The Reefs at Blackbird Caye and Turneffe Atoll are both known for the natural unspoiled habitat that serves as haven for the surrounding wildlife. However, it can also be dangerous to those unfamiliar with the area due to strong currents and the wildlife in itself. We want to protect you by ensuring certain measures are taken prior to going on your adventure.
All visitors to Blackbird Resort have the opportunity to enjoy the free use of our resort kayaks and paddling-boards within close proximity of the resort. We enjoy being able to offer our guests the freedom to explore on their own, but safety is our FIRST priority so we kindly ask our guests to abide by the rules we have in place at the resort for a more memorable trip.
Rules for Kayakers and Paddle-Boarders
- For accountability and safety of the guests the staff need to know exactly where guests are at all times. All guests MUST sign a “Kayak and Paddle-Board Release of Liability Terms & Conditions Form” BEFORE the kayaks and paddle-boards are taken out and AFTER they are returned. Kayaks and Paddleboards must be returned without damage.
- Wear a life vest at all times.
- Unsupervised snorkeling off the resort’s kayaks is not allowed.
- Snorkeling on Turneffe Island, without qualified supervision, can be dangerous and we ask all guests to take note of and respect this very simple, but highly important rule.
- Belize’s American saltwater crocodiles live in lagoon in the back of the resort, exercise caution and be alert.
- Inexperienced snorkelers damage the coral without realizing it.
- Sudden changes in the ocean’s depth can cause snorkelers to panic.
- Our snorkeling equipment is expensive and unauthorized use of this equipment can lead to damage and/or loss which can be very costly.
- Guests who think they can rent kayaks for free and snorkel (without supervision) may have difficulty getting back into the kayak or difficulty flipping the kayak back over in case of sudden changes in the current. The risk of drowning in these instances is high and not worth taking.
- The Turneffe Atoll is approximately 30 miles (38 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide. It’s the largest Atoll in Belize and those who don’t know how to navigate along it run the risk of putting themselves and others in danger.
- When Paddle-boarding – Be Humble Be mindful of the currents around the resort. You can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area on a paddle-board while getting in your work out for the day while getting your tan but know your limits and stay alert.
- You must wear a life vest at all times.
- Know your weather, check with the dive masters on conditions for the day.
- Paddle with a partner if possible, it’s more fun and safer.
- Wear lots of Sunscreen.
Snorkeling Best Practices
- Do not break off pieces of coral or stand or sit on coral heads. This can cause lesions which become invaded by other organisms and result in the ultimate death of the whole coral.
- Avoid full leg kicks. Using a special “bent knee” kick the feet and fins are raised high off the reef and the chances of broken coral are greatly reduced. This technique requires a kick generated by the lower leg, from the knee; the upper leg is relatively motionless.
- If you inadvertently kick something, stop kicking immediately, relax your legs, and see what you’ve hit. If necessary, draw your legs up to your body and scull with your hands until you have gained clearance from the reef.
- Photographers must take extra care. Dangling cameras can chip off bits of coral when snorkelers swim across the reef.
Diving Best Practices
- Be certified by an internationally recognized certifying agency.
- Be in good physical & mental condition. Don’t dive when not feeling well. Do not use alcohol or drugs prior to diving.
- Know your limitations as they apply to diving. Be aware of your buddy’s limitations.
- Use well maintained diving equipment. Check your equipment prior to each dive.
- Know your diving location, or dive with someone who does. Don’t dive in poor conditions or potentially dangerous conditions with which you are unfamiliar. Follow dive master instructions.
- Control your buoyancy to make diving as easy as possible and to limit your impact on the marine environment.
- Be prepared to take emergency action if needed. In an emergency, stop and think, get control, then take action. Alert your dive master.
- Never dive alone.
- Always ascend and descend slowly. On ascent, a 2-3 minute safety stop between 10 and 20 feet should be incorporated into all dive plans, and practiced on all dives. Follow dive master instructions.
- Never hold your breath. Breathe continuously and normally while underwater.
- Equalize your ears early and often during ascent and descent.
- Know decompression procedures, tables and emergency procedures. Do not exceed the no-decompression limits of your chosen dive tables. Avoid deep repetitive diving. When conducting repetitive dives, do your deepest dive first. As instructed by your dive master.
- Be conscious of the marine life around you and of your impact on the often fragile marine environment. Do not touch corals.