For our day in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos, we arranged for an independent dive with Blue Water Divers. Grand Turk is an extremely small island (just 7 miles by about 2 miles), so I’m glad we booked a shore activity in advance. The cruise ships all have contacts with Oasis Divers, which operate these massive bus-like dive boats. This isn’t our style. I’ve done that before and you end up diving to the lowest level member in the group, not your ability or your computer. And Holland America charges $119 for their diving shore excursion. In contrast, with Blue Water Divers, it was just the four of us and an instructor (for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, who are not certified). Yes, we paid a premium for this experience, but we got exactly what we wanted.
We left the ship early and hired a taxi to take us to the downtown area of Cockburn, where the dive shop is located. Taxi is $5 per person and the trip took only about 10 minutes driving past the outskirts of the airport and semi-industrial area.
Once at Blue Water Divers, we got checked in and rented the necessary gear. Blue Water Divers shop is quite small, but nice and has everything you need. The seas were slightly rough, so we were not able to depart from the beach in front of the dive shop. Instead, Blue Water Divers’ owner Mitch drove us back down almost to the cruise ship (on the south end) where we boarded our little boat and met up with our instructor Nat.
He took us out onto the wall, which is only about 400 yards off shore. We tossed anchor and descended down. The top of the wall was at about 38 feet and cascades gently down in tiers (like in Cozumel; not a sheer vertical drop like in Grand Cayman). Immediately on entering the water, we spotted several large sting rays on the sand below. As we approached the edge of the wall, we encountered a nice sized sea turtle – she was beautiful and I wished we had been able to get a little closer.
After the first dive, we did a one hour surface interval. By this point, the wind and waves had picked up considerably – making it pretty sporty out there. We got banged around a bit getting back on the boat. The second dive gave us more of the same in terms of sea life – sting rays. Our instructor Nat found a huge crab in a crevice of the rocks and pointed it out to us. But, we didn’t see any of the dreaded lionfish.
Our instructor Nat dropped us off on the beach just about 300 yards from our boat. We came back on board and took naps from our full day out diving (diving is hard work!).
Back on Holland America’s Westerdam that night, the Beatles tribute band, Hard Day’s Night did a show of old Beatles covers. They were pretty good, although struggled on some of the higher notes. The audience was getting into it and a few ladies were dancing down in front of the stage. It was a nice end to a good day.
Tomorrow is San Juan, Puerto Rico.