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Dive Review of Salt Cay Divers/Twilight Zone Cottage in
Turks and Caicos/Salt Cay

Salt Cay Divers/Twilight Zone Cottage, Feb, 2011,

by Sandy Falen, KS, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 27 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 6088.

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 4 stars
Comments This was a return to Salt Cay after a previous visit six years earlier. I was greatly relieved to find the diving was still good, and the island was still quiet and utterly charming. This February visit was timed in order to visit during humpback whale season, and the result was a "bucket list" experience.

I stayed in the "Twilight Zone" cottage, a 2BR, 1BA house located not far from Porter and Haidee's Island Thyme restaurant. The cottage was simple but lovely, with comfortable beds, ample hot water, ceiling fans, a full kitchen, washing machine, and a clothes line out back. Two bicycles were also provided, which are perfect for island exploring or just buzzing back & forth to the restaurant or dive shop. There were also plenty of electrical outlets, which is important for charging camera batteries and other gadgets.

Having a kitchen is great for snacks and cold drinks, but I ate almost every meal at Island Thyme. The food is fantastic, Porter's bar has anything you could wish for, and the atmosphere is simply one of a kind. This oasis of fine food and drink on such a tiny island is hard to believe until you've been there, so all I can say is, "go."

Salt Cay Divers runs a excellent operation. Debbie understands customer service, and clearly cares about the marine environment. Divemaster Richard was excellent, and I was glad to see him taking an active stance in the capture and elimination of lion fish whenever possible. Based on what I'd seen in the Bahamas the previous year (where the lion fish population was totally out of control and the tropical fish were severely depleted), I believe Salt Cay Divers' approach is making a difference.

The reefs around Salt Cay are in surprisingly good condition, with nice hard corals and lovely, large gorgonians. There are beautiful, vivid yellow sponges along the walls, making for great photo ops. I saw nurse sharks on several occasions, turtles, stingrays, and the typical small tropicals. As in most of the Caribbean, large fish are rare.

The months of January, February, and March are whale season in Salt Cay, and the whales alone are worth the trip. Salt Cay Divers runs whale watching trips, where you can enjoy viewing whales on the surface, and, if lucky, possibly have an in-water encounter. The staff is dedicated to a soft encounter, and won't chase or harass the animals in any way. I was fortunate to see numerous whales breaching, tail slapping, "waving" their pectoral fins, as well as approaching our boat in what appeared to be curiosity. A mother whale and calf swam right past our boat, and a lone whale literally swam right under us. On one occasion I was able to enter the water, and snapped a couple of terrific shots as "Moby Dick" cruised slowly by me and the other snorklers. Once he realized we weren't all that fascinating, he cruised on out of sight, but that short interlude made for a lifelong memory.

In addition to Island Thyme, I enjoyed a couple of meals (including the weekly BBQ bash) at Debbie's beach side restaurant. The food was good, the beer was cold, and the service was gracious.

Salt Cay is about as laid back as it gets, and although it takes a little more effort to get there (hopper flights from Provo run only M/W/F), it's worth the effort. The island is mostly flat and scrubby, and if you make the effort to get there (it's a moderate bike ride), North Beach is absolutely stunning. The island has no night life, other than star watching and the occasional party at Porter's, and that was fine with me.

I made all my arrangements via email with Haidee, who manages Twilight Zone, as well as some other accommodations. I thought the cottage was a superb value. Debbie at Salt Cay Divers also arranges accommodations, and there are a number of choices in different price ranges. You're likly to need to make an overnight stop in Provo en route, and about all I can say about Provo is that it's worth the stop if it helps you get to Salt Cay.
Websites Salt Cay Divers   Twilight Zone Cottage

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean, Fiji, Palau, Kosrae, Costa Rica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 78-79°F / 26-26°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 70-80 Ft/ 21-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 [None]
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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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