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Home > Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Turks & Caicos Islands - Trip Reports

Beaches Resort, Provo

Just returned from a fabulous week at BEACHES T&C. They have dramatically improved their dive operation since our last visit when the resort first opened in August of '97.

The Beaches Express Charter from JFK makes the resort the most painless Caribbean trip I have ever made. Wheels up at 10AM on the beach at 2PM. Hotel registration is done on the plane and immigration, seat assignments and baggage check is handled at the hotel for the return trip...you arrive at the airport, go through the metal detectors and climb on board.

The resort has two Newton dive boats (44 & 46 foot), with a third about to come on line. One boat is based at the hotel for single tank and resort divers in Grace bay and Northwest Point. The other boat is docked a 10 minute bus ride away on the other side of Provo and is reserved for the two tank dives at West Caicos and French Cay. I did all my diving on the latter.

For pure diving, I think I still prefer Cozumel, but for an all around experience (resort, family happiness, and customer service, not to mention two incredible bonuses...read on), you cannot beat BEACHES.

The profiles are, I feel, properly conservative given the all-inclusive resort setting with a wide variety of diving experience and abilities. First dive was generally to 80 fsw, second was to 60 fsw with no more than 35 minutes to hang bar. After two days of demonstrated proficiency, buddy diving was allowed with increased profiles (90fsw, 700psi....secon dive, 70fsw, 700psi with computers in the green).

The boat was big fast and comfortable with every amenity a diver could require...DAN O2, head, fresh showers, camera station, rinse buckets, lunch etc. etc.

The islands of the T&C archipelago form a rough circle when viewed from altitude. This represents the above water cone of a volcano with outer walls as deep as 8-12,000 feet and a shallow center. Almost all the profiles were similar, out along the edge of the wall against the current (what little current there was) and circle back along the reef toward the mooring. This makes for stressless diving and no-brainer navigation. The reefs are beautifully healthy and every day we saw a variety of pelagics, Eagle Rays are as common as Groupers, Caribbean Reef Sharks almost every day, even saw my first Manta as well as lotsa turtles. The small tropicals were vastly abundant and background to the generally beautiful diving experience. The best, however, happened while on the dive boat.

While on the way to West Caicos on Wednesday, someone saw what looked like Tuna jumping on the horizon. Imagine our excitement when, within seconds of the sighting we were surrounded with literally "a hundred" Dolphins, charging the dive boat, playing with the bow wave and generally doing everything you would expect Dolphins to do if you were paying to see them at the Seaquarium. As soon as we got into the water with them, they disappeared (too much noise and excitement from too many delirious snorkelers I suppose). When we got under way again, they reappeared. This went on for at least half hour until they got bored with us.

I didn't think that I would be able to top this experience, but on Saturday during our interval at French Cay, we did top it. While heading towards the second dive the Captain saw a Humpback ahead of us. As we got closer we realized that it was not a Humpback, but a juvenile Sperm Whale which was soon joined by at least six more juveniles and two adults at least "60 feet" long. We could estimate their size because they came right next to the boat (12 feet). We were like kids in a candy store, running back and forth, snapping pictures and yelling to each other "there's one portside, look another off the stern," it was truly wonderful and exciting. The encounter lasted at least 30 minutes.

The crew and dive masters were as excited as we were. None of them had ever seen Sperm Whales before. This area is one of the world's largest migratory passages, but not typically until January or February, and not for Sperm Whales. Typically Humpbacks and Pilot Whales migrate these straits.

Our company has arrived, so I must cut this report short, but please write if you have any comments or questions.

Thanks to Mark for this trip report ...
September 1999

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