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

Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II: "Explorer Ventures II", Aug, 2017,

by richard s mcgowan, CT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 9793 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 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 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We have almost 800 dives between the 2 of us but this was our first liveaboard and we were very happy with it. I will include comments of some onboard who were more experienced with liveaboards in the Caribbean and elsewhere for perspective.

The boat layout was fine. We spent all of our non-diving day on the covered top flydeck (stocked soda cooler on deck) - often napping. There was also a lounge sundeck. We had cabin 7 directly across from the galley and closest (5 steps) from the common area. From speaking with others, the noise level - minimal - was the same everywhere on the boat. Room & b/r are small but adequate (shower has soap/shampoo/conditioner dispenser). Per more experienced liveaboarders, boat was on par with other Caribbean liveaboards.

The crew were great. The food was tasty, fresh and varied, with fruit, nuts, cookies, coffee, tea, soda, beer and alcohol available at all hours. STRICT no diving after alcohol policy. Snacks between dives from warm brownies and banana bread to watermelon.

Diving: When you get on you are assigned a seat and tank and this is yours for the trip. They have 100, 80 and 67 cf tanks. They refill at your seat so all you do between dives is unscrew the yoke from the tank so it can be refilled. Then after you nitrox test, screw it back on. Nitrox readers and log books are within a few feet of all. They have a separate large shelf and clean tank for cameras.

MAJOR PERK. The heat exhaust for the below deck machinery comes up the middle of the dive deck where wetsuits, etc., are hangar hung so they get dry and toasty.

WARNING: as a matter of bottom time limits, you cannot do all the scheduled dives without using NITROX (there is an extra charge for the week). They do not let you go between air and nitrox. Non nitrox cert divers were told this when they came onboard and they ended up taking a nitrox cert course.

Entering is either 8 ft +/- step off the side or a 5 step walk down to the step off sea level dive platform. 2 ladders to come out.

Note - because of design, the boat swings +/- 180 degrees at mooring so you have to learn how to anticipate the boat's approach based on where it was when you last saw it -- benefit is that you can hang on one of the 2 20 ft drop lines as your safety stop for a 3 minute ride thru the water.

SCHEDULE: 4 day dives and 1 night dive for first 5 days, then 2 morning dives last day. 27 dives total.

DIVES. Came aboard Saturday and sailed with 4 p.m. tide to western end of the island (Provo) for 5 Sunday dives. The day dives all worked the same. This is wall diving with a half tank turnaround return over the reef. Dive 1 you went one direction, dive 2 the other, at the same site. During lunch the boat moved to a new site and dives 3 & 4 were the same procedure. The night dive was done on the same moored reef site as dives 3 & 4.

Sunday night we traveled to West Caicos for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday dives; Thursday and Friday morning were at French Cay.

On every dive if you wish you can follow a DM along the wall and back under the boat or you and your buddy can go by yourself. Most divers had underwater times in the 50 minute range; we were always 54 -57 minutes.

I describe the diving as good solid Caribbean diving. Lots of reef and nurse sharks, turtles, rays, eels, barracudas. Plenty of small creatures, corals and sponges. To me the dive sites improved as we progressed. The W. Caicos sights were better than the Provo sights and the French Cay were the best, but we were told, most susceptible to being substituted for due to wind conditions.

In my mind the most interesting dive was the last night dive at French Cay. We dropped into the reef surrounded by at least 24 nurse sharks following our lights looking for easy prey. There were lobster and crab, sleeping turtles, an enormous snapper named chubby (had to be 5 foot long) hanging around. It was a shark dive without the chumsickle.

We had PERFECT weather - high 80s, a little wind to keep us cool, water was 86 to 88 degrees, dove in a T-shirt even at night. Only had more than a touch of current, if that, once, and just enough at night to keep the jellyfish away. Note this was hurricane season and the next week Hurricane Irma came through.

Cellphones: They tell you there is no wifi on the boat; what they don't say is that you have data cell service almost the entire time. It was most sketchy at French Cay, but at W Caicos we could see the cell tower on the island and had full service.

The major complaints from others were 1) had to come up with your buddy even if you were under the boat with other divers and the DM. Wasn't an issue for us because our air consumption is almost identical but was for others - especially a paired up buddy group. Don't see why this is necessary as the DM stays in the water around the boat until all are up; 2) couldn't switch between air and nitrox - which I don't see what the issue is but I pass along.

Singles: If you agree to accept a same sex roommate, they charge you regular rate which means you either get a roommate or your own cabin.


Websites Explorer Ventures -- T&C Explorer II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Roatan, Cozumel, Caymans, Bahamas, Key West, Bonaire, Belize
Closest Airport provinciales Getting There direct flight from JFK / NYC Jet Blue

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 86-88°F / 30-31°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 100- Ft/ 30- M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions As long as you had a buddy you were free to dive together where you wished. Had a strict come up with your buddy rule even if you were under the boat and there we 10 other divers and a DM under the boat.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments not a photographer
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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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