Let’s go diving!
My friend Bal Harbor Mark shared a cool dive video with me and I’m feeling the need to take a giant stride into the deep blue. I’ve been known to put on a wet suit, mask and fins to hit the community pool in such moments, but decided instead to meander through my travel journal and relive a diving adventure. Let’s go to the Great Blue Hole off the cost of Belize, near the center of Lighthouse Reef ~ a small atoll about 43 miles from the mainland. A once~in~a~lifetime memory treasure from my life enjoyed bucket.
The Great Blue Hole is a perfectly natural, circular underwater sinkhole formed when the roof of a giant cave began collapsing some 153,000 years ago.
The upper parts of the cave were once above sea level, but a rise in sea levels produced a massive cavern. The water inside the hole is much deeper than the surrounding water, producing the characteristic dark-blue sink-hole appearance.
The site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in 1971, declaring it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. Measuring 984 feet across and 410 feet deep, coral formations occur just below the rim of the Blue Hole, but not any farther due to the lack of sunlight. There isn’t much life found within the Blue Hole itself, but the shallow surrounding reefs offer plenty of stuff to see, including one of my favorites ~ the Queen Angel fish.
The dive itself is straight down, and a very deep Zen moment. In my dive log I noted seeing amazing, huge stalactites at 128 feet deep. I had to reach out and very carefully touch one to convince myself it was really rock and not some Disney created set-piece. Nope, it was real stuff! As divers will understand, I was a little narc’d at that depth. I don’t have any pictures from my dive, but found this one on-line to share the view from the deep.
I spent a week on a liveaboard dive boat out of Belize, and the Great Blue Hole was only one day during that week :-). After our deep morning dive, we spent the afternoon enjoying a tropical island beach cook-out. There are a few stories from the week in my journal, including the afternoon’s first aid drill that resulted from one of our fellow divers hand-feeding fish chum to a six-foot nurse shark. She was lucky to get away with stitches and not lose her fingers to the shark. My journal comment says it all, “what a genius!”. I vividly remember that day, and I got a laugh today reading that story from pages written years ago.
Revisiting memorable dive adventures will have to tide me over for now. I love my travel photos and stories, and am looking forward to the next time I hear the divemaster say “pool’s open”, and I can giant stride into the blue!
Doing my BWRAF pre-dive safety check ~~~