Diving the Blue Hole
Scuba diving the Blue Hole in Belize allows divers to experience this natural phenomenon. A large blue underwater sinkhole in the earth's surface, the Blue Hole offers an incredible amount of variety.
Diving the Blue Hole in Belize is considered one of the top ten dive destinations in the world with its crystal clear, warm waters and diverse marine fauna. At the center of Lighthouse Reef system, about 60 miles off of the mainland Belize City, lies one of the most fascinating scuba diving experiences on earth. At a quarter mile across (.4km) and 480 feet (145 m) deep, guests from around the world arrive each year to go scuba diving in the Great Blue Hole of Belize. Dive trips to the Blue Hole are offered year-round with liveaboard trips often the preferred method of diving here, as reaching the outer atolls and the Blue Hole on a daily basis is a long and sometimes uncomfortable journey.
MARINE LIFE IN THE BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE
Whilst the attraction for divers here is the chance to explore a submarine sinkhole there is also a good deal of marine life around the Blue hole. The Blue Hole forms a portion of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. In this famous reef it's common for divers to see Caribbean reef shark, groupers, butterfly angel fish and midnight parrotfish. Shrimp cleaning stations are quite amusing and nearly everywhere you will look.
BEST DIVE SITES IN THE BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE
You will begin scuba diving the Blue Hole by passing a coral-covered shelf that quickly grades to a sandy incline that leads to the famous Hole itself. Diving in the Blue Hole in Belize can feel like heading in to bottomless pit or traveling to the center of the Earth. The sheer walls of the limestone sinkhole offer little familiarity as the diver descends. In the solitude, divers may awe in that this was once a cave on land many millennia ago, where ancient human ancestors may have sought shelter. Around 110 feet, the dive site begins to change, with divers encounter 25 to 50 foot stalactite formations underneath monstrous overhangs. Scuba diving in the Blue Hole offers an experience unlike any other as the water stands motionless and visibility approaches 200 feet at a very noticeable thermocline. In these deep waters of the Blue Hole, sharks are often seen lurking - hammerheads, black-tips, Caribbean reef sharks are more. At around 130 feet (40 meters) your dive guide will suggest you level off and caverns will appear in front of you.
Scuba diving back to the shallow rim of the Blue Hole to off-gas, divers will discover a beautiful dive site teeming with life. The diameter of the circular reef reaches nearly 1,000 feet across and sections of coral can actually break the surface of the water on low tide. Because of the depths needed at this dive site, bottom time is typically shorter for most divers.
BEST TIME TO DIVE THE BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE
Scuba diving in Belize is fairly predictable. The Blue Hole temperature maintains a steady 76 degrees at 130 ft depth and hardly every varies. Shortie wetsuits are common among divers or 3mm full wetsuit for those a bit more susceptible to cold. April to June is regarded at the best season for scuba diving in Belize. June to November is generally considered the rainy season, although more than a few days of consecutive rain would be quite rare. The rains do not affect visibility of offshore dive sites, although the surface conditions can be less than favorable.
EXPERIENCE LEVEL FOR DIVING THE BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE
The water depth at the Blue Hole exceeds the limits of an Open Water Certification, so it is generally recommended that divers take the Advanced Diver course before scuba diving in Belize. A technical diving certification would be required to descend the entire water column to the silty bottom of the Blue Hole, but these trips are extremely limited - mostly to researchers. Advanced experience with buoyancy is best because divers are required to level off at certain depths for safety. Beginners can still enjoy the dive sites along the barrier reef.
HOW DO I GET TO THE BLUE HOLE OF BELIZE
The Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport is Belize's primary international port of entry with flights arriving from around the world. Immigration and customs are relatively straight forward and common. International flights may make a stop in the United States where direct service on American Airlines, Continental Airlines and some service on Delta Airlines is available. Many guests then will need to transfer to the Belize City Municipal Airport via domestic flight on Maya Island Air or Tropic Air. Divers can then catch a quick 20 minute domestic flight leaving Belize City nearly every hour to Ambergris Caye. Guests on a Belize liveaboard holiday can usually expect to be met at Belize City by the liveaboard crew with prearranged transportation thereafter.