Diving

Why should I book with Aqua Tci?

As we have said the idea is simple: the freedom provided by a small group of divers, higher levels of personal service and professionalism, offers the best possible TCI diving experience. Complimenting this is a wide and roomy boat specifically designed and built as a dive boat, hands-on owner-operators and their great passion for the underwater world. Remember, all that is required from you is to relax, dive and chill!

I do not have a “dive buddy” is that a problem?

Absolutely not! If you are diving alone relax, you will dive alongside our experienced dive guides who can help enhance your dive experience and point out some cool stuff!

Do I need to book in advance?

We recommend you book with us as soon as you have confirmed the dates of your trip to guarantee your spot. We can fill up fast as we only have a small number of spaces on the boat. Most of our guests book months in advance. However, if you are already on the island give us a call as we still may be able to help you.

How fast can I expect a response to my inquiry?

We deal with inquires on a daily basis after getting back from the dive trip. If, for any reason you have not heard from us within 24 hours please do send a follow up email or call. Living in paradise does have some downsides – one of which being spotty internet sometimes or you may have inadvertently ended up in the spam folders.

Where do you dive?

Our base on the Southside of the island puts us closest to the four major ‘wall dive’ areas; Northwest Point, Sandbore Channel, West Caicos and French Cay. With over 45 dive sites to choose from there is little chance you will dive the same dive spot again. Although it should be remembered that access to dive sites is subject to weather conditions.

Also, with our 3 tank dive days we try and incorporate some of the lesser dived areas such as Molasses Reef, West Wall, ½ Mile Reef and West Sand Spit. See Dive Sites for more information.

How long is the dive trip?

We offer a pick up service from the resorts on Grace Bay at approximately 7.45am and after a short trip to the boat and check-in we are on our way. The boat journey is approximately 45 minutes with the longest journey being just over an hour. We aim to have everyone home and chilled after their great days diving by 2.30pm so leaving the rest of the afternoon free for chilling……

Our three tank days are longer and we aim to have you back around 4.30pm.

How many people go on the boat?

Our boat is a 30ft (10m) Island Hopper custom dive boat which is known is the dive industry for its wide beam and therefore comfortable dive deck. Although, the boat is US Coastguard rated for 14 divers we strictly limit the number to 10, with a maximum of 8 which are guided. Aqua Tci has an active dive club and its members, who like to dive without a guide or students under instructor supervision, take the remaining 2 spaces on the boat.

As all the diving is wall diving the navigation on dives is easy and experienced buddy pairs, after the thorough dive briefing, are welcome to either follow along with the dive guide or plan and dive on their own. A dive marker is left on the edge of the wall in line with the boat to aid with their navigation. Divers without buddies will dive with the guide in the water.

Our 3 tank dive days are restricted to 8 divers for added comfort.

Is there a bathroom on the boat?

Yes the boat does have a bathroom which is called a marine head.

Do you provide lunch?

We provide fresh and locally baked goods and fresh fruit on our trips, which we supplement with hand prepared sandwiches on our longer journeys. We will try to accommodate specific dietary requirements if we know in advance. If you want to bring extra food or bribes for the crew we have a nice big cooler on board for your use.

At Aqua Tci we try to be as environmentally responsible as possible and as such we do not use bottled water or disposable cups. We do, however provide coolers of chilled and filtered water and juice mix.

What do I need to bring with me on the boat?

With our wonderful sunny days, sunscreen is a must, preferably environmentally friendly so as not to damage the reef or its inhabitants. Other useful items include a towel, hat and sunglasses. In the winter months, although still sunny, a fleece or jacket is a good idea to help reduce the wind chill factor. Also, if it’s your first day with us you will need your certification and credit card.

Can non divers go out on the boat?

Generally, non-divers (bubble watchers) are welcomed on the boat when there is available space and we can even put snorkel equipment on just in case you want to pop in, but please remember these are dive sites not snorkel sites and so tend to be deeper.

We do also allow children on the boat but they must have a responsible adult stay with them at all times.

Alternatively, why not have a go at scuba diving with our Resort Experience and get the opportunity to see what the divers see.

What kind of visibility can I expect?

Generally speaking, we are spoiled here as we have great visibility but there are factors out of our control that can affect this, such as weather conditions, tides, algae blooms, etc. What are not affected by the visibility are the fabulous corals, fish and other cool stuff we find.

What happens if it is too rough to dive?

Sometimes Mother Nature can bring in some bad weather and if we feel that the wind and sea conditions are too poor for us to have a safe dive trip, we will cancel, as safety is of utmost importance to us. However, we do not generally count rain or lack of sun as being valid reasons to cancel….

Please also remember that the sea conditions that can be seen from your hotel window overlooking Grace Bay do not reflect the conditions on the Southside of the island where we dive.

What is the water temperature?

The temperatures vary dependant upon the time of year. In the summer the temperature can reach a high of 84F (29C) and our rental 3mm shorties are more than enough for those who want a wetsuit. In the winter the water temperature can drop as low as 74F ( 23C) and our rental 3mm full suits, with the option of 5mm full suits in the smaller women’s sizes and hoods provide the extra warmth.

Can I use my own equipment?

Of course if you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to use it! However, if you do not want to bring or, do not own your equipment we do have a full rental selection including Subgear BCD’s, regulators and wrist unit computers and Neosport wetsuits. Our sizes range from Junior 10 to XXXL.

Do I have to bring my own equipment each day?

Absolutely not – Once your equipment is on the boat on the first day you can relax, dive and chill!!!! We will provide you with a hangar for your wetsuit and a tag for your mesh bag, or a mesh bag too if you do not have one. All we ask is that at the end of the day you put all your equipment in the bag and on the hangar.

All your equipment is washed and securely stored for you and will also be set up and ready for you on the boat on your next day of diving. We even change your gear over for you between dives should you wish.

Do you offer Nitrox?

Yes we do, but you must be Nitrox Certified, and have your card with you. Additional charges apply for Nitrox tanks. Most of our guests find that the wall can be best explored with the added benefits that Nitrox can provide. You can find more details at Nitrox Certification.

Do you have single tank or night dives?

Due to the distance to the dive sites we cannot offer single tank dives or boat night dives. However, for those keen on doing either we can make arrangements with some of our partner companies. These are always weather dependant.

Shore night dives at a shallow area can also be arranged and is a fun activity especially around Glow-worm times. Please mention when booking.

Do you have any all day trips?

We normally schedule 3 tank dives for Thursdays but can schedule other days on request. These trips can result in dives on hardly visited areas, new dive sites or, when conditions are good drift diving.

To be able to participate in these full day adventures we ask that you have logged at least 10 dives, are at least 12 years old and this is not your first day diving with us.

Is there shore diving?

Generally no, as we have shallow water (high tide depth 18ft (6m), average depth 12ft (4m)) and sand out to the barrier reef which is approximately ¾ mile offshore.

Do you dive around Grand Turk or Salt Cay?

There is diving around both these islands but they are a lot further away from Provo than they look (approximately 75 miles). These islands are very popular as an overnight trip accessible by a short plane ride and we can help with those arrangements, including 2-centre dive packages. A reservation is highly recommended well in advance – especially during the popular whale season (January – April).

Not all my party dive.

We would recommend a Private Charter which will keep all the family happy, due to the flexibility and options this can offer. Please see our Private Charters section for more details.

Where are you located and how do we get there?

As part of our service we pick up at Grace Bay Hotels at about 7:45am each morning.

If you are staying in a private villa, residence or have hired a car and want to drive yourself you can find directions and a map in the How to Find the Boat section.

Do you accept certification cards from any agency?

Yes, we accept certification cards issued by any of the recognized scuba diving organizations, including PADI, SSI, NAUI, CMAS and more.

I no longer have my certification card, will that be a problem?

Before we can take you out diving we need to ensure that you are fully certified to dive with no restrictions. You should have time before you get to island to sort this out. The best way is to contact your certifying agency to get a new card and this can be done online in most cases. Some of the agencies even offer e-cards now which can be shown on your smart phone or tablet.

I have a Scuba Diver certification – can I still dive?

A Scuba Diver certification from most agencies means that you have a depth restriction of 40ft (12m) and are required to dive with a dive professional. As you cannot dive with the main group we can offer you either a Private Guide or the option of upgrading your certification to Open Water.

We have divers aged below 18 – what are the issues?

Generally:
Divers aged 10 and 11 are required to dive with a parent or guardian and are limited to 40 ft (12m) in depth.
Divers aged 12 – 14 have a maximum depth of 70ft (21m), if Advanced Open Water or 60ft (18m) if Open Water certified.
Divers 15+ Are depth restricted based on their level of certification.
All divers under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian signature on the diving waiver.

I have not dived in the last year so do I need to do a refresher course?

Although your scuba certification never expires, technology changes and memories fade. At Aqua Tci we want all our divers to have a relaxing dive and come back afterwards chilled and happy. If you are rusty or very inexperienced, not only is it possible you will not enjoy the day’s experience but probably some of your fellow divers will not either. We also appreciate that everyone is different and have different comfort levels so we do not have a fixed rule – however, when you book we will ask questions and advise you whether we require you to take up one of our offered options: carry out a PADI Scuba Tune-Up Course, a Quick Refresher, take a Private Guide or take Additional Training to enhance your skills and comfort level.

I want to tip the dive staff – how do I do this?

Our staff work very hard to make your dive trips as enjoyable as possible and tipping is not a requirement but more a reflection of your appreciation of their efforts. There is no hard and fast rule as to what is an acceptable amount but we normally recommend it is in line with what you would tip in a restaurant for good or excellent service…

Rest assured they always appreciate your tips which can be handed to the staff on the boat on the day or added to your dive bill at the end of your trip.

INSTRUCTION

What is the minimum age to learn to scuba dive?

Most agencies have now all adopted 10 years of age as being the minimum age requirement for completing the certification course, but all children develop at differing paces and the parent should choose when they feel the child is mature enough. There are restrictions placed on children up to the age of 15:

Divers aged 10 and 11 are required to dive with a parent or guardian and are limited to 40 ft (12m) in depth.
Divers aged 12 – 14 have a maximum depth of 70ft (21m), if Advanced Open Water or 60ft (18m) if Open Water certified.

What are the requirements to learn scuba diving?

You must be reasonably fit and be over 10 years old. There is a medical form that needs to be completed and any “yes” on the form would mean a sign off by a medical doctor. Please take time to read the medical form and arrange your doctor visit prior to coming to the island. Please refer to our Diving page for course details.

What certification agency do you use?

Our staff are instructors with PADI, SSI, DAN and IAHD.

Generally we use PADI which is the largest and most widely recognized scuba diving organization. Visit the PADI web site to learn more. However, we can accept Universal Referrals from most agencies.

GETTING AROUND

What about renting a vehicle?

There are plenty of car rental agencies on island and these can meet you at the airport or deliver to your hotel. Also for rent are bicycle, scooters and jeeps. Just remember to drive on the LEFT!!!

Are there taxis?

There are plenty of taxis on island which can take you out and about, especially if you are intending to drink. Make sure you have agreed a price before the journey.

ISLAND LIFE

What currency do you use?

The U.S. dollar is the legal tender of the island and most businesses accept credit cards and cash. Please make sure you notify your card provider of your trip to ensure it works on island.Cash can be obtained from the several ATM’s around the island.

Is the tap water safe to drink?

Yes! All water from the tap is perfectly safe to drink as it comes from a desalinization plant.

What kind of electricity does the island use?

The voltage is the same as in the United States and Canada – 110/220 volts. Visitors from Europe and other parts of the world will need adapters.

Do you have a rainy season?

Not really!! The island gets very few days of rain a year and when it does rain it tends to be short and sweet. Any weather report you see may well show rain due – but remember that means rain somewhere in the Turks and Caicos Islands!!!!

What bugs do you have?

We do have mosquitoes and small ‘no-see-um’s’ that are out mainly at dusk. Covering up at dusk and dawn and using insect repellent helps.

Where can I buy food on the island?

There are a number of supermarkets on island which have a wide variety of items. If you are staying on Grace Bay then the IGA Gourmet is the closest but generally the biggest selection can be found at the IGA on Leeward Highway. Don’t forget you cannot buy alcohol in the supermarkets and shops on a Sunday.

What clothes should I bring?

At the height of Summer it can reach temperatures in the high nineties Fahrenheit (high thirties Celsius) for a couple of weeks in August and September, but the average for the rest of the year, is more in the mid eighties Fahrenheit (about 30 Celsius). Light, cotton clothes are best.

In the Winter, it is generally windier and the nights can drop into the high sixties (about 21 Celsius). A light sweater or jacket is useful.

I have non divers in my party – what can they do?

The obvious answer is get them diving! We offer a Resort Experience or Open Water eLearning Course. Alternatively a Private Charter might fit the bill as this offers both flexibility and options.

Alternatively, water babies might enjoy; SNUBA, fishing, sea kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, kite boarding, parasailing, jet skis, 1/2 or full day sailing excursions, sunset and glow worm cruises, etc, etc.

For land lubbers we have: great spas, horse riding, golf, trips to other islands, beautiful beaches and great cocktail makers!!!

We can help you with all these excursions so just let us know what you need….

Tipping – what is the norm?

Although there is no hard and fast rule it is customary to add 15% or more for good or great service, but please check your bill at restaurants as some do add a 10% service charge.

There is no rule about tipping taxis but it is generally given for personable service.

MEDICAL

What medical facilities are there on Provo?

We have four private medical clinics on island which provide; medical services, dental/orthodontist, pharmacy, optometrist, chiropractic and women’s health services.

There is a new hospital, Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, which is a fully equipped modern facility.

Is there a recompression chamber on island?

Yes we have a recompression chamber here on Provo and a doctor is on call 24/7. Please ensure your DAN insurance is up to date or become a member before your trip.