Diving in Turks and Caicos
Planning a dive in the Turks and Caicos Islands? There’s plenty to see and experience!
Turks and Caicos is one of the few dive areas in the Caribbean that boasts a dramatic ‘Wall Drop Off’ – much like an underwater cliff. Imagine that the Turks and Caicos Archipelago is the top of an underwater mountain range, with the peaks and plateaus forming the islands themselves, and leaving the sheer drop off of the ‘mountainsides’ for Scuba Divers to explore! Divers will want to listen to their dive briefing from their guides – dive with a computer and monitor their depth at all times. And then, take that giant stride into our beautiful turquoise waters and experience the thrill of gliding along the dramatic wall.
We are fortunate in Provo to have a healthy, resident shark population – a great indicator of reef health! Our resident Caribbean Reef Sharks are seen on most dives – it’s rare a morning of diving will pass without a Reef Shark sighting! These beautiful creatures are thrilling to watch as they cruise the wall. And as there are no organized shark feeding activities on our reefs, you’ll be treated to seeing the Sharks in their most natural behaviors. While Caribbean Reef Sharks are our most common sightings – keep your eyes out! We are occasionally treated to a swim by of the more transient species like Hammerhead or Tiger. Always a thrill!
The most common Ray you’ll see in these Turks and Caicos Waters are the Southern Stingray. You’ll find these smokey grey creatures cruising over the sandy flats in search of a meal, or taking a nap buried in the sand itself with just a couple of eyeballs visible! But don’t keep looking down! Spotted Eagle Rays are occasional visitors – these stunning beautiful rays are adorned with spots and ‘fly’ through the water column and can be found along the walls and reefs as well as in the shallows. Finally, if you’re exceptionally fortunate, you might spot a Manta Ray. These large, pelagic creatures with a dark black topside and white underside cruise close to the surface eating plankton. They’re the least common Ray sighting here, but a few times a year divers get lucky!
Perhaps one of the most chilled out creatures you’ll find on our reefs is the Sea Turtle. Most common at sites like Northwest Point and West Caicos is the Hawksbill Turtle. If you’re snorkeling from shore in Grace Bay, you’re more likely to see Green Turtles. No matter the species, its always fun to encounter one on a dive, often lazily chewing on a sponge. (Fun Fact: when we see Hawksbill Turtles eating, they usually have a Queen Angelfish hanging out scavenging for sponge morsels!).
A Myriad of Tropical Fish
Parrotfish, Angelfish, Chromis, Wrasse, Groupers, Snappers, Butterflyfish, Flounders, Eels, Coneys, Blennies, Gobies – just to name a few! Turks and Caicos Reefs are healthy and vibrant, boasting a diversity of species of tropical fish. If you don’t see Sharks, Rays or Turtles on a dive, the reef is always teeming with beautiful fish of all shapes, sizes and colors! There’s always a chance to improve your ‘Fish ID’ knowledge on any dive – simply hover and look at a patch of reef and start naming the fish you see. Chances are you’ll start to realize just how many different species there are, and see where your gaps in knowledge are.
No matter what you see when you take the plunge into our beautiful Turks and Caicos Waters, take some time to appreciate all the beauty and peace the underwater world offers you!
About our guest author: Jayne Baker and her husband Mickey own and operate Flamingo Divers, a boutique dive operation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Having been full time dive instructors in the Caribbean for over 25 years, they still spend most of their days underwater. When not diving, Jayne can be found in front of a computer pursuing her second love, professional and creative writing endeavors.