The Big Blue Hole
The Big Blue Hole – a large sinkhole in the Belize Barrier Reef in the Atlantic Ocean, located off the coast of a small Central American nation. Diving into it is a serious ordeal for which only experienced divers are allowed. The somber beauty of deep sea limestone caves, overgrown with stalactites, deadly sinkholes formed by the tides, packs of nurse sharks that take a fancy to the surroundings of the Big Blue Hole, make the descent into it a truly exciting adventure for true extreme divers.
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Video: The Big Blue Hole
The geological history of the Great Blue Hole
The Belize Barrier Reef occupies nearly a third of the 900-kilometer-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world after Australia’s. There are three atolls concentrated in its deeper eastern part. In the center of one of them, Lighthouse Reef, lies the Great Blue Hole – its dark blue spot contrasts spectacularly with the azure waters around it.
During the last ice age, the sea level was lower, and the bottom and walls of today’s sinkhole were part of a system of terrestrial limestone caves. After the ice melted, this part of the atoll went underwater, the fragile limestone washed away, and it collapsed, forming a sinkhole 124-125 m deep. For the coast of Belize, this geological phenomenon is typical, but the Big Blue Hole is unique in its size. According to scientists, the process of erosion of the walls and the bottom continues, and the depth of the crater will gradually increase.
Discovery and research of the Big Blue Hole
Popularized the giant sinkhole Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who conducted his research here in 1972. The famous Frenchman confirmed its diameter – 318 meters, and for the first time was able to name the depth of the Big Blue Hole, taking measurements from his ship “Calypso”. In Cousteau’s personal ranking, the sinkhole with underwater caves was among the ten most attractive places to dive in the world. On the bottom, which the explorers reached in single-seater submarines, sloping stalactites were found, indicating the direction of plate shifting. Cousteau and his associates determined that there were at least 4 stages in the destruction of the caves – evident in the protrusions at depths of 21, 49 and 91 meters.
The depression explored by Cousteau’s team in 1988, Ned Middleton gave it a resounding name in his book “Ten Years Under the Sea”. He also later wrote a guide for divers in Belize, focusing on the Great Blue Hole as the main natural attraction of the Barrier Reef.
Athletes from all over the world come to Belize for diving – it is the main tourist destination of this small country. Each year more than 130 thousand people dive, but not all of them are ready to experience the hardships of the descent into the Big Blue Hole. In the track record of the diver must be at least 24 dives in order for a local travel agency will take him to organize a trip. On their own can not undertake a trip – divers must be accompanied by experienced guides, who correlate the time on the road with the tides, when the whirlpools are formed, capable of swallowing not only a person, but also a small vessel. At low tide it is no less dangerous: the blue hole fountains, spitting out previously captured debris.
The Underwater World of the Great Blue Hole
Experts warn that fans of transparent water with schools of colorful fish snarling here and there should choose other sections of Lighthouse Reef for diving. The main inhabitants of the Big Blue Hole – the giant groupers, reaching a length of 2.7 m, nurse sharks and reef sharks, theoretically capable of harming people, but without provocation on him, with some luck you can meet and hammerhead fish. As you dive, the sea creatures disappear, and at a depth of about 45 m begin dark caves with dull stalactites.
The water temperature off the coast of Belize is comfortable all year round: in summer it is about +26 ° C, in winter – a couple of degrees lower. In the Big Blue Hole, of course, other figures – according to the depth, they require the diver to wear the appropriate equipment and sports clothes. The cost of diving depends on the composition of the group and hired vehicles. On average, it costs $250. Those who are not experienced in diving can admire the hole from the air, hiring a light aircraft for about $ 600 per person. The whole tour will take no more than an hour.
Where to stay
Ambergris Caye is an island with beaches and a mangrove swamp in the center. In his hotel stay mostly divers, so it’s created everything for their convenience: at every step there are travel agencies specializing in trips to the reefs, and stores with specialized equipment. There are no special attractions on the island, only excellent beaches, upscale hotels and restaurants. Popular with tourists is Ocean Tide Beach Resort with views of the reefs, which costs about 6 thousand rubles per night, a more democratic hotel Corona del Mar costs 1,000 rubles cheaper. Renting a villa costs at least 30,000 rubles a day. Cheap hostels cost from 2000 rubles per night are located closer to the center of San Pedro, outside the island of Ambergris Caye.
How to get there
Foreign tourists usually arrive in the country through Belize City Airport, which receives regular flights from Canada, the United States and neighboring Central American countries. From there, guests take a ferry to the city of San Pedro, which lies an hour and a half to the north. The ferry costs about $40. From here, from Ambergris Caye, divers are taken to the Big Blue Hole by motorboats or boats. San Pedro has its own airport, but it receives mostly local flights and charters from North and South America and Western Europe.
Blue Holes Belize.
We can assume that the concept of “blue hole” came from the analogy with black holes in the universe.
Today, a couple of dozens of such places have been discovered. The most popular are: in Egypt, the Blue Hole near Dahab, the Great Blue Hole in the center of Lighthouse Reef Atoll (Belize), as well as the Great Blue Hole Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Blue holes are scattered all over the oceans, seas and lakes. They are in Central America, the Bahamas, the Mediterranean Sea, etc.
In the Bahamas, just west of Clarence Town on Long Island in the bay, is the deepest Blue Hole. Its depth is 663 feet, that is 202 meters! For comparison, the Sinai Peninsula Blue Hole in Egypt reaches a size of 420 feet, and the Great Blue Hole Ambergris Caye, near Belize is 410 feet deep.
Here are the top 5 most famous blue holes:
1. tamaulipas, Zacatón Mexico – 335 meters (1,100 feet).
2. Dina, Blue Hole, Bahamas Long Island – 202 meters (663 feet).
3. Dahab, Blue Hole, Egypt-130 meters (420 feet).
4. Belize – 123 meters (410 feet).
5. Gozo, Blue Hole-60 meters (200 feet).
Bahamas, Dean’s Blue Hole. Deana.
This blue hole is 25 to 35 meters (82 to 110 feet) in diameter. The hole is 20 meters (66 feet) deep and transitions to a 100-meter (330-foot) diameter cave.
The most legendary and tragic Blue Hole (Blue Hole) connects to the Red Sea by an arch. Dahab.
The Blue Hole is located nearby, 15 kilometers across the desert along the Sinai coast north of Dahab. It is famous because of the large number of tragedies that have occurred here. Many divers with little experience have died in it.
This is a large lagoon, nicknamed the “graveyard of divers,” surrounded on all sides by coral reefs. The depth of the hole is about 100 meters. The cave with the Red Sea is connected by a small strait (saddle) the depth of about 55 meters. It also has a legendary arch Blue Hole – a stunning creation of Mother Nature, and at the same time zavorazhivayuschee-scary tunnel. If you sail away a bit and look back, the Arch looks like a majestic gothic vault going upward.
In fact, you can swim through the arch even with the simplest equipment, despite this, it has a reputation as an extremely dangerous place for diving, and next to the arch there is even a memorial with plaques of dead divers. However, since recently, in order not to scare away tourists, the Egyptian government has banned the placement of new ones.
Despite the tragedies, hundreds of divers try their luck here, trying to overcome the arch in freediving mode (that is, holding their breath). Today, few have succeeded. Among those who have been able to do so are professional divers Bifin from South Africa, Herbert Nitsch from Austria, Natalia (the only woman) and Alexey Molchanovs – Russians.
There is a legend about this blue hole. The Emir’s daughter refused no one and went to bed with many. And after the pleasures of love, so that her father did not find out about her bed mischief, she drowned her lovers in this place. When the Emir found out about it, he ordered to execute his daughter, sending her after the lovers. In the end, the emir’s daughter swore to take as many men to the afterlife as she needed.
That’s why divers disappear without a trace these days.
Although there is another assumption, authored by lovers of abnormal phenomena. Referring to diver stories that can be considered hallucinations. Divers assert that at the bottom live some hostile creatures similar to mermaids, and they take people to them.
The Zacatón Cenote Blue Hole is located in the northeastern part of the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico.
It is a natural well created by the erosion of rocks, representing deep gaps and filled with water, often associated with a system of underwater caves.
Zacatón Cenote is the deepest of these reservoirs.
The Big Blue Hole of Belize
Now I want to tell you about another geological wonder of the planet. This is the Great Blue Hole, it is located in the barrier reef of Belize (coral reef of Lighthouse Atoll).
“The Blue Hole” is the main attraction of scenic Belize, a state on the Yucatan Peninsula in Central America.
It gained its fame thanks to Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
All these holes near Belize raise a lot of questions among scientists, but, unfortunately, due to the limitation of technical capabilities, or rather impossibilities, scientists are not able to answer them yet. The questions become unanswered riddles.
Just like the blue holes in the oceans create just a lot of questions and do not give answers.
There is a resort in the Caribbean Sea, Belize, famous for its landmark, there is a large underwater blue hole near it. Legend has it that it has no bottom, and unseen and terrible monsters live there.
The diameter of this depression (hole) is three hundred meters, and its depth is 150 meters.
A group of oceanographers decided to explore it and go down to the bottom, but when coming down to the mark of 70 meters scientists were surprised. They found an arch! The archway led to an underwater labyrinth of a series of channels, tunnels and a complex of caves.
More and more interesting. After examining the nearby canals and caves, the scientists found one that was of particular interest. She was given the name “Underwater Cathedral”. The fact is that the domed vault of the underwater cave is supported by columns and they are located in such a way that the vault is able to withstand a multimeter thickness of water on its dome and not collapse. Skeptics believe that the columns are the usual stalactites. They even offer a version of their appearance. Allegedly, before the cave was dry land, and later in the post-glacial period the sea rose and flooded the cave complex.
“Underwater cathedral” is interesting, because the columns supporting the arch are located very precisely from an engineering point of view (despite the opinion of skeptics). And they do not look like a natural formation. Looking at them one gets the impression that someone specially calculated their number and put them in the right places, pre-calculating the load on the dome itself!
Also the Belize underwater blue hole is curious because scientists suggest that life in these isolated underwater catacombs for many millions of years could have developed in a very different way. And the inhabitants that inhabit these places may remain unknown to science even today.
Bacteria sampled in the blue hole surprised and confirmed scientists’ assumptions. Their DNA is not repeated in any living creature on the planet!
Underwater cave complex, which is of such scientific interest, scientists are going to engage in a more thorough survey this year.
And finally, a hole of indescribable beauty in the U.S.! In a beautiful lake with unique properties.
The hot little lake is 200 meters deep. Steam rises from it, and it constantly changes color from pale turquoise to deep purple, and then suddenly becomes green. Such a fabulous coloring of the lake water gives bacteria living in it, for which such temperature conditions are favorable.
The name Convolutus – Morning Glory Flower – was given to the lake by Elizabeth McGowan, wife of the assistant manager of the National Park.