These silly pink birds are most commonly associated with the island nation of Aruba, however, I quickly learned that they are found in the Turks & Caicos islands as well. So do I even need to mention that I packed my flamingo pool float, donned flamingo nails, and ordered a flamingo bikini for this trip. (What can I say… when I pack, I pack only the essentials). 🙂
Turks and Caicos is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world — right behind Australia and Belize — so one of the top priorities during our visit was a mermaid adventure beneath the sea. I was first drawn to Flamingo Divers because of their witty website (filled with hilarious jokes), which won me over immediately; and after I read the rave reviews on Trip Advisor and noticed the 8 diver maximum limit, I was hooked. Needless to say, these guys were flocking awesome! 🙂
Dive sites for the day are determined based on the weather and water conditions of the day, and on the morning of our dive we headed out to Northwest Point — a 45-minute boat ride from the dive shop. On our ride over, we fla-mingled with our fellow divers and realized that many east coasters flock to TCI. 🙂 Thanks to the quick flight (2 to 4 hours from most east coast airports) long weekend getaways to this paradise island are a no-brainer, and almost everyone that we met was from somewhere along the east coast. The 45-minute ride flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to begin our descent below the sea.
Over the years, I have browsed different dive magazines and have been fascinated with the colorful underwater landscapes found within the glossy covers, yet I had never encountered similar dive sites myself. While I’ve been impressed with different dive sites around the globe, Turks & Caicos was the spot where I finally experienced those idyllic underwater landscapes that I’ve only seen in print.
It was the first time that I found myself completely blown away by the coral landscape. Corals of every color swayed in the current, and the many different textures kept my camera busy throughout the dive. During my 45-minutes underwater, I ooh’d and ahhh’d into my regulator so many times that I lost track.
We’ve had the opportunity to dive around the world — from Thailand, to the South Pacific, to Hawaii, and more — and the third largest reef in the world definitely lived up to the hype. The coral looked so healthy and vibrant, and the fish were abundant — not to mention, friendly. With so many juvenile fish swimming around it felt as though we were diving in a snow-globe.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I am head-over-fins smitten with the dive culture. I always make a point to dive with smaller, local shops as my experience has generally been better. Smaller group sizes mean more attention to divers, more opportunity to see animals (before they are scared away), and more memorable experiences overall. It also starts to feel like a gathering of friends rather than a bunch of strangers out on a boat together.
Mickey and Jayne, from Flamingo Divers, are not only the dive masters and dive operators, but also the dive shop owners, and their passion for diving is apparent. By the end of the day I found myself wishing for more dive days together. I guess it gives us even more reason to go back.
And as the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock — or in this case, dive — together.” Thank you, Flamingo Divers, for such a memorable day!