Scuba Diving in The Great Blue Hole

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in South America
Thursday, 18 December 2008 22:53

If you are an avid scuba diver who is looking for something interesting, then the Great Blue Hole is just the thing for you.  This spot, however, is only advised for advanced divers only who have some sort of training or understanding of very deep diving; you will be going down almost one hundred and twenty six meters.  This is what works to make the dive site at the Great Blue Hole unique and it really is something that you will want to see while you are in Belize.


The Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole


Where is the Great Blue Hole?

The Great Blue Hole lies near the centre of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll approximately 45 miles from the mainland off the coast of Belize. The hole is circular in shape, over 1,000 feet across and 400 feet deep.


What is the Great Blue Hole?

The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole that was actually formed during the ice age of fifteen thousand years ago.  During this period the sea water began to freeze into glaciers and it lowered the surrounding water level by close to four hundred feet.  When this happened, the limestone on the sea floor was exposed to the elements, and as fresh water came in contact with the limestone deposits over hundreds of years it caused the formation of large cavern systems inside the rock.  With the passage of time, the weight of the “roof” that was formed was too much to bear on its own and this was due to the many voids in the limestone, and it collapsed in on itself, creating the sinkhole we know today.

When you come up on the Great Blue Hole you will know immediately that you are looking at something spectacular as the large round void is highly visible in the lightly colored turquoise waters surrounding it.  The diameter of the void is approximately three hundred and twenty metres while the depth plunges to approximately one hundred and twenty six metres, with the entire edge of the dive site surrounded by beautiful coral formations.  
Upon making your descent into the Blue Hole you will want to start on either the southern or northern sides of the opening.  Here, some of the shallower cave formations can be found and you can get started on your dive exploration quicker.  While you are making your way down the hole, you will want to make sure that you stay close to the sides of the wall so that you do not get disorientated.  This is important because getting turned around and confused during such a steep dive can lead to disaster if you are not careful.  

You might also want to take note that as you descend into the cavern system approximately thirty meters below the surface there are interesting stalactite formations that remain from the time when this limestone was being changed by the fresh water.  There is also evidence of marine life such as sponges, worms, gorgonians, and algae at this level as well.  Sometimes turtles and sharks have been seen in the area, but this is not a common occurrence.  A lot of the time the caves at this level are muddy and unclear because of the sediment on the floor.


Best Time of the Year to Dive The Great Blue Hole

The air temperature in Belize is almost always warm, with a water temperature low of just 24°C.  Because of the warm weather available all year long, you can dive at any time at the Great Blue Hole without necessarily having to deal with a cold period.  There is a rainy season in Belize and although it does not necessarily affect anything that can go on with a scuba dive, it can cause problems with anything else you may want to accomplish while in the country.  The rainy season usually lasts from June to August with the months of February to May generally considered to be the driest.


Types of Marine Life in the Great Blue Hole

While diving at the Great Blue Hole can be an experience that you will never want to forget, you will not see that much marine life while going on this deep sea dive.  In fact, the largest amount of marine life occurs on the outer rim of the hole because this is an area that is surrounded by coral reefs, and as such it is home to a large variety of marine life native to that type of environment.  In the hole itself you might see the occasional turtle or shark, but on the whole you see green algae, sponges, gorgonian fans and encrusting worms.


Great Blue Hole Diving Fact Sheet

Average Air Temperature:        26°C – 30°C

Average Water Temperature:    24°C – 28°C

Recommended Exposure Protection:  Wear a 7mm suit.

Average Visibility:  Anywhere from 15 to 30 meters.

Coldest Times:    November to February

Hottest Times:    March to October

Best Times to Dive:  The climate in Belize where the Great Blue Hole is located is warm all year round, with a low water temperature of 24°C (75°F).  This makes it possible to dive at the Great Blue Hole any time of the year as long as the currents are cooperating.

Worst Times to Dive:  Try to avoid going during the rainy season from June to August as this can be a burden.  If you want to avoid the rainy season altogether then you will want to go from February to May when it is usually the driest.


Great Blue Hole Diving Video




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