Winter 2013 in the Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos is well-known for its beautiful diving – walls, reefs, sharks, spotted eagle rays, incredible coral health and marine diversity! So its no wonder it is always a stop on our winter itineraries. We can’t resist.

We love it so much we’re going to stay there all winter next year!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Juliet will leave Miami and head down to the Turks and Caicos by way of the Bahamas on her bi-annual “Repositioning Trip.” The first charters will begin on December 8 and run through the end of February. The Turks and Caicos is well known for its dramatic wall dives, most starting at 40-60′ (12-18m) and dropping into the abyss. We usually start diving at West Caicos you can expect to see Caribbean Reef Sharks on most dives, as well as squadrons of Spotted Eagle Rays cruising just off the wall, and a couple of pretty friendly grouper. The back reef has beautiful towers of pillar coral and stingrays hiding in the sand. The night dives are chock full of diversity – keep your eyes peeled for strange looking viper moray eels and other crazy critters.

[image size=”one-half” alt=”Safety stops” align=”right” fancy=”true” shadow=”true”][/image] French Cay, found less that 20 miles southeast of West Caicos has some of the most spectacular diving in the area. The back reef is loaded with macro life, we’ll usually stay and dive these sites at least two times – once for a venture out to the wall and once to explore the reef under the boat. The walls here drop at sharp right angles, the world literally falling out from under you suddenly, and are completely vertical, covered in beautiful deep water sea fans and colorful sponges. Bring a flashlight even during the day for the reef under the boat – harlequin pipe fish hide in the coral along with many different species of shrimp and tiny fish! And you won’t be alone on your safety stop, even with your buddy with you – you’ll be surrounded by schools of Horse-eyed Jacks!

We’ll also venture up to Northwest Point off of Providenciales for some more wall dives and a chance to see the Thunderdome, a unique and packed artificial reef dive, the original site of a French Game show – think Fear Factor meets water olympics. After one-too-many people got decompression sickness from the mermaids (you’ll have to ask our divemaster to explain that one!) the game show was shut down but the structure remains, a caged dome that has since toppled over, but now serves as hiding places for grunts, grouper, snapper, lobster and thousands of secretary blennies!

[image size=”two-third” title=”Whale watching” caption=”Image courtesy of Matt St. John” alt=”whale watching” align=”left” fancy=”true” shadow=”true”][/image] Take a minute and hold your breath (I know, first rule of scuba diving, but just for a second!) and listen closely on any of these wall dives of French Cay, West Caicos, or Provo and see if you can hear the humpback whale song. It sounds like a low moan, and some high pitched pops. Listen for yourself!

Even farther south and east is West Sand Spit, a tiny spit of sand only visible at low tide, surrounded by a beautiful sloping coral reef. Hawksbill turtles and reef sharks abound. We’re pretty sure we’re the only boat that dives here – and we have no idea why, its absolutely stunning!

Around to the east we may travel to Grand Turk to see some different walls, and even down to Salt Cay. But we typically like to hang out on the other side, unless we’re not having much luck whale watching and then we may go on an adventure.

We’ll be Repositioning the boat the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 2012. That trip is already sold out, by the way, but you can come adventuring with us on the way back – once we decided when that is! I know I wouldn’t mind staying there all year – but would definitely miss the Bahamas.

Charters in Turks and Caicos will leave from and return to Providenciales – plan to fly into Provo airport (code PLS) to meet the boat. We board at noon on Saturday and return to the anchorage on Friday morning for disembarkation at 9am. Flights after noon on Friday are usually ok. If you find flight schedules are requiring an overnight stay in Turks and Caicos we recommend the Turtle Cove Inn or Comfort Suites. See our Welcome Letter for additional information.

Plan your vacation now!