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Dive Review of Grand Turk Diving Co. Ltd/Island House in
Turks and Caicos/Grand Turk

Grand Turk Diving Co. Ltd/Island House, Apr, 2010,

by Stephen Anania, NY, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 5423.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 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 5 stars
Comments There were 5 of us who came down to dive with Grand Turks Diving Company. We arrived early enough on Saturday that 3 of 5 were able to check in, fill out a very simple "C card" form and not have to deal with it again. Met the owners, Al and Smitty who would also be our dive masters for the upcoming week. Diving with Al and Smitty is different than anywhere else we have been. There are no real rules except be back on board with air in your tank, dive a reasonable profile and be back in time so we can go out again tomorrow. I have never had divemasters who cared so little for time (This is meant as a compliment) . I'm not sure either owns a watch. They were never in a hurry to leave the dock, nor more importantly, in a hurry to return. Most dives were 60-70 minutes, with the only thing stopping us from staying longer was our use of air.

Be aware if you dive with these guys, you are immediately on "Smitty time". This means there isn't much looking at clocks. A typical dive day was
1. Arrive around 8:45 for the 9:15 boat
2. Mill around time for 10-20 minutes (or more)
3. Start to go get the boats from their moorings
4. Load gear, tanks, camera buckets (only if requested), and get ready to dive (Smitty and Al will do all the lifting and setting up your tanks if you let them)
5. Maybe 9:30 or 9:45 leave the shore to go diving
6. Return around 11:00, or 11:30 or whenever from the 1st dive for surface interval at the shop
7. Somewhere around 45-75 minutes after the first dive, we departed for the second dive.
8. Return to dive shop around 1:15-2:00 after 2 dives for the day
9. Go eat lunch
10. Sleep and repeat 1 through 9.

Want to do an afternoon dive? Just let them know, even that morning, they'll do it.
An evening dive, sure.
Trip to Gibbs Key? Let's go.

As mentioned, we had 5 in our group, and there was another group there with 4. There were also 1-3 other, local divers who came for a dive now and then during the week. Most days, they sent out 2 boats, with Al or Smitty taking turns with each group. This made the 24 foot Carolina Skiffs feel very open and uncrowded. Even on the most crowded day, there were 9 divers and 2 divemasters. This was great diving.

There wasn't too much out of the ordinary that isn't seen in other parts of the Caribbean. The reefs were in great shape and there was plenty of fish life. There are many sites that have coral heads in between patches of sand, which made looking for small, hidden things, enjoyable in between searching the nooks and crannies of the coral heads. Some unusual things we found were ghost blennies, Spanish Dancer and a large number of Flamingo Tongue shells. There had to be 20-25 Flamingo Tongue shells on every dive. There were also some of the invasive Lion fish on various reefs, but Smitty is doing his part to capture and kill as many as he can find. So far, they seem to be holding their own and keeping them at bay, unlike other parts of the Caribbean.

Diving with Smitty and Al is a pleasure. Both are laid back and just love to dive. If you come to Grand Turk to dive and go with these guys, you will only be disappointed if you are on a strict time schedule. But, if you just want to dive, get every breath out of a tank of air, and be treated like an adult, you'll be very pleased.

And if you ask nicely for Conch fritters, maybe Smitty will have Enid make some for you ;-)

For accommodations, we stayed at Island House, which is about a 10 minute ride from the dive shop. We rented 3 rooms, and they included 2 cars for us to get around with. Typical island cars, nothing fancy, but they worked. We were able to use these to explore the island, go for groceries, etc. Donna and Jerzy (the owners) were very helpful giving directions and advice on places to go, where to eat and directions, although it's hard to get really lost on this island. Rooms had Internet available, but no TV or phone as they were still out from a recent hurricane. The pool was out in the courtyard and there were 2 grills available for us to cook locally caught food from the "fish market" not far from Island House. While there is nothing fancy on Grand Turk, we had a blast between Island house and Grand Turk diving and would easily go back.
Websites Grand Turk Diving Co. Ltd   Island House

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 72-76°F / 22-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-150 Ft/ 23-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational of 130 Feet
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 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 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments There are no dedicated rinse tanks, but when we asked for a rinse bucket, one was provided for boat which was only for cameras.
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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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