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Dive Review of Salt Cay Divers in
Turks and Caicos/Salt Cay

Salt Cay Divers, Apr, 2005,

by Richard R. Sziede, VA, USA . Report 1680.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Now I know what "unspoiled" means. Good dives, healthy coral, friendly locals, and a laid-back "island time" experience.

Turks & Caicos Air was on-time for the hop from Provo to Salt Cay - in an island kind of way. Overweight charge was $1.00 a kilo. Not a big bite. Delta lived down to their crappy reputation on the homeward leg. Late & canceled flights marred an otherwise perfect trip.

Debbie of Salt Cay does a little of everything. Gate agent at the Salt Cay airport, transfer driver, (the back of her pickup,) rental agent, and sometimes cook. Trade Winds Guest Suites are condos on the beach. Plain but comfortable. Excellent housekeeping. Keys? You must be kidding? This is Salt Cay! Debbie did put our passports and such in her safe. (At least I hope she had a safe.)

There is no chain anything. All establishments are mom & pop. There are about 60 permanent residents, supporting four churches. Commercial enterprises run by Canadian or US ex-pats, frequently married to "natives." If you expect manicured gardens and beaches, you have come to the wrong place. We're unspoiled here!

Wild donkeys roam, fed and watered by locals. Keep the fence gate closed, or find one in your kitchen. No museum, two gift shops. No dive shop. Salt Cay Divers has rental and some repair. Forget or bust dive gear, you are out of luck. Little to do for our non-diver. Anticipating this, J. brought her watercolors, needlework, and a pile of books.

Diving was quite good. Water temp was on the cool side 76-78F. Vis was 60-90 feet giving the opportunity for panoramic video shots. Cool water was supposed to favor whale watching, but somebody forgot to tell the whales. Our non-diving day we rented a golf cart and explored the island. THAT was the day a pod of humpbacks came right by the Salt Cay Divers dock. Debbie's husband loaded whoever was around into one of the dive skiffs for an impromptu whale-watch. We missed out. Nuts!

One cannot praise Salt Cay dive masters/instructors enough. T. and I have 200+ dives under our weight belts. C. was on her very first dive trip. As soon as the DMs saw us riding herd on our beginner they shouldered us aside and began instructing her themselves. An apt student and really good DMs are a winning combination. C. ended her first week of diving with her AOW certification!

The big boat has a dry spot for gear. The little boat is a Carolina skiff with no shelter other than a canvas sunshade. Most dives are within a few minutes of the dock. Neither boat sported a camera tank, which caused me a problem. After cooking in the sun the dome port of my video housing fogged in cool water.

Back-roll entry, hand up your gear before getting on the ladder. DMs escort all dives, but do your own profile once you have made your chops. Nurse sharks on most dives, juvenile turtles, one really big Hawks bill in a cave on the night dive. Barracuda are camera-shy. Few fish bigger than a frying pan. Spiny lobster and a sharp-tailed eel came out to pose in the daylight. Got close enough to video that it really is an eel, not the snake it looks like from a distance. The night dive started at dusk. Fewer night critters than expected. No squid or octopus. A lone cuttlefish posed for video under the dive boat.

Used the big boat for the 45-minute ride to the Edymion wreck dive. This is the Salt Cay signature dive. We feared we'd miss it because of rough waves, but nature relented at the last minute. Still, the per-capita consumption of motion-sickness drugs was high. The wrecks (there are two in the same site) are well worth the trip. While divers were ooing and aahing the cannon and anchors, a young Hawks bill came out to schmooze.

Although our condo had a kitchenette, there is precious little to cook on Salt Cay. Most of our food we brought in ourselves. We ate breakfast and lunch from our own supplies in the condo. Limited fresh supplies on the island. Milk, eggs and little else. Miss Netty periodically baked bread. Otherwise food is BYO.

Supper at excellent local resturants. Hands-down, the best is Miss Pat's. Her subtly flavored island fare brought us back for a second visit. Miss Pat's son is chef in the upscale (island upscale, not Manhattan upscale) Windmills Plantation. Very, very good, but mama still knows best. You call your order ahead to the resturants at about noon. The Green Flash has a wild happy hour. Most resturants are in walking range of Tradewinds. Miss Pat's will send a car for you.

North beach on Salt Caye looks like the deserted beaches you see in travel magazine ads. Local law reserves building there to natives. So you get over a mile of empty beach framed by reef coral and dunes. I'd go back just to visit North Beach again.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Most Carrivean Sites
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 76-88°F / 24-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-90 Ft/ 18-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Need camera rinse tanks on dive boats.
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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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