Tag Archives: The Great Blue Hole

Is Diving the Blue Hole in Belize Safe?

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Safe to Dive the Blue Hole?

According to the U.S. Gov. Travel Advisory to Belize the simple answer is not really:

U.S. Gov. Travel Advisory to Belize:
Rental diving equipment may not always be properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize’s more challenging sites.

Deaths and serious injuries have occurred as a result of the negligence of dive tour operators, the lack of strict enforcement of tour regulations, water taxis diverging from routes when tourists are in the water, and tourists’ neglect of their physical limitations.

The Embassy strongly recommends that anyone interested in scuba diving or snorkeling while in Belize check the references, licenses, and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to or paying for a tour.

The Embassy further recommends that U.S. citizens be forthcoming in reporting pre-existing medical conditions to their dive tour operators, and comply when a dive tour operator prohibits participation in such activities due to a U.S. citizen’s health condition.

Safety precautions and emergency response capabilities may not be up to U.S. standards.

The reality is that as a “Certified” open water diver you are responsible for yourself. Too many divers come down on holidays and because the Dive Master is guiding the dive assume that the dive master is responsible for their well-being. When is the last time you checked (smelled) your air the way your were trained to in your open water certification course? What about the pre-dive safety check B.W.R.A.F. (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air and Final). Do you dive with your buddy? What about continued education, do you strive to be a better diver? Have you taken a Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty or moved on to become and Advanced Open Water Diver? Do you dive within your limits? Did you take a refresher if it’s been a while?

The Blue Hole is a bucket list dive for many tourists coming to Belize. Unfortunately as there is no regulatory body for Scuba Diving in Belize the standards are much too slack. In my opinion the standards should include a minimum number of dives and a minimum number of dives deeper than 90 feet. They should also be keeping the Maximum depth of the Blue Hole to 140 feet. When I dove the blue hole my max depth was 137 feet and I was plenty deep enough to see the stalactites. It is well-known that the Blue Hole dive breaks the recreational diving limits. I personally don’t see the seven extra feet I dove as an extreme breach compared to the 20-30 feet some unexperienced divers are doing.

The following are my suggestions for a safe(r) Blue Hole Dive.

  • do get some warm up dives in prior to the blue hole or/and take a refresher
  • don’t dive the day before
  • choose a reputable operator
  • check your equipment
  • dive with a buddy (I usually tell couples to hold hands)
  • be the last down to depth, the first to start on the way up, and the last to leave the safety stop
  • watch your air consumption and neutral buoyancy
  • ascend slowly
  • do not dive if you have any medical history that has not been cleared by a doctor (preferably a Dr. that knows something about diving!)
  • if any of these suggestions don’t make sense to you learn more about diving before diving the blue hole!

Definitely Belize does have some issues with diving safety, not all dive shops are created equal and more importantly too many tourists are all too willing to relinquish their own responsiblity for their diving. Plan your dive, dive your plan!

Safe Diving!

Cheers,

Carlos

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The Great Blue Hole, Belize

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Isabelle and I decided it was time for a day off, and we wanted to experience what are clients do when we send them to the Blue Hole, right here in our backyard, Belize.  The Blue Hole is a sink hole in light house reef atoll 35 miles from Ambergris Caye. It is perfectly round with a diameter of 984 feet and a depth of 407 feet.
Belize Scuba Diving, The Blue Hole

Come and Dive into the Blue Hole in Belize

So off we went early in the morning to meet up with our ride to Light House Reed Atoll.

Amigos Del Mar's Dive boat for the Blue Hole, Belize!

It was a perfect day for the trip as the seas were calm which meant a very smooth ride! The guides were awesome and took great care of us. A shout out to Gio, Mike, George, Edgar and the rest of the crew. The Blue Hole itself gets mixed reviews from divers as it is a “bounce” dive.  A maximum depth of 130 ft with a bottom time of eight minutes means that you spend most of your time descending and ascending. Regardless I really enjoyed the dive. It was cool to see stalactites while diving. On the way down we also saw Midnight Parrot fish and I think the largest Spotted Drums I’ve ever seen.

Caribbean Reef Shark in the Blue Hole, Belize

Carlos and Isabelle at the Blue Hole with Amigos Del Mar

The second dive was my favorite, we were just off Half Moon Caye on the East side on Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The corals were really vibrant but there were a lot of fish as well. Barracudas, Nassau Groupers, French Angel Fish, Snappers, Grunts, Wrasse, Hog Fish and More. I now understand why Nassau Grouper are endangered, they are so curious I almost bumped into a couple!

Curious Nassau Grouper

Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber at Half Moon Caye.

Isabelle horsing around

This Loggerhead Turtle showed up right at the end of our Dive!

Half Moon Caye is where lunch is served. It was so good I went back for seconds when I was already full! The Island is a UNESCO world heritage site and hosts the red footed booby bird. Half Moon Caye is also a nesting site for turtles!

Half Moon Caye, Light House Reef Atoll, Belize

Booby Bird Sanctuary on Half Moon Caye

Red Footed Booby Birds

The Gumbo Limbo Tree, aka The Tourist Tree because it has red skin and it peels!

The last dive is “The Aquarium” (also the name of our restaurant at Tranquility Bay Resort! 🙂 ) This is a great wall dive with a lot of marine life! As you finish the dive you end up in about 10 feet of water on the edge of the Atoll. The corals are spectacular! The Blue Hole trip can also be done as a snorkeler if you are not a diver, either way it is a great trip. In fact before Isabelle and I moved to Belize we did the Blue Hole Trip as snorkelers. Amigos Del Mar is a first class dive operation and we are happy to send our guests to them knowing that they will be well taken care of! Amigos has recently raised their price but I think this trip is definitely worth it and an overall great experience. We also saw dolphins on our way out to the Blue Hole.

Tube Coral at The Aquarium

This is a Decorator Crab, they use debris to camoflage themselves. It looked like something from The Hobbit!

Brain Coral at The Aquarium with Feather Duster and Christmas Tree Worms

We had a smooth ride home!