Snorkel gear is important to cover as a part of the Turks and Caicos series, because it’s an item you can rent at the many resorts, but also crucial to own if you want to snorkel when your heart desires.
The typical snorkel set includes:
Mask, Snorkel, and Fins Set You have the option of buying the mask, snorkel, and fins as a set, or buying them separately. Personally, I especially like Aqua Lung gear because of the quality and price range. It is a important to have a mask that gives a wide view, which most masks offer. While some masks give a wide panoramic view, where the side of the mask has an extra panel so the diver can have peripheral vision, this is not a “must-have”.
A purge valve and splash on the snorkel is important to have because both prevent sea water from getting into the snorkel and when the water gets into the snorkel, allows the water to easily be eliminated.
If you are a beginning swimmer, a life vest is great to have on hand. Most of the resorts have this available.
The Aqua Lung size chart:
Small : Men (4-7) / Women (5.5-8.5) Medium : Men (7-10) / Women (8.5-11.5) Large : Men (10-13) / Women (11.5-14.5)
The neoprene mask strap covers keeps from hair becoming entangled in the mask strap, which is annoying and painful. The rash guard protects the skin from the sun and accidental brush ups against coral. Board shorts serve the same purpose as the rash guard. If the waters are colder, consider using a wet suit.
Princess Alexandra National Park protects three beaches and two reefs in Provo: Grace Bay, Leeward and Bight beaches, and Bight Feef and Smith’s Reef. Within the natural reserve are areas of interest: the iguana sanctuary (Little Water Cay), and the wetlands islands (Mangrove Cay and Donna Cay). Cay is pronounced as “key.” The waters are home to bottlenose dolphins, fishes, turtles, and other marine life. The National Park is easily accessed through many of the resorts on Grace Bay and Turtle Cove, in the northern part of Provo.
Environmental changes to the reef include external changes over twenty years of time. The coral in the area has been damaged by motor boarts, a failed artificial island development near Mangrove Cay, which has relocated sediment to areas corals normally inhabited. Additionally, the conch population (pronounced “konk”) has greatly declined over the years due to poaching. Introduced to the local water, invasive Lionfish has also increased. Lionfish originate from the Indo-Pacific and their predatory nature has minimized a large number of the smaller reef fish and reefs in the Atlantic and Caribbean.
A few favorite activities along the water and in the water include:
As a part of the Turks and Caicos Series, Coral Gardens Reef also known as Bight Reef, is in the Princess Alexandra National Park, on Grace Bay Beach, 5 feet off the beach, and the water is no more than 9 feet deep. Coral Gardens Reef is one of many areas to snorkel, dive, spot a few turtles, see lots of colorful corals, see fishes, and sting rays, lay out on the beach to relax, take a walk, and enjoy in Provo.
Snorkeling and diving: Look for a roped area. This is where all the action is and you’ll find there are lots of fish, colorful coral, and may even spot a turtle frolicking in the water. Although Coral Gardens Reef can become very crowded fast, it’s such a great place to snorkel and dive!
Some fish in the area include barracuda, eel, reef parrot fish, white grunt fish, puffer fish, lion fish, angel fish, and tang fish. You may even spot lobsters or a school of squid.
Cab fare: $18-$20 per way.
Great for kids and beginning snorkelers.
Do not stand on the reef. This will kill them.
Bring your own towel and snorkel gear. If you’re staying at a resort that rents out snorkel gear, you can bring that with you.
Do not touch the rope or the coral and try to keep clear of them. You will get stung.
Bring a rash guard to prevent getting stung from the coral.
Close walk from Somewhere Cafe Restaurant. Many resorts are steps away from Coral Gardens Reef.
You can rent chairs/loungers, if your resort isn’t on Grace Bay and near Coral Gardens Reef.
Turks & Caicos Islands are in the Caribbean. Called “TCI” for short, the islands are known for it’s beautiful beaches and for those who love the water, snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water sports. TCI is nestled between the Bahamas and the Dominican republican and is know for its secluded white sand beaches, shallow water, and clear turquoise water. There is something for every vacationer to do on the islands.
Provos is located to the west of the islands and Grace Bay is the ocean front of many resorts. The best activities I enjoyed were snorkeling and reading on the beach.
What I miss about Turks and Caicos is the snorkeling around the island, watching the fan coral sway and watching sea turtles swim away really fast.
My Hubs and I went to Provo for the first leg of our honeymoon. We stayed at the Windsong Resort and spent time snorkeling in Grace Bay, drinking rum mixed drinks, rode our bikes to a bakery in the morning for breakfast, and rented a car to visit secluded beaches. The following attractions are must-sees and I’ll be reviewing them and compiling them into a travel guide: