Small in numbers – Big on adventure.
The Scuba Shack travel team of Jeff & Donna Cinciripino and Dennis & Tammy Bosse embarked on this inaugural trip to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos to complete four days of diving with Dive Provo, a great outfit run by Alan & Claire Jardine with seasoned crews and well maintained, clean, comfortable boats.
Check out the photo gallery with more than 25 images from this trip!
Fortunately, Hurricane Earl moved north and the flights to Providenciales were on time allowing for all to go as planned. The base for the trip was the Comfort Suites hotel; a nice property, well maintained and very convenient to the dive shop, restaurants, groceries, and shopping. Our first stop was the dive shop, literally 100 feet from the lobby of the Comfort Suites. Lynne checked us in quickly and gave us all the info needed for our first dive the next morning.
Next stop, the pool and time to unwind from the journey south and cool off (the heat is on in TCI in September). There are plenty of lounge chairs and the bar is close at hand to quench a diver’s thirst.
Our four days of diving started from south Providenciales. Dive Provo has three boats that run out of Caicos Marina and Shipyard in the south and Turtle Cove Marina on the north side. We boarded Crusader, a 36 foot Newton dive boat with our captain Bill and divemaster Steph for a trip to West Caicos for dives at The Gulley and The Driveway. These two wall dives offer an abundance of sea life and a dramatic shear wall with lots to see. The top of the wall starts at about 60 feet and drops to over 6000 feet. Good buoyancy and NITROX are a must for T&C. Our visibility was around 60 feet, a little lower than normal thanks to Earl. As the first divers hit the water, we were greeted by 7 – 9 foot grey reef sharks. Each dive provided anywhere from 2 – 5 sharks, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, turtles, and many smaller sea creatures.
On day two we headed from the north side on Challenger, a smaller but comfortable boat to Northwest Point on the tip of Providenciales with captain John and divemaster Holly. Our dives included The Chimney and Eel Garden. On Northwest point the top of the wall starts at 35 to 40 feet with the same drop off into the deep. The Chimney is a crack in the wall where you can descend and come out at 85 to 100 feet. The Chimney is open for exit at any point on the descent. Both dives offered the same abundance of big and small fish with visibility around 80 feet.
Saturday saw us head south again aboard Conquest, another 36 foot Newton dive boat with captain John and divemaster Selma. The trip took us to French Cay, a small uninhabited island about 18 miles south of Providenciales. Our dive sites included Rock & Roll and G Spot. The top of the wall at French Cay is about 40 feet. The wall is covered with enormous barrel sponges that are quite colorful when hit by our lights. Beautiful eagle rays paid us a visit as well. As we made our way back to the dock we tied up in front of the Turks & Caicos Explorer II live aboard getting ready for a trip. The proud captain was more than willing to give us a quick tour before his guests arrived.
Our final dives were back at French Cay on Crusader with captain John and divemaster Steph. The current was a little stronger as we dove Dax’s Canyon and Rock & Roll after kicking Explorer II off the mooring. Again an outstanding set of dives with numerous visits by things big and small.
The staff from Dive Provo were fantastic. Truly what a vacation is meant to be – RELAXING! It was no rush diving with all our dives going over 50 minutes with depths of 70 feet or more. All our surface intervals were well over an hour which gave us plenty of time to off gas and enjoy a light lunch of sandwiches and banana bread. The boat rides are a little longer than some destinations (about 45 minutes to 1 hour) and we were normally underway by 9 am with a return to the dock around 2:30 in the afternoon. Dive Provo took care of rinsing, storing, and getting our gear to the boat for our next dive. Our afternoon drop off at Comfort Suites by 3 to 3:30 gave us ample time to visit the beach, do a little shopping, or desalinate in the pool with a favorite beverage.
Comfort Suites proved an extremely convenient location with a very nice supermarket and deli across the street and a few steps from Jimmy’s Dive Bar for a quick dinner. Several other restaurants are within walking distance including “Pizza Pizza” and Danny Buoy’s (Irish Pub). The dive team also had dinner at Shark Bites on Turtle Cove and “Somewhere on the Beach” located somewhere on the beach at Coral Gardens.
Prior to leaving we had a nice chat with Alan (owner of Dive Provo) about various options for divers coming to Providenciales. Whether it is to complete certifications, do some diving, or a full dive package, Scuba Shack can work with Dive Provo to meet all your diving needs on Turks and Caicos.
Although our travel team was small, the adventure was big on the Scuba Shack First Annual Summer Sundown Trip to Turks and Caicos. The planning has started for number two when we hope to have an entire Scuba Shack boat in 2011.