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“Great for first time divers”
Review of Salt Cay Divers

Salt Cay Divers
Valley Center, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great for first time divers”
Reviewed 20 April 2014

My husband and I knew Debbie through her restaurant and our lodging and she is a great woman. We dove with Salt Cay Divers as first timers and they were very patient and knowledgeable. Richard is a GREAT teacher.

We will be back for sure

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Sierra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
splash004, Owner at Salt Cay Divers, responded to this review, 21 April 2014
Thanks so much for your kind words. You both dived like "pros" I sure hope you continue as it gets easier the more you dive. Love to see you back next year for your first anniversary! Thanks again for coming to Salt Cay. Debbie
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118 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“What a place for a honeymoon!!!!”
Reviewed 24 March 2014

When we first arrived in Salt Cay, we were a bit nervous. We had never been to such a place and the atmosphere was quite different from what we were accustomed to. However, have no fear, Debbie was here! She's the lady that runs this amazing establishment. She came to the airport to greet us and make sure everything was in order. She runs a very tight ship and don't play around in the kitchen. The food is impressive!! Debbie is your lifeboat while on Salt Cay.
The dive shop is awesome. What an amazing crew. We did seven dives with Richard. Both my wife and I are relatively inexperienced divers and Richard was more than capable of keeping us from killing ourselves on several occasions. He is a lovely person to dive with.
Just as Debbie was greeted us at the airport, she was there to watch us cry as we had to leave. this island is a special place. It may not have the most lavish landscape or miles of expansive beaches and High Street shops, but its the people that make it special.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Hovan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
splash004, Owner at Salt Cay Divers, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
Thanks so very much for coming to spend your honeymoon on Salt Cay. You both are delightful and I appreciate you sharing such a special time with us. Hope you come celebrate your first anniversary with us. Debbie
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Maplewood, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Snorkeling with whales - believe it!”
Reviewed 23 March 2014

We went out on an encounter mid-March. As soon as we hit the water we spotted 3 puffs of air from the ocean about 100yds out. Before we knew it we were snorkeling amongst 3 male whales. An unbelievable experience.

Many thanks to Kerin and Debbie for their knowledge and hospitality. Salt Cay is the best!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank angelex13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
splash004, Owner at Salt Cay Divers, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thanks so very much for coming to Salt Cay. It is truly magical to swim with the whales. Sure hope you come back and stay longer next time. Debbie
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A whale of a dive experience!!”
Reviewed 16 March 2014

I see there have been many positive reviews on Salt Cay Divers and I can only second their reports. As already mentioned, this is an out of the way place for relaxation, peace and quiet and connecting with nature. The latter includes SCUBA diving and whale watching. Internet is available, but on the slow side. In other words, the connection may be intermittent. My son had to do his AP English project over several days. We found the best internet connection at Porter's Thyme Out restaurant. No AC on the island but the trade winds were adequate for sleeping. Bring your own soap and shampoo/conditioner and whatever else you might need (hair dryer, etc.). Plan on walking around town if you didn't reserve bikes or golf carts far in advance. The bikes were $20 each per day and they really help you get around. We even rode it to the base of Taylor's Hill and around the salinas over the dirt/gravel roads. Watch out for roaming donkeys, cows and chickens. And yes, you will get a 4 AM rooster wake up call or the occasional very loud donkey brays. I even heard some of the other guests saying the donkeys butted their front doors.
OK, first the diving. I am a PADI Master SCUBA diver and I have dived all over the world. I wanted to come here so my 17 year old son could get certified in Basic Open Water diving. Originally Debbie told us to try to get the e-learning and the confined water training in the States. Well, it didn't work out that way. So we came hoping for the best. We met Richard who is one of the instructors and one of the dive masters. He is from the Philippines and is usually their custom, a very nice and can do it all person. After talking to Debbie, we decided to give it a try even though he already had another student signed up. Fortunately my son was a very quick learner and we got all 4 required dives and the in water training/e-learning done in just 3 days. A big kudos to Salt Cay divers!! I got a total of 7 dives in 3 days including one night dive. You could do one or two more night dives depending on number of divers going and your mood. All dives are done from a moored boat. Basically go down the anchor line and then head as a group to the wall. You will either go north or south depending on the very light current. Go back at 1,500 psi and spend a little bit extra time under the boat. Don't miss the large, black seahorse at Kelly's Annex very near where the buoy is attached to the bottom substrate. The wall is impressive as you approach it and you cannot see how deep it goes. Lots of very nice soft and hard coral all over the wall and on the shallows around 30 to 40 feet. Yes, there are some dead corals from the last hurricane, but overall the reef is in good condition. Yes, there were some lion fish-- most were hiding out in small caves and under ledges but we saw a few out on the open. No, there are no more large groupers but we saw plenty of small to medium sized reef fish, several barracudas, several eels, a few small nurse sharks, etc. Tanks were filled to at least 3,000 psi. Typically you go back to the dive shop after your 1st dive as all dive sites are within 10 to 15 minutes away. You can order lunch while doing your surface interval. The board gets filled out quickly so it is best to put your name early for diving or whale watching.
Secondly, about the whale watching. I only went on one afternoon trip that ended up way south around Big Sand Cay. We saw 8 spouts and several whales fluking and 2 whales simultaneously doing a spinning head breach. THE MOMENT came late in the day when we were able to have a soft in-water encounter with a humpback calve, its mother and a male. They were not the biggest specimens, but we were as close as 10 feet away in the water. Those magnificent, white pectoral fins just jump out at you. Other lucky guests were able to spend up to 30 minutes swimming with similar groups on other days. Come in January to March for the encounter of a lifetime!!
Thirdly, about the food. We ate most of the time at Debbie's Coral Reef Bar as she has a reasonable meal plan and the view of the sunset unmatched. You might even see breaching whales from the restaurant. The food is overall better and they have the early breakfast start (07:00) needed for divers. The meals are generally ordered several hours ahead of time and will be ready a few minutes after you show up on deck. I highly recommend the fish fingers for lunch and the chicken curry for dinner. The only other place we visited was Porter's Thyme Out. It has a little faster and more reliable internet connection, a more modern decor and some interesting activities-- Mafia nights, lobster mania, pizza night, etc. It also gets loud at times and Porter is quite a comedian. If you ask for a coke, he will counter with "powder or liquid form"? If you ask for water, he will ask "with or without fish" and a few other cute remarks. Oh, and you better keep a tab of what you consume as they will rely on your honesty on tallying the total. Personal check is preferable to credit card at both places.
What else? Please make your reservations far in advance. We were lucky get some diving in Salt Cay as it was completely booked up in Providenciales. Same goes for housing as mid March is the high season-- exactly the time we chose to come. If you fly by Caicos Express, you must pay immediately when booking the seats. Our reservation was cancelled after 24 hours even though the receptionist told us we could pay when we get there. Electricity is similar to US.
US Dollars is the currency even though this is a British Overseas Territory. People are generally very nice and helpful, but help sometimes comes with a price. They will offer to take you anywhere for a $5 or $10 charge.
To summarize-- a place to go to be 'far from the madding crowd' and to be with nature.
You will love it and Debbie will see to it that your needs are met.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank cowrielover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
splash004, Owner at Salt Cay Divers, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thanks so very much for coming to Salt Cay. I am so happy Provo was booked up so you had the opportunity to experience the Caribbean the way it was 25 years ago, but still is on Salt Cay.
You both were delightful and so happy we could accommodate your diving. Hope to see you in the near future. Debbie
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Jefferson, South Dakota
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“VERY RUSTIC, WITH A HINT OF WHALES!!!”
Reviewed 4 March 2014

Short story is if you come here to be pampered, don't come. But if you come here with the right mind set that I am here to see whales, it will happen.

From the start of landing on a small runway in a small shack of an airport to the beat up cars and golf carts that they transport you around in, I seriously questioned what I was doing here and what kind of an operation is this. But let me tell you, Debbies passion is not to pamper you. Her passion is for the whales. don't go here if your expecting to be picked up in a shiny black SUV and then rushed to "SeaWorld". But if you want to have the experience of a lifetime of seeing a majestic animal in the wild in its purest form, don't wait, GO NOW! The whales were very active.

The morning started very slow. We definitely hit the next level of "island time" the minute we hit salt key. Things move slow here, but relax and enjoy what non commercialized island life is. Debbie took her time getting around and giving us the low down on what we could expect. And then we waited some more. and some more....finally we were on the boat headed out. We all were on the look out for whales, and not knowing what to look for, Karin(sp?) said he spotted something about 15 min into the trip. I didn't see anything. I truly at this point was thinking that I was part of some hoax and that there are no whales here. Then about 5 min later, I saw what looked like a plume of smoke come out of the water. Then I saw it again!!! so we followed slowly and approached the pod. Next thing I knew my wife hollers "BREACH, 2 oclock!!!!) the look on her face said it all. This is not a hoaxs. we were on the whales. my heart was pounding, but at that moment, I let all my prejudgments go. I embraced nature in its purest form. not some TV show that someone filmed for me to watch in bed.

We saw a total of 10 whales that day(4 hour trip) and we saw breach after breach after breach. The baby whales were very playful and showed off constantly. At this point, my trip felt complete. I had no other expectations. We did try and get in the water 2 times, but the whales were moving pretty good that day and didn't stop to rest long enough for us to get close to them underwater. The other thing I want to mention is that Francois and Karin and the captain of the boat never gave up. They tried the entire trip to get us on "resting wales" so we could swim with them. They are seasoned veterans at this and were very patient with our group even though our adrenaline was surging.

after we came in from our trip for lunch, we walked up to debbies little beach bar and had a very nice fish sandwhich and rum punch. There were about 7 island residents all sitting around and talking like family at the dinner table. They instantly embraced our group and we were part of the family within 10 minutes. We shared stories of where we came from and what we do and told fish stories. It was just awesome. I could go on and on about how fun this trip was, but you will never understand until you get there and do it yourself. So if you go, remember its like going fishing. There are days that you catch and days you don't. and remember this aint some fancy pamper the customer resort. You will definitely feel like you roughing it. But chances are you will see whales in the wild and make a memory you will never ever forget. Also, please tell the gray donkey in the airport and Gary the local welcoming department hello from the guys from south Dakota. And tell Porter, next time I will get my name on the wall after 4 howlers!! Thanks to all of you from me and my wife for a life long memory! We will never forget the day you gave us.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank SDMEATGUY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
splash004, Owner at Salt Cay Divers, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thanks so very much for your kind review. I am so happy that you had such incredible adventure. The whales were putting on a show that day for sure.
Please come back when you are ready for another adventure.
I can assure you people will remember your name as they love to have people visit their island. Thanks again. Debbie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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