The Turks and Caicos Islands are often described as a ‘wild frontier’ where the Atlantic Oceans meet the Caribbean Sea, and are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands.
1 – Double D
One of French Cay’s most-renowned sites, Double D can best be described as some sort of aquatic ‘Garden of Eden’, as the wall is so vastly overgrown with corals, sponges and more. As you’d guess from the name, the site consists of two coral mounds which are absolutely teeming with marine life, and out in the surrounding blue, you can often see spotted eagle rays and other pelagic species.
2 – G Spot
Another unusually named dive site – so called because ‘it is hard to find’ – G Spot is an absolutely stunning wall that is smothered in huge deep-water gorgonians, massive elephant ear sponges and vast barrel sponges. The abyssal depths are amazing in their own right, but throw in all the usual reef dwellers, plus a plethora of pelagics and you know you are in for a treat.
3 – Shark Hotel
This site off the northwest coast of Provo is named as such because of the Caribbean reef sharks which are often sited cruising around the area. The wall levels off at around 27m to form a plateau covered in plate corals, and then at 30m, a chimney cuts through the reef, exiting at 40m into the blue on the deep wall. A very exciting dive in its own right, made all the better for the sharks and other marine life you can encounter.
4 – The Anchor/Whiteface
Called ‘Whiteface’ for the sandy white cliffs along West Caicos, this site provides a swim-through gully with a 17th century anchor wedged in the north side. A beautiful large white anemone sits at around 28m at the base of the gully, and divers are advised to keep an eye out for the resident reef shark, who is not camera-shy in the slightest and will get up close and personal. This is also a fab night dive spot, with lobster, octopus and nurse sharks.
5 – Driveway
Another West Caicos location, this is one of the most-diverse dive sites in the area. The boat moors up in 10m of water and offers divers the options of swimming to the wall over ‘the Driveway’, a large sand chute, cruising on top of the wall where there are many interesting isolated corals heads, or dropping over on to the deep wall itself.
Hints and Advice
The Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the Bahama Archipelago, which comprises the T&Cs and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. They sit to the southeast of the Bahamas, and north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Talk about diving in the T&Cs and one of the first thing which springs to mind is abyssal walls. The 1.8km deep Turks Islands Passage separates the island chain, and some of the wall dives are simply staggering, and made even more dramatic by the usually epic visibility.
The Turks and Caicos Aggressor II departs from Providenciales, known as ‘Provo’, and seven-night charters run from Saturday to Saturday. You can clock up 27 dives on seven-night charters (including night dives), and all dives are conducted from the liveaboard. The charter schedules take in some of the best dive sites off Provo, West Caicos and French Cay.
From January to April, the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II runs special snorkel-only trips to the Silver Banks off the Dominican Republic to swim with humpback whales, which congregate to court, mate and give birth. As many as 3,000 can meet up in this area over these few months.
The Turks and Caicos Aggressor II has an 5.5-metre tender which is used to take guests off on optional shore excursions (usually one or two excursions per trip).
The Turks and Caicos Aggressor II - The Turks and Caicos Aggressor II is a 120-foot yacht designed and powered for comfort, safety and stability. She is diesel-powered, cruises at ten knots and has 100-volt power on board. She has nine staterooms for its 18 passengers, and has a large salon, spacious sun deck with hot tub, shaded cocktail deck and photo-editing computer for guests. From April to January, they offer week-long itineraries taking in some of the best dive sites around Provo, West Caicos and French Cay. Expect to rack up an average of 27 dives on the seven-night trips. Specs Length – 120 feet Beam – 22 feet Passengers – 18 Staterooms – 9