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Active Travels: Scuba Diving in the Turks & Caicos

Diving in the Turks & Caicos
Diving in the Turks & Caicos

By Steve Jermanok

The Turks & Caicos are an archipelago of eight islands and forty relatively flat limestone and coral cays, some of which are little more than dusty specks in the aquamarine waters. The relative anonymity of these islands stem from their location. They are south of the Bahamas, yet not part of the Bahamas; north of the Caribbean, yet not technically part of the Caribbean. Indeed, the Turks & Caicos are a British Crown Colony whose 15,000 inhabitants or Belongers, as locals like to call themselves, slip through the pages of most guidebooks. This is especially true of Grand Turk, a sleepy 6-mile long island where you stroll past the Victorian homes on Front Street in a matter of minutes. Nestled amongst the homes are a handful of inconspicuous hotels, restaurants, dive shops, and government offices that seem to add to the British charm.

 
Underwater, Grand Turk is home to the Wall, where without warning the reef plummets to a mind-boggling 7,000 feet to mark the edge of the Turks Island Passage. On the rim of this great blue abyss, it’s not uncommon to see humpback whales migrating in winter, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles swimming gracefully, and herds of spotted eagle rays, with wingspans upward of eight feet, their thick black tails churning behind. Researching a scuba diving story for Islands magazine, I was 45 feet below the surface with excellent light and visibility, when suddenly it turned to darkness. I looked up and spotted six massive eagle rays swimming above me, one of the highlights of my scuba diving life.
 
Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels
Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels
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