Our daily 2 tank dives take place all around Provo along the outside of a continuous barrier reef that runs around the Caicos group of islands. The northern areas are called Pine Cay, Grace Bay and Northwest Point. The southern areas are French Cay, Sandbore Channel, West Caicos, and Molasses Reef.
If we thought there was a best dive we wouldn’t go anywhere else! We dive at sites all along the barrier reef and in most places this is a vertical wall and quite spectacular. Previous divers have all formed opinions on which is the “best” site, but this is dependent on conditions on the day and regular divers to the islands know that every area is beautiful and any site can deliver a memorable experience. We regularly see sharks, eagle rays and turtles as well as a myriad of tropical reef fish all along the barrier reef.
If you have dived here before you can certainly request certain areas. A number are quite weather dependent so we may not always be able to go where you want. For example whenever we dive the southern sites we just plan on “going south” and then decide where we think conditions will be best that morning. We normally rotate around the different dive areas to allow guests diving with us on consecutive days as much variety as possible.
We pick up from the various Grace Bay resorts at 8am and return any time between 1 and 3.30pm depending upon the dive destination for the day. The closest dive area is Grace Bay and trips to the southern sites are the furthest.
Our boats leave from 2 different marinas, Turtle Cove Marina for trips going to northern sites and Caicos Marina and Shipyard for trips going to areas south of Provo.
Boat rides to Grace Bay are the shortest, taking on average about 20 minutes. To North West Point and Pine Cay the ride is about 50 minutes and trips to southern sites are a little longer plus the bus ride to the marina takes longer, thereby making for a later return home.
We have 3 dive boats, all 36ft and US Coastguard rated for 22-24 divers. We put a maximum number of 16 divers on 2 of the boats and 14 on the third which is a little less beamy. There is plenty of room to move around. The average number of divers on the boat tends to be 10-12.
Dive Provo’s philosophy is to allow divers freedom to enjoy their dive without unnecessary restrictions. Divers in buddy teams are encouraged to plan and execute their own dives following a thorough pre-dive briefing. This way you can concentrate on looking at the reef not at the fins of the diver in front of you. Safety guidelines are given and 1 crew member stays on board the boat acting as safety support. Divers without buddies will dive with the dive master in the water and the dive will turn around based on that diver’s or those divers’ air consumption and level of comfort. Buddy teams wishing to follow along can do so if they wish but are responsible for watching their own air consumption and depth. Navigation is relatively easy along the edge of the wall and the dive master makes it even easier by placing a marker at the edge of the wall at the turn off point back to the boat.
No, all levels of divers go out on the same boat. We may have divers doing Resort Course Dives with their instructor or Open Water students completing their training dives. All Dive Provo’s staff are scuba instructors and are happy to give pointers to help improve your diving enjoyment. For Open Water certified divers the Advanced Open Water class is fun and easy, requires no classroom time, just reading at your own pace, and is a great way to hone skills and make your diving more relaxing.
Nervous or rusty divers may benefit from taking a private instructor along on their dive. The instructor will review any skills you wish and will be in the water acting as your buddy to make sure everything goes well. Solo divers often enjoy diving with a private instructor so they can dive to their own plan and skill level.
A single tank afternoon dive is offered picking up at 1.30-2.30pm and returning around 4.30pm to the closest dive area of Grace Bay. These are not always possible during the winter months so for this reason we do not pre-book single tank dives. They can always be booked pretty much last minute on island.
Snacks and soft drinks are provided on all trips with a light lunch for the longer days. The food is all locally baked and fresh each day. If you have particular food preferences we also have a cooler on board for you to keep your own food if you choose to bring something.
Yes all the boats have heads.
Bring a towel and sunscreen. During the winter you will probably want a pullover or jacket to pop on after the dive to keep you warm on the ride home.
People with their own gear generally prefer to use it. We do have a full selection of rental gear with sizes ranging from Jr. to extra large. Our computers are wrist units and if you have not used one before we give a thorough briefing on the boat and the dive master will help if you have any questions.
Dive Provo staff will rinse your gear for you. If you have your own mesh bag we will give you a name tag for it and a hanger for your wetsuit. If not we will loan you one of our bags. Pack your bag after the dive and zip your wetsuit onto the hanger. We will rinse and store your gear for you and set it up on the boat each day ready for your dive. If you plan on snorkeling on your own in the afternoons then you can just take your snorkeling gear back to your hotel with you.
During the winter the water temperature can drop as low as 74F degrees, during the summer it goes up to about 84F degrees. Our rental wetsuits are 3mm full suits during the winter and 3mm shorties in the summer. Small women tend to feel the cold more than bigger people and they can wear 2 wetsuits during the winter or use a hood for additional warmth. Most of the summer no suits are needed at all!
There is no shore diving around Provo. The barrier reef is a good ¾ mile offshore and too far to swim. We have shallow water and sand out to the barrier reef.
Although they look close on a map both Grand Turk and Salt Cay are about 90 miles from Provo. To dive those areas you need to plan to stay there a few days.
We normally schedule 3 tank dives for Wednesdays but are happy to schedule other days on request. We generally need 8 people to run this trip.
We run night dives on request with a minimum of 6 divers. We try to encourage people to book them mid-week as this tends to be the most popular time.
Non-divers are welcomed on the boats on a space available basis. Most of the year space is available, however at peak times there may not be room. Most dive sites are too deep for snorkeling. Passengers may snorkel around the boat or swim to cool off, however the dive areas do not deliver the best snorkeling experience.
Dive Provo does run dedicated snorkeling trips, the most popular being our south side snorkel trip to either West Caicos or French Cay. The sites chosen depend on wind conditions on the day, but these areas are visited infrequently by snorkel boats and offer untouched reefs and the chance for snorkelers to see some of the bigger sea life normally seen only by divers.
Afternoon snorkeling trips are scheduled more often during the summer months for 2 hours of purely snorkeling out in Grace Bay.
Private charters are available for people who prefer their own schedule. A full day charter with 2 crew members allows for 2 or 3 dives for up to 6 divers. All equipment is included along with lunch and refreshments. Combined diving and snorkeling trips can be arranged on a private charter, to keep all the family happy.
Some areas are quite wind or tide dependent and we may be unable to dive them during your stay. Grace Bay, French Cay and Sandbore channel are spectacular if caught just right, whereas West Caicos and North West Point are more consistently good.
At certain times during winter months we may be unable to dive the northern sites, however if the sea is rough outside your hotel you will be relieved to see calm water on the southern shore as we have protection from the island. It is extremely rare to be unable to dive safely.