I don’t know how many times it has happened…too many to count.
Visitor finds out I write a blog about Belize. Visitor asks me about one of Belize’s most treasured sites, one of the natural wonders of the world, the Blue Hole. I answer.
And then visitor looks at me…confused and disappointed. Their eyes say it all (even if they don’t roll). Pfffft….some kind of blogger? An expert? You’ve been in Belize 8 years and NEVER been to the Blue Hole?
Well now that has changed! Yesterday I went on the all day diving trip out to the Great Blue Hole of Belize. The UNESCO World Heritage site…the 407 feet deep sink hole…formed during various ice ages and lined with stalagmites and ‘tites from when the sea level was much much lower.
Explored for the first time by Jacques Costeau with (very fittingly) Ramon Nunez of Ramon’s Village in the early 70s. (Read about how Costeau asked Ramon to be his guide on his first trip to Belize.)
The Discovery Channel listed it as one of the 10 most amazing places on earth.
50 measly miles away (on open sea…with a 4:30am alarm going off) and I’d never been there.
Here is a simplified map of some of Belize’s reef system. Me: San Pedro Town.
Getting up that early does have its benefits. I walked onto the Ramon’s Village diving dock at 5:30am…and it was bustling. There is a big crew getting ready for this full day trip.
I was deliriously tired…I think I may have asked this guy for my snorkel gear.
There was a good sized bunch of super cheery divers and a lovely family of 6 who were going snorkeling with me. Lots of carbs served, coffees poured, we were out over the reef and on the open sea. The total trip would be 2.5 hours. Our slow down would be at Turneffe – where I reef rised up again.
After about an hour and a half (I was snoozing on and off) – the water calmed considerably and we pulled up towards Cockroach Caye at Turneffe. (The area also has a Baby Roach Caye and a Dog Flea Caye.)
Snorkelers in first along the coral lined edge…and the divers geared up to go towards the center. They would be going to 140 feet to check out the cave formations and perhaps see a few sharks.
We headed to our next dive/snorkel – and for the divers, the favorite, Half Moon Caye.
And I spent about an hour walking the tiny caye from end to end. It is absolute paradise.
I first headed down the path to the Western Beach and the booby and frigate bird nesting area.
The stunning natural entrance to the path.
There are cute signs all along the way. Hermit crabs and shoe shopping.
And so do BIG hermit crabs
Up the observation town and…here is what I saw. Tree tops.
But look closer and…
I continued out to the western beach and it’s just stunning. The dive boats were out…
Beautiful x 10000.
And chatted briefly with Mr. Rooster – light house keeper on this island for 25 years. And maker of “the best coconut oil in Belize”.
The other end of the caye has a lighthouse…we actually saw two good sized wrecks on the reef on the way over. Here’s a photo of one from overhead…
Out to the lighthouse.
The new lighthouse tower and the older brick one…collapsed during a hurricane years ago.
Mr. Rooster has a solar panel. And the best view I can possibly imagine.
I spread my towel out on a picnic table and…sigh…under the swaying coconut palms it was heaven.
I opened one eye to watch for my crew.
This is the best snorkeling I’ve ever done in Belize. Is it worth it? The money…the long boat ride…the early wake up? Everyone on the boat seemed to agree. Yes.
But for a diving/snorkeling light-weight like me? You might want a rest day after. 🙂
For fantastic close-ups of the sharks of the Blue Hole, check out this guest post: Finally! A Weekend in Belize: Sharks Galore in the Blue Hole and More.
For more gorgeous aerial photos of the Cayes and the Blue Hole, check out this guest post: A Charter Flight Over the Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole…OH BELIZE!. This was the one that finally got me off my butt and out there.
Thanks so much to the Ramon’s Dive Crew! Professional and extremely well organized. This is a long day – and these guys ran a smooth operation and got us back by “Happy Hour”.
At 5pm, we unloaded. I was (and still am) exhausted! But what a day. Another “Belize is so freakin’ beautiful, I can’t even believe it” kinda day.
And no! I did not see El Chapo out there! And if I did…there is no way I’d say a thing.
If you liked this post AND you are a pinner…a pinterester? Please re-pin below.