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Dive Review of South Caicos Diver/South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort in
Turks and Caicos/South Caicos

South Caicos Diver/South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort, Mar, 2007,

by Randi Dillow, CA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3245.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving San Salvador, Bahamas; Belize Atolls; Cayman Brac and Little Cayman; Sea of Cortez; Cozumel; Bonaire; Kona, Monterey Bay, CA
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 78 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth 130 feet, come back with 500 pounds of air, 3-5 minute safety stop at 15 feet
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Very small boat, no rinse tank.

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Be forewarned. The owner of the South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort will say anything to get you to book a trip to this resort, knowing full well practically none of the amenities he has been advertising for months on-line, in Scuba Diving magazine and on a poster that greets you at the South Caicos Airport exists, at least it didnt as of the second week of March 2007.

We booked what was advertised as a fully furnished 2 bd. 2 ½ ba. condominium with air conditioning, TV, washer/dryer, full kitchen, daily continental breakfast, restaurant, pool, Tiki Hut Bar (4 complimentary drink coupons each) and 6 days of diving at the South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort at a purportedly reduced price. He advertises the resort is new, the only hotel on South Caicos and open with full amenities. To be sure, the hotel is new and is the only hotel even close to opening in South Caicos, but as of the date of our departure, the hotel was not open (the electrical inspector had not yet signed off on the resort), the pool had no water in it and did not appear to be very close to being finished, there was no restaurant, no Tiki Hut Bar, and no television. The condominium we rented had air conditioning only in the bedrooms, no television, a washer (no dryer), no dressers, nightstands or coffee table, no toaster, a leaky refrigerator and dishes and silverware for only 3. We wouldnt have minded these conditions, of course, if we hadnt made very specific inquiries about the condition of the resort and condo prior to booking. We made it clear we did not want to stay in a place without a functioning pool, TV, bar, etc., prior to booking (we had a non-diver with us). We told the proprietor we didnt mind that the grounds were being worked on but wanted to be sure this property was otherwise fully operational. Needless to say, the owner of this one-man operation was less than truthful about the condition of the resort in the numerous e-mails we exchanged prior to our booking and prior to our arrival four months later. The morning after we arrived the four of us discussed whether we should cut our losses and head for another island, but decided to see how the diving was before we made a decision. We ended up staying for the week, all the while too intimidated to bring up how angry we were about the owners misrepresentations for fear our next door neighbor/host/dive guide would make matters worse (he was our only point of contact for the 3 restaurants on the island and the owner of the grocery store).

By the way, dining out on South Caicos is somewhat of an adventure. It involves arranging to have a meal in a room in back of a local residents home (no menus). The food, for the most part, was fine and we enjoyed meeting some of the people in South Caicos. There is one place to get a hamburger and fries for lunch but you wouldnt find it unless someone told you about it. After three nights of dining out, we switched to dining in.

The three divers in our group pretty much filled the owners small pleasure boat which was not really set up for diving (his larger boat [assuming it actually exists] was purportedly undergoing repair so humpback whale watching was out). He leaves the boat tied to the mooring line and empty during the dive as he drops down to lead the group (not the safest practice) and it was difficult to get back on board when the water was choppy (my bruises are still healing). He had no place to store or rinse gear at the condo or near the boat and no dive shop (we rinsed our gear in our upstairs shower and hung it over the balcony). I believe, given enough time, the resort may one day be a pleasant place for a dive vacation, but this property has a long, long way to go. On the way to the airport we spoke to the owner about his misrepresentations. His ambivalence was inexcusable. We wrote him when we got back, demanding a small refund for what was sadly lacking in our significantly overpriced package, but never heard from him.

The diving, on the other hand, was great. The reefs appear healthy, the sea life is abundant and the dive sites are 5 minutes from shore. Our favorite site was The Grotto where we saw numerous sharks on every dive (black tip, Caribbean reef and nurse), turtles, schooling jacks, and cuttlefish, along with squadrons of large spotted eagle rays (on one dive a squadron of 20 flew straight toward us at the top of the wall, then turned left about 15 feet in front of us). On other dives we saw anywhere from 2 to 8 eagle rays on nearly every dive at that site. We heard whale song most days but on the last day it was so loud throughout both dives we felt certain we were going to see them, but didn't. We did see several pods pass by throughout the week from the condominium. We were extremely disappointed that the owner failed to disclose he did not have a large enough boat to take us whale watching as he promised (one of the reasons we decided to come in March).

We love going to small islands off the beaten path and have had many enjoyable experiences doing so, but this trip will be remembered for the wrong reasons thanks to the unscrupulous owner of South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort.
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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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