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EVRachel

Contributor
Messages
146
Reaction score
76
Location
St Maarten
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
TRIP REPORT: Turks & Caicos Explorer II
Turks & Caicos Islands
May 8-15th, 2021. By the crew.

Saturday: This weeks' divers boarded at 3 pm to begin another great week of diving aboard the TCEXII. After going through our welcome briefings and setting up gear, we cranked up the engines and headed to Northwest point. Guests got a sunset cruise with their Caribbean-style dinner which was expertly cooked by Stan.

Sunday: The first dives of the trip were on Amphitheater and they did not disappoint. The wall was full of life including an octopus, large green moray, and tons and tons of yellow-headed jawfish. Off to Eel Garden for the afternoon where we had a pod of curious dolphins checked out the divers along with our four resident reef sharks that love to follow the boat as it swings. The night dive was crustacean nation with large channel cleaning crabs, Caribbean lobsters, and small arrow crabs out feeding. Divers loved the hot towels and hot chocolate.

Monday: We moved to Stairway for our two-morning dives where we got to see a large hawksbill turtle out looking for the perfect sponge to munch on. Lots of tiny things were found as well, hanging out in the numerous anemones. Spotted cleaning shrimp, banded clinging crabs, and squat anemone shrimp were all seen multiple times. We moved to Thunder Dome for the afternoon and night dive where the group split up in search of interesting life. Two large snapping shrimp were seen living inside a corkscrew anemone and lots of tube-dwelling blennies were all over the wreck. Late afternoon sun gave the shallow wreck an interesting glow as the fish life began tucking away for the night. The night dive had squid hovering in the water column, small brittle stars moving about, and blackjacks on the hunt.

Tuesday: Magic Mushroom was our first stop of the day along the west side of West Caicos. It is a great site with lots and lots of coral heads under the boat covered in cool-looking sponges and soft corals. Our resident reef sharks were meandering along the wall and many juvenile fish were found amongst the coral heads in the sand. Juvenile blue tangs, hamlets, and striped gobys were all on the list of sightings. In the afternoon we headed to Boat Cove where there was a large cubera snapper off in the distance, schools of permits and a free-swimming green moray. The night dive was busy with blackjacks, many lobsters residing in the “lobster hotel” coral head, a school of baby hogfish, and a slipper lobster.

Wednesday: Spent the first half of the day at Elephant Ear Canyon. The site is famous for its large orange elephant ear sponge but it has so much more to offer. Schools of barracuda were out in the sand flats, white margates were feeding, and a couple of Atlantic spadefish did a flyby off the wall. At the Gully for the afternoon for a visit to our banded jawfish buddies and also got to see a large turtle and a few slender filefish. The night dive was nice and relaxed as we took it slow to watch all the nightlife come out. Soapfish were starting to swim around, a few spotted eels were seen, and even an orange ball coralamorph!

Thursday: The last two dives in West Caicos were at The Anchor. A crowd-pleaser for sure due to the bit of history jammed in the reef. A large eagle ray swam by everyone right off the bat just as divers dropped down. Through the swim-through and out to the wall, they saw neck crabs, wire coral shrimp, and a few lobsters. Off to French Cay at lunchtime where it was cheeseburgers in paradise! Arrived at Rock n’ Roll for the first afternoon dive. A few porcupine fish were seen along with some oceanic triggerfish. G-spot was picked for the second-afternoon dive and night dive. Large schools of all sorts of fish were hanging out in the little cut in the wall due south of the mooring. The night dive had three nurse sharks and two reef sharks out looking for fish. Everyone enjoyed hovering and watching all the excitement going on below them.

Friday: Last two dives of the trip are always bitter-sweet. The first one was on G-spot and the second on Half-mile reef. Divers came back with stories of sharks, eels, lobsters, mantis shrimp, and even a scorpionfish. Packed up and headed back to the marina for everyone’s last afternoon of vacation.

Another wonderful week onboard with lots of life!
 

tarzana

Contributor
Messages
132
Reaction score
5
Location
Playa El Palmar, Panama
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
TRIP REPORT: Turks & Caicos Explorer II
Turks & Caicos Islands
May 8-15th, 2021. By the crew.

Saturday: This weeks' divers boarded at 3 pm to begin another great week of diving aboard the TCEXII. After going through our welcome briefings and setting up gear, we cranked up the engines and headed to Northwest point. Guests got a sunset cruise with their Caribbean-style dinner which was expertly cooked by Stan.

Sunday: The first dives of the trip were on Amphitheater and they did not disappoint. The wall was full of life including an octopus, large green moray, and tons and tons of yellow-headed jawfish. Off to Eel Garden for the afternoon where we had a pod of curious dolphins checked out the divers along with our four resident reef sharks that love to follow the boat as it swings. The night dive was crustacean nation with large channel cleaning crabs, Caribbean lobsters, and small arrow crabs out feeding. Divers loved the hot towels and hot chocolate.

Monday: We moved to Stairway for our two-morning dives where we got to see a large hawksbill turtle out looking for the perfect sponge to munch on. Lots of tiny things were found as well, hanging out in the numerous anemones. Spotted cleaning shrimp, banded clinging crabs, and squat anemone shrimp were all seen multiple times. We moved to Thunder Dome for the afternoon and night dive where the group split up in search of interesting life. Two large snapping shrimp were seen living inside a corkscrew anemone and lots of tube-dwelling blennies were all over the wreck. Late afternoon sun gave the shallow wreck an interesting glow as the fish life began tucking away for the night. The night dive had squid hovering in the water column, small brittle stars moving about, and blackjacks on the hunt.

Tuesday: Magic Mushroom was our first stop of the day along the west side of West Caicos. It is a great site with lots and lots of coral heads under the boat covered in cool-looking sponges and soft corals. Our resident reef sharks were meandering along the wall and many juvenile fish were found amongst the coral heads in the sand. Juvenile blue tangs, hamlets, and striped gobys were all on the list of sightings. In the afternoon we headed to Boat Cove where there was a large cubera snapper off in the distance, schools of permits and a free-swimming green moray. The night dive was busy with blackjacks, many lobsters residing in the “lobster hotel” coral head, a school of baby hogfish, and a slipper lobster.

Wednesday: Spent the first half of the day at Elephant Ear Canyon. The site is famous for its large orange elephant ear sponge but it has so much more to offer. Schools of barracuda were out in the sand flats, white margates were feeding, and a couple of Atlantic spadefish did a flyby off the wall. At the Gully for the afternoon for a visit to our banded jawfish buddies and also got to see a large turtle and a few slender filefish. The night dive was nice and relaxed as we took it slow to watch all the nightlife come out. Soapfish were starting to swim around, a few spotted eels were seen, and even an orange ball coralamorph!

Thursday: The last two dives in West Caicos were at The Anchor. A crowd-pleaser for sure due to the bit of history jammed in the reef. A large eagle ray swam by everyone right off the bat just as divers dropped down. Through the swim-through and out to the wall, they saw neck crabs, wire coral shrimp, and a few lobsters. Off to French Cay at lunchtime where it was cheeseburgers in paradise! Arrived at Rock n’ Roll for the first afternoon dive. A few porcupine fish were seen along with some oceanic triggerfish. G-spot was picked for the second-afternoon dive and night dive. Large schools of all sorts of fish were hanging out in the little cut in the wall due south of the mooring. The night dive had three nurse sharks and two reef sharks out looking for fish. Everyone enjoyed hovering and watching all the excitement going on below them.

Friday: Last two dives of the trip are always bitter-sweet. The first one was on G-spot and the second on Half-mile reef. Divers came back with stories of sharks, eels, lobsters, mantis shrimp, and even a scorpionfish. Packed up and headed back to the marina for everyone’s last afternoon of vacation.

Another wonderful week onboard with lots of life!


Hi Thanks for the trip report. I am considering going but most likely not on a liveaboard. Are these great reefs land based diver shops take you to?
 

EVRachel

Contributor
Messages
146
Reaction score
76
Location
St Maarten
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
Hi Thanks for the trip report. I am considering going but most likely not on a liveaboard. Are these great reefs land based diver shops take you to?
Hi Tarzana. Providenciales offers excellent scuba diving, with dive sites spread across about 70 miles (112 km) of barrier reef and walls. You can dive many sites by both land-based shops and our liveaboard Turks & Caicos Explorer II. However, on a liveaboard, you are able to maximize your dive time with up to 27 dives in the week at 5 dives a day and no commuting. You are able to access further out-dive sites like the locations on West Caicos, French Caye, and Northwest Point which are the most popular dive site locations. Here are our guests' top voted sites: 6 Best Dive Sites in the Turks & Caicos Islands - Explorer Ventures Fleet®
 

Hoag

Contributor
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,753
Location
SW Ontario - Just outside of the GTHA
# of dives
200 - 499
Hi Thanks for the trip report. I am considering going but most likely not on a liveaboard. Are these great reefs land based diver shops take you to?
Hi @tarzana I have dove TCI both as a shore based out of Provo and on the Turks and Caicos Explorer II (not to mention the Bohio on Grand Turk) so perhaps I may be able to answer some of your questions and concerns.

When I dove as a land based trip out of Provo, I stayed at the Best Western (now called the Ports of Call) and dove with Dive Provo. I would not hesitate to recommend either (or both) of them. Dive Provo goes to many of the same dive sites (The Gully, G Spot, etc) as the Live Aboards, but there is one very significant difference that you should be aware of. The transit time from the marina to the dive sites can be 45minutes to an hour each way, adding two hours onto the day and for all practical purposes, limiting you to two dives per day. On a Live Aboard such as the Turk & Caicos Explorer II, transit time to the dive site is how long it takes you to walk to the stern of the boat and jump in, so maybe 30 seconds. Four dives per day + night dives are easily accomplished if you choose.

Only you will know what is ultimately right for you. From Provo, you will dive many of the same sites that you would on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, but you will not do nearly as many dives. I will say this though about the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, it is by no means the most luxurious boat out there, but within minutes of coming onboard, you will be made to feel like the boat is your home and the crew is your new, huge, extended family.
 

tarzana

Contributor
Messages
132
Reaction score
5
Location
Playa El Palmar, Panama
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
Hi @tarzana I have dove TCI both as a shore based out of Provo and on the Turks and Caicos Explorer II (not to mention the Bohio on Grand Turk) so perhaps I may be able to answer some of your questions and concerns.

When I dove as a land based trip out of Provo, I stayed at the Best Western (now called the Ports of Call) and dove with Dive Provo. I would not hesitate to recommend either (or both) of them. Dive Provo goes to many of the same dive sites (The Gully, G Spot, etc) as the Live Aboards, but there is one very significant difference that you should be aware of. The transit time from the marina to the dive sites can be 45minutes to an hour each way, adding two hours onto the day and for all practical purposes, limiting you to two dives per day. On a Live Aboard such as the Turk & Caicos Explorer II, transit time to the dive site is how long it takes you to walk to the stern of the boat and jump in, so maybe 30 seconds. Four dives per day + night dives are easily accomplished if you choose.

Only you will know what is ultimately right for you. From Provo, you will dive many of the same sites that you would on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, but you will not do nearly as many dives. I will say this though about the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, it is by no means the most luxurious boat out there, but within minutes of coming onboard, you will be made to feel like the boat is your home and the crew is your new, huge, extended family.


That is important info for me as 4-5 dives a day is not what I need to do!! Will check out your suggestions. Many thanks!
 

Hoag

Contributor
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,753
Location
SW Ontario - Just outside of the GTHA
# of dives
200 - 499
That is important info for me as 4-5 dives a day is not what I need to do!! Will check out your suggestions. Many thanks!
If it were me, I would do the Turks & Caicos Explorer II. There was no pressure to dive but if you choose to it is available. One thing to keep in mind, is that TCI are known for being relatively "sharky". Curious & friendly Caribbean Reef Sharks and Nurse Sharks will often come over to say "Hi".
 

tarzana

Contributor
Messages
132
Reaction score
5
Location
Playa El Palmar, Panama
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
If it were me, I would do the Turks & Caicos Explorer II. There was no pressure to dive but if you choose to it is available. One thing to keep in mind, is that TCI are known for being relatively "sharky". Curious & friendly Caribbean Reef Sharks and Nurse Sharks will often come over to say "Hi".

The SHARKINESS is what in LOVE and what I am used to diving here when in Coiba NP! Just called an 800 number for
port of Call but the woman could not give me a package. I thought it was the hotels number. Will look and find the direct number or will write them- mañana

thank u!
 

EVRachel

Contributor
Messages
146
Reaction score
76
Location
St Maarten
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
That is important info for me as 4-5 dives a day is not what I need to do!! Will check out your suggestions. Many thanks!
Hi Tarzana, I thought I would pop in here. We do offer up to 5 dives a day for the week, but many guests don't do every dive offered. Many guests pick and choose which dives and sites they'd like to dive. It's your boat for the week, so we want you to enjoy it! Do let me know if you have any questions.

You can also call us here:
US 1.800.322.3577
+1.307.235.0683
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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