Turks & Caicos Islands are nestled in the Atlantic Ocean at the southernmost tip of the Bahamas due north from the Dominican Republic. Consisting of two island groups, Turks and Caicos is separated by the 7,000-foot deep Turks Island Passage. There are more than 40 dive sites along the west edge of Grand Turk. Most of them begin in 25-to-30 feet above sand or reef and drop over the spectacular vertical wall. Visibility is stunning, reefs are lush with abundant larger than life marine life, conditions are mild-to-moderate and the water is warm. Storms rarely affect the island or diving. The year-round average temperatures range between 73 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit with ample bright sunshine.

Diving-Fitness-Grand-Turk-#3-002Words & Photos by Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE

It is important to emphasize good hydration and protection from the sun in Grand Turk’s tropical savannah climate. The Grand Turk Wall is just a 10-minute boat ride off the beach. The water is clear and visibility often exceeds 100 feet. Unique to some of the dive sites along the Grand Turk Wall is the waterfall of sand that can reduce visibility quickly during outgoing tides.

Unless traveling with a large group and other arrangements are made, diving is done in small groups of two to eight divers with one dive professional that usually serves double duty as the boat captain. Divers will experience back rolling from 25-foot skiffs and probably remove gear before climbing short boat ladders. Back rolling entry is easy, but the short ladders on the skiffs are not necessarily practical to climb wearing gear. Removing dive gear in the water, climbing the ladder and then pulling the gear in behind is an option when divers are the first to return back to the boat. If a diver or pro is already on the boat, divers will find themselves pushing their dive gear up from the bottom of the tank to assist the diver pulling from topside before boarding the boat themselves. A good overall fitness level is all that is needed for the consistent and moderate conditions of Grand Turk. Special focus on shoulder strength will prevent injury and help divers prepare for the logistics of handling gear.

Seated Shoulder Press and Kneeling Shoulder Fly 



Words & Photos by Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE