Its amazing how a short puddle jump can take you to a different world. Provo reminds me of visiting southeast Florida – expensive condo’s, construction, Bob’s IGA grocery, 40 ft plus dive boats with 30 divers, a massive beach with plenty of people, competition for lounge chairs in the shade.
Take the short flight to Grand Turk and you step into another world. Small dive boats with 2-6 people, diving 5-10 minutes from the beach, unique dining in small facilities, grocery stores that carry unexpected items, wild burros wondering around. A crowd on the beach means you can see two other people. Lovely trees provide shade on the beach if you want it with no competition.
This was my second trip to Grand Turk and again staying at Osprey Beach Hotel and diving with Oasis Divers. There are a handful of dive shops on Grand Turk and based on reviews I read and people I met, all provide good service and similar diving. I liked Oasis last trip so stuck with them again.
A dive guide can make or break a dive trip and I was fortunate to have Craig. Good pre-dive briefings, good with your gear and someone you like immediately. He was good at finding small critters, my favorite being quillfin blennies and jawfish with eggs. We saw three different quillfins during the week. Craig was comfortable with me diving my computer, the slow movement and low air consumption of a photographer. His skill stood out when we had a pair of beginner divers join us later in the week. He kept their pace slow and we dropped them off at the boat after 45 min when they were low on air. He and I kept going for 40 minutes more while they were safely in the boat. The newbies and I were all happy with the arrangements. Not all dive guides can figure out how to make that work.
Dives start at the beach, a 5-10 min boat ride on calm, clear water. Usually dropping to 70-80 ft on vertical walls then working back on top of the reef eventually leading to 25-40 ft near the boat. Surface intervals are back at the dive shop beach, allowing a run back to the hotel if desired then off for another short boat ride and dive. The dive shop has rinse tanks and storage for gear.
I did find the perfect way to get close to Nassau Groupers. Put on wide angle gear and they keep their distance. Put on a 105 macro setup with red spotting light then settle in on a goby for a few minutes. When you ease back from the goby, there was often a grouper watching me take the shots, usually within 18-24 inches but sometimes closer. Then they let me photo them all I want, which is fine if you are looking for grouper eyeball shots.
Pics reside at: