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Sometimes, small is good. Very good.
That is the case with a little resort on a little island
at the end of the Turks and Caicos chain.
Called South Caicos Ocean Haven, it is a reincarnation of the
Club Carib, under new Canadian ownership.
Make no mistake, this is a dive resort. There are not exactly a
ton of other things to do there, but the diving is so good you won't
It has one tremendous advantage you won't find in many destinations
- a phenomenally short boat ride to the dive sites: five minutes is
average, seven seems to be about the max!
With a national fish preserve of their doorstep where fishing
is verbotten, wildlife is found in abundance. Reef sharks, spotted
eagle rays, stingrays, octopus, baracuda, lobster, laggerhead turtles,
and green and spotted morays are found with great ease. And for the
wreck diver in all of us, there is even a DC-3 which seems to attract
fish like a giant lure (with wings.)
We averaged four dives a day, ranging from a drift dive that
bottomed out at 18 feet, to spectacular wall dives that decend to
7,000 feet... but staff will tell you that the first 130 are the
best. The night dives are truly magical. The clearness of the
water and the brightness of the moon allowed us to turn our
lights off at 60 feet and just enjoy the serenity of it all while
still bring able to see the jacks swimming around us in hunt-mode.
To non-divers that must sound truly insane, but for anyone who has
ever been in water clear enough to see stars from at depth, it is
something to look forward to like a child anticipates Christmas
morning. It just doesn't get any better.
The resort is small with only 20 rooms, and since it is just
getting rolling again as this is being written in January 1999,
guests who take advantage of the place soon will have the luxury
of HIGHLY personalized service.
Rooms are of adequate size, and those with an ocean-front view
are highly recommended. All rooms have air conditioning, so you
don't have to worry about sweating all night, unless you want to
(wink, wink). Temps were in the low 80's at the end of December,
but can peak over 100 in the summer.
No resort is complete without food, and their cook does an
admirable job. It is not five-star cuisine, but we are divers,
not Robin Leach. If you want lifestyles of the pompous and boring,
go somewhere else. If you want to dive your brains out, see some
incredible sea life, and not spend forever getting to and from the
dive sites, this just might be the place for you.
It takes a 20 minute island hopper flight to get there from Provo
on Providenciales, which is serviced by several major airlines. Ask the
pilot to fly up front with him and he might just let ya fly the plane
for a few minutes like I did... but you might not want to mention it
to the FAA.
South Caicos Ocean Haven can be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or called in Canada at (905) 898-0982.
Their site address is still www.clubcarib.com.
Tom Wilson is a PADI divemaster, and can be contacted at email@example.com