In January, twelve Scuba Shack divers escaped the Connecticut winter just ahead of winter storm Jonas. We headed for the warm, tropical setting of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands for a week of sun, fun and of course, diving. We stayed at Sibonne Beach Hotel on Grace Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Sibonne is a small, simple hotel perfect for divers with an awesome location.
Scroll down to see the extensive photo gallery from this trip!
We dove with Dive Provo Sunday through Friday. Our dive masters and captains — Justin, John, Kate and Pablo — took great care of us the entire week aboard the Provo Conquest, a 36- foot Newton. All of the dive sites on Caicos banks are wall dives of one sort or another.
The wind and waves were coming from the north and west the first three days so we took an hour boat ride to the south across Caicos Banks to French Cay, a very small, uninhabited bird sanctuary about 20 miles to the south of Providenciales. This remote location consisted of numerous pristine dive sites. On Sunday we dove Wreck Bay and DAK’s Canyon. These two sites were the farthest east of all the sites we did. At Wreck Bay we saw the first reef shark of many we would see that week. We also saw the only nurse shark of the week at the same location. We did Half Mile Reef (a half mile south of French Cay) and Rock & Roll Reef on Monday, where we saw hawksbill turtles. On Tuesday, we did G-Spot (one of my favorites over the week) and Rock & Roll again. G-spot is a “G” shaped formation on the wall. The point on the wall was covered with large gorgonians and sea fans. Schools of horse-eyed jacks circled in the sunlight on the point. Rock and Roll presented more turtles.
With a change of wind direction on Wednesday we were able to head west to Sandbore Channel, where we did Ragged Ledge and the aptly named Tons of Sponge. We saw reef sharks within minutes of entering the water. We also saw more turtles.
On Thursday we headed to West Caicos, which is just a few miles south of Sanbore Channel. The first site we did was Elephant Ear Canyon. We found a pair of green morays about 15 feet apart. We also were greeted by another large hawksbill turtle. The next site was Gulley, which was a great swim-through starting at the edge of the sand and ending on the wall at about 85 feet. When we popped out on the wall we were greeted by two reef sharks.
We wrapped up the week at Northwest Point. Our dive master Kate led the dive at Amphitheater, which is a large indentation on the wall with impressive hard and soft coral formations (and not to mention, a couple of turtles!). For our last dive, John led us on a dive that covered two sites. We headed south from our mooring to an adjacent site called Thunder Dome. The site contained the remnants of a metal sphere that was used in a French reality TV show that is now home to schools of juvenile french grunts, yellowtail snapper and a large crab. From there we headed west to the wall where we were again greeted by a couple of reef sharks. We traveled north along the wall to a vertical swim-through called Chimney that brought us back to our boat.
We dined out nearly every night at some great restaurants. On Thursday we went to the Fish Fry, a weekly event held at a nearby park, to mingle with locals and enjoy a variety of food, libations and live music. We had a great group and great fun!
Trip Photo Gallery
All photos copyright Joel Toohey, displayed here with permission.