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Dive Review of Blackbird Caye Resort in

December, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Peter Vantine, GA, USA
Report Number 912
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Philippines, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
70   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
The Blackbird Caye Resort is on a small island 30 miles off the coast, on
the Turneffe Atoll.  The resort is blessed with excellent diving, very
attentive support staff, clean accommodations, and excellent rental
equipment.  However, the facilities show signs of neglected maintenance.

The neglected maintenance produced a (thankfully) minor accident on the
first day of our visit, and the way the resort handled it really brings
into doubt about how they would repond to a serious event. 

On our first day my wife and I were walking around the island, getting
acquainted with the property, and we walked out onto one of the resort's
four docks.  About halfway out, a floorboard collapsed, sending my wife
pitching into the shallows.  She suffered minor bruising to one of her
thighs and our digital camera and digital binoculars went completely into
the water, damaging them beyond repair.  Also, her glasses were ripped off
her face, and we spent 15-20 minutes looking for them in the shallows, to
no avail.  In total, there was almost $1300 in damages.

We reported the accident to the resort manager and he said that that
particular dock was the "fuel dock" and was off limits to guests.
 I pointed out that nobody had told us that it was off limits and there was
no sign to that effect.  He told me that it probably would be wise for them
to post a sign.

Two days later it occurred to me that the resort might have liability
insurance to cover our loss.  I again approached the manager and asked him
if the resort had insurance.  He said that he had only been at the resort
for a few weeks and was not sure.  He gave me the email address of the
owner and told me to take the issue up with the owner via email upon my
return to the U.S.

Upon my return, I sent the owner several emails, which were not
responded-to.  After several follow-ups, I was sent an email from the
resort's Florida office that advised me that (a) the resort had no
liability insurance to cover such an event, (b) the owner had decided not
to entertain any kind of compensation "as we do not have the equipment
nor have we seen it" and (c) she attached an email in which the resort
manager blamed us for being on the dock and, further, made several comments
that cast doubt on whether he believed that the accident had even taken
place.  The general tone was that we were fabricating the accident and were
trying to collect for damages that never occurred.

If we had suffered such an accident at any U.S. resort and any reputable
non-U.S. resort, the resort would have been falling all over itself trying
to make amends for inadequate maintenance and inadequate signage.  Instead,
we were stonewalled, given the runaround, and made to feel like criminals.

So a warning: Turneffe Atoll and Blackbird Caye Resort is a great place to
visit.  However, if anything untoward happens, you're on your own.  Either
they don't have liability insurance, unconscionable for a dive resort, or
they DO have liability insurance and were merely trying to avoid a claim.

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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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