrive 3 hours before the flight for this reason. There are horror stories on line about this experience in high season. There is a premium service available (google VIP Flyers Club) that gives you escorted access to the front of the line, lounge access and boarding priority. This is not cheap, $200 first person and $75 each additional, but if you want to take that whole issue off the table, that option is there.

So to sum up: TCI offers high quality diving and a wonderful beach environment on land. Recommended.




Websites Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II   Sibonne Hotel

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Cocos, Philippines, GBR, NZ, Bahamas, Mexico, Cayman, US Keys, Mediterranean
Closest Airport PLS Getting There DL, AA, Jetblue all have daily or multiple daily flights.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Back on the boat with 500 psi. 60 minutes max. but they were relaxed about it. Free to follow the DM or not. Solo diving OK if certified and equipped.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Big Camera Deck with dedicated towels and air lines. Big dedicated camera tank. Crew were good about careful handling, passing down cameras and retrieving.
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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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