Interview with Our Island Manager: Meet Kobi Du Preez

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Meet the dynamic Kobi Du Preez

Island Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort

With his endless energy, incredible personality and uncanny resemblance to the singer Sting, Kobi Du Preez brings a whole new customer experience to guests at Blackbird. Guests adore him so we decided to get behind-the-scenes and see what he’s all about. We asked him 5 questions and here’s his answers! We hope you enjoy getting to know Kobi as much as we did.

Where and when did you develop your passion for diving?

Kobi: I guess I always knew that I would have a career that involves water. When I was a youngster, around age 5, I used to cut the garden hose and sit in the swimming pool with bricks strapped to me so I wouldn’t float, just so I could be underwater. As life went on I spent all my holidays at the beach under water. It wasn’t till the late 90’s when my travels started. I ended up in Israel and that’s where I started diving. My first diving experience was in Dahab, Egypt and I fell in love with the ocean all over again. I knew that this would turn out to be what I would do for the rest of my life. Plus, I have this hunger inside me to work with people and there is no greater feeling in the world than to see a smile on someone’s face and know that you had a part of that……Helping people overcome their fear of the ocean and sharks is reward enough for me.

What makes Blackbird so unique?

Kobi: I have worked and dived all over the world and traveled very extensively. I have been to many dive resorts but never experienced what I have here at Blackbird Caye. We are a very remote little Island but what we offer is something you don’t really get anywhere else. We have amazing reefs and fantastic diving…..combined with the friendliest, genuine staff that I know of, and when you stay with us you ARE truly part of our family; that’s how we treat every single guest. When it comes time to say goodbye its like seeing a relative leave.

What is your favorite time of day at Blackbird and why?

Kobi: I would say my favorite time of the day is 5:30am when my alarm sounds and I get to wake up to a picturesque sunrise….knowing that we will have the chance to take the guests diving. But also when the day of diving is done and we get to spend time with our guests up in the Palapa bar talking about the days’ activities and seeing them smile from ear to ear…that is a good time for me too. Let’s just say the whole day here at Blackbird is a good day and the saddest time is when I have to go to bed cause then I’m not awake to entertain our guests.

How do you keep it real with the staff?

Kobi: I’m a very hands-on person and believe that if you lead by example your staff will follow. I have worked in many different countries and love to work with people and my motto is to treat everybody the way you want to be treated. Yes, it does get hard at times but there is no reason to hold grudges and if something goes wrong we fix it and forget about it. Life is too short to stay angry. You earn respect of people, you don’t demand it.

What exciting things are coming to Blackbird in the next season?

Kobi: For the new season coming up we will have more personal activities around,  making the time fly by even faster!! Regarding diving we want to mix it up even more and explore more dive sites. But, I don’t want to let out too much other than we are great at the moment, but next season we will be better. You need to come and see for yourself!

To book your next adventure at Blackbird Caye Resort, contact us!

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Blackbird Caye Resort In Belize Has Been Awarded Tripadvisors Certificate Of Excellence For Five Consecutive Years

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Inducted into ‘Hall of Fame’ of Five-time Certificate of Excellence Winners on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Turneffe Atoll, Belize – May 20, 2015 BLACKBIRD CAYE RESORTS today announced that it has been recognized as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honor those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

“Blackbird Caye Resort strives to provide our guests with a unique private island experience, and we are truly thankful to all our past guests who have taken the time to go on TripAdvisor and let others know what an amazing adventure our resort can be. Being awarded the Certificate of Excellence five years in a row simply points out the dedication of our staff and management to making your vacation a dream come true, and now as we are inducted into the Hall of Fame, it is our goal to continue this tradition year after year.” said Michaela Feinstein Owner/General Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort. “It is a great honor to win this award for many reasons, but the greatest is that guest reviews confirmed our commitment to excellence. This new accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and a spotlight focused on our dedicated staff.”

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a remarkable feat. TripAdvisor is pleased to induct five-time award winners into the ‘Hall of Fame’,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on consistently delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. 

About Blackbird Caye Resort

Blackbird Caye Resort is a unique property situated on a 2-mile long private island, amidst the unspoiled natural beauty of the Caribbean waters. Just 25 miles off the coast off Belize City lies the Turneffe Atoll, where Blackbird Caye Resort is nestled in an idyllic tropical island retreat with uncommon personal attention.

Blackbird Caye Resort offers ocean front cabanas overlooking the iridescent turquoise waters and protected by the atoll’s reef. With more than 70 world-class diving and snorkeling sites minutes away, and the dramatic walls of Turneffe just off the resorts beach, the adventure starts the moment you arrive.

Whether you’re looking for a diving adventure, a family retreat, or a group getaway, you’ll find Blackbird Caye Resort the perfect location and the perfect people to make your vacation dreams come true.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 24 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.thefork.com (including www.lafourchette.com, www.eltenedor.com, www.iens.nl and www.besttables.com), www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.com, www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.travelpod.com, www.tripbod.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com, www.viator.com, www.virtualtourist.com, and www.kuxun.cn.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, December 2014

**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2015

For more information on Blackbird Caye Resort please contact:

Sandra Lockhart

Sales Manager for Blackbird Caye Resort

Toll Free: (866) 909-7333

Fax: (877) 269-5073

Email: info@blackbirdresort.com

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Get Certified in Scuba Diving at Blackbird Resort in Belize

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thumb_50022_5Star_DiveResortWebAs a PADI resort, Blackbird Caye Resort offers many courses on-site to introduce guests to diving or to take their skills to the next level. Our divemasters consistently get incredible reviews from our guests with their vast experience & friendly guidance. Here is a sampling of what we offer:

  • Discover Scuba for guests wanting to find out exactly what scuba diving is all about
  • Refresher Scuba for guests that have not been diving in over 2 years
  • Open Water Diver for guests wanting to do the entire certification process at Blackbird Caye Resort
  • Open Water Referral for guests that have done the eLearning with PADI and want to complete their certification at Blackbird Caye Resort
  • Advanced Open Water for guests wanting to get deeper and take their diving into the next level – literally!
  • Nitrox is the PADI Enriched Air Diver Course which allows divers more no decompression time, especially on repetitive scuba dives.

Our divemasters are ready to help guests truly enjoy the pleasures of diving and our setting is simply perfect for it. Blackbird Caye Resort is the closest resort to the famous Blue Hole and we have over 70 named sites minutes from our shore via boat. Most sites are a 10-15 minute boat ride away. Even our most experienced divers rave that Belize diving is unmatched to anywhere else they have been to in the world.

Have questions about our dive shop or the courses we offer? Feel free to call us at 866-909-REEF (7333) or email us today to find out more!  padi2

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Explore Underwater Beauty in Belize at its Finest – Blackbird Caye Resort

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Belize has quickly become a diver’s dream destination boasting rave reviews about its unspoiled reefs, Belize 2015 Underwater - 1und5 - P2100128_leveledcorals and abundant marine life. The Mesoamerican Reef System — often referred to as the “Jewel of the Caribbean” — is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Within can be found Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse of the four atolls found in the Caribbean. Sitting upon Turneffe Atoll, Blackbird Caye Resort is minutes away from over 70 named dive sits in the area. The pristine waters surrounding our island resort are brimming with vivid color just under the water’s surface.

The atoll, consisting of approximately 28,350 acres, is made up of a mix of high and low lands which essentially fringe an expansive lagoon system that can reach a width of 5 miles and a length of 13 miles. Located 25 miles east of Belize City, it is the closest to the mainland and the most accessible of the three atolls in Belize.

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Scuba diving in Belize is definitely a sport many guests delight in, but those guests not certified or ready to explore the sea’s deeper depths, we can assure them that our snorkeling is just as enjoyable!  An underwater world of brilliant beauty is just minutes from our shore. Most sites are within a 10-15 minute boat ride. Three dives per day are available; two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Two snorkel trips are available daily as well; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Guests may purchase packages that include their activities or purchase resort/meals only and buy their activities on-site a la carte.

The warm waters hosts over 500 species of fish and 65 varieties of stony coral. A number of dolphin species inhabit here as well, including spotted, bottle-nosed, and rough-toothed. One of the world’s largest populations of manatees reside in the region, estimated to number anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500. However, manatee sightings are rare.

Since many fish are protected, our guests are able to enjoy a quite diverse number of species. It’s a breathtaking world that will leave you in sheer amazement and wonder. Come explore it today!

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Belize’s Blackbird Caye Resort Named “2015 World’s Best Diving Resorts” by Sport Diver Magazine

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Sport Diver Magazine is the official publication of the PADI diving society. PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and is the most respected and sought-after diving society in the world. John Cronin & Ralph Erickson dreamed up PADI over a bottle of Johnnie Walker (yes, it’s true!) in 1966, bringing their swimming and scuba diving experiences together to form an organization that continues to grow today. dive-182

PADI is a plethora of education, instruction and an important resource for scuba divers across the globe, at any level of diving expertise. From online courses to helping you find a local dive shop or resort to get you certified, you cannot find a better organization to trust for your diving passion.

Many dive resorts and shops are associated with PADI and it’s an honor to be in partnership with them due to their extraordinarily professional image in the diving world.

Blackbird Caye Resort is very proud to have been named one of Sport Diver Magazine’s “2015 World’s Best Diving Resorts” and we love to show off our accolades!

To see our official page at Sport Diver: Please visit it here.

If you would like to learn more about getting certified please click on the banner below:

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Half Moon Caye Wall, Lighthouse Reef, Belize – 2015 Scuba Diving Magazine’s Top 100 Reader’s Choice Award

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Half Moon Caye Wall, Lighthouse Reef, Belize has been named in Scuba Diving.com’s 2015 Top 100 Reader’s Choice Awards. Divers worldwide agree that diving the Half Moon Caye Wall offers an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime dive experience. Spectacular, vivid corals and abundant sea life make this dive destination world-class. Lighthouse Reef is located about 50 miles off the mainland of Belize City and is the most easterly of the three atolls in Belize. Along this 30-mile long and 8-mile wide lagoon is the famous Blue Hole, discovered by Jacques Cousteau, and usually at the top of any diver’s “bucket list”.

SCB_Top_100_Gold_Belize-page-001Blackbird Caye Resort is proudly the closest resort on Turneffe Atoll to the Blue Hole and offers a day trip every Tuesday, weather-permitting. Starting off at 8.00am we take divers to experience the Blue Hole on a 40-minute boat ride. Advanced Open Water-certified divers get to dive its deep depths while others can snorkel its rim. Afterwards guests head to the island of Half Moon Caye where you can dive Long Caye Wall, enjoy a BBQ lunch on land and then head back to Blackbird that afternoon, but not before one last dive takes place at The Aquarium.

Exploring and experiencing these fantastic sites has never been easier! With another 70+ dive sites minutes from our shores via 10-15 minute boat rides, Blackbird Caye Resort is truly an ocean-lover’s dream vacation spot.

Call 866-909-REEF (7333) to book your next scuba diving trip today with us!

 

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Blackbird Caye Resort Hosts Alejandro Ruiz for Upcoming Feature on “Love Nature”

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In January 2015, Blackbird Caye Resort hosted Alejandro Ruiz for an upcoming feature on “Love Nature”, a Canadian channel that broadcasts nature-themed programming on a wide variety of topics from animals to landscapes to outer space. “Love Nature” was established in 2006.

Blackbird Caye Resort was approached late last year and is alejandro-ruizthrilled to be a part of this program. Blackbird Caye Resort will be featured in a one-hour episode highlighting the best dives spots in Belize later in 2015 (exact dates will be announced!!).

Alejandro spent several days at Blackbird Caye Resort filming underwater and gathering footage for this exciting show that emphasizes an appreciation of nature and all its beauty. Alejandro also spent time with our dive-masters, staff and captured incredible details that we cannot wait to see in in 4K – a new video resolution that is 4 times higher than HD.

“Love Nature” is owned by Blue Ant Media, a Canadian-based media company that was founded in 2011.

Stay tuned for more details to come!

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Turneffe Atoll: The Jewel of the Mesoamerican Reef System

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Blackbird Caye Resort proudly sits on Turneffe Atoll, the second largest reef system in the world. Being the most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere, divers and snorkelers here experience lush and vibrant underwater scenery that is breathtaking and stunning. 30 miles wide, 10 miles long and 25 miles from the Belize mainland, Turneffe offers deep oceans with an abundant marine life. The atoll is comprised of a chain of islands (cayes) just southeast of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.

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There is an elaborate network of salt water flats, creeks and lagoons making up this oceanscape where many species of fish, lobster and other fish find habitat in mangroves and seagrass. Many endangered or vulnerable species also live here, including the American crocodile and the Antillean manatee.

On November 22, 2012 Turneffe Atoll became the largest official Marine Reserve in Belize. This very important move to protect the area was made possible by the Bertarelli Foundation, the Geneva-based family foundation of Dona, Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli.

Minutes from over 70 named sites, the Blackbird dive-masters are able to give our guests a wide choice of dive and snorkel experiences to enjoy on our 3 daily dive and 2 daily snorkel trips.

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EPIC EXCURSIONS: The Great Blue Hole, what can you expect?

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In 1971 Jacques Cousteau, a famous undersea explorer, dubbed the Blue Hole as one of the world’s top ten scuba diving sites — this was for a reason, because it offers some of the most spectacular underwater wildlife and fauna on this planet. Check out these quotes from Trip advisor:

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One of the world’s top dive sites

“I think this might be the best trip my husband and I have been on. No exaggeration.
I don’t even know where to start… It was remote, quiet, and away from the hustle and bustle of normal day-to-day life. The perfect opportunity to kick back and relax, but offering enough activities that we were never bored. Diving was the best I’ve had (in my limited experience – I am not an advanced diver) and Cardinal was a terrific dive-master. He was really chill and he tried so hard to give us the best experience possible. We saw EVERYTHING – sharks, turtles, octopus, eels, barracudas, lobsters, stingrays, eagle rays, groupers – you name it, we saw it.” — Islandgirl678

“We elected to dive the Blue Hole and although the down side of a deep dive is that it is typically short, it was well worth the experience. We were there with much more well travelled divers than I was and they all agreed that it was some of the best diving that they had experienced, other than more exotic locations on the other side of the globe. The staff was super. Our dive master paid extremely close attention to each of us and was great about showing us things in the reef. It was clear he knew the reef as if it were his back yard.” — Shanstorm

Check out Tripadvisor for some more Blackbird guest reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g291966-d304412-Reviews-Blackbird_Caye_Resort-Turneffe_Island_Belize_Cayes.html

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EPIC EXCURSIONS: Lighthouse Reef

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Lighthouse Reef  — a small atoll 70km from mainland — hosts many dive sites but perhaps the most awe-inspiring in the famous Blue Hole: a collapsed cave risen from the ocean’s floor, leaving a deep geological mystery bursting with aquatic wildlife.

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A geological mystery

Other sites include Silver Caves. Long Caye Wall, Coral Gardens and the aptly named Oasis —where huge black coral sponges grow from vertical cliffs.

The trip begins in early morning (Tuesday) after a hearty breakfast. First Blackbird will transport guests out to Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere.  After diving/snorkelling the wonders of Turneffe, guests are whisked off to Light House Reef Atoll.

The Blue Hole — one of the top ten dive sites in the world — lies near the center of the Lighthouse Reef. The hole is circular in shape, over 984 ft (300 meters) across and 407 feet (124 meters) deep and has been declared one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world!

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Caribbean reef shark

Scuba divers are lured by the opportunity to dive in the crystal-clear water meet several species of fish, including Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean reef shark, and other juvenile fish species.

Other species of sharks, such as the bull shark and hammerheads, have been reported there, but are not regularly sighted.

Check out the Blackbird website for more information: http://blackbirdresort.com/

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