Weather is still here so I ended up doing some diving with Frenchie’s in Caye Caulker. We did two dives on the South pass of the reef about 80 feet max. The dive master was entertaining and they seemed like a good operation so I signed on for a trip to the Blue Hole the next day.
Conditions were a bit rough in the open ocean on the motor over to Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole. The boat was covered, had hard fiberglass seats and three 200 HP outboards that can move it at 30 knots (standard Belizean water taxi)
We passed through Turneffe Reef on the Northern end and got a twenty minute reprieve from the pounding. Belize has three of the four Atolls in the western hemisphere. Glovers, Turneffe and Lighthouse. The atolls were formed by coral growing on steep limestone plateaus outside of the barrier reef and enclose a central lagoon. Once you leave the barrier reef the water drops off to a deep blue. The atolls are hard to see until you get very close. We sailed to Glovers last May and enjoyed spectacular diving and snorkeling.
Approaching Lighthouse Reef we could see breaking waves. Once inside the swell calmed down and the captain pushed to full throttle clearing the intricate coral maze by what seemed like inches and headed for the Blue Hole.The Blue Hole is not readily apparent from the surface but once we tied up to the mooring I went on top of the boat and could easily make out the dark blue center framed by shalllow ring of white sand and coral and a aquamarine colored water beyond. Wow! Time to suit up and splash like my man Jacques Cousteau.
Our group entered the water and swam out 20 yards to a sandy ledge. We dropped 50 feet down to the ledge and continued down as fast as we could equalize our ears. Massive limestone caverns start at 100 feet. We leveled off at 130 feet and entered the caverns swimming around huge stalactites. The bottom of the cavern was 165 feet and then drops off to over 450 feet in the center. I went down to around 140 feet before redlining the gauge I borrowed from Cpt. Jim. My crazy dive master came grabbed my fin and did some wacky underwater Belizean goblin laugh and then smacked my hand congratulating me on making it down to the famous site. I almost thought he was narced as he did some Kung Fu fighting moves with his other dive master and pretended to want to drop down in the center. Our 8 minutes at depth ended quickly and we made our way up slowly as reef sharks and fish swam in from the gloomy depths.
Awesome dive. For the naysayers who call the dive overrated I would say try using some mask defog. Surreal. Other worldly. Glad I got the chance to do it.
The next two dives were off of Half Moon Caye. Many Cayes in Belize have looked like Gilligan’s Island to us but this is the prototype. A beautiful 42 acre palm tree covered crescent shape island fringed by white sand beaches with spectacular white sand beaches bands of coral and aquamarine and blue water.