The Great Blue Hole: the dive of my life!!!

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Belize  ,
Monday, May 28, 2007

This morning we got up at 5h! Hubby came to bed at 2 and ... did NOT sleep. We are in the diving shop at the time they asked us to be: 5h30. I go back home to get our mosquito spray: in the 3 minutes we walk from the hotel to the shop we have 20 bites each! A little breakkie (the fruit is bananas, yuk, right, Annick???) and then the people from the other hotels arrive: the boat is full. I count 30 BCD! I do not have a lot of hope for these dives! We leave much too late, of course.

We sail for 2,5 hours to the Great Bleu Hole

Have a look at the pictures and the science, if you want to know why that 'hole' is there.

The reality is ASTONISHING. There is a big blue hole in the sea. In fact the sea is blue and the hole is turquoise. Just there in the sea, in the middle of nowhere. Jacques Cousteau put this diving spot on the map in 1970 and called it 'the best diving spot in the world' at the end of his life.

We get a debriefing. Several people chicken out. I cannot blame them. Which part of 'depth of dive 45 meters', 'breathing is difficult below 40 meters', 'we go into caves at that maximum depth', 'lots of big sharks',  'do NOT take out your regulator, whatever happens', 'do NOT pop to the surface' is not scary? OK, down! It does go pretty fast.  The temperature drops from 31 to 25 in a minute, like taking a cold shower after a hot one.  Down, down, down. The colors get vague and then: almost disappear. It gets colder. And darker. Breathing gets harder. While till 30 meters: breathing through a regulator is almost the same as breathing normally, for an experienced diver, below 40, you need to your air in.  It feels like breathing through a straw: difficult to get enough air. And then the diving master goes into the caves. It is dark and cold and Dr T lets my hand go.  I turn around and (try to) sign to him: hold my hand, do not let go. I am scared. And I really think everybody is. Macho Tony denies, of course, but I do not believe him.

And then: the sharks surround us. 2 to 3 meters long sharks. We see 7 in total. But, we know there are MUCH more. And then I notice the stalactites. Hanging from the cave, till 20 meters down. And then I get used to the breathing. The fear is gone and what is left is amazement. This is alien. Like walking in a forest, where huge trees hang upside down, in the dawn and creators, not from this world, surround you. My diving computer is beeping: it is set to warn at 40 meters (I scampered off once to 48 meters, before I had a diving computer). At 44 meters, with my hand in Tony's, visiting this amazing world, I look at him and see the excitement in his eyes. We agreed not to, as we usual do ('do not take out your regulator') but a hug confirms it: this is the best ever. Maximum bottom time: 8 minutes and then slowly we start to ascent.  Followed by the sharks till 30 meter depth. Then we have the reverse: from a cold bath into a hot Jacuzzi. We need 2 safety stops. At the surface, it is clear: even if we would sail back now: it was worth the effort, the fear and the money.

But, we do not sail back, we go to our next diving spot and dive for another 52 minutes. The corals are varied and undamaged. No big fish but 1000s of little ones.

Then we go to Half Moon Island for lunch (which the crew brought for us). Chicken and rice (you know the style, Girls). Lunch with our South-African friends (people we met a couple of days ago, Jimmy and me speak Dutch together). A stroll on the island. And back to our diving boat.

We go to the next place for ... another dive. It is like diving in a fish tank. We see 2 turtles.

Then, we start our long journey back. Sitting up on a full boat, on the uncomfortable metal of the seats is a challenge. Dr T is very tired, of course. And the sea is rough.

Belize has something cute: the water bags. When I saw them in the shop I thought: what do you do with that? Well, this is what you do: you bite a hole in it and the water out. They had a couple of hundred a board. It is not such a bad idea: much less garbage; don't you think Dr T s.cks well.

We are back in the hotel 13 hours after we left. We take a shower and go to town for an hour internet. My little brother is still there (although it is after 3 in the morning for him) and we chat. Ohoh! I made him worry about me again, with my stories. I am fine, Broertje, really!

A nice meal, talking about the dive and diving, all the time. And then, at 24h, we both fall into a coma. Although diving is a lazy sport, it does demand a lot of your body. And for once, since he had NO sleep the night before, Dr T comes to bed with me and sleeps like a baby.

We both agree: this was the best dive of our lives. Although the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Tistlegorm in Egypt and my dive nr. 100 could compete. But those are other stories.

Good we sleep well because, tomorrow we go ... diving!
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