Apart from liveaboards with their ability to move around easily Dive Provo is the only dive shop that has a regular itinerary including all the major dive areas around Provo. We choose areas based on conditions on the day and to give everyone as much variety as possible. It doesn’t matter where you go, each area has multiple sites, and although each site has its own personality, they all offer great diving. Ask the staff, no one will say anywhere is “the best” but they all probably have a favorite site in each area.
This is not an exhaustive list but a review of some of our more visited and popular sites.
Turks and Caicos Dive Sites: Pine Cay
Pine Cay is a small island located 40-50 minutes by boat, northeast of Turtle Cove marina. The dive sites off the Cay are submerged seamounts that rise to within 50′ of the surface. They are known for consistently good visibility — even at times when the visibility is down at other north side sites.
Football Field — The Football Field dive site is a good example of the ocean floor topography in this area where the mooring pin is in 50fsw at the top of a steeply sloping wall. Divers can expect this area to be teeming with schools of juvenile barracudas, jacks, Bermuda chub, and groupers. Swimming away from the wall brings the diver to a large area of sand in 70′ of water, home to many lobsters.
Eagle Ray Pass — Another site in this area is Eagle Ray Pass. A sand gully leading off from under the mooring takes the diver out to the top of a sloping wall. This site has a tremendous selection of corals down to a sand bottom at 100fsw.
Awesome – Named by a dive group doing an exploratory dive for a new Pine Cay site, the name says it all! Full of colourful corals and a gathering point for feeding fish.
Turks and Caicos Dive Sites: Grace Bay
The joy of Grace Bay sites is the short 15-20 minute boat trip from Turtle Cove to the barrier reef and more varied topography in the shallows than some other areas. We can dive Grace Bay all summer long, but as wind direction shifts this area can be unavailable for much of the winter.
Coral Gables — A gentle slope to the wall allows divers to pick their depth. Sand chutes stop just below the top of the wall and give way to large stacks of coral, home to grunts, snappers and groupers.
Graceland — This site has a large sand chute under the dive boat and a swim-through leading to the wall at 50fsw. The wall has many buttresses and indentations with a good possibility of reef sharks swimming in the depths off the wall.
Grouper Hole — The mooring is by a deep sandy grotto, the Grouper Hole. There is a large coral head in the middle of a sand chute that leads divers to a gently sloping wall. In the days before the formation of the marine park in Provo, this was a spot that grouper feeding took place.
Aquarium — Enormous schools of grunts and snappers form an almost continuous school on top of the wall at the Aquarium. The wall is an exaggerated spur and groove type formation with some spectacular sand chutes that run on down through the coral reef to a depth of around 100fsw.
Pinnacles – Large stands of pillar corals make this part of the reef particularly distinctive and beautiful. Each stand has its own little concentration of inhabitants busily going about their lives and a site you can visit over and over and see something different.
Cathedral – This site is particularly easy to navigate due to the small dramatic vertical portion of the wall at one end and a corner in the reef at the other side where currents and nutrients mix and fish hangout looking for food.
TURKS AND CAICOS DIVE SITES: NORTH WEST POINT AREA
The vertical walls of Northwest Point begin at 35 feet and are famous for a variety of formations including gold and purple tube sponges. Dramatic dive sites are the rule and Horse-Eyed Jacks are the signature fish. Conditions here are consistently good with availability most of the year.
Shark Hotel — At the top of the Shark Hotel wall, divers find schools of grunts, snappers, and goatfish. The wall begins in about 45fsw and drops straight down to 80 to 100fsw where a plateau juts out and forms a shelf before plunging into the depths. As the name suggests, this site is a good place to spot small reef sharks. Close to the mooring is a huge stand of pillar coral, some of the largest to be seen in the Turks and Caicos.
Amphitheater — There are large pillar coral under the boat and an abundance of horse eyed jacks. The wall drops vertically to an amphitheater formation that is undercut 10-15 feet to a sandy bottom in 85 feet. One prominent feature of this site is a large elephant ear sponge with black coral along the top lip of the undercut, and some rare orange rope sponges at about 90fsw. In front of the amphitheater is a buttress with some beautiful examples of plate corals.
The Crack — This site’s name comes from the deep crevice that cuts down the wall from a depth of 50 to about 100fsw. Large grouper and snapper tend to hang out in the crack among black coral and deep water gorgonian. There is always a good chance to spot sharks and spotted eagle rays at this site.
The Hole in the Wall — This is a crack or hole that drops vertically from 55fsw and emerges from the face of the wall at 95fsw. Space is limited to one diver in the hole at a time, but the sensation of emerging into the blue water is an incredible one. Extensive sheet coral formations are also found here.
Eel Garden – As the name suggests the distinctive feature of this site is the shallow sand bowl under the boat full of garden eels. You could spend the whole dive trying to creep up on them for a photo opportunity; they always see you coming and reverse back into their holes. Patience is the name of the game here. If you get tired of waiting the wall itself is dramatically vertical just a few fin kicks away.
TURKS AND CAICOS DIVE SITES: SANDBORE CHANNEL
The area between sites # 10 and # 11 is the Sandbore Channel, a deep navigable channel that lies between Providenciales and West Caicos. Leaving from the south shore of Provo you travel across the shallow Caicos banks and join the channel where pale turquoise water turns deep iridescent blue. This is one of he most spectacularly beautiful sights you will ever see. Diving here is also breathtaking with deep water sponges and large pelagics, but must be dived when tide and weather are just right.
TURKS AND CAICOS DIVE SITES: WEST CAICOS
Another area with consistently good surface conditions, a vertical wall and excellent visibility, so popular all year. The boat ride to West Caicos, about an hour, passing large ocean front villas and then traveling over shallow turquoise water along the south coast of Providenciales is, in itself, unforgettable. The ocean floor drops away just as the island emerges from deep blue water.
Highway to Heaven — Located at the north end of West Caicos, the dive begins in 50fsw with a large colony of garden eels in the sand flat. The site is also popular because of the many stingrays that play in the sand. This site features coral arches and swim throughs around 80-100fsw. Lot’s of large marine life and frequent shark sightings.
Elephant Ear Canyon — Full of large sponges this site was named for a particularly huge elephant ear sponge which was unfortunately damaged during a hurricane. Life goes on and sponges and corals regrow. The coral reef at the top of the wall is about 50fsw split into sections by sand chutes. Under the boat at the end of the dive, divers can see garden eels, stingrays, and tilefish.
Gully — The wall begins in about 50fsw and the top lip of the wall is a dense coral reef with many cleaning stations. The gully gets it’s name from the cut in the reef that forms two distinct sections before dropping off vertically. The vertical wall here has many undercuts covered in sponges and black corals.
Driveway — Under the boat in about 40 feet of water lies a sand area with scattered coral heads leading into a sand chute that extends down through the reef from 50fsw to a ledge at around 80-100fsw where the wall drops vertically to the depths. Marine life includes sharks, groupers, black durgons, and the ledge area features some excellent growth of plate and star corals. As with many of the sites at West Caicos all along the wall divers will find black coral and purple tube sponges.
Whiteface — The name of this dive site has nothing to do with the underwater topography, but comes from the steep white cliffs along the shoreline. Along the top of the wall is particularly profuse reef with some impressive stands of pillar coral. The fish population includes barracuda, parrot fish French angelfish and Nassau grouper. Just north of the mooring is a crack in the wall with a large anchor embedded at 70 feet. The wall is well undercut to a depth of about 100fsw.
South West Reef – This reef has a much deeper wall starting in 60-70fsw so not visited so often. The wall is vertical with enormous barrel sponges, deep water gorgonians and frequent sightings of sharks and eagle rays. Currents are frequently encountered at this spot.
A small island directly south of Provo is a deserted bird sanctuary and open to the elements from all directions. Best dived during times of little wind or northerly winds where there is some protection from Providenciales. The name of the dive site Rock n Roll bears witness to diving there in windy conditions.
Double D — Located just offshore from the bird sanctuary on deserted French Cay, Double D’s name comes from two large pinnacles rising from the ocean floor. The wall here is a fairly gradual slope with a profuse carpet of corals along it’s entire length.
The area around the Double D pinnacles and the boat mooring is home to large numbers of jack, black durgon, and grouper.
G-Spot – Drop into the water over a plateau covered with soft corals and reach the wall at a very dramatic “V” with a sheer drop into the abyss. Lots of life on the sides of the wall but behind you is just dark blue, and who know’s what’s coming your way?
Rock n Roll – Another very vertical area of wall home to grunts, groupers and the ever cruising sharks.
Half Mile Reef — As the name suggests, this reef is roughly half a mile long and lies to the east of French Cay. A popular section of the coral reef is located in a large bowl on the wall which tends to eliminate the effects of currents encountered elsewhere on the reef. Large schools of barracuda and mahogany snappers are always present and two large (7-8 feet across) elephant ear sponges are found twenty feet apart at the 85fsw contour.
Molasses Reef — This reef on the edge of the shallow banks and the wall appears as the boat approaches as a line of waves and a golden brown color from the coral reef breaking the surface. This reef is the site of several historic shipwrecks, however, the dive takes place on the deep water side along the wall. Spotted eagle rays and sharks are common over the top of the wall, with Nassau groupers and jacks abundant under the boat.