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Dive Review of Blackbird Caye Resort in
Belize/Turneffe Atoll

November, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Mark Schacht, CA, U.S.A.
Report Number 1523
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Mexico, Hawaii, Puget Sound, California, North Carolina
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Guided dives, generally 60 feet for 50 minutes, for divers with computers  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
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):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
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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Diving Guide to Belize
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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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