The islands of Providenciales (Provo), Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos are the primary dive sites for the Turks and Caicos island chain just south of the Bahamas. Turks and Caicos is named after the Turk's Head cactus and the Lucayan term caya hico, or string of islands. Columbus reportedly discovered the islands in 1492, but some argue that Ponce de Leon was the first European to arrive. Regardless, the islands' initial inhabitants were the Taino Indians. Turks and Caicos became a British Crown Colony in 1962 and links were maintained to the Bahamas through the Anglican Church. The islands lie around the edges of two limestone plateaus with deep offshore waters that serve as major transit points for humpback whales, spotted eagle rays, manta rays and turtles. Bordering the islands are coral reefs and some of the most amazing walls in the Caribbean. The Grand Turk wall is legendary, as are the historic wrecks south of Salt Cay. From late December through April, the Atlantic herd of 2,500 humpback whales passes through the area on its migration to the Mouchoir Bank, about 30 miles southeast. During summer, mantas cruise the walls. For more information about diving and staying Grand Turk, click on the home page below. For more information about diving and staying on Salt Cay, click on the home page below. For more information about diving and staying on Provo, click on the home page below. For information about live-aboard diving in the Turks & Caicos, click on the home page below. For general information about the Turks & Caicos, click on the home page below.