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Best short trip option? Caribbean vs Jupiter?

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by Amanwithaphone, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    In case it's of interest, since Provo is under consideration 0
    Turks & Caicos Research Notes - Turks & Caicos Research Notes

    Is seeing a few reef sharks a big deal for you, given that you've seen lemon sharks? I ask because once you've seen larger sharks or other species fairly close up, while reef sharks are still neat animals, is seeing a few enough of a draw to determine your destination? Has the novelty worn off?

    Someone mentioned Cozumel which offers a range of options and should be logically pretty easy. If I were considering a quick solo trip, I might even consider something a little off the beaten path...wonder how Grand Turk would work out (I've never been)?

    Since the trip is all about the diving, how many dives/day are you looking to do? Is 2 enough, or must it be 3 or 4?

    Some 'dive resort' type places price based on 2/room, and charge a single supplement if you're alone. Regular hotels don't. Factor this in when estimating trip costs.

    KathyV likes this.
  2. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    I see this statement often about Provo and I think it needs some clarification. Boat rides from Provo CAN be longer as in out to West Caicos but diving out on Grace Bay is no longer than diving LC or GC/7mb. Maybe 10-20 mins. You can also get in three dives a day, either 2 tank am and 1 tank pm if diving Grace Bay or a three tank trip out to West Caicos and beyond. Boat diving can be longer but depends where you go and if diving solo and enjoy being out on the water longer boat times could be a plus.
    KathyV likes this.
  3. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    Is it possible to research your best options now but hold on finalizing until the last minute? January can be a tough month weatherwise for both WPB and Cozumel. And perhaps other areas as well.

    If you could wait until near time weather predictions, though no guarantee, it could increase your chances of actually making the dives planned. This shouldn’t be a problem for WPB but I don’t know how likely flight costs will rise close to travel for Caribbean locals.
    KathyV likes this.
  4. Amanwithaphone

    Amanwithaphone Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NYC
    Thanks Richard. I agree that a few reef sharks probably won't provide enough thrill to determine the destination. Thanks for sharing the Turks report!
  5. Amanwithaphone

    Amanwithaphone Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NYC
    This might be the best option. I think WPB Jupiter may be best, but only if I can get in the water!
    uncfnp likes this.
  6. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    Jupiter is great for me because I can drive there in a couple hours. However, the diving is far far better in the Caribbean locations I've dived. Cozumel and Roatan are both much cheaper than Florida will be if you add in the cost of a hotel and food/topside entertainment when you compare. So much so, that for me the difference covers the cost of round trip air fare to a Caribbean location vs a few hours in the car to the east coast.

    I'm looking at a Cayman trip in 2019. The Caymans are very expensive. SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than Cozumel and Roatan. My wife wants to go the Caymans though, so we're doing it. Topside activities in Caymans look to be fun and the lodging looks to be superior to what you get in other Carribean destinations.

    If I were flying from NYC, I would go to Cozumel or Roatan (or many other Caribbean destinations) before I'd go to Florida. Not that I hate my home state, but I think you get more for your money elsewhere.

    On the other hand... LEMON SHARKS! ...and the courtyard Marriott palm beach / Jupiter is going to have much nicer beds than most Caribbean resorts.
    Amanwithaphone and KathyV like this.
  7. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    Long and short are relative terms and when it comes to boat rides a lot depends on your physiology, and I have a tendency to get seasick - so that does color my perception of a land-based dive trip and I should clarify.

    Last year on Little Cayman it was rough at the start of our trip, because we arrived shortly after a tropical storm has passed near. I was miserable and hanging over the side of the boat vomiting during our first day of diving - even though it was short boat rides on big boats from LCBR to the South (nearest and calmest) side of the island.

    Things started calming down pretty quickly and soon we were diving the Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson's Bight and I was fine.

    It is a bit counterintuitive but I usually do better overall on a liveaboard during rough weather. I may get horribly ill the first night and next morning on an LOB but then my body adjusts and I am usually fine for the rest of the trip - even during storms! But when we are taking day boats and alternating sea and land experiences my metabolism may have a hard time adjusting.

    We have dived Provo, both land-based and on 2 LOBs, and I preferred the LOBs because I'm afraid of the of possibility of long day trips out to the reef.

    Would I ever go back to do a land-based dive trip to Provo? Maybe - we like Provo topside and Grace Bay Beach is the most gorgeous beach and water that I have ever experienced. I do think that Provo is every bit as expensive as places like the Bahamas, Caymans, and even Hawaii - but it has a lot to offer - and you will see lots of sharks, eagle rays, stingrays, and other great stuff. The T&Cs offer some of our favorite Caribbean dives. We've stayed at both Royal West Indies and Ports of Call. They were both great but RWI is on the beach and I liked that best.

    We were recently Nitrox certified and used it on our Cayman trip a couple of weeks ago and I wasn't impressed, but we were only doing 2 dives per day and they generally weren't very deep dives; but if I should go back to Provo I might want to dive Nitrox because they are a bit deeper dives.

    The link below is for a recent report by @krukster86 about land-based diving in Provo and I think that it offers a lot of good information, and if the OP doesn't mind the chance for longer boat rides and chillier water temps then Provo could be a great option for him in January.

    BTW, you can experience long boat rides to the reef (by my wimpy definition) in Florida and Cozumel, too! This may be too much information but I can personally confirm that if you vomit into your regulator it will clear - and the nearby fish will love you!

    Dive Report: Turks and Caicos (Providenciales) with Dive Provo
  8. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @Amanwithaphone

    I've been diving Boynton Beach, West Palm, and Jupiter year round for nearly 10 years. As per my prior post, weather and conditions can be quite fickle during the winter. As I don't live there full time, I'm very interested in getting in as much diving as possible. With an appropriate strategy, I have been able to maximize my diving and miss the fewest number of days.

    The 3 inlets are not the same and tolerate higher seas differently. Boynton Beach is generally most affected by high seas, Jupiter is intermediate, West Palm is the least affected. When I can't get out in Boynton, I can often get out in Jupiter or West Palm. If I can't get out in the ocean, Blue Heron Bridge is sometimes also an option. I have been successful, mainly using 5 operations, 3 in Boynton Beach, my home location, and one in Jupiter and West Palm. I use Underwater Explorers, Starfish, and Loggerhead in Boynton Beach, Jupiter Dive Center in Jupiter, and Narcosis in West Palm. Others can share their favorite operators with whom they have been successful.

    Obviously, the water temperature falls in the winter, January is generally not the coldest. I dive a 3, 5, and 7mm full suit with or without a hooded vest to cover the swing in water temperatures during the year. My most important piece of equipment for the winter is my boat coat, the lower temps and wind can be brutal during the surface intervals.

    Best of luck for your January trip, wherever you end up going.

    Good diving, Craig
  9. Amanwithaphone

    Amanwithaphone Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NYC
    Thanks scubadada. I used JDC and narcosis when I was there last time and was impressed with both. Good to know that it's an inlet issue more than an open sea issue.
  10. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: nowhere
    With only 5 days I'd focus on locations that don't require beyond local flights. That seems to exclude Cayman Brac, Little Cayman or Grand Turk. Most have connecting flights but it burns the afternoon getting there. From your location there should be islands you can reach by noon instead.

    Also places where the better diving doesn't require long boat rides - that excludes Provo as the short trips return about 2:30PM (2 dives) and the 3 tanks cloeser to 5PM.

    Cove's in Nassau has a 45-60 min. van shuttle from most properties since they're on the south side of the island and most things are north. Bahama Divers is a better option as they're across the bridge from Paradise Island and 10mins from downtown/Cable Beach. For the wife there's a shuttle that runs around Cable Beach./downtown and another to Atlantis. Also a fery over to Paradise Island from near the cruise dock.

    Maybe Grand Bahama? Several shops are based in the marina area and two of them do Tiger Beach from there on all day trips. Unexso does the shark/dolphin dives and I'm a fan of Fred Riger at Grand Bahama Suba - he dives the Theo among other interesting sites.Pretty sharky there also.

    One of the shops is based at the Wyndham - they go to Tiger Beach. I believe Unexso also has a small affiliated resort and Bell Channel Inn also has a dive operation. Grand Bahama is located at one of the south resorts also afaik.

    For the wife, the beaches are nice, there's a touristy market area downtown and a casino. The marina area is also pretty nice. I've heard Freeport itself has declined but most of the resorts are elsewhere..

    I would guess Bahamasair is direct from Orlando?
    Amanwithaphone likes this.

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