5/3/98 – 5/10/98
Grand Turk Island. I have had NO idea where this could be. The idea started out with a question on a message board. I found an offer for a Club Med week incl. diving … and thought it was a bargain, but someone pointed me to that page and then I found out what REALLY a bargain is.
We had a wonderful place to stay, very nice hotel managers and owners and CI (or “SeaEye”) Diving is a superb dive operation. I did my rescue diver course down there, where I had the time and relaxation to actually read the PADI book. Furthermore I got to use my new divegear for the first time.
The Diving: one word: FANTASTIC !!! Great, 90 degree walls, viz was from 100-150 ft max. The boatrides are sweat’n’short, so you come back to the shore for the surface interval. The unlimited shorediving is tricky, since the wall is 250 yards away … so, pump up your BC and row, row, row your boat … we actually tried to dive all the way, which turned out to be pretty boring . But the boat dives … wow …
I cannot really pick out the several divesites, but we dove new divesites every time, the only repetition was McDonalds for the night dive.
Fish: we saw three dolphins who were in 150 ft while we cruised the wall at 100 ft, we were followed on one dive by Alex, the pet-grouper, nights we saw all kind of critters. Everywhere the usual suspects…
Sea Eye Divers are offering a picnic trip to the uninhabited Gibbs Key Island. That is a lot of fun. Rays come to the boats to sneak some food, they behave like dogs and wrap themselves around your leg. You can go and skindive for your own conch, which later will be turned into a great, self-made conch salad. It is tricky to go down to 25ft without the usual divegear… and even harder to come up from there, since by then you ran out of air .
To sum it up: For around 700$ it is a steal, fantastic diving, that water color is incredible, and hanging out next to the wall is just wild. Don’t bring non-divers, there is hardly anything to do there but diving, sleeping, drinking and eating … imagine an Island the size of Manhattan, but only 30,000 inhabitants .. by the middle of the week you know most of the other guests. There are about 6 hotels with 5-10 rooms each … You will not find upscale dining, casino’s, glass bottom boats or the like. Grocery shopping is a very interesting experience, you notice immediately that you are on an island: The stores have more shelf-space than they have actual merchandise. The boat that brings fresh stuff like veggies visits the island only once a week, so don’t expect to get a huge fresh salad every day.
Instead you will have conch based dishes (conch fritters, conch salad, even conch pizza!), meet very nice people, have a relaxing time… and did I mention the diving ???