Under the Water Magic in the Turks and Caicos

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You’d imagine that snorkeling and diving would be incredible in the Turks and Caicos Islands, right? Well, yes and no, but mostly yes. From Grand Turk and Providenciales, you can find some incredible reef and marine life, as well as West Caicos for deeper water diving. South Caicos also has some notable diving and snorkeling spots but less so on North and Middle Caicos where I hung my hat for the duration of my stay in August. That said, if you do find yourself on either North or Middle Caicos, you do have a few options.

Three Marys Cays on North Caicos are three limestone iron shore rocks found close off the north coast and it’s a great spot for picnics, swimming and lazy beach lounging. In other words, it’s absolutely stunning, whether you head to Sandy Point Beach or Hollywood Beach, or anywhere in between. Despite the fact that the waters were a little rough when we were there, we were surprisingly able to see some stingray, small colorful reef fish in a variety of vibrant colors, a black fin shark that some of us wanted to get closer to than I did, and lots of brain coral.

Middle Caicos: Mudjin Harbour

Mudjin Harbor is a three mile long section of coastline off the north of Middle Caicos and is considered by many to be among the most beautiful. Think high limestone cliffs throughout from the well known Conch Bar out to the far northwest point of the island. A very cool factoid that stems from its colonial British past….the name for this area was originally “Bermudian Harbor”, after the country it resembles and then over time, got morphed into “Mudian Harbor”, and later to Mudjin Harbor.

We swam at the Mudjin Harbor Beach when we were at Blue Horizon, one of the properties our group took over for the week. Below, me hamming it up on this breathtaking beach with warm water and beautiful white sand.
In this area, snorkeling will yield groove reef formations, coral arches and yellow sea fans and the occasional grey reef shark can be spotted as well depending on conditions. They advise that your luck with what you see is largely dependent on the weather. If its windy, they recommend going on a different day. That said, it was mildly windy when we headed out from North Caicos by boat and the wind picked up while we were there and so….we continued for several hours regardless of the boisterous waves because we already made the commitment to go.

North Caicos: Getting to Three Marys Cays

Until recently, Three Marys Cays could only be reasonably accessed from Whitby part of North Caicos, but due to road improvements, you can drive from Sandy Point. From the marina, go two thirds of a mile and then turn left onto the unpaved road (No name or sign at this time, and newly resurfaced. You’re on the right road if you can drive more than a thousand feet). Continue for 1.85 miles, and you should see the small sign for Three Marys Cays on your left. Turn on to this one lane track and follow for 2000 feet to Three Marys Cays. This track will have an abrupt left, and then a right before arriving at the cays. All beaches in this area are free to access and parking is never a problem. We went much further out by boat so we could get closer to the reef without having to go too deep.

If you’re planning to go to North Caicos, I’d recommend the simple but beautiful Pelican Beach Hotel — ask Miss Susie, the owner, to set you up with one of the local drivers who takes people out on his boat for a day or half day of snorkeling. They generally have gear for about ten or so people.

Here’s a bit of what we saw that sunny albeit windy afternoon. While this area may not be the best in the Turks and Caicos for snorkeling and diving, we managed to see some beauty under the sea — all taken with my Olympus TG-4 waterproof camera which I first reviewed last November.

All in all, it was a glorious experience — Middle and North Caicos are so incredibly beautiful, it’s hard to go wrong with its pristine waters in all directions, even if you don’t have a bunch of stingrays following you under the water.


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