The Great Blue Hole is one of Belize's most popular and awe-inspiring attractions. Steeped in mystery, a great deal has been discovered about the Great Blue Hole since it became a popular site of study for scuba divers, sailors, and explorers. Although not just anyone can dive in the hole, tourists can now get in on the fun, visiting this incredible site and learning more about its mysteries. Here are some of our favorites!
Mystery #1: How Did the Great Blue Hole Form?
Belize's Great Blue Hole formed as a sinkhole, becoming deeper and deeper from the action of glaciers. In fact, thousands of years ago, part of the hole was once thought to have been a limestone cave, above sea level, with stalagtites and stalagmites and all. Later, when ocean levels rose, the hole filled in. That's why scuba divers can find drippy columns and other cave formations inside the hole, adding to its allure as one of the best diving locations on the planet for advanced divers.
Mystery #2: What Lives Inside the Great Blue Hole?
The Great Blue Hole is home to a wide variety of aquatic animals. However, some of them are quite a bit rarer than others, with only scattered reports of sightings. You'll find plenty of reef sharks, neon gobies, and parrotfish inside the hole, but with further exploration, divers have also discovered hammerheads and bull sharks. Adventurers who discover these more elusive species consider themselves very lucky, as these guys do not show themselves in the hole very often!
Mystery #3: Who Discovered the Great Blue Hole?
It is not known who the first human being is to have first set eyes on the Great Blue Hole. Possibly, the first person to see it was a member of one of the region's indigenous groups or a sailing expedition from foreign lands. Since the hole is 70 km from Ambergris Caye, the closest island, anyone discovering it would have had to travel quite far to reach it. What is known for sure is that underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau was the first to popularize the hole, sending his research submarine into the hole to learn more about its depths. Cousteau called the Great Blue Hole one of the most magnificent sites for scuba diving worldwide. Charles Darwin also remarked on the magnificence of the hole's coral reefs, though he was far from the first one to venture to it.
Mystery #4: How Difficult is the Great Blue Hole to Dive In?
Mystery #5: Just How Deep is the Great Blue Hole?
When the Great Blue Hole was finally explored all the way to the bottom, researchers discovered that it was 407-410 feet deep. But just how deep is 407 feet? Think of the Empire State Building in New York City. If you took a mold of the hole and placed it side-by-side, it would reach about 1/3 of the way up the building. Being 984 feet across, that's a lot of hole to explore!