Turks and Caicos Liveaboard Diving on the Turks and Caicos Explorer II
A beautiful and luxurious Turks and Caicos liveaboard dive boat, the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, was designed to be a luxury yacht/charter dive boat. Designed from the ground up in 1995, she was purchased by Explorer Ventures and put into operation in the Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2005. Equipped with Naiad stabilizers and a heavy keel, she serves as well as a Turks & Caicos liveaboard and does well on longer, open-water excursions to the Silver Bank, 80 miles north of the the Dominican Republic.
The luxury vessel carries up to 20 passengers and 8 crew. All staterooms throughout the vessel have port lights or windows, individually-controlled air-conditioning, and private ensuite bathrooms.
A comfortable full-width salon, located forward of the spacious dive deck, provides seating for all guests at once, a wet bar, and an entertainment area with DVD and CD stereo. The boat deck, one level up, has ample room for sunning and relaxing; the flybridge includes a wet bar, and comfortable seating for up to 15. The two VIP staterooms located on the upper boat deck, as well as the two forward staterooms on the main deck, are equipped with TV/VCR.
Turks and Caicos Liveaboard Amenities
Scheduling 5 dives daily, including night dives, the vessel boards in Providenciales each Saturday and offers 5 1/2 days of diving each week. You'll explore the 5 different black coral species at Black Coral Forest, the reef sharks of Provo's Shark Hotel, the deep-water gorgonians of G-Spot, and the spotted eagle rays of Double D, along with a multitude of other dive sites along the region's plunging walls.
The Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks & Caicos Islands are located 575 miles southeast of Miami, and were first populated by the Lucayan or Arawak Indians. Columbus claimed the islands for Spain in 1492, which then in 1670 ceded them to Britain. Dependencies of the Bahamas until 1874, the islands were subsequently controlled by the Jamaican government. In 1962 the islands became a British Commonwealth Colony, which they remain today.
Casual attire is appropriate on board, as well as throughout the islands. The US Dollar is the official currency of the Turks & Caicos; power outlets and 115-volt power are the same as in the USA. Passports are now required for all visitors; an ongoing or return ticket is required.
Located 575 miles southeast of Miami, the idyllic islands of the Turks & Caicos sit surrounded by turquoise waters containing over 1,000 square miles of living coral reef. A Mecca for divers from all over the world, the Turks & Caicos Islands are known for their expansive underwater visibility, high-voltage wall dives, and the profusion of marine life of all sizes located within their boundaries. Low annual rainfall and reliable ocean currents contribute to the remarkable visibility, as well as provide nutrients for the many large pelagics common in these waters.
Caribbean reef sharks are common, as are spotted eagle rays, jacks, grouper, and turtles. Also spotted on a frequent basis are blacktips, tiger sharks, hammerheads, and manta rays. Famous for its spectacular walls filled with huge gorgonian fans, barrell sponges, hard-coral arches and macro life, the Turks & Caicos Islands truly offer a dive experience for everyone.
Though many of the dive sites visiting are outside the boundaries of the Princess Alexandra National Park, which provides strict protection for much of the marine life surrounding Provo, all of the dive operators in the area enthusiastically support marine conservation and preservation measures which ensure that the waters of the Turks & Caicos remain pristine for future visitors.
Grand Turk, South Caicos, French Cay & West Sand Spit Diving are on special itineraries only.
Grand Turk Area
Grand Turk is one of the most peaceful islands in Turks and Caicos, with lovely white secluded beaches and healthy wall diving. The island is only 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and is the capital of the Turks and Caicos. The island is reminiscent of Colonial Bermuda with many historical buildings. The Turks and Caicos National Museum is worth a visit and houses fascinating artifacts from the oldest known shipwreck in the New World, the Molasses Reef Wreck from 1513.
Located approximately 75 miles from the island of Providenciales (also known as Provo) Grand Turk benefits from being very close to the Grand Turk Passage which plunges to depths of more than 7,000 feet. A wall of coral runs parallel with the entire island and gradually slopes to amazing depths. While exploring the sandy-bottom divers will find very healthy reefs with a large fish and animal population. Sea turtles and rays can be spotted almost any time of year. Most divers find the wall to be the highlight of diving the Grand Turk area. Large animals such as mantas, eagle rays and sharks are regularly seen cruising the open ocean.
South Caicos Area
South Caicos is known to some as the big fish capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. These waters are known to have some of the best diving in the area. Divers will witness numerous large pelagics; squadrons of Eagle Rays and a variety of sharks. Along the wall divers will find gorgeous corals and sponges.
French Cay and West Sand Spit areas
Located approximately 6 miles apart, these dive areas offer pristine coral formations, sandy bottoms where sting rays, schools of goatfish and nurse sharks are found and another opportunity to see the big guys in the blue off the walls. The sandy plateau holds large barrel sponges, beautiful sea fans and pillars of coral. It has been said that this is one of the Turks & Caicos diving jewels. A lucky diver may also witness one of the very large (reported the size of a small car) groupers which call the area home.