Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
Join Undercurrent on Facebook
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
 

Dive Review of Sea Eye/Turks Head Inn in
Turks and Caicos

Sea Eye/Turks Head Inn, Jun, 2003,

by gloria Freund, Va, US . Report 530.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 76 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions come back alive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Sea eye rents and instructs on nikonos and MX-10 but during my visit, all nikonos were in repair and I could only get an MX-10 for part of the stay.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my best yet diving experience. My only disappointment was not getting desired instruction in the u/w photography for which Cecil@ Seaeye is justly renowned. Shortly beforehand I learned SeaEyes rental nikonos werent working which prevented a real photo course. I resigned to renting SeaEyes point/shoot MX-10 but was halfway through my trip before getting the camera, care instruction and a few pointers.

The quality of diving and by our SeaEye Divemaster, Smitty, more than took up the slack. As a working stiff from N. Virginia, its hard improving skills diving only once a year. Our small Seaeye dive groups allowed for personalized attention. After short, pithy briefs, Smitty let folks explore walls on their own or accompany him. Choosing the latter, we had the benefit of Smittys coaching to refine our technique and notice more critters. Smitty artfully weaves intimate knowledge of those reefs and walls with an intuitive, almost spiritual relationship with the environment; anyone, regardless of their experience, can learn something from him. So, with him, we slowed down, relaxed, shed nearly a third of our lead and consumed less air. Never rushed, we enjoyed bottom times of an hour-plus. Dive plans tarried at the best spots. We had arches, swimthroughs, gorgonians, elephant ear, rope, barrel, black, pipestem and other coral formations. Smitty pointed out critters we might have missed, and introduced us to resident groupers and hawksbill turtles willing to pose for photos. We saw several sea horses, yellow frogfish, batfish, scorpion fish, minute shrimp, spiney lobsters, barracuda, eel. Smittys ugly site (The Pits) was a fascinating extended safety stop amongst the old tires, crates, pylons and human debris in which sea creatures have established their castles. Most exhilarating was our dolphin encounter while commencing a safety stop at English Point. Four approached in a tightly-orchestrated frolic to w/in a few feet of each of us for mutual appraisals, braiding around each other and eyeing us from several vantages before moving on.

Topside, Grand Turk is often said to offer little to non-divers. Indeed Grand Turk lacks glitz, upscale shopping, chainstores, fast food, commercial amusements. It is niether lush nor landscaped. It is nearly flat, dry, scrubby, and in some spots, spewn with trash. Amusement must be self-made or in contented relaxation. So whats to love? Beyond lovely, nearly un-peopled beaches and great snorkeling, Grand Turk has an individuality and warmth rarely found. Travellers will be happy who enjoy quiet, funky charm, genuinely friendly populace, and simple pleasures. Having no wheels, we availed of Smittys Island tour offer, so experienced the place through the eyes of someone to whom it is beloved home. Old Cockburn town has many delapidating old plantation mansions that give parts of it a ghosttown feel. There is no gentrification here. (Many old structures remain in use -- churches, library, Eunice lodge, a great national museum.) Smitty drove us along North Creek past feral horses and donkeys to see feeding flamingoes, to a the lighthouse near the old Navy Base (now community college), and up along the ridge where spacious dream homes are slowly rising. The ridge overlooks both sides of the island to oceans beyond, including Cockburn town and old salt flats-turned-wildlife refuges. Cross-seabreezes give lift to egrets and herons. Lovely.

Meals along Front street were good but pricey at $20-plus. Sunsets accompany good seafood at Waters Edge. Regal Begal served reasonable fish & chips. But we found the best and most unique dining-experience at Chubbys (aka Saps) a few miles north of town. Hours vary -- best call (242-1723 ). Open since summer 02, one wont find a friendlier, more generous or accomodating host, nor fresher/better seafood at more reasonable prices. Chubby also treated us to stories of growing up a fishermans son (his father runs the fish market) and a rundown of Island goings-ons. An outdoor expansion should be done in summer 03 so guests can enjoy ultra-fresh grouper, lobster, or just-plucked-from-the-water conch under the stars. Chubby also offers other Island tour services.

We stayed at Turks Head Inn for historic charm and convenience. Its shaded courtyard hosted our included breakfasts and the hammock, post-dive relaxing. Turks Head staff was accomodating; deluxe rooms on which we splurged were comfortable and spacious. Good showers had hot and cold water whenever needed. Re Saturday night Kareoke: all guests get the audio blast anyway so be downstairs with the crowd for the full effect.

I left Grand Turk refreshed by the quiet, small community feel -- awakening to roosters crows and seeing cattle, feral donkeys and horses wandering about. Folks greet and readily chitchat with visitors who make the time. Everyone seems to know everyone else. Within a day or so after arriving I felt more relaxed, accepted, safe and at home above and below the water. Anxiety set in only when learning that Holland America may start developing a cruise ship pier as soon as late 03. A broadened economic base is argued, given loss of the salt industry by the 1960s. Too often poverty and inadequate opportunity do accompany quaintness so appealing to visitors, and Grand Turk has its issues. But some Islanders share deep worries for what sudden, homogenizing cruise ship infrastructures of duty free shopping malls and mass-appeal amusements might impose on this small, open-hearted community. What will become of Grand Turks delicate reefs, natural treasures and gentle, welcoming termperament? One prays for Grand Turk politicians, the wisdom to absorb and pace any such development without sacrificing its most precious human and natural gifts. Many Carribean dive destinations invite exploration but can be satisfied with a single visit. Between its great reefs and and way of life, Grand Turk beckons returns.

Was this report helpful to you?
Bookmark and Share
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here
 

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 317 dive reviews of Turks and Caicos and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Bookmark and Share
Featured Links from Our Sponsors
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Reef & Rainforest, Let our experience be your guide -- Reef and Rainforest
Reef & Rainforest, Dive & Adventure Travel
A full service dive travel agency that specializes in Turks & Caicos. We know the best Caribbean and Pacific diving

Want to assemble your own collection of Turks and Caicos reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home


Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!



Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |


Copyright © 1996-2017 Undercurrent (www.undercurrent.org)
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page displayed in 0.09 seconds