The Great Blue Hole

Half Moon CayePickup is at 6:30 and we manage to be there on time, getting some nice pictures of the sun rising. The boat ride to the Blue Hole is over two hours and the seas are really rough on the way there. The boat isn’t that large either, so most of the passengers are just focusing on surviving the 2.5 m waves. The captain is really competent and since I don’t seem to have any propensity for motion sickness I’m greatly enjoying it. The other passengers are mostly loud Americans, they are really friendly though and we chat a lot on the way.

After about 45 minutes we get inside a stretch of small islands and the seas calm down enough for us to use the bathroom safely. 20 minutes later it is time again for more of the same, this time we get to see some dolphins chasing the boat and jumping high in the air, awesome!Exiting a cave At last we arrive at the hole and the captain gives us a briefing about the hole and how it was discovered by Jacques Cousteau back in the seventies. We’re going to do a deep dive here, all the way down to 40 meters, so we have follow the dive masters closely and be vigilant for nitrogen narcosis. Our dive master Cynthia gives us a run through of the signs we’ll be using and tells us about what to expect down there. The main attraction are the huge stalactites that comes down from the overhang at around 40 m, that’s why we go so deep. The deep dive means that we do no stay down very long, only about 20-25 minutes.

We jump in and check that our weights are okay before descending. The fishes here are huge and you can see the giant rim of the hole just 5 meters down or so. Carefully monitoring our descent rate we go over the edge and down into the hole. Visibility isn’t all that great, but every once in a while we see a shark coming out of the blueness a few meters off. They’re never very close though so there’s no reason for concern. We level out at 40 meters and make our way under the overhang and swim between the almost meter-wide stalactites. The air is really heavy to breathe now since it’s five times thicker than up on land, I also recognize that I’m a bit dull-headed from the nitrogen narcosis so I double-check every reading of the air gauge and dive computer.Triggerfish Before you know it we’re on our way up, again being careful and letting air out so that we don’t ascend too fast. We see a couple of more sharks and as we come back up to the rim the captain has lowered an extra tank of air just in case and a rope to hold on to while we make our decompression stop.

This time it’s a beautiful coral wall that drops off deep and we see turtle, more sharks and a few Barracudas. This dive is much better and since it’s rather shallow we get a nice 45 minutes. Toward the end some people are running low on air and go up with one of the dive masters while the rest of us go with the other dive master through a cool almost-cave and I get a nice picture of Jason just in front of me as we exit the cave. This ends the dive for me and we go up to have lunch at Half Moon Caye.

Half Moon Caye is a real paradise island, taken straight out of a travel magazine with palm trees looking just right, white sand and azure blue ocean outside. There is also a bird watching tower if you walk a couple of hundred meters. On they way you can see Iguanas and we actually do, but I never manage to get a picture of it. The actual tower looks out over the treetops and in each one is at least one nest of young Red Footed Boobies (gotta love that name). The Boobies are that kind of bird where the male has a big red sack under the beak that they inflate in order to make the female birds swoon.

The last dive is done at a site called the aquarium and once again it’s a reef wall disappearing down deep into the blue. As we jump in, one of the dive masters have put some bread into the water, so there’s a feeding frenzy going on with some rather large fish. Really fun in the beginning, but they tag along for the ride and after a while they actually get a bit annoying. Lots of fish and interesting coral, we get to see another Black tip reef shark, a turtle, a huge Moray Eel that was swimming along with us right out in the open instead of just lurking in a cave as they usually do.Dinner Suddenly dive master Cynthia starts banging on her tank and points out into the blue, out there are a gang of Eagle rays, a bit smaller than the rays I saw before but still magnificent.

The way home is much more calm and the crew treats us to some rum punch, basically a smashed watermelon and a three liter bottle of rum, making everyone rather chatty. Back at the hotel I just rest for a bit before hooking up with Isa, Jenny, Lina, Emma, J1, J2 and my room mates Daniel and Johan to go for dinner. We find this place on the beach that for once has excellent service. The evening the is wrapped up at the Lazy Lizard where I discover my new friend the Baileys Colada.

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