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Provo, TCI Trip Report

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by Abaco_Steve, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Abaco_Steve

    Abaco_Steve Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia / Abaco
    Just returned from our first trip to Providenciales, TCI where my wife and I completed our AOW, relaxed on the beach, and pretty much just unwound for 10 days before heading back to the chaos of the D.C. area. Figured I’d better write this now before checking back emails at work and inevitably succumbing to the post-vacation funk.

    Lodging. We stayed at the Northwest Point Resort located, coincidentally, near the northwest point of the island - isolated, but with decent roads for the 15 minute trip from the airport and about 25 minutes from downtown Provo. The resort is highly recommended if you don’t require immediate access to shopping, casinos, etc. and desire peace and quiet. The condos are modern, clean, and had everything we needed for a comfortable stay. There is a bar/restaurant on premises with fairly simple, but good food and a very friendly staff. We did share a delicious 2 lb. red snapper steamed with citrus one evening - one of the better meals eaten this trip (see below). A nice beach fronts the resort and the Northwest Point National Park with even more isolated beaches and plenty of patch reefs is a short walk to the west. Our condo came with a car that I upgraded to a small 4x4 to do some exploring. We wound up retrieving a couple stuck in the sand and traveled to a couple of beaches that would have been inaccessible without the four wheel-drive.

    Food. We tend to go out to relax, have a drink or two, and eat because we’re hungry; therefore, I’m probably not a good source for gastronomes. We did the requisite Conch Shack, Tiki Hut, and a bunch of other informal eateries - all somewhat expensive for what we received, but all-in-all, nothing terribly positive or negative to report. As anticipated, the service drops off in places that automatically add a gratuity, but no real issues in our experience. If one expects USA super-size portions, you’ll be let down. I ordered fresh fish (usually, grouper) at several places and received very small portions of thin fillet at a price of around $20-$25. Either they were serving juvenile fish or slicing filets - either way, it was a bit disappointing. We did splurge a bit and dined at Coco Bistro, based on several recommendations. Very good food and atmosphere, but you’ll pay for it.

    Diving. Again, our first trip to TCI. My wife and I have only been diving for a bit over 3 years with around 50 dives. The other dive trips we’ve made have been to New Providence (Nassau), Dominica, Abaco, Fiji, and some god-awful quarry in Virginia - so consider the source.

    Overall: Good - Excellent. The water temp was 84F, visibility at about 50-70 feet depending on wind/tides; lots of fish; healthy reefs; good variety of invertebrates, corals, and sponges. We dove only several sites at Grace Bay and two sites off Northwest Point, so I can’t comment on either West Caicos or French Cay - the other dive sites frequented from Provo.

    Dive Operations: We’ve had a few rather unpleasant experiences with large dive operations and now tend to seek out the smaller, limited - diver shops. To that end, we made two dives with Flamingo Divers and five dives with Big Blue Unlimited - both of which were very positive experiences. Our main objective was to take the Deep Diver course and two specialties to receive our AOW certification. We initially tried for training with Flamingo Divers, but as a two-man (actually woman and man) operation ,coupled with the busy July 4th holiday week, this wasn’t feasible, so after reserving a dive later in the week, we drove over to Big Blue where we met Mark (manager/co-founder) and Laura (instructor). It took some work and shifting around personnel & boats, but Mark was able to accommodate us – great guy! We took Deep Diver, Fish ID, and Peak Performance Buoyancy courses under the instruction of Laura who was professional, patient, thorough, and enthusiastic throughout. We very much enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend Big Blue Unlimited for both training and pleasure diving.

    Diving with Flamingo Divers was excellent, as well. Jayne and Mickey run a small, intimate operation with professionalism, friendliness, and customer care. It is quite apparent that both are passionate about reef preservation and ecological ocean recreation/exploration. Diving with them was relaxing, educational, and above all – fun. We wish we’d made reservations earlier so that we could have gone out with them more than once.

    All-in-all, a fine, relaxing vacation with some very good diving.
  2. vyperman

    vyperman Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    You were fortunate to select two great operations to dive and to work on you AOWwhile you were decompressing from DC. Next time try the Walls off West Caicos in the Sanborn Channel with them. Mickey and Jayne are very experienced and run a great operation.
  3. Tim Ingersoll

    Tim Ingersoll Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rochester, NY
    Nice trip report. I remember snorkeling off the rocky beach where Northwest Point Resort now sits!

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