Grand Turk Diving
|Snorkel with stingrays, dive with humpback whales
Grand Turk Diving
Grand Turk averages 350 days of sunshine annually and has about half the rainfall of some other T&C islands. Lack of rain helps keep the waters clear but a spring plankton bloom makes underwater photography difficult here as well as all throughout all the islands.
Grand Turk's omni-present wall begins just 300 yards offshore, at only 40 feet down. With numerous moored sites and relatively few dive operators, dive boats rarely have to rush because someone else might get there first.
Underwater, lots of overhangs and coral crevices which often hide parrotfish, big queen and gray angels and most especially the big red spider crab, the Caribbean version of the Alaskan King Crab.
Grand Turk is becoming recognized as perhaps the premier dive base. Still an unknown to the majority of divers visiting the T&C it’s a more reliable place for whale sighting since the humpbacks use the Columbus Passage just south of the island as their migration route. Even if you never actually see one of the giant creatures, if they’re anywhere in the vicinity you’ll hear their haunting songs.
For snorkelers, Grand Turk’s old south dock contains an unusually wide variety of marine life, including frogfish, sand dollars, seahorses and octopus. For something truly different, hire a guide take you through the mangrove maze at South Creek that serves as a nursery for many juvenile species including snapper and bonefish.
For an exciting stingray encounter in just 4 to 6 feet of water, visit Gibbs Cay located on the east side of Grand Turk. Scores of the friendly rays always hang out here, making this a sure-fire encounter.
At nearby Salt Cay, divers can explore the unsalvaged remains of The Endymion, which initially was thought to be one of Christopher Columbus’ ships. Instead, The Endymion turned out to be a British warship sunk in 1790, but the rich remains dispelled any disappointment.
You’ll find cannon and other relics still imbedded in the coral. Recovered artifacts and a detailed history of the ship are provided in Grand Turk’s National Museum.
Some historians speculate that it was on Grand Turk that Columbus made his first landfall in the New World. The National Museum here (closed Sundays) offers a detailed account of the local history as well as artifacts from the oldest English shipwreck ever discovered in the Caribbean.
Pioneering diving is taking place on remote South Caicos, which is infrequently dived and largely unexplored. Among the charted sites are a natural arch rising 10 feet from the bottom and a sunken airplane perched on the edge of the wall.