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The Great Blue Hole is an amazing natural wonder off the coast of Belize. It is a large, circular underwater sinkhole situated near the middle of Lighthouse Reef, which is about 100 kilometers away from the Belize City mainland. This natural phenomenon measures more than 300 meters across and is about 124 meters deep. It is a top destination for recreational scuba diving with its crystal clear waters and diverse marine fauna. It forms a portion of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Great Blue Hole is believed to be the outcome of the progressive collapse of a cave system that had been formed many thousands of years ago when the sea levels were much lower. Evaluation of stalactites found in the blue hole showed that the formation of the cave system occurred in the period between 153,000 and 15,000 years ago. The cave is further believed to have become flooded when sea levels began to rise.
The first person to explore the Great Blue Hole was Jacques Cousteau, who brought his famous research ship, the Calypso, to investigate the depths of the sinkhole in 1972. The expedition was able to conclude that the blue hole was formed before ocean levels rose, and some submerged stalactites found in the hole proved this assertion. It is a karst limestone-eroded sinkhole. The expedition led by Cousteau, who ranked the Great Blue Hole among the top ten scuba diving locations in the world, was what opened up the area to becoming a major point of interest in the world of diving today.
This location is today frequented by many people who are interested in recreational scuba diving. Divers are particularly attracted to the hole’s crystal-clear waters and varied marine life. But the Great Blue Hole is more for the daring, advanced scuba divers if the aim is to go deeper into it. Diving into the depths requires advanced diving skills and specialized equipment, given the fact that the hole is more than 400 feet deep. Another reason why diving into the deep is recommended only for experts is that the wall of the hole slopes backwards at the base and manoeuvres may prove difficult for the less experienced. However, anyone is welcome to try out shallow diving.