Scuba divers explore the depths of the mysterious Great Blue Hole in Belize
The Great Blue Hole in Belize is one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world. Recognized as a top underwater tourist destination, its allure brings people from all over the world who are anxious to see what lies more than 40m (120 feet) feet beneath the waves in a marine sink hole that is 318m (1043 feet) across. Discovery channel places this location as number one on its list of the top ten amazing places on earth.
Jacques Cousteau made the site famous when he brought his ship, the Calypso here in 1971 to chart the depths and explore the caverns that were formed part way to the bottom. The formation of the circular hole is, in itself a fascinating story. Limestone caverns that were once above sea level became flooded when the oceans rose up in various stages of earth's history. Initially, the depth of the Great Blue Hole was measured at 125m (410 feet). It has been slowly filling with sediment that has brought the floor up one metre (3 feet) higher.
Although life is sparse within the Great Blue Hole, the beauty is undeniable. Limestone stalactites hang from the ledges at 40m, creating interesting underwater structures. Clues to our geological history are revealed in the uniform slant of the stalactites, indicating a shift in the great plates beneath.
Scuba divers are not the only ones who venture into the depths of the Great Blue Hole. Two submarines were sent to the bottom in December 2018 to map its interior. It's no wonder that people are so fascinated by the Great Blue Hole. The ocean holds more mystery than we can imagine and sites like this one beg to be explored and discovered.
Life at the edge of the hole is abundant and colorful. Sharks, parrot fish, turtles, and creatures of all description thrive where there is light and coral. Divers are often greeted by amazing animals when they enter the water and again when they return to the shallows near the surface.
When divers talk among themselves and compare experiences from around the world, the question often comes up about whether the other has been to the Great Blue Hole. It will likely remain one of the most appealing and desirable dive experiences for seasoned scuba enthusiasts.