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Diving Belize`s "Great Blue Hole"

Diving Belize`s "Great Blue Hole"

The Great Blue Hole is a dive for Certified Divers who are comfortable in the water. You don't have to be Advanced; just a competent comfortable Certified diver. We do insist on recent diving experience before heading offshore. The Great Blue Hole is a deep dive to 130 feet. We don't go that deep for nothing. At around 110-115 feet we find huge stalactites, some of them 30-40' long and 5-10' in diameter. It is an incredible experience discovering these geological behemoths, and many of our guests have come away awestruck. Words will simply not do here, this is a dive that must be taken to understand. Here at the Blue Hole Dive Center we've worked out that the Blue Hole has the same volume as 3 New Orleans Superdomes!! We worked this out while drinking beer, so we could be out half a stadium or so.

This once-in-a-lifetime dive is located in the center of Lighthouse Reef Atoll. It's 1000ft. across and about 415ft. deep. For millions of years The Blue Hole was a dry cave and during this period huge stalactites and stalagmites slowly formed. When the last ice age ended, sea levels rose about 350ft., flooding the cave. At the same time the ceiling collapsed leaving the hole you see today.

When diving the Blue Hole we swim under what is left of the old ceiling to view the remaining stalactites and stalagmites. It's an amazing journey back into geologic history, quite different from any other dive you'll ever do!

The Great Blue Hole is also truly one of the world's best shark dives! A dive millions of years back into time. Expect Black Tips, Bulls, Lemons and the occasional Hammerhead or Tiger shark. You'll get to see dozens of these amazing creatures up close and personal.

There is less diving pressure on Lighthouse Reef because they're not so close to Ambergris Caye. The coral and sponges are in an almost virgin state. We have had many divers tell us that the diving at these two atolls surpassed anything they've seen in the Caribbean!

Sometimes the waters off Ambergris Caye can be too rough to dive safely. When the wind is blowing more than 15 knots from the east, most dive shops cancel their outside-the-reef dives, leaving only one or two shallow dives possible inside the reef. Lighthouse Reef has dozens of sheltered brilliant dive sites, and the water is calm. I'll say that again. Lighthouse Reef gives you access to sheltered calm water. Don't let your vacation get "blown away". Dive the atolls.

We'll also go ashore for lunch at Half Moon Caye at the southern end of Lighthouse Reef. Half Moon is home to 4000 red footed Booby birds, and hundreds of Frigate birds. The island and the surrounding waters are completely protected by law. It's a National Monument and a World Heritage Site. You can't take anything from the island, except trash, and even then check to see if that soft drink can has become home to some small creature before bagging it.

There's an observation platform in the middle of the bird sanctuary, and in the spring you'll see the fluffy Booby Bird chicks that seem larger than their parents! Bird enthusiasts will enjoy dozens of other species that inhabit the sanctuary. Bring your binoculars!

Besides birds, Half Moon Caye is home to huge hermit crabs that scuttle around the underbrush. Don't worry, they're quite timid and keep to themselves. For a demonstration of animal camouflage, try to spot the iguanas lying stock still in the branches of the ziricote trees. Some reach five feet in length, but they are quite harmless. 

Half Moon Caye has two distinct areas. The western side consists of dense ziricote and gumbo forest. This is the main animal/bird sanctuary and covers 30 acres. The other 16 acres has wide open sandy beaches scattered with palm trees. Half Moon Caye is the perfect stopover for honeymooners - it's hard to believe there could be a more romantic place on earth!

Dive trips to the Blue Hole depart 4 or 5 times a week depending on weather and demand. Lighthouse Reef is located about 50 miles offshore so we depart at 6 AM and return about 5 PM. A picnic lunch is provided on Half Moon Caye. The trip is also excellent for snorkelers since the dives sites are located close to shallow reef formations.

Blue Hole Dive Center is located in San Pedro Belize, on the island of Ambergris Caye. In business for over ten years, Blue Hole Dive center offers diving and snorkeling trips, scuba instruction, excursions to the ruins and rainforests and caves of Belize. We also have dive & hotel packages available from budget to luxury. 

For more information about diving in Belize please visit our web site at www.bluedive.com

Presented by Blue Hole Dive Center, Ambergris Caye, Belize. 

Written by Kent Gardner

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