The magical ‘Blue Hole’ was what drew me to Belize. I’ve seen so many photos of this huge blue hole out in the Caribbean Sea, it’s a National Geographic fav! Now I seem to be on a mission to dive in some of the best spots in the world I couldn’t miss this one. However, when I started to google search it, all kinds of off-putting info came up… ‘Blue Hole deaths – 1 per year’, ‘health & safety – abysmal’, hmm I’d better see this with my own eyes.
Belize itself wasn’t wonderful, despite its claims that it’s ‘Unbelizeable’ – see what they did there?! It has a very different vibe to the other central American countries I’ve visited. A British colony rather than a Spanish one, they still have a very young and glam looking Queen Lizzy on their notes. English is the first language here but the accents are thick and blended with the commonly spoken Creole, so it may as well have been a different language. A melting pot for so many different nationalities and such a small population, Belize stands out a mile from its neighbours. Reggae aplenty which sounds perfect and like it should have a really relaxed vibe. But I found the cities unfriendly and island life lacking in soul. I’d like to add my disclaimer here that I spent time on one of the many islands and really only one city, so I’m no expert.
Caye Caulker, an island around an hour’s boat ride away from Belize City looked pretty special, but I think any more than two days here would be more than enough. For me it provided the gateway to the Blue Hole, so at 6am I hopped on a little boat with my fellow divers and tried not to vomit for 3 and a half hours. I’ve never been sea sick before, despite spending plenty of time on choppy waters. This was something else though as the winds were raging and the waves high. I somehow made it through though with a number of green looking passengers.
I looked around and sure enough, we were bobbing around in the famous hole! The safety briefing was exceptional, so hats off to Frenchies and the equipment was the best I’ve ever dived with. This 45 metre dive was only going to last 25 minutes, but conditions were good. So quick equipment check and down we go. I felt like a spacewoman, completely without gravity as my eyes adjusted to the dark blue water. Down, down, down following the dive master all the way and then to the left we made our way amongst the stalactites under a ledge, so almost like a shelf of cave. Absolutely like exploring another planet, completely weightless and in awe of my surroundings. As we cork-screwed our way back up my eyes readjusted again and I realised there were a mass of Caribbean Reef Sharks. The curious sharks created a moving shark carpet beneath us and the odd one swam right up to have a good stare at us. It was over so quickly but a memorable experience. The second two dives on the way back, brought out the Hawksbill turtles always a blessing to hang out with.
As far as being ecologically aware, someone’s forgotten to give Belize the memo! A dive master tried to catch a beautiful stripy fish and all over Caye Caulker and their marine parks they’ve taken the giant conch shells out of the sea and used them as walls, ornaments and just piled them up next to trees just because they can. I watched a tourist try and grab a turtle whilst diving and it nipped him, leaving a big bite mark even through his wetsuit – good.