Turks and Caicos diving reviews_ chapbook 2006

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					   TURKS AND CAICOS                                     The Wider Caribbean
for the hotel restaurant, most clients      has a wall right offshore and occa-
were in classy casual in general. The       sional fishy surprises — and coming
grounds are gated with controlled           cruise ships. Salt Cay has pretty div-
entry; the swimming beach is protected      ing and the boats visit Grand Turk’s
by a rock jetty; and lush tropical plants   wall. Bring a long-sleeved shirt dur-
are everywhere. Although the appear-        ing the winter; it can get cool in the
ance is classy, underneath the veneer it    evenings. The flight to Provo from
is typical Caribbean. We had little water   Miami is a little over an hour.
pressure in our room; from about 5PM
- 6:30PM when everyone was coming           Beaches, February 2005, Robert
off the beach before dinner there was       McDonald (rmcdonald99@shaw.ca),
no hot water, either. The AC unit in our    Coquitlam, BC. Experience: 101-250
room vibrated like a DC-9 on take-off;      dives. Vis: 100 to 150 Feet. Water:
although it was worked on twice it          choppy. Most dive were at 60’ for 30
never was acceptably quiet. I had sched-    Minutes. But we did dive up to 90’ on
uled a massage; it was not until I was      4 dive just because there was enough
standing at the desk at the appointed       advance divers on the boat. My wife
3 PM time that I was told the masseur       and I both dove on our own since we
had called in sick — so an afternoon        had dive computer we were aloud to
was shot from that. I rescheduled for       go any depth as long as our dive was
the next day, and discovered on arrival     no more then 40 minutes. The small
that the A/C was not working in the         test before diving is standard at every
spa. The room was about 98 degrees          Sandals resort (Beaches is part of
with no windows, and a fan. The food        Sandals). The test in the pool was quite
for breakfast and lunch was good            simple (mask on/off, reg recovery and
but not outstanding. On the upside          fin pivot).If you did not have a dive
— messages were delivered with great        computer and the boat was mainly
speed, housekeeping was outstanding         open water diver then you were stuck
(fresh towels twice a day) and the staff    to 60’ for 30 minutes. Boat was well
was friendly. We ate at local restaurants   equip with radio, oxygen, 15 feet Bar
— Coco’s, Dillon’s, Ru-B-Lou’s and the      and safety stop reg, first aid on board,
Pelican. All were good and well priced.     water, food and shower. All dive were
                                            PADI standard Briefing before dive we
                                            knew our profile before we got in the
TURKS AND CAICOS                            water. So we plan the dive and dove the
                                            plan. We did 60’, not like other resorts
This island group, south of the             where 60’ always ends up 90’ or so. This
Bahamas and north of the Virgins,           includes the deep dive we were toll 90’
features awesome walls and clear            and we did 87’. Great two weeks.
water. Provo, the glitzy island, has
spectacular beaches, but it’s an            Grand Turk
hour’s boat ride to the better diving
                                            Blue Water Divers, July 2005, Embry
of South or West Caicos. Grand
                                            Rucker, Prospect, KY. Experience: 251-
Turk is a funky, laid-back island that

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       The Wider Caribbean                                      TURKS AND CAICOS
      500 dives. Vis: 80 to 100 Feet. Water: 80   Jenny’s staff — from the front office to
      to 84 F, calm. Mitch and divemasters are    the bar/restaurant to the maids — is
      good. it is a small personal operation      helpful and friendly. The food is very
      and has been in business for twenty         good, the Presidente beer from the DR
      years. Grand Turk is changing. Go now.      is ice cold and there is barbecue night
      They help you take care of your gear on     on Wednesdays and Sundays. Mitch
      board and you rinse it off when you get     plays these evenings and stick around
      back to your hotel.                         for the second set when his band and
                                                  many Turks Islanders sit in. They tear
      Blue Water Divers, Osprey Beach, July
                                                  up the place. Try the Boiho (the old
      2005, Anthony V. Dresden, Arlington,
                                                  Guanahani) at Pillory Beach for dinner.
      VA. Experience: 251-500 dives. Vis: 75
                                                  The new owners brought in a chef from
      to 100 Feet. Water: 82 to 84 F, calm.
                                                  the States who is first rate but the prices
      This is my fourteenth year of div-
                                                  are steep. There are smaller, less expen-
      ing on Grand Turk. Owner-operator
                                                  sive restaurants. Carnival Cruise Lines
      Mitch Rolling and top-flight divemas-
                                                  should begin operations on Grand
      ters such as Conchy offer a first-rate
                                                  Turk in 2006. For those of us who
      diving experience, especially for those
                                                  have left other islands ruined by cruise
      who like the personalized touch. Not
                                                  ships and all that they bring, this is sad
      to sound too clichéd, but it’s the way
                                                  news indeed. At the Courtyard Café, I
      diving used to be. The dive boats are
                                                  struck up a conversation with a marine
      never crowded and the sites are never
                                                  biologist who was doing a survey of
      more than 15 minutes away. Mitch has
                                                  reef health in the Caribbean/tropical
      logged an insane number of dives on
                                                  Atlantic. He said that the Grand Turk
      Grand Turk’s reefs and walls and while
                                                  reefs were among the healthiest he had
      others would be tempted to phone it in
                                                  seen but that they were under stress
      after all these years, he seems ener-
                                                  and could go either way. Just what you
      gized. After one absolutely kick-ass dive
                                                  want to hear as these huge cruise ships
      on Aquarium, he was as enthusiastic
                                                  are poised to enter Grand Turk’s waters.
      and pumped as the divers. The walls
                                                  Let’s hope for the best.
      and reefs are still vibrant and healthy.
      Although mantas and eagle rays are          Oasis Divers, Osprey Beach Resort,
      in short supply, abundant turtles and       December 2004, Douglas Peterson.
      dolphins and big schools of Creole          Experience: 400+ dives. Grand Turk
      wrasse that literally spill over you.       was home for a NASA tracking sta-
      This year, I also saw big midnight and      tion during John Glenn’s first orbital
      supermale blue parrotfish. Other divers      flight. Laid back, middle-of-nowhere;
      saw large hammerheads but I had to          friendly people; and short boat rides to
      settle for a lot of nurse sharks. I have    a fascinating dive wall. There is almost
      been staying at Osprey Beach ever since     nothing to do there except dive, have
      Jenny Smith purchased it and left the       a few drinks with the friendly locals
      Salt Raker. The rooms are spacious and      “belongers”), eat a slow meal (wait staff
      clean and I chose an upstairs one with      at every restaurant move like molasses),
      a balcony and great view of the ocean.      and enjoy the fantastic sunsets. Everett

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   TURKS AND CAICOS                                     The Wider Caribbean
and Dale, the married owners of Oasis       good dive operation and provides lots
Divers, were knowledgeable and accom-       of extras (whale watching, snorkeling
modating. Everett used to be a captain      with the rays off of Gibbs Caye and dive
for the Aggressor fleet! Tyro and Mackie     trips to Salt Caye). We had heard much
were fantastic divemasters — low key,       about a cruise ship coming, but only
super friendly, and experienced. Every      saw one and there is little change since
person in their employ was all smiles,      being there two years ago. (they do have
every day — and if you needed help          a wonderful new airport however). My
with anything — no problem! We dove         average dive time was 63 minutes with
during the winter, and churning seas        my longest dive being 74 minutes. We
(or perhaps the four summer hur-            stayed at the Aqua House and two-
ricanes) seemed to have spilled “sand       bedroom condo about a ten minute
dust” on much of the reef system.           walk to town. We were picked up in the
looked like a light snow had fallen. The    morning for diving, but did walk to
wall was mind boggling! Dropping            dinner. This was a nice accommodation
down to 7,000 feet — straight down in       right on the water and in calm weather
some places— the water underneath           provided good snorkeling
you gradually darkens until it disap-
                                            Oasis Divers, Osprey Hotel,
pears into a completely opaque abyss.
                                            April 2005, Mark & Lynn Thorne
I found myself mesmerized at times
                                            (thorne@mindspring.com), Raleigh,
staring down into that void . Plenty
                                            NC. Experience: 251-500 dives. Vis:
of life— including a 5 pack pod of
                                            80 to 100 Feet. Water: 78 to 80 F, calm.
dolphin playing with us for a minute
                                            Our fifth year going to Grand Turk. We
or two at 70 feet, and swarms of Creole
                                            have used Sea Eye Diving in the past;
wrasse zooming along in their long
                                            however, we found their service, dive
lines, flapping their “wings.” Osprey
                                            boats and attitude of staff had become
Beach Hotel owner and employees
                                            less customer friendly. In contrast, we
were aloof to the point of being rude,
                                            found Oasis Divers to be exceptionally
the room was overpriced and Spartan
                                            customer friendly with their boats in
(with broken air conditioning that took
                                            great condition and friendly staff. They
two days to fix), and the restaurant
                                            use 18 plus feet Carolina Skiffs for all
was poor. I recommend the Salt Raker
                                            dives. You back roll off the boat to be-
Inn and Manta House for their unique
                                            gin your dive. The water, fish, coral and
rooms, delicious food, and friendly
                                            horizon are beautiful. Our dive master
owners!
                                            (“Mackie”) is always with a smile and
Oasis Divers, Aqua House,                   great sense of humor. Although he has
March 2005, Susan Durchslag                 done a lot of diving, he always seems to
(sueld@mailbag.net), Newbury, OH.           enjoy getting wet. There is some really
Experience: 101-250 dives. Vis: 60 to       good food and some just fair food.
120 Feet. Water: 74 to 78 , calm, choppy.   Osprey Hotel seems to get better every
The diving is good. The boat rides are      year. Make sure to have breakfast with
short 10 minutes or less and the coral      Phyllis in the Courtyard Restaurant.
is in good condition. Oasis Divers is a

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       The Wider Caribbean                                      TURKS AND CAICOS
      Oasis, Island House, April 2005, Van        Oasis Divers, Island House, May 2005,
      Freidin freidin@pacbell.net), Moun-         Charlotte Ware (2divers@thewares.
      tain View, CA. Experience: 251-500          net), Germantown, TN. Experience:
      dives. Vis: 45 to 150 Feet. Water: 76 to    251-500 dives. Vis: 75 to 200 Feet.
      79 F, calm. Grand Turks is a beautiful      Water: 78 to 80 F., calm. We chose Oasis
      island, underwater. Island House did        Divers based on Undercurrent reports,
      not suit my needs, so I quickly lowered     and we couldn’t be more pleased. Oasis
      my expectations of the accommoda-           Divers is a professionally run dive op-
      tions and had a great time from my          eration where our enjoyment seemed to
      lower perspective. The rooms were           be their first priority. They rinsed our
      clean, the shower hot, refrigerator kept    gear nightly and had it set up on the
      my beer and tequila cold. A/C in one        boat for the next dive in the morning.
      bedroom only. I had the fan, open           At the conclusion of each dive, we just
      windows no screens, and mosquitoes.         had to hand up our fins and weights
      Early wake up call by donkey. The           and Mackey, our DM would take the
      Island House is not on the beach, not       BC up into the boat for us. He was
      near any restaurants, taverns, or any-      knowledgeable and wanted us to have a
      thing else you may have thought should      good time. All sites were only minutes
      have been. The room does include the        from shore and gorgeous. Amazing
      use of a pick-up. They ask that you fill     walls every dive, and once Mackey got
      the tank to where it was when you got       to know us we dived our own profile.
      there, but the gas gauges don’t work.       The only restriction was to come up
      The best food on the island will be the     with 500 psi. We never had a dive that
      food you prepare in your room, or at        was less than an hour long. We saw
      the grill pool side. After your last dive   turtles on most dives, numerous huge
      stop at the grocery store pick up rice,     lobsters, several eels and even a few ju-
      beans, veggies, meat, beer, and more        venile spotted drum. We took a day trip
      beer or wine. Did I mention the stench      to Salt Cay and ate at a little bar called
      from the salt ponds? Six days of diving,    Island Thyme which was a delight.
      3-4 tanks a day at one of many colorful     Porter the proprietor was entertaining.
      walls, swim thrus, and coral gardens.       The Island House was perfect. Collin,
      The variety of tropical fish and inver-      the owner, greeted us and took us for a
      tebrates was huge. Most larger fish are      tour of Grand Turk, pointing out places
      gone. Please don’t order local fish from     to eat and shop and gave us a truck to
      the restaurants. The highlights include     use for our visit. We were able to ex-
      sharks, eels, spotted eagle ray, several    plore the rest of this quaint, charming
      turtles, large barracuda, and octopi on     island on our own. The one bedroom
      night dives. I was part of a group of 14    suite had a kitchen (two burner stove,
      divers, so overall we had a good time.      microwave, and refrigerator), a deck
      They had fresh water rinse bucket on        and a porch with a hammock. Food is
      each boat and one larger (kegger size)      expensive per U.S. standards but con-
      tub at the shore side shop. No drying       sidering the cost to import food it is to
      area or compressed air.                     be expected. Waters Edge had excellent


174
   TURKS AND CAICOS                                      The Wider Caribbean
conch (cracked and salad) and Mookie         MN. Experience: 101-250 dives. Vis: 60
Pookie had delicious pizza. The Osprey       to 80 Feet. Water: 80 to 82 F, calm, no
Hotel had good food and nice ambi-           Currents. Oasis Divers owners Dale and
ance; dining alfresco by the pool and        Everette Barker ran an excellent dive
the ocean at the same time. The best         operation including knowledgeable and
food was at the newly renovated Pillory      friendly dive support staff. The facility
Beach Hotel, now called “The Bohio.”         is just a couple minute walk from the
The chef delights in creating marvel-        Osprey Beach Hotel. My wife and I
ous dishes. The desserts are to die for.     dove on a small boat with no more than
A cruise ship dock is currently under        7 divers throughout the 7 days. Cook-
construction, with expected arrivals in      ies, water, and towels were provided.
2006.                                        There was no oxygen, rinse tank or
                                             table for cameras but they told us they
Oasis Divers, Salt Raker Inn, June
                                             were unnecessary because of the short
2005, Mark Segal (markgsegal@yahoo.
                                             boat rides. All entries were back rolls
com), Santa Cruz, CA. Experience: 0-25
                                             and exiting the water required removal
dives. Water: calm. Having never dived
                                             of your gear and handing it to the dive
before, and since there was little else
                                             master before climbing the ladder. Our
to do there, we decided to get certi-
                                             dive master/boat captain (Mackie) was
fied. Dale was our instructor, and she
                                             laid back but informative and respon-
was great. She adjusted the pace of the
                                             sible. We enjoyed his sense of humor.
classroom work to our ability to absorb
                                             We only repeated one dive site as we
it, and it went by quickly. The same was
                                             went to the “Library” again on one of
true of the confined water training, and
                                             our night dives. Many times Jackie and
we were out doing open water dives
                                             I were the only divers. The diving was
in no time. Her attitude was low-key
                                             easy with no dive restrictions. Our 19
and positive. This attitude extended
                                             dives averaged 71 minutes while our
to the rest of the staff at Oasis. All the
                                             max depth averaged 83’ on each dive
divemasters were knowledgeable, fun
                                             including many dives below 100’. Dale
to dive with, and even inspiring. Safety
                                             accompanied us on one dive and we
was taken seriously, but not obsessively
                                             spotted a pod of dolphins when Mackie
so. And they went out of their way to
                                             stopped the boat and let us snorkel
accommodate us, always with a smile.
                                             with them. We were impressed with the
The tourist area is small and free of
                                             abundance of fish life and the soft coral.
commercialism, accommodations are
                                             We didn’t see much that we hadn’t seen
simple but charming, and the few small
                                             before in the Caribbean other than
restaurants were friendly with good
                                             a Batfish and approachable Grouper
food. Actually, everyone on Grand Turk
                                             — not a lot of sharks, turtles, or rays.
was friendly and helpful, including the
                                             Our most entertaining creature was a
non-tourist-industry locals.
                                             playful octopus on night dive. The wall
Oasis Divers, Osprey Beach Ho-               was no more than 5-10 minutes ride
tel, June 2005, Shawn Nelson                 from Oasis dive shop. Good shore div-
(snelson@blackhole.com), Monticello,         ing was nonexistent although Oasis will


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       The Wider Caribbean                                        TURKS AND CAICOS
      provide all the air you want. eAir was       www.oasisdivers.com
      in the low 90’s, water was a nice 82F.
                                                   Sea Eye, Osprey Beach, October 2004,
      We only experienced one small stretch
                                                   Brenda Speer (brendaspeer@pbsllc.
      of rain. We rented bikes one day from
                                                   biz), Pulaski, TN. Experience: 101-250
      Val’s. We rode them 3 miles and pushed
                                                   dives. Vis: 50 to 100 Feet. Water: 81 to
      them 5 miles. We each got flat tires on
                                                   83 F, no currents. Quaint place, the
      tar roads and a pedal broke off. Val
                                                   ambiance is surreal, quiet. Sea Eye is an
      was rude as she accused us of wrecking
                                                   excellent operation. Smitty took care of
      her bikes and stated that now she had
                                                   us. He is probably the best dive master I
      to pay someone to get them fixed so
                                                   have ever dove with. The night dive was
      our attempts to obtain a partial refund
                                                   excellent. They understand everyone’s
      failed. We were entertained almost
                                                   level of experience. Osprey Beach is a
      every night by the enthusiastic band
                                                   lovely place to stay especially if you get
      High Tide. A great value and great time
                                                   a room with an ocean front view and
      to spend an afternoon was going to
                                                   a kitchenette. Grand Turk has no great
      Gibbs Cay for barbecue and swimming
                                                   place to eat and the food is expensive.
      with the stingrays. Osprey was nothing
      special. We enjoyed their barbecue one       Sea Eye, Island House, February 2005,
      evening — it was about $30 each which        Cathy Mack (crmack1@aol.com),
      included one entree (fish or chicken)         Washington, DC. Experience: 251-500
      and all you could eat salads — drink         dives. Vis: 50 to 100 Feet. Water: 75 to
      not included. We had horrible service        77 F, choppy. February is chilly and
      at the Water’s Edge restaurant but the       windy and rough. That said, the island
      food was fine. Hopefully the waitress         is so laid-back and friendly that you
      was just having a bad day but upon           sort of don’t even care, particularly
      simple questions about menu items            when you are there for several weeks,
      she rolled her eyes numerous times           which we were. Sea Eye was going
      and sighed heavily as if were seriously      through a rough time because the only
      inconveniencing her. We enjoyed meals        dive master got sick and so we just went
      at the quaint and friendly Sandbar           diving with the boat driver, who really
      restaurant/bar on the beach. The food        knew all the dive sites and is a great div-
      on the island is quite expensive. Each       er but he is not a divemaster. No prob-
      meal could reach $50 US with just one        lem because we were all experienced
      drink each. We brought items from            divers and we had lots of fun together.
      home for breakfast and snacks. Oasis is      The weather improved as it got later in
      building a second facility on the south      the month and I kept putting on more
      end of the island by the new cruise ship     wet suits to get used to the cold water.
      pier being built. We were promised the       Diving was terrific. Island House is
      arrival of cruise tourists would not alter   wonderful place because it offers small
      the experience that we encountered but       apartments. Although it is not on the
      it’s hard to believe. Although it was the    beach, the owner (Colin Brooker) gives
      most expensive of all our dive trips thus    each guest a truck/van and you can
      far(including Maui) we had a great trip.     drive all over the place, including the


176
   TURKS AND CAICOS                                      The Wider Caribbean
beach. There is a pool and he is always     of silt on reef and evidence of broken
around to help you out. Not much to         corals/sponges on shallow reefs, espe-
do other than explore, dive, swim, lay      cially in Grace Bay. West Caicos fared
in the sun, eat, drink and read good        better and the U/W life was incredible!
books. There is a self-selection process    Many huge lobster and crabs as well as
that goes on so only serious (and re-       tiny cleaner shrimp and arrow crabs.
ally nice and friendly) divers go there.    Gargantuan Nassau groupers! Many
Grand Turk has a brand-new interna-         southern stingrays and spotted morays.
tional airport.                             angelfish, hogfish, tang, wrasse, and
                                            other fish in great abundance. At least
Providenciales                              one Caribbean reef shark on each dive
                                            and usually several. One day we had
Caicos Adventures, Royal West Indies,
                                            two hawksbill turtles, six sharks, and a
October 2004, Laurie Gneiding
                                            manta ray. The reef is in great shape,
(laurierg@eclipse.net), Lebanon, NJ.
                                            i.e., fry, juveniles, adults, and large fish.
Experience: 101-250 dives. Water: 80 to
                                            Kenard, Asa, and Rich were helpful
85 F., choppy. 13 dives in six days. You
                                            and gracious divemasters. Reef fragility
do not touch your equipment from the
                                            was not sufficiently stressed. Certain
moment it arrives onboard — every-
                                            divers in our group dragged their way
thing is set up for you and then rinsed
                                            across the oftlinebottom knocking over
at the end of the day. Fills were between
                                            sponges and corals and no one was
3000 and 3500 psi. Nitrox available.
                                            corrected until we suggested it later to
During our first 10 dives, the large cat
                                            the divemasters. The Royal West Indies
was in dry dock getting its drive shaft
                                            Resort was immaculate and spacious.
fixed and the smaller cat was used.
                                            We had a one-bedroom condo with
Not a problem with five divers but for
                                            the full kitchen. Given that restaurants
a few days, we had 10 divers and two
                                            are expensive and taxis even more so,
divemasters. Conditions were “cozy.”
                                            we opted to get the ($20) shuttle to the
The small boat also did not absorb the
                                            IGA and stocked up. Ask for the rooms
bouncing during the 45 minute ride to
                                            that are NOT adjacent to the Club Med.
West Caicos. Fresh water and Gato-
                                            We were kept up late nearly every night
rade are available and lunch is a large,
                                            with their incessant loud music.
unimaginative ham/cheese or turkey
sandwich from the local IGA. The last       Caicos Adventures, Royal West Indies,
day of our diving (the 3-tank day) the      February 2005, Steve Bergerson, Lake
big catamaran was back in the water         Geneva, WI. Experience: 600+ dives.
with Fifi as the captain. And what a         Vis: 50 to 80 ft. Water: 77 F, calm & flat,
difference! It’s huge! Lots of room for     choppy, no currents. Caicos Adven-
divers and equipment and sunbathing         tures is a well run operation. FiFi was
during surface intervals. Snacks served     off island. Vince was in charge and ran
in between dives and lunch upgraded         an impeccable operation. Great boat;
to sandwiches with pesto pasta salad        great crew all around. Took excellent
and a bag of chips. Due to recent hur-      care of all dive gear. Same sandwiches
ricanes, visibility was 40-60 feet. Lots    for lunch 5 days in a row a little tiring.

                                                                                   177
       The Wider Caribbean                                        TURKS AND CAICOS
      Nice walls, good coral, fair amount of       minutes. Two tank dives and a substan-
      fish. Best service I have ever had on a       tial sandwich between dives. If staying
      non-live-aboard. Royal West Indies a         in Grace Bay or surrounding areas, will
      nice condo complex approaching Cay-          pick up divers in bus. Leave about 28
      man standards.                               and back around 2ish. Nitrox available.
                                                   The dive boat is a 54’ catamaran built
      Caicos Adventures, The Seagate,
                                                   for divers. My favorite spot on the boat
      March 2005, Cathy Mack.
                                                   was in the front, with my legs dangling
      (crmack1@aol.com), Washington,
                                                   over the water watching the shimmer-
      DC. Experience: 251-500 dives. Vis: 20
                                                   ing turquoise ocean speed by and seeing
      to 100 Feet. Water: 77 to 79 F, choppy,
                                                   the flying fish. The crew, Andy, Oliver,
      currents. We have been to Provo for five
                                                   Richard, and others took excellent care
      years in a row during the first week of
                                                   of everyone, from setting up the gear
      March and this was the first where we
                                                   to leading the group dives to being
      experienced rough seas and bad weath-
                                                   fun to be with. Coral is healthy, mostly
      er. The island is turning into another
                                                   wall dives, saw reef and nurse sharks
      Grand Cayman with too many people
                                                   on about 80% of the dives. Magical
      and too many fast cars. Turks and
                                                   moments spent with a large turtle that
      Caicos Adventures has stayed relatively
                                                   swam along with our group! All the
      unaffected, as has The Seagate. A won-
                                                   “usual suspects” in Caribbean sea life,
      derful island with great diving except
                                                   which was diverse and healthy. Saw
      that the long boat trips are only fun
                                                   numbers of schooling fish. Areas pro-
      when Fifi’s big boat is operating. His
                                                   tected from fishing. Ours was usually
      dive instructors and dive masters are
                                                   the only dive boat in the area. The dive
      really wonderful and the service on the
                                                   boat rents a full line of gear. Several
      boat is terrific. Fifi, who owns the busi-
                                                   on our boat had malfunctioning gear,
      ness, lost his wonderful catamaran so
                                                   but replaced it and were able to dive.
      we were diving on a small boat. Because
                                                   Both Aqua and Magnolia were excel-
      of the rough waters, we switched to
                                                   lent dining and romantic; Hemingway’s
      another operator for our second week.
                                                   was tasteless, but great view; Tiki Hut
      The Seagate is a large apartment (in a
                                                   was fun and filling and pretty cheap.
      small mansion that is only apartments)
                                                   UW Photography Comments: Provided
      that is right behind Coral Gardens. A
                                                   freshwater tank for cameras only and
      real bargain and wonderfully located.
                                                   large area to care for cameras.
      Caicos Adventures, July 2005, Sheri
                                                   Dive Provo, Hotel Sibonne, May
      Ray, Dallas, TX. Experience: 101-250
                                                   2005, Brian & Andrea Westbrook
      dives. Vis: 40 to 90 Feet. Water: 82 to 84
                                                   (brianawestbrook@aol.com), Atlanta,
      F, choppy. My husband and I enjoyed
                                                   GA. Experience: 51-100 dives. Vis: 60
      each dive and the entire dive experi-
                                                   to 100 Feet. Water: 78 to 80 F., choppy.
      ence. Caicos Adventures is an excellent
                                                   Hotel Sibonne is the smallest and oldest
      dive operation, run by “Fifi” Kunz,
                                                   on Grace Bay. It’s motel-style, clean
      www.tcidiving.com. Dove French Cay
                                                   and right on the beach. Continental
      and West Caicos. Boat ride about 45
                                                   breakfast is in the price, but it’s not for

178
   TURKS AND CAICOS                                        The Wider Caribbean
the hungry! Provo is a construction site      showed up under the boat on almost
right now with million-dollar condos          every dive. The walls are spectacular
going up everywhere, though we were           and in good shape. A particularly nice
not disturbed by this activity. You don’t     site is Spanish Anchor which has a
need a car on Provo if you intend to          nice swim-thru’ to the wall. Most sites
dive every day. There are plenty of res-      start at 45’ over sand with the wall (to
taurants in the hotels along Grace Bay;       infinity!) a short swim away. Dive Provo
all open to the public. The island is still   place a marker at the wall which makes
sleepy — Grand Cayman it is not —             navigating in your own buddy team a
and we didn’t feel unsafe anywhere. The       cinch. You can also dive guided if you
local bus service (the ‘Gecko’) visits all    choose. Good eats at Hemmingway’s,
the Grace Bay hotels, the grocery store       Mango Reef, 21 North, Bay Bistro. It’s
and Turtle Cove Marina. Gecko tokens          not cheap, but everything on Provo has
or passes must be bought at the large         to be imported.. Hotel Sibonne is clean,
hotel/resorts (but not from Sibonne),         spacious and informal. It feels more like
as you can’t pay on the bus. Dive Provo       a guest-house than a hotel. It’s unique,
picks everyone up from their lodgings if      great value for money and we hope it
required. Their boats are at 2 locations      doesn’t get bought out by the big boys
and you only find out which boat you’re        who are clearly in town now.
on when at their shop each morning.
                                              Provo Divers, Royal West In-
A 2-tank dive starts with pick-up at 8
                                              dies, May 2005, Rod Dingess
a.m. and drops you back at your hotel
                                              (dingess8374@adelphia.net), States-
around 3 pm. You don’t have to touch
                                              ville, NC. Experience: 501-1000 dives.
your gear after checking in with them;
                                              Vis: 75 to 100 Feet. Water: 78 to 80 F.,
they set up, store and rinse everything
                                              calm. I made 10 dives. Sites ranged
for you. They help you into and out of
                                              from below average to outstanding.
the water considerately regardless of
                                              “Aquarium” in Grace Bay is world class
ability and provide food and plenty of
                                              for variety of intermediate sized species.
drinks during the long trip. The 3 boats
                                              French Cay has spectacular walls, and
are all well equipped, even the smallest
                                              coral. Dive Provo has wonderful staff.
one has a camera table and somewhere
                                              Kudos for Claudia, Lucy, Chris, David
sheltered to sit. The crew always tried
                                              and Jules. Boat was comfortable, snacks
to find the best sites under the condi-
                                              were above average, lots of choices for
tions. This meant West Caicos for us
                                              hydration between. Well organized,
— an hour at least from the marina.
                                              and made double checks on all roll
French Cay is even longer and although
                                              calls. Dive shop was too retail oriented,
North Point is nearer, it’s a rough trip
                                              lacking in gear, over loaded with T-
if the weather isn’t completely calm.
                                              shirts. One diver went off by herself,
Reef life is prolific with lots of lobster,
                                              the infraction was picked up within 5
barracuda, reef sharks and southern
                                              minutes, and an immediate recall and
stingrays, juveniles and cleaning sta-
                                              search was commenced. The lady was
tions. Saw many groupers, angels, trig-
                                              immediately found, professionally and
gerfish, spadefish and a school of jacks
                                              nicely reminded to stay with a buddy,

                                                                                   179
       The Wider Caribbean                                      TURKS AND CAICOS
      and the dives continued. Being a dive       point dive site. Our two boats circled
      professional myself, I was impressed.       the pod for about 10 minutes while
                                                  the dolphins constantly rode and body
      Dive Provo, The Sands at Grace
                                                  surfed our bow waves and wakes. The
      Bay, August 2005, Ernie Feleppa
                                                  best dives were the Crack and Amphi-
      (ernie@casuarina-aquatics.com),
                                                  theater off NW Point. The Sands where
      Rye, NY. Experience: Over 1000 dives.
                                                  we stayed and the Royal West Indies
      Vis: 60 to 100 Feet. Water: 84 to 85 F,
                                                  resorts may be the best values for qual-
      choppy, no currents. I have been taking
                                                  ity accommodations on Provo, and the
      dive groups to the Caribbean since
                                                  restaurant at RWI is among the best on
      the mid 1980s, and this year I took 33
                                                  the Island. Unfortunately, nearly all the
      people (27 divers) to Provo. The folks at
                                                  beds at RWI are king or queen, which is
      Dive Provo, particularly Alan (owner),
                                                  not well-suited for a large group such as
      Bill (dive-operations manager), Lucy
                                                  ours. Caicos Cafe, Magnolia, Coco Bis-
      (divemaster and captain), and sev-
                                                  tro, and several other restaurants offer
      eral of their staff are absolutely super.
                                                  good food at not-unreasonable prices
      The boats are reliable and well set up.
                                                  for the Caribbean.
      Diving Northwest Point is as good as
      diving at the more sought-after more-       Dive Provo, Sibonne, August 2005,
      distant regions such as West Caicos,        Charlie Killam. (ckilo3@yahoo.com),
      French Cay, etc. Runs to Grace Bay sites    New London, NH. Experience: 51-100
      take less than a half hour (one way);       dives. Vis: 70 to 100 Feet. Water: 86
      to NW Point they take 45 minutes to         to F, calm, choppy. Dive Provo (www.
      an hour; and beyond that, two hours         diveprovo.com) is an exceptional
      or more. We chose to stick with NW          operation. From Rich, my reservation-
      Point and Grace Bay, but conditions         ist in Ft. Lauderdale, to Jaliylla and
      were noticeably better at NW Point this     Sally in shop, Jules, Dave, Ann, Chris,
      year for visibility and reef health. (the   & Sebastian our divemasters, and Ann,
      unbelievably rapid and extensive recent     Dave, and Sebastian our bus drivers!
      development along Grace Bay may be          They began by introducing each diver/
      affecting the environment — much as         bubble watcher (my wife rode along to
      extensive development has affected the      West Caicos) to the boat, its features,
      reefs along the western shore of Grand      and the procedures. Refreshments were
      Cayman.) Most people saw Caribbean          good, but turned excellent Sunday
      reef sharks on more than one dive;          with croissants and a deli platter. The
      one diver saw at least one shark on         Provo Conquest was super clean, had
      every dive. We saw several turtles, a few   plenty of room, a hang bar for wet-
      nurse sharks (including a 6-footer), the    suits, a head, a hang bar and hookah
      usual reef fish, and healthy pillar coral.   rig for any necessary deco stops (their
      Flamingo tongues abounded and I saw         rule is no deco diving), and a partially
      a few fingerprint cyphomas. The high-        inflated noodle at the wall in direct line
      light may have been our “playing” with      to boat. Northwest Point, had calmer
      a pod of at least 50 spotted dolphins       waters than Grace Bay where we dove
      that we encountered en route to a NW-       Eel Gardens & the Amphitheater. Here

180
   TURKS AND CAICOS                                      The Wider Caribbean
I saw plenty of lobster and jacks; Grace     confront one of the “guides” when she
Bay had murky waters, better over the        inappropriately criticized my son for
wall at Pinnacles and Piranha Cove. I        her lack of supervision. The manage-
saw plenty of grouper, but missed the        ment was prompt in their response to
turtle and sharks because I had my face      my criticism and fired her on the spot.
in the reef looking at the tiny creatures;   Provo is not what it was. Development
and at West Caicos we dove Magic             is rampant. Traffic jams are common-
Mushroom and Boat Cove with their            place. People are surly.
great macro sea life and beautiful walls.
                                             Provo Turtle Divers, Ocean Club
Provo is growing leaps and bounds.
                                             East, May 2005, Gregory Kiyoi
Get there before it’s spoiled. Sibonné
                                             (gmk@sn1per.com), Pleasanton,
(www.sibonne.com) is a tiny hotel with
                                             CA. Experience: 26-50 dives. Vis: 70
comfortable rooms and an excellent
                                             to 100 Feet. Water: 71 to 78 F., calm,
restaurant in Bay Bistro. They are being
                                             choppy, no currents. From the store
hemmed in by two large resorts and we
                                             front staff to the dive boat crews they
speculate that the hotel will disappear
                                             were friendly and accommodating.
some day soon. If you only go to din-
                                             When we arrived our gear was setup
ner, a rental car is unnecessary because
                                             at a dive station. After each dive they
the taxi fares actually save you money.
                                             took our bc/tank off at the swim step
Eat at Coyaba.
                                             and swapped tanks for us. After the last
Provo Turtle Divers, March 2005,             dive they would breakdown our gear
James Bayley, Bolton, MA. Experi-            for us and we simply put it into the gear
ence: 501-1000 dives. Water: 78 F.,          bag. When we returned to port they
choppy. We have been diving off and          would unload, rinse and hang our gear
on in Provo since the early 1980s and        for us. It was hung/stored in a secure
helped find some of the original dive         locked area. detailed dive briefings and
sites. Diving with Art Pickering’s Provo     the site was always drawn on a huge
Turtle Divers had always been the best.      whiteboard for all to see. Nice amenities
Recently, he sold his operation and now      — mask defog in large dispensers on
works as a fill-in. The new owners have       both sides of the boat, sun tan lotion,
changed his personal attention diving        Listerine in a spray bottle for your
and now run a cattle car, high volume,       mouth piece. Great snacks between
tourist oriented dive operation. I am        dives and plenty of drinks. Between
an instructor with >1000 dives and           dives at NW Point, Mickey cruised the
my sons are new to diving. None of           boat near shore so we could snorkel or
us had a good time. The “dive guides”        swim to shore. They have boats at the
treated me as a novice, requiring me         North and South side of the island so
to check out and prove my abilities.         boat rides are within 45-60 minutes to
They failed to lead the dive, never          NW Point or to West Caicos/French
pointed out any critters, supervised         Cay. UW Photography Comments:
too many divers, and yelled at my sons       Dedicated table for cameras, fresh water
for not paying attention, when they in       rinse tank (on boat and shore).
fact were nowhere to be seen. I had to

                                                                                 181
       The Wider Caribbean                                       TURKS AND CAICOS

      Salt Cay                                     (uzisu@aol.com), Traverse City, MI.
                                                   Experience: 501-1000 dives. Vis: 60
      Salt Cay Divers, Villa Frangiapani,          to 80 Feet. Water: 77 to 79 F., choppy,
      August 2004, Tim & Jill Kolakowski           no currents. Had the opportunity to
      (tkolakowski@choiceonemail.com),             snorkel with 17 Humpback Whales
      Erie, PA. Experience: 101-250 dives. Vis:    in one day! This was our third visit to
      75 to 100 Feet. Water: 76 to 77 F, calm,     Salt Cay. Island survived Hurricane
      choppy, no currents. The most quiet,         Frances — no significant damage above
      laid back island in the Caribbean with       or below. One dive site was almost
      an airport, more so than Little Cayman.      completely white, covered with sand
      There are about 60 locals, and 30-40         from the surge? Debbie and Ollie of
      ex-pats on the 1.5 mile per side triangle.   Salt Cay Divers went out of their way
      There may be more donkeys and cows           to make sure we had all that we needed.
      than people strolling the dirt road that     We spent 2 weeks on the island and we
      goes halfway around. The other half is       not only dove Salt Cay, but also Grand
      covered by a series of paths. There are      Turk and South Caicos. Because we had
      about 10 cars and trucks, one for the        already dove the wreck site Endymion,
      2 policemen. We were 3 of maybe 15           twice before, Debbie suggested that we
      guests during Easter week. We stayed at      do a snorkel instead. Thanks to Ollie
      Villa Frangiapani (email Debbie at Salt      who pointed us in the right direc-
      Cay Divers for info) in absolute luxury,     tion, we were lucky to have a pod of 8
      so much so that the house does not           humpback whales glide past us 20 feet
      fit into the quaint cottages and guest        away. One went up for air, and when it
      houses that dot the island. The price        exhaled, it sounded like a steam valve
      is reasonable (hardwood cherry floors         had been released. The other divers got
      and furniture, Corian counters, top of       back on the boat after diving the wreck,
      the line appliances) and it would hold       and as we motored back to Salt Cay,
      3 couples easily. Candy took wonderful       we snorkeled with groups of 3 more
      care of us, entertaining our 7 year old      whales, on 3 separate occasions. We
      son James. Salt Cay Divers takes great       packed in all of our food. Freeze Dried
      care of their divers. Only a few divers      Camping food. We ate out a few times
      per trip in the 23 ft skiff, but for 6-8     at Porter’s and Miss Pat’s as well. We
      divers they use a larger boat. Lots of       had a good time with the Hermit Crab
      nurse sharks and turtles populate the        Races at Porters’! Snacks were with
      plunging walls a stone’s throw from          Jagen and Sue at the Green Flash, and
      shore. Most rides were 3-5 minutes,          with Debbie and Ollie at Coral Reef.
      except to the “Endemyon” about 45            Tradewinds was within walking dis-
      minutes. Grand Turk was 20 minutes,          tance of the dive shop and had a fridge.
      much worth the effort as the walls,          and microwave. We brought a hot plate.
      swim throughs and fish life reminded          The dive boats are two 22’ Carolina
      me of Little Cayman.                         Skiffs and on 42’Big Boat they use for
                                                   larger groups and to go to the wreck.
      Salt Cay Divers, Tradewinds, March
                                                   Most dive sites are within 10 minutes.
      2005, Cindi and Bob Robertson

182
   TURKS AND CAICOS                                      The Wider Caribbean
Dives are at 9:00, 11:00 and 3:00. This is   and explored the island. That was the
a small, desert island, with no shops, no    day a pod of humpbacks came right by
grocery stores as we know them, no gas       the Salt Cay Divers dock. Debbie’s hus-
stations, and no night life.                 band loaded whoever was around into
                                             one of the dive skiffs for an impromptu
Salt Cay Divers, April 2005, Richard R.
                                             whale-watch. We missed out. T. and
Sziede dsziede@hotmail.com), Reston,
                                             I have 200+ dives under our weight
VA. Experience: 101-250 dives. Good
                                             belts. C. was on her first dive trip. As
dives, healthy coral, friendly locals, and
                                             soon as the DMs saw us riding herd on
a laid-back “island time” experience.
                                             our beginner, they shouldered us aside
Turks & Caicos Air was on-time for the
                                             and began instructing her themselves.
hop from Provo to Salt Cay — in an
                                             An apt student and really good DMs
island kind of way. Overweight charge
                                             are a winning combination. C. ended
was $1/kilo. Debbie of Salt Cay does a
                                             her first week of diving with her AOW
little of everything. Gate agent at the
                                             certification! The big boat has a dry
Salt Cay airport, transfer driver, (the
                                             spot for gear. The little boat is a Caro-
back of her pickup,) rental agent, and
                                             lina skiff with no shelter other than a
sometimes cook. Trade Winds Guest
                                             canvas sunshade. Most dives are within
Suites are condos on the beach. Plain
                                             a few minutes of the dock. Neither boat
but comfortable. Excellent housekeep-
                                             sported a camera tank. After cooking
ing. Keys? You must be kidding? This is
                                             in the sun the dome port of my video
Salt Cay! Debbie did put our passports
                                             housing fogged in cool water. Back-roll
and such in her safe. (At least I hope she
                                             entry, hand up your gear before getting
had a safe.) All establishments are mom
                                             on the ladder. DMs escort all dives,
& pop. There are about 60 permanent
                                             but do your own profile once you have
residents, supporting four churches.
                                             made your chops. Nurse sharks on most
Commercial enterprises run by Cana-
                                             dives, juvenile turtles, one really big
dian or US ex-pats, frequently married
                                             Hawks bill in a cave on the night dive.
to “natives.” Wild donkeys roam, fed
                                             Barracuda are camera-shy. Few fish
and watered by locals. Keep the fence
                                             bigger than a frying pan. Spiny lobster
gate closed, or find one in your kitchen.
                                             and a sharp-tailed eel out in the day-
No museum, two gift shops. No dive
                                             light. Night dive started at dusk. Fewer
shop. Salt Cay Divers has rental and
                                             night critters than expected. No squid
some repair. Forget or bust dive gear,
                                             or octopus. A lone cuttlefish posed for
you are out of luck. Little to do for our
                                             video under the dive boat. Used the
non-diver. Anticipating this, J. brought
                                             big boat for the 45-minute ride to the
her watercolors, needlework, and a pile
                                             Edymion wreck dive. The per-capita
of books. Diving was quite good. Water
                                             consumption of motion-sickness drugs
was on the cool side 76-78F. Vis was
                                             was high. The wrecks (there are two)
60-90 feet giving the opportunity for
                                             are worth the trip. While divers were
panoramic video shots. Cool water was
                                             ooing and aahing the cannon and
supposed to favor whale watching, but
                                             anchors, a young Hawks bill came out
somebody forgot to tell the whales. Our
                                             to schmooze. Although our condo had
non-diving day we rented a golf cart

                                                                                 183
       The Wider Caribbean                                       TURKS AND CAICOS
      a kitchenette, there is little to cook on     for humpback whales; sunning under-
      Salt Cay. Most of our food we brought         water scenery along breathtaking walls.
      in ourselves. We ate breakfast and lunch      The reefs are healthy, with the beauti-
      in the condo. Limited fresh supplies:         ful sea fans, frequent opportunities
      milk, eggs and little else. Miss Netty pe-    to spot southern stingrays, eagle rays,
      riodically baked bread. Otherwise food        nurse sharks, and turtles. Saw a pair
      is BYO. Supper at excellent restaurants.      of bottlenose dolphins cruising past
      the best is Miss Pat’s. Her subtly fla-        me along the reef! I was entertained at
      vored island fare brought us back for a       length by an octopus that had caught a
      second visit. Miss Pat’s son is chef in the   large lobster for “lunch.” and hauled it
      island upscale (not Manhattan upscale)        across the reef to his den — the long,
      Windmills Plantation. Very good, but          antennae protruding out from the
      mama still knows best. You call your          octo’s fully fanned arms. Fascinating
      order ahead to the restaurants at noon.       reef formations provided lovely swim-
      The Green Flash has a wild happy hour.        throughs and beautiful scenery. Black
      Most restaurants are in walking range         Coral Canyon is stunning. Salt Cay is
      of Tradewinds. Miss Pat’s will send a         also blessed with lush shallow reefs, al-
      car for you. North beach on Salt Caye         lowing for plenty of bottom time. Boats
      looks like the deserted beaches you see       were usually the 24-foot Carolina skiffs,
      in travel magazine ads. Over a mile of        which can get a bit crowded with 8 div-
      empty beach framed by reef coral and          ers (the most on the boat during my 7
      dunes.                                        days of diving), but given the short boat
                                                    trips, this wasn’t a big deal. By the end
      Salt Cay Divers, Tradewinds Guest
                                                    of my stay, I was the sole diver on the
      Suites, June 2005, Sandy Falen
                                                    island, and enjoyed a private boat. Salt
      (skfalen@cox.net), Topeka, KS. Experi-
                                                    Cay Divers will schedule weekly boat
      ence: 501-1000 dives. Vis: 60 to 100
                                                    trips to both Grand Turk (a 30-minute
      Feet. Water: 79 to 80 , choppy, no cur-
                                                    ride) and South Caicos (an hour and a
      rents. Tiny Salt Cay, with its all of three
                                                    half), depending upon the weather. Our
      square miles of flat, scrubby, unpaved
                                                    ride to South Caicos was a bit rough
      island charm, will take you back to the
                                                    and longer than usual; but with calmer
      Caribbean of years ago. I never locked
                                                    seas, it would be well worth the travel
      my room and the only strangers trying
                                                    time. Getting to Salt Cay isn’t difficult.
      to get in were the local donkeys. Beach
                                                    Air Turks & Caicos will sometimes
      was right outside my door. Trade winds
                                                    reschedule flights without notice; my
      swept through my room constantly,
                                                    4:15pm flight out of Provo turned into
      eliminating even the thought of air
                                                    6:15pm, when they switched aircraft
      conditioning. Finest nighttime enter-
                                                    for the earlier flight and the larger
      tainment to be had was lounging on a
                                                    plane was unable to land on Salt Cay.
      seaside hammock under the stars. Deb-
                                                    The airline staff offered consolation
      bie and Ollie of Salt Cay Divers were
                                                    for the delay by waiving the overweight
      my hosts. Columbus Passage is a mas-
                                                    luggage charge. I wasn’t charged the fee
      sive trench in the ocean floor, which in
                                                    in either direction, but I was the only
      the winter serves as the migration path

184
   UNITED STATES                                          The Wider Caribbean
passenger boarding at Salt Cay for the       sha Stout (astrl@cfl.rr.com), Cocoa,
return flight. Tradewinds has 5 rooms,        FL. Experience: 51-100 dives. Vis: 25
some with full kitchen, and some with        to 50 Feet. Water: 81 to 81 F, choppy,
kitchenette. All have a screen-in porch      surge. Force-E will schedule you with
facing the beach. Water is potable, and      one of several dive boats according to
I refilled bottles of water to place in my    the type of dive you want to do (wreck,
freezer so I’d always have a cold drink      reef, depth, night dive, etc). Nitrox and
on hand. The rooms are simple, but           rental equipment available. I went out
clean and comfortable, and bicycles          on the Diversity with Captain Tony. The
are available for your touring pleasure.     dive master stayed on the boat to help
The dive shop is a short walk down           with entries and exits and everyone was
the road, and it’s easy to return to your    paired with a buddy. Water and pack-
room between the 9:00am and 11:00am          aged fruit drinks were provided. With
dives. The afternoon dive, which was         the boat at full capacity (15 divers) it
scheduled for 3:00pm, allowed plenty of      was a little crowded. We dove the Sea
time for lunch and a leisurely siesta in a   Emperor (Sea Empress) with a max
hammock. Depending on the wishes of          depth of 71 feet and then Boca Trench
the divers, a night dive can be substi-      with a max depth of 65 feet. At the
tuted for the afternoon dive. Dining at      wreck, there were a couple of attentive
Island Thyme Bistro was an unexpected        stingrays and even a nurse shark in the
pleasure, as proprietor Porter Williams      sand. The wreck itself is upside down
has created an oasis of good taste and       as it flipped during sinking. You can
warm island hospitality. The food was        penetrate the wreck through some open
outstanding and graciously served, and       areas in the top (hull). The reef was
the choices varied. I also sampled Pat’s     healthy and had some ledges for lobster,
Place and Mount Pleasant Guest House.        crabs and moray eels to hide in. We saw
In every case, the welcome was genuine       another stingray swimming around in
and the food prepared with care. Reser-      the sandy area to the west. The crew of
vations must be made in advance at all       the boat were friendly and helpful. No
the restaurants, as on this small island,    on-board rinse bucket — brought my
no one cooks on speculation. I’d simply      own. DM was happy to hand me my
make my breakfast plans at dinner,           camera after entry.
lunch plans at breakfast, and dinner
plans at lunch — which allowed me to         Islamorada
choose the entrée for my next meal. At
                                             Islander, Keys Divers, August 2005,
Island Thyme, I was able to run a tab
                                             Ben Glick (bglick@vgernet.net),
for the week.
                                             Williamstown, MA. Experience: 1500
                                             dives. Vis: 30 to 40 feet. Water: 86 to 87
UNITED STATES                                F, calm and flat to choppy. Both dive
                                             shops good with nice boats. Dive on
                                             Eagle wreck was excellent with good
Florida – Boca Raton                         visibility and no current. Other dives
Force-E, Diversity, October 2004, Mar-       were shallow with occasional interest.

                                                                                   185

				
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