Helicopter centered over the Great Blue Hole
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April 14, 2021

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Helicopter centered over the Great Blue Hole

It. Is. A. Beautiful. View. Nice.

In 2018, a group of scientists explored what's beneath the Great Blue Hole. They found that at around 300 feet, there is a hydrogen sulfide layer that completely cuts out all light - leaving divers in total darkness with no life surrounding them.

The Great Blue Hole is one of Belize's most incredible marine attractions!

Here are 3 fun facts about this marine sinkhole:

1. It's around 150,000 years old
2. It's a World Heritage Site
3. It can be seen from space

First trip to the Great Blue Hole: (1986)

Story and drawing by Jayson Forman

Picture this. You’re the dive master/tour guide hosting a group of excited American tourists who’ve spent lots of money flying to the island, anxiously anticipating to dive the Great Blue Hole and you’ve just been informed that the dive boat you chartered and prepaid is having engine issues and will no longer be available 2 days before the trip.

That’s the level of stress that my dad was facing. He was determined not to let the group down but was quickly running out of options and his boat wasn’t suitable for that type of trip.

Henry Beissner lived on the beach next to Ramon’s Reef Resort (now known as Ramon’s Village). He called my dad and agreed to rent his boat to him with a captain included (my dad had no experience navigating that type of boat and was not confident about the route from San Pedro to Turneffe Islands.

He was elated having avoided delivering such horrible news to an enthusiastic group. We were picked up at 7:00 am and made the 2.5 hour journey to Turneffe Reef for our first dive then headed to camp on Lighthouse Reef island.

Even though I was told to go to bed early because tomorrow will be a big day, I was too bored and the place was too quiet so I got up and walked to the back of the boat, picked up the rod and reel and threw my fishing line into the water. In about 30 minutes I heard the reel spinning and I pulled in a 5 pound snapper onto the boat. My cousin was excited at the size of the catch but I was too exhausted by then and the thought of having to stay up and scale and “gut” the fish, then store it somewhere was way too much work for me so I just left the fish on the line and intended to reel it back in the morning.

My dad then asked me to go get a bucket of fresh water. I walked down to the lighthouse and filled the bucket at the harbor master’s house.

On my way back, I noticed that there was quite a commotion on the aft of the boat. Peering through the darkness, I realized that a couple people had my fishing rod in their hands and a couple other people were holding on to the ones holding the rod.

What the ...? As I made my way towards the boat, my cousin ran to intercept me half way down the pier ....

“Ahmmm, remember the snapper you caught and your dad told you to reel it in, gut it and store it?”

“Yeah so?

“Did you do as he asked?”

“Of course not. What’s your point?”

“Well, while you were gone, the rod started spinning out of control, hopped off the holder, smacked your dad’s leg and was almost headed into the water when 3 of us jumped and helped your dad hang on to the fishing rod. It took us about 8 long minutes of fighting to pull whatever was attached to it in and when it got close to the boat we realized it was an 8 foot hammerhead shark that had obviously eaten the snapper that you caught but didn’t reel back in. You almost lost your $500 fishing rod so I would not hop into the boat just yet is if I were you...”

So that story might have been traumatic for my 12 year old self who was at the verge of losing the most expensive thing I owned but it gave the tourists one hell of a “the one that got away” fish story to laugh about all the way home.

As far as I’m concerned, if the excitement became a memorable part of the adventure for them..... WORTH IT!

By the way, the Great Blue Hole dive lasted about as long as it took them to reel in the shark because I got carried away following a giant stalactite down when I felt something grab my BCD vest from behind and slowly pull me upward..... my dad of course.

He motioned instructions in sign language for me to “go up to 15 feet and stay there for 15-20 minutes immediately!”

When I finally surfaced I asked “why?”

He said, “the last thing I told you to do was to monitor your depth gauge at all times because lack of visibility is deceptive. You obviously didn’t because I had to pull you up after you reached 200 feet and kept descending!”


“Thanks dad!” (literally my hero).

At some point I had to ask myself why do I keep going diving with him? LOLOLOL

(Also..... maybe next time, I should listen to my dad’s advice... apparently I would have avoided bad things like almost losing my fishing rod.... oh yeah and my life!

Photograph by Astrum Helicopters

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