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