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Dive Review of Blackbird Caye Resort in
Belize/Turneffe Atoll

Blackbird Caye Resort, Nov, 2004,

by Mark Schacht, CA, U.S.A. . Report 1523.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Hawaii, Puget Sound, California, North Carolina
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Guided dives, generally 60 feet for 50 minutes, for divers with computers
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Fresh water tubs on board; careful handling of camera housings by crew; each photographer handed his or her camera housing upon entering water.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The week began with an approximately 90 minute boat trip to the Turneffe island site of Blackbird Caye Resort, which leaves 3:30-4:00pm Wednesdays and Saturdays from Belize City. If your plane is scheduled to arrive later than 2pm (and you'd be prudent to assume delays if you're cutting it close), then come in the day before. Blackbird will pick you up for free from major Belize City hotels (and we recommend the Radisson Ft. George).

Our 1 week's stay coincided with the last week of the 'shoulder season' so we get cheaper rates, and there were fewer divers (only 2 other divers + 2 snorkelers). Schedule is for 3 daily dives, usually 10-15 minutes from resort, with surface intervals on shore back at the resort (usually spent dozing in our hammock on the porch of our the beachfront cabana).

Our four very experienced, computer divers (I am a PADI / SDI Divemaster) all were also photographers (SLR's and video), so we managed over the week's diving to "push" the usual 50 minute dives to 55-60 minutes or a bit more. Divemasters Nadia and Glen were very competent and increasingly 'hands off' once they determined our skill level, and would let us 'go off' just a bit get pix and film of the occasional stingray or hawksbill turtle, knowing we could be relied upon to know where the group was (slowly headed) and to responsibly rejoin it. When we returned, Nadia or Glen always were in sight, and our drift dive continued...

The mid-week trip to Blue Hole (lots of sharks, including one large bull, in addition to the stagalmites in the caves at 130 ft.) and Half Moon Caye (a fabulous, pristine wall dive) were a nice change of pace. The end-of-the-week trip down to the "Elbow" (the southern-most point of the Turneffe Atoll and a major fish aggregation point because of converging currents) got a bit spoiled by iffy (shoulder season) weather, but kudos to Captain Junior, Divemaster Nadia and Resort Manager Glen (also a dive instructor) for at least initially greenlighting our trip (with us understanding that either the Captain or the divemaster could call it off if weather deteriorated further). As it turned out, there was no rain, little current, and few fish aggregating, but there was a huge school of horseeye jacks at depth which came up through us as they headed for the point...Lots of great video there!

The resort has (thankfully) no TV, no telephone (other than the staff's emergency satellite phone), but DOES have very comfortable private cabanas with A/C. Bring strong DEET-based bug spray (which you'll need only when the trades die), and, if your budget can afford it, stay another 5-7 days in Belize afterwards to visit Mayan Ruins (in Tikal, Guatemala; Lamanai); the Hummingbird Highway National Parks (Blue Hole [yes, another one!] and 5 Blues Lake); and Placenia to the south. You'll never regret it.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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