Diving into the Blue in Turks+Caicos
Along with beautiful beaches, the Turks and Caicos islands are also home to an extensive and pristine coral reef abundant in tropical flora and fauna along with a host of other marine life; making it one of the best places to dive in the world. One of the many things that you never get tired of in the Turks and Caicos Islands is the clarity and colour of the water. Starting in the shallows there is a mesmerising gradation of turquoise water that becomes tropical blue under the boat, turning into a profound and enticing dark blue as the reef drops down over the wall. When mooring up at the dive sites the ocean looks so inviting, it is hard to fathom that this is still the Atlantic Ocean.
Descending to the reef is akin to free falling and the anticipation builds. Slowly the reef starts to take shape and the fish become identifiable. After checking your buoyancy and giving your buddy the ‘ok’; it is time to start exploring. Approaching the drop-off your heart starts to speed up. You can’t help it. The excitement and allure of the unknown is addictive; what does mother-nature have in store for us today?
We are blessed with a healthy marine eco-system in the Turks and Caicos and we mean to keep it this way. At Big Blue Unlimited we encourage visitors to the underwater world to respect the environment. This doesn’t just mean physically and biologically; it goes without saying that you touch nothing with your hands and practice good fin etiquette. But chemical impact on the coral reefs can be just as harmful. We want to make sure that in the years to come the island’s pristine beaches and oceans are just as bountiful and the reefs as vibrant as they are today.
Sharks and turtles are commonly seen on most dives. Rays come in different shapes and guises. Sting ray are the most widespread. Spotted eagle rays, with their large wingspans, long tails and hypnotic black & white patterns are so special that there is nothing to do but watch them glide silently by in total admiration. On really lucky days a manta ray or two might appear and show off as they somersault over the edge of the wall, wafting a planktonic meal into their huge wide open months.
When you drag yourself away from the deep, tune your eyes into the fish and invertebrates that make their home in and amongst the corals. From the Parrot and Angel fish to the delicate crabs and colourful snails, the reef reveals some of their secrets as you move slowly and mindfully through the water. Watch carefully and you can start to see what they are all up to; feeding, cleaning, hiding, lying in wait. It is a diverse habitat that we are all still learning about. At night a whole new host of reef dwellers come out to make a living…but that is a different story and one you will have to discover for yourself on a visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands.