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Dive Review of Oasis/Island House in
Turks and Caicos/Grand Turk

Oasis/Island House, Mar, 2006,

by Darren Dawson, SC, USA . Report 2416.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, the Bahamas, Bonaire, Belize-Lighthouse Reef, Cozumel, Grand Turk, Roatan, Utila
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 74 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the leader in small groups
Come up when you are low on air
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Nothing for UWP
You will rough it

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Google Darren Dawson for a longer version of the report

General: We visited Grand Turk for the first time on December 26-31, 2005. The water and beaches here are stunning gorgeous shades of turquoise and deep blue water with white-powder sand. The dive shops and most of the tourist hotels and restaurants are located along a stretch of beach known as The Strip. The beach here is beautiful and the sunsets are fabulous. The interior and non-tourist areas of the island where local businesses and homes are located was not particularly attractive, though the people were friendly and we always felt safe. Horses, donkeys and dogs roamed around everywhere. We stayed at the Island House resort and dove with Oasis Divers. The Island House is run by long-time manager Colin and it was quite nice, though it was not on the water. Oasis is a very good dive operation and we really loved our divemaster, Mackey. If we ever return to Grand Turk, we would definitely choose Oasis again and wed probably end up staying at the Island House, though I really did miss being on the water. (More details on lodging and diving are contained in the sections below.) We found the diving on Grand Turk to be mixed some of the sites we dove were outstanding, while others were somewhat mediocre. Several sites contained abundant colorful large sponges and hard and soft corals great wide-angle stuff. In terms of marine life, we saw a decent number of fish, especially on top of the reefs. Most of the standard reef fish were there. We came across turtles on every single dive. We saw quite a few butterflyfish on most dives (all kinds) but not many angel fish. We only found one spotted drum, and never saw a single scorpionfish. Schooling creole wrasse were seen on many dives, as were groupers of all sizes, from small to quite large. We saw nurse sharks a couple of dives. Our two night dives were excellent we saw crabs, lobsters, squid, octopi, etc. both times. One major disappointment was the complete lack of macro critters we literally saw only a couple of banded coral shrimp on one night dive, occasional flamingo tongues, a total of 3 Pederson cleaner shrimp (all on one dive) not a single arrow crab, nudibranch, or other small creature. In comparison to other dive destinations we have visited (the East End of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, the Bahamas, Belize, Bonaire, Cozumel, the Kona coast of Hawaii, Utila Dominica, and Roatan), we found the diving here to be better than Cozumel, Bonaire or the Bahamas; about on par with the Utila and Roatan (though very different from the Bay Islands); and a step below the Caymans and Dominica. The topside weather was beautiful during our stay mostly sunny every day with no rain. The water was cold, however (being late December), enough so to be bothersome by the last half of the second morning dive. We didnt see mosquitoes or no-see-ums here, except for a few mosquitoes in the evening. We didnt use insect repellent at all during the day and had no problems. The ideal vacation agenda here would probably be to do morning dives, spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach, and go on a couple of night dives.

Travel: We flew from Atlanta to Providenciales, Caicos on Delta, then took the short flight from Provo to Grand Turk on Sky King. Both airports were fairly nice by Caribbean standards (well air-conditioned, clean, nice seats, etc.) and all airport personnel we dealt with were friendly and accommodating. There were long lines checking in and going through security screening in the Provo airport for our return flight on Saturday due to the fact that four large planes were departing for the US within a couple of hours of each other that afternoon. Sky King runs multiple regular daily flights among the Turks and Caicos islands. The planes are small twin engine prop planes with about 15 seats. We had to pay excess weight charges for the first time ever on Sky King ($10 going and $14 returning go figure). Our bags weigh about 120 lbs. total for all four above their maximum allowance of 44 lbs. per person. All our bags did make it on the plane with us both ways. In fact, the only trouble we had with baggage occurred in the Atlanta Airport somehow one of our bags got lost between the baggage re-check in the international arrival area and the baggage claim area, but Delta had it delivered to our house within 36 hours.
Lodging/Dining: We stayed at the Island House resort, a well-known dive lodge on the island which has been managed by Colin (a retired Brit) for a number of years. The Island House is a nice property, with pretty common areas and a pool. There are about 10-12 guest rooms arranged around a nice courtyard, and Colin seems to be on-site to help tend to your needs at all times. All rooms have A/C and good-size porches and balconies. You can see a large lagoon from the back side of the property, but the view is not beautiful. Our room was on the bottom floor, so the view from the top floor rooms may have been more scenic. [islandhouse-tci.com link] Our room was outfitted with a double bed, dresser and a sitting area with a table. We had small kitchenette with microwave, stove and refrigerator. Storage space was adequate. The bathroom had a bathtub/shower, toilet and sink, and we always had plenty of hot water. Tap was is not potable, but fresh drinking water was provided on-site. Maid service was provided daily and towels were replenished each day. Guest rooms had televisions, phones, alarm/CD players. The electrical outlets in the room took standard US plugs. One bonus of staying at the Island House is the Colin provides a car or truck with the lodging package.
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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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