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Dive Review of Oasis Divers/Osprey Beach Hotel in
Turks and Caicos/Grand Turk

Oasis Divers/Osprey Beach Hotel, Apr, 2014,

by Samuel B Johnson, NC, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 7571.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments The Grand Turk reefs are in mediocre to poor shape. The trip was an experiment. My conclusion is that the place is simply not a worthwhile Caribbean dive destination.
With regard to Oasis Divers, the dive operator I patronized, their US contact person (actually the owner) as well as the on-shore staff were all delightful. However, I would not patronize the dive operation again. First, their primary divemaster, Mackie, is one of the poorest with whom I've ever dealt. His hands and fins destroyed the reef, and he pointed out nothing of interest. His dive briefings were just that, brief and worthless. One day we were led by Craig, who was excellent, e.g., he found and pointed out an octopus on a day dive(!). One other day we were led by Jason, who is enthusiastic and pleasant but inexperienced, and it shows, i.e., inadequate briefings and no interesting creatures pointed out, except for one turtle which he knew to expect at a certain site.
Oasis Divers seems to be geared to serving cruise ship tourists with snorkeling, sailing, beach parties, segway tours, and I don't know what else. Diving seems to be the poor step-child. Their dive boat is a motorboat with a small canopy. One wades out to it from the beach and wades back to the beach on return. If seas are somewhat high, the entry is at a beach near the cruise ship pier, and an Oasis van transports one to and from the entry and exit beach. The ladder to exit from the water into the boat is small, flimsy and swings off the vertical to be somewhat under the boat. There is nothing at the gunwale to grab. Exit from the water is therefore somewhere between awkward and dangerous. One enters the water with a backroll off the gunwale. There is no boat captain other than the divemaster. Don't even think of amenities like a snack after the dive. The dive sites up and down the west coast of the island are 5 to 15 minute runs from the base, and one returns to the base for the surface interval.
Apparently Turks and Caicos is a known place for seeing humpback whales in the winter. We did see whales once at a distance, and Jason raced to try to see them. We went into the water and got a brief glimpse of them, but despite several other pursuits did not get to see them again.
I was told before the trip that a shore dive was a long swim but was possible. That proved not really to be true. I'm a fairly strong swimmer (5 miles a week), but I was exhausted by the one shore dive to the reef that I did. It is only possible if one swims on the surface out to the reef, which takes 40 to 60 minutes. Even if one saves some air in order to make part of the return at depth, there will still be an exhausting surface swim at the end as well.
If one is determined to try the diving at Grand Turk, one should explore Blue Water Divers or Grand Turk Diving. Both are on the same stretch of Front Street. All seemed to use the same motorboat-from-the-beach approach, but the other two operations might have better divemasters and possibly better ladders.
The coral seems to be generally in poor shape, much more dead than alive. The fish populations are small with few sightings of anything other than the fish Humann & Deloach call "abundant." Very few critters. I saw no crabs, no lobsters and one shrimp (Pedersen's). Turtles are fairly common. So are, surprisingly, Nassau grouper, some of whom clearly have been fed and are therefore attracted to divers. The sharks we saw were nurse sharks, which are apparently not uncommon.
The Osprey Beach Hotel seemed to be the largest hotel and is on the same stretch of road as the dive operations. The room was adequate. The AC and fan worked, as did the plumbing. No TV, no WiFi in our room (although there was extremely slow WiFi in the restaurant lounge area), no telephone, no radio, no alarm clock. Most of the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful. (One surly waitperson will hopefully not stay there long.) The twice a week barbecue meal is delicious and reasonably priced. Otherwise meal options along Front Street are pretty much all the same, i.e., fairly limited, acceptable, not too overpriced. In addition to Osprey's restaurant there is "Secret Garden," the restaurant of the Salt Raker Hotel and, sorry about this, the "Sand Bar."
Essentially there is no town, certainly nothing in the way of entertainment, night life, or window shopping.
Websites Oasis Divers   Osprey Beach Hotel

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving 95% Caribbean, some California, once North Carolina, once Mediterranean.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 78-°F / 26-°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Absolutely nothing on the boat, e.g., no camera bucket, no work area, no safe place to put camera or equipment. Water bucket for cameras at shop on shore but there was never water in the bucket. Staff did not seem knowledgeable about UWP.
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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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