Smith Cove and Bright Reef

Turks and Cacos


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Submitter Comments:
Near the Turtule Cove Inn



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06/03/2015 Pat Borowiak (Avg: 4.59 Review) - As soon as I arrived at Grace Bay beach, I could see why this beach was voted number one in the world! About a half a mile in the distance, you can see the water break at a reef, which is what keeps the ocean perfectly calm on this beach. The water is crystal clear and warm. The sand is really soft and powdery, but it does get pretty hot during midday. And because of the red colored coral is in the water, as it grinds up in the sand, the sand appears sort of pink in color during dusk and dawn, which is very pretty. There is excellent snorkeling at Bright Reef which is directly in front of Coral Gardens hotel. (I stayed at the Sands of Grace Bay, which was about a 1.5 mile walk to Coral Gardens according to my pedometer.) You can walk directly on the beach and enter the crystal clear water from the sand. I went at about 8am and snorkeled with huge turtles, stingrays and loads of fish such as parrot fish and tangs. The gorgeous coral is protected by big buoys in the water that alert boats not to drive near it. Snorkelers should stay OUTSIDE the buoyed area anyway because there is fire coral in there. There are also signs in the water explaining what kind of coral and fish you're seeing, which are nice. I snorkeled at the reef at all times of the day and found early morning to be the best. Water is clear and depth goes from 6-20 feet. It's amazing. I also snorkeled in an area slightly down the beach (with no hotel in front of it) from Bight Reef and found the snorkeling just as good. I saw a huge stingray (6 foot wingspan) with white spots on it just gliding along past me, along with a 4 foot barracuda and more turtles. This area is not marked off or anything, but once you get in the water there\\'s lots of fish and coral.

02/26/2013 War Eagle Snorkeler from DC (Avg: 4.50 Review) - The actual name for this snorkeling/dive site is Smith's Reef. Smith's Reef is a great site for snorkeling or scuba diving right off the beach (Providenciales, Grace Bay Beach) in the Turks and Caicos Islands with many varieties of corals, sea anemones, sponges, eels, rays, turtles and fish to see. I was there in December 2012, the air temperature was in the low 80's each day with no humidity and the water temperature was 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In January and February the water temperature gets down to around 78 degrees which will likely feel chilly for most snorkelers/divers. A light upper body wetsuit is recommended during the short 'winter' months. Smith's Reef is actually 4 or 5 large separate reef 'mounds' and some smaller reef 'patches' all relatively close to each other. Between the reef mounds there are grassy and white sandy areas. Snorkeling Smith's Reef (and any other reefs) is best during the late Spring, Summer and early Fall months when the sun is much higher in the sky, allowing for more direct sunlight on the reef and better viewing. The beach at this site has a lot of flat rocks at the water line. To safely enter the water find a sandy 'entranceway' between rocks then swim a short distance out to the reef. Water depth around the reef ranges from several feet to around 26 feet. The water is normally very clear depending on tide, wave and wind conditions. Another very nice right off the beach snorkeling reef that is close to Smith's Reef is Bight (Coral Gardens) Reef. This reef is a single reef 'mound' that is not too far from Smith's Reef along Grace Bay Beach. Water depth around Bight Reef ranges from several feet to about 18 feet. Not too many people scuba dive at this reef because the water is not too deep and it is a small reef. While snorkeling at these two reefs, I used my GoPro Hero 2 video camera underwater with a 6 foot long monopod and recorded many hours of great high definition video. If you are in Providenciales of the Turks and Caicos Islands and want to snorkel or scuba dive right off the beach, then these two reefs are highly recommended sites. The water here is very clear, calm, and has an amazing turquoise color.

07/15/2012 Dan from Penngrove (Avg: 3.00 Review) - I tried to do shore diving at this site and at Coral Gardens. I failed due all the dive shops refusing to rent gear for shore dives. I have an 8 year old who is Scuba Ranger certified with SSI. This allows him to go to 12 feet in pool like conditions. This is different than PADI which just plain requires a pool. In preparation for this trip I contacted the dive shop (who I won't name at this time) to try to line up this experience for my child. They said that 'a quality scuba ranger experience could be had a Coral Gardens'. However they said they were unwilling to rent gear because they didn't like cleaning it, and they couldn't guarantee that an instructor would be available. The dive shop didn't have any 50s, but they had 63s. Based on this feedback I prepared for the trip. I rented a BC and reg set for my child and brought it with us. A bought him a wetsuit. I got additional training for my child. The additional training consisted of several dives in 46 degree water with 1 to 6 feet of visibility with his SSI scuba ranger instructor. His instructor happened to be going on the same trip. I buttered him up and got him to agree to take my son on a couple of dives. I thought I had everything lined up. When I got to the dive shop in Provo, I went in and said, 'Ok, I want to rent some tanks.' They said they didn't rent gear to anyone for any reason. They listed several reasons for this: 1. It is illegal to shore dive, and renting me gear would create legal liability for them. 2. It is an agreement between the shops to never rent gear. 3. The snuba lady goes there but has a special permit. I asked them to source the illegal idea. They refereed me to the department of environment. I called the department of environment and talked to Paul Dickens. He said I was free to shore dive anywhere including Coral Gardens. Apparently one or more of the dive boat operators will pull people out of the water and harass them if they see them shore diving. I got the impression that this happens most often at coral gardens. At this point I'm mad. I don't like being lied to. I spend a good deal of time and money lining up this experience for my son. Additionally, I wanted to get some extra dives in cheap. I talked to the dive shop. On the last day of diving the shop manager agreed to take my son out. He didn't charge me for it due to the trouble I had lining it up. This was nice of him. Due to this, I'm not naming the dive shop, who I was otherwise happy with. If shore diving is important to you, don't go to Provo in Turks and Caicos. Perhaps there is decent shore diving there. Perhaps it is bad. Due to collusion and lies from the dive shops, I wasn't able to find out for myself. If you really, really want to shore dive there, bring all your own gear including tanks and weights.

05/27/2006 Ben from DC (Avg: 4.95 Review) - It was like paradise staying at the Turks and Caicos Club, on Grace bay, which is next to the white reef. The beach is so quite with powdery white sand and turquoise waters. The reef is just opposite to Coral Gardens Hotel, and next to it is the high-end Turks and Caicos Club. You can walk to the beach and do a shore dive with a tank rented from the dive shop at Coral Gardens or just snorkel. We saw more fish just snorkeling along the reef buoys than on a boat dive. We saw a lot of turtles in the sea grass, and Nurse sharks, as well. Next to Coral Gardens is the Beaches Hotel, all inclusive. It's like a zoo there, and I would not go there if you wanted peace and tranquility. Grace bay is beautiful, but eating out is expensive. Not much night life on the island, although horse back riding on the long beach was fun, through Provo-ponies. The best thing to do is go to IGA (like Safeway) and stock up food, drinks and fruits. It's a good idea to carry some good wine when you travel to this island. Our Turks and Caicos Club room also had a full furnished kitchen.

12/11/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 3.70 Review) - This was a really nice, easy shore dive. Pretty shallow (about 15-20 feet), but a GREAT night dive. There's a good chance to see sharks, turtles, and eagle rays. Really easy navigation. One tip: Full moon night dive with no lights -- you can see everything!

Dive Site Pictures:
   (If you have pictures for Smith Cove and Bright Reef, please send them here.)

Special thanks to Pat B!
The beach.
Submitted by Pat B

Special thanks to Pat B!
The shoreline.
Submitted by Pat B

Special thanks to Pat B!
Reef and bouys.
Submitted by Pat B

Special thanks to Pat B!
Reef and bouys.
Submitted by Pat B

Special thanks to Pat B!
Reef and bouys.
Submitted by Pat B


Diver Averages for  Smith Cove and Bright Reef  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.40
Bottom Conditions:  4.20
Reef Conditions:  4.20
Animal Life:  4.60
Plant Life:  4.00
Facilities:  3.00
Solitude 4.20
Roads:  3.40
*Site Average:  4.15

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.60
Beginner Scuba:  4.60
Intermediate Scuba:  4.00
Advanced Scuba:  3.60
Night diving Scuba:  3.80

Number of reviews for this site: 5


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