Dive #174 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
© Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
28 minutes

Maximum Depth:
136 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3400 psi

Ending Air:
800 psi

Weather Conditions:
Clear 80°F

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

100+ feet
* * * *
Mar. 16,
Turneffe Island Resort - Belize
Blue Hole
The almost mystical conditions inside the Blue Hole
Photograph by Rob in Belize 2004 
Dive Journal: Our Tuesday on the island starts earlier and we boat over Lighthouse Atoll in the Miss Belle. Lots of day boats from Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Belize City will make the trip, too, so our aim is to get there ahead of them.

We arrive at the famed Blue Hole around 9AM and we’re the first diving boat there. Just a few minutes behind us, however, is the Belize Aggressor. We moor at the edge of the hole and get our dive briefing. This will be a short deep dive and, unlike other dives, everyone is instructed to stay with the group during the dive.

The hole itself is pretty cool. It used to be a big above ground cave where huge stalactites formed. After the Ice Age, the ocean level rose, flooding the cave. Somewhere in there, the cave roof collapsed in, leaving a 1000 ft diameter opening that is nearly a perfect circle. The ocean floor is around 40 feet deep around the hole, but inside the hole the floor drops to over 480 feet.

Johnny will sit this dive out. He’s actually quite capable of doing the dive, but there is a school of thought out there that young bodies shouldn’t dive so deep (?). Linda decides to stay topside with John, too.

We make a very rapid descent down the side of the hole to about 110 ft, finning as we go. A look into the hole’s center yields a few groupers and horseeye jacks, but mostly just midnight blackness. We come upon the top edge of a cave entrance and descend still further into its mouth. There are huge stalactites hanging here, some as much as 3 feet in diameter, and our party partially enters the cave entrance as we weave in and out of the columns.

Very quickly, the nitrogen narcosis gets ahold of me, and I start enjoying the dive that much more. Soon I’m doing slow body rolls through the stalactites, marvelling at the eerie dark lighting and gazing out into the depths. I look back at Janel and she’s got it, too, grinning and playing with her fingers.

Janel and me under attack in the Blue Hole
Photograph by Rob in Belize 2004 
After only 5 or 6 minutes at depth, we begin a slow ascent, spiralling back up the wall. We swim by Rob hovering mid-water out in the hole, and he’s shooting pictures of a rubber shark in various poses. I think to myself, “Sheesh, that guy must be pretty narc’d, too” until I later see the funny photos he shot.>

We finish the dive exploring around the rim a bit, which is actually a pretty reef area. On surfacing, we see that about 10 other boats have arrived already and hundreds of divers are in the water. A popular spot.

After the dive, I asked Janel if she got narc’d and she started grinning. She says that, following the dive briefing instruction for a five minute time at max depth, she then dove down and started a narc’d-out internal dialogue of “five minutes until we all die” that was, well, remarkably humorous.
Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT, Cool Dive
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
U S Divers
3mm full wetsuit
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
8 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment: