Geography of the area
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a collection of 40 Islands ranging from minuscule to small. The largest population is found on the Island of Providenciales, where the international airport is located. This Island , also known as “Provo” is home to many multi million dollar homes and exclusive condominium developments. There are also 2 resorts on the Island, Beaches and Club Med. Some of the other well known Islands include Parrot Cay– Home to many movie stars and Grand Turk, a stop for many Caribbean cruise lines. Travel from Island to Island is either via air or boat. There are no connecting roads or bridges.
Provo is effectively a long thin Island that is aligned east to west. This result in a long north and south shore. Portions of these shores (but not all) are white sand beach. Non sand areas are rock shore with bluffs ranging in height from a few feet to over 30. The north shore faces the open Atlantic, whereas the south shore faces the much shallower Caicos Banks. The Island is protected on the north side by a reef system that serves as a wave break stopping large ocean waves from reaching shore. Inside the reef, the water depth is less than 30 feet. Outside the reef, the water depth quickly drops to thousands of feet. Because of the reef, you will often see a ring of white that surrounds the Island caused by the ocean waves breaking over the reef. This effect combined with the shades of blue caused by the change in water depth results in a spectacular image that is duplicated only in very few places on earth.
The south shore is also protected by a bank system that sits atop a large underwater plateau. The water here is much more shallow as compared to the dramatic steep drop on the north side past the reef. This combined with the protected continent facing side of the Island results in a less spectacular ring effect, but it is still present, particularly in the summer months.
THE ISLAND OF PROVO SHOWING DISTINCT WATER BREAK AT THE REEF