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I’ll go back to Grand Turk at the drop of a hat. It may be a small island but Grand Turk has a wealth of diving and it’s a wonderful place to visit. It is about clear water, warm beaches and friendly people. Grand Turk is an island where nature still reigns, unchallenged by casinos, fast food restaurants, duty free factory outlets and amusement rides. Diving its superb coral walls is almost as easy as swimming in a pool and snorkeling the shallow reefs is a family delight. And, Grand Turk is all the more inviting when you dive with the crew at Sea Eye Diving.
Grand Turk diving: Most of the diving off Grand Turk is on the west side, in the lee of the island where the water is nearly always calm. Diving involves stepping from the beach into one of the Sea Eye boats, riding two or three minutes, diving, then coming back to the beach to spend the surface interval in a hammock with a cold drink. Visibility normally varies from excellent to stunning and the average water temperature is about 82 degrees F. In several areas, such as the Library, a shallow reef runs from about 25 to 45 feet. These reefs are favorites for both day and night dives, with prolific fish and invertebrates. Barely a stone’s throw from the beach, though, a vertical wall starts with a coral lip in about 45 feet, dropping thousands of feet straight down. Gliding along this wall is an unforgettable experience. It is also one you may be sharing with Spotted Eagle Rays, Caribbean Reef Sharks, Hammerheads, Manta Rays and Hawksbill Turtles, all of which cruise the wall as if it was a highway. All of the dive sites, such as Black Forest, Coral Garden or MacDonald’s Arch, offer some distinctive formations. They are also packed with corals, sponges and fishlife. Long Purple Tube Sponges, feathery Black Corals, green corkscrews of Wire Coral and tall mounds of Star Coral are found all along the wall. Big Nassau Groupers are common here, too, and they all seem to have some special affinity for Cecil and Connie and the rest of the Sea Eye Diving crew.
Gibbs Cay snorkeling: Grand Turk is a great place for everyone from expert diver to occasional snorkeler, in part owing to activities such as the Gibbs Cay Snorkeling Excursion offered by Sea Eye Diving. This unique day trip shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Gibbs Cay is an uninhabited wildlife reserve close to Grand Turk, with one of the finest beaches anywhere. The nearby shallow reef has a crop of Elkhorn and Staghorn Coral and lots of colorful reef fish. This tropical paradise is yours for the afternoon. Sea Eye Diving sets up sun shades, provides drinks and cooks a barbeque. Smitty’s (divemaster Algrove ‘Smitty’ Smith) fresh conch salad is the specialty of the day, made right before your eyes. In addition, stingrays have become attracted to the conch discards, providing an unusual opportunity to snorkel in their midst.
Accommodations: Sea Eye Diving offers dive packages with a number of hotels on Grand Turk. The accommodations available vary from beachfront rooms to beachfront condo units. Modern amenities, such as air-conditioning and satellite TV, are available, as well as a good selection of restaurants. Cecil and Connie will work with you to tailor a package to fit your needs. Regardless of where you stay on the west side, Sea Eye Diving will pick you up and drop you off on the beach in front of your hotel.
Travel information: The best way to get here is to fly American Airlines from Miami to Providenciales and then catch one of the inter-island airlines to Grand Turk. The extra hop takes only 30 minutes and the scenery is great. From the moment you arrive at the Grand Turk airport, you know it’s time to relax and enjoy your dive vacation. The pace here is not necessarily slower, just easier and less complicated. Customs and immigration are taken care of in Providenciales, with entry by passport or certified birth certificate and photo ID. The official currency is U.S. dollars and the electricity is 110 volts. Dress standards are very casual but the people of Grand Turk appreciate not seeing bathing suits or bare midrifts away from the beach.
For more information, contact Sea Eye Diving by phone or fax at (809) 946-1407. They can also be reached by e-mail at CI@caribsurf.com and by regular mail at P.O. Box 67, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, BWI. Additional information is available at the Sea Eye Diving Web site on the Internet at http://www.interlog.com/ ~reefnet/GTurk.\
Sea Eye Diving
Cecil Ingham and Connie Rus have owned and operated Sea Eye Diving since 1992, building it gradually to retain quality and personal commitment. Cecil and Connie are both Platinum Pro 5000 divers and it shows in their knowledge of the undersea life in Grand Turk. Cecil’s qualifications as a PADI master scuba diver instructor and NAUI course director, together with Connie’s NAUI instructor trainer certification give Sea Eye Diving the ability to conduct any course. Much of the fun of diving at Sea Eye is owing to the three excellent divemasters who work with Cecil and Connie. Malcolm Adams, Algrove ‘Smitty’ Smith and MacDonald ‘Macky’ Williams are all from the Turks and Caicos and know their way around the reefs of Grand Turk like no one else.
In keeping with the goal of personalized service, the Sea Eye Diving boats are designed for smaller groups of six to eight divers and the same divemaster stays with a group so they can get to know each other. A full line of rental dive gear is available, as well as rental cameras and strobes. Photographers will also be happy to know Sea Eye Diving provides E-6 film processing on request.