Kim & Randy's Turks & Caicos Trip

June 27-July 11, 2009




It took me only a couple of days to set up a two week trip after being contacted by Hart.  Hart and I met last year on the Caribbean Explorer II in Saba / St. Kitts.  Since then he had taunted me with his other dive adventures so I decided to make him suffer a bit by attending with him on this trip.  My wife, Kim accompanied me and 16 others during week 1.  The TCEXII crew did a great job handling a full boat.

Week 2 started off sadly enough when I accompanied my wife to the airport (I recovered quickly, thank you).  Sadness struck again later in the week when Hart, my dive buddy for week 2, completed his solo diver course and I was replaced by a buddy bottle. 

Fortunately for me, Kevin stepped in to fill the void left by Hart's betrayal.  Kevin even saved the day when he seemingly took off like a mad man to the bottom and rescued my camera set up from the abyss.  We were out over the wall and I guess I just let go of camera after submerging and before I could clip it on.  I doubt that two timing Hart would have done that for me.

The Trip
The trip sarted with our flight from LAX to Miami to Provo.  Although the Sibonne Beach Hotel office was closed when we arrived after our delayed flight, we were greeted by a guard who escorted us to our room.  Warning: The AA flight is scheduled to arrive at 8:30 pm.  Best to make sure you eat before taking off.  Just one less thing to worry about.

We just lounged around Sibbone all day Saturday.  I really recommend the little hotel.  More pictures are in the Above Water selection.

At 3:30 p.m. Van Taxi picked us up and we started our adventure!  The TCEXII (formerly the M/V Ballymena) is an awesome boat. It's spacious, clean and efficient.  It makes a bunch of water (two filters can each produce two gallons a minute) and they have nitrox.  The nitrox was my only complaint.  For some reason, they just couldn't get the O2 level up to 32%.  Some dives were in the 27% range.  In two weeks I never saw 32%
The dive day is something like this... eat, dive, rest, dive, eat, rest, dive, rest a long time, dive, eat, night dive, sleep.
Biggest problem for me was was trying to avoid a deco dive on dive 2.  I was getting one hour dives on nitrox but the surface interval between dive 1 and 2 was usually very close to 60 minutes.  Get in early on Dive 1 to maximize your surface interval for dive 2.  Lunch is served after dive 2 giving you about 90 minutes before dive 3. The dive 3 / 4 SA was between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.
Water temperature was between 82 and 84 Suunto degrees.  I'm a big guy and only wore a wet suit (my shorty) 3 times.  There were occasional currents that would be cooler, but they passed quickly.
What did I see?  Eagle rays and Caribbean Reef sharks.  I didn't see the hammerheads that several people spotted the first week.  Lots of garden eels, arrow crabs, puffer and burr fish (look at this cool little guy), octopus, moray eels, conch, juvenile boxfish, drum fish, barracuda, way too many lionfish, nurse sharks, stingrays, parrot fish, angle fish, grouper, creole wrasse, trumpet fish, lobster, and, according to Hart, secretary bunnies.

As with any trip, pride of country sometimes leads to "border" disputes.  Unfortunately for me, I was out numbered by our friends to the north, which resulted in the following graffiti being applied to the bottom of my tank.

My lame attempt at a reply came with this on the bottom of Hart's tank...


Enough of the fun... Click the links for some pictures

Above Water Pictures

Under Water Pictures

Other Interesting Links

Watch a video of life onboard the TCEXII Courtesy of Liquid Assets
Click on the Over/Under video.

Video of the actual Pago Pago game at Thunderdome.

Another Video of the Pago Pago game show

Explorer Ventures

Thanks to the great crew of TCEXII:

Week 1: Capt. John, Engineer Ken, Chef Stan, Purser Chrissy, DM Dave and DM Jack

Week 2: Capt. Ken, Engineer Doug, Chef Stan, Stewardess Daysi, DM Dave and DM Jack

And thanks to my fellow passengers that allowed me to have so much fun above and below the water:

Week 1: Chuck, Nancy & Alexandra; Ken & Sharon; Jack; Bob; Mark & Kimberly; Hart; Kelly; Minna; Dave; Kevin, Steve & Lindsey; and of course, my wife Kim!

Week 2: Larry & Marcia; Richard & Brenda; Kevin; Neil; Christine; and Hart

We've had Divers stop by to visit!

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