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Turks & Caicos Explorer II Liveaboard - Oct 08
Nesher - 10/31/2008 12:57 PM
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Category: Travel
Comments: 0
Finally the trip I had planned to take with Liquid Assets TV which was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike. From SFO the air travel is rather long, over 24 hours. I left my home at 5:00 pm and arrived on the vessel at 6:00 pm EST. I took a friend of mine who was completing his O/W certification onboard. First the M/Y Turks and Caicos Exploerer II is 124- 130ft about w/four decks total and a beam of 22ft. She’s long and slim. She is a very beautiful vessel but she has a very small dive deck. She carried 20 passengers and we had 15 and the dive deck was really crowded. All the diving is done from the vessel herself. We visited French Cay, West Caicos and Northwest Point. LOTS of SHARKS! We saw so many sharks that by the end of the week it was just commonplace. The visibility was terrible. Some days we had 20 ft viz. It’s going to take almost six months before the effects of the Hurricane is cleared up. Another thing, The Aggressor (Turks anc Caicos Aggressor) was constantly within visual range. On two to three occassions we actually switched dive sites with her. Well, what does that mean? Why pay 600.00 - 700.00 dollars more if you’re visiting the same dive sites? The TCEII price was 1895.00 plus 150.00 Nitrox, 160.00 Fuel Surcharge and 85.00 port or hotel tax add yuur gratuity and the video which was 60.00 plus airfare and there you have it. The crew....first they are alright people. But I didn’t have the best time I’ve had on a liveaboard with them. The food....AWESOME!!! In one word the best I’ve had on a liveaboard so far. Stanley a Belonger (name for indigenous Turks and Caicos people) can flat out cook. He made most of the bread and pastries himself. This guy loves his job and you can tell. Not one person aboard that vessel had an issue with the food. The TCEII has scheduled dive times. So you have to be ready to go when it’s that time. They do provide dive guides but don’t expect them to pay much attention to you. They are generally just diving and you’re following. They rarely turn around to see if you’re there. The TCEII has one peculiarity that you should know about. It swings or arch 180 degrees on it’s mooring due to it’s height. Now I had heard about this and still didn’t understand that that meant until I actually saw it happening. One minute you’re under the boat and the next the boat is gone. Wait ten minutes an it’ swings back, but, it might be zipping so you better angle and intercept and then hold on the for the ride of your life. My newbie buddy had a dive instructor with him so he learned quickly. It’s an experience you’ll just have to have for yourself. The cabiins are a bit small but manageable for two. I recommend paying a few extra bucks and getting the cabins on the top deck - Cabins 1 or 2 especially if your going with your spouse. One thing I found particularly annoying were the flies. I’ve never been on a liveaboard vessel that had flies all the time. I am still asking myself if I’ll ever take another trip with them. I guess that sums it up for me. The jury is still out. It’s a little bit less expensive than the Aggressor and the sites have potential. Right now the viz is really bad. Maybe next year around Mar - Jun it might be worth a repeat trip. Also I noticed something I didn’t care for. After you gave them your tip envelop the pursur wrote you name on it. Hmmm........I actually waited until I was to leave the boat before I gave my gratuity to see if they were going to respond any differently. Some did and some did not. I almost didn’t give at all, but they really didn’t do anything terrible so I gave. My advice, give it a few months before going to Turks and Caicos except if you’re going to Grand Turk. I hear the diving there is exceptional right now. The island is very quiet and there isn’t much to do there. A liveaboard is the only way to to Turks and Caicos for me.