Friday, January 22, 2010

Trip to the Blue Hole

This week we set off in the Miss Callie, the marine station’s 22 ft motor boat to the Blue Hole for a snorkeling expedition. Although being a bright sunny calm day, we met with some big swells when we got out in the open water. As we got closer to the reef surrounding the Blue Hole the waves calmed down and we skimmed across bright turquoise blue waters. There we were able to find a good snorkeling spot. If you don’t know about the Blue Hole, I’ll tell you a bit. The book says it is 1000 ft wide and 412 feet deep. This sink hole is believed to be the world’s largest blue hole. It is full of geological wonders and fascinating marine life such as giant stalactites. These structures formed in a dry cavern above sea level during glacial periods thousands of years ago. The sea level rose and the cave top collapsed creating this deep hole.

We had our snorkel trip around the edge of it. When we jumped off the boat all you could see was a deep dark blue abyss, as we swam closer to the reef, the rocky sandy bottom quickly rose up from the depths into a beautiful shallow coral reef filled with lots of colorful fish and interesting marine life. There were many kinds of parrotfish, with their strong beak like bills, munching algae off the corals and making sand. Yes the majority of beautiful white sand we enjoy around here is actually pooped out by the parrotfish. To give you an idea of their showy colors, they are given names like rainbow, stop light and red fin. Some of the other eye catchers are the purple and orange damselfish and the electric blue chromos. On the way back to the boat over that big hole we saw a big school of largish sized yellow tailed snapper, chubs, needle nosed ballyhoos and a couple of horse eyed jacks.

The second part of the trip, we motored over to Half Moon Caye Natural Monument also located in Light House Reef. The Caye is really beautiful. There is the guano rich (not too stinky) Ziricote tree forest which houses a nesting colony of Magnificent Frigate’s and the Red footed Bobbies. Did you know that guano is bird poop? The other two ends have sandy beach sites for nesting sea turtles and super swimming spots. You can also camp on the island, but you had better bring all the food and water you need, because there are no food stores and the nearest one is fifty miles by boat. You can find out more about the Blue Hole, Half Moon Key and other Belize Audubon sites by going to


  1. Hi sophia i like the picture of the blue hole we are doing a project on the Common Sea Horse for Xavier Cortada. Do you have sea horeses in belize

    sicerely ,Abigail from the Hubert o. Sibley jr green leaves club

  2. Hi sophia I really the blog about the blue hole.
    It seems like there are alot of different stuff in Belize. In my jr green leaves club we are doing a research project on the common sea horse can you let me know if there are any sea horses in Belize

    sincerly from Hubert O. sibley cjay

  3. Hi Soph, you had a much more exciting day on my birthday (1/22) than I did.....deep in the blue hole....swimming with the fishes....I love sure are having a fabulous time....that makes me happy AND I have learned a lot reading your blog. thank you for writting about your adventures. I have been working in my garden..there has been a lot of rain and today I counted about 200 baby poppies jumping up out of the earth. last week I grafted scions (scion-a branch cutting that will pass on it's parents genes) from a peach, apricot and several varieties of plum trees to our wild plum trees and 4 varieties of apples to our cute little tree in the front yard. It was the first time I ever grafted and can't wait to see if they took. it is pretty easy to do....just take a little sliver of bark off the scion and a little sliver from the tree branch and tape them together, then I covered them in tar for protection. if it takes the plum tree by the back porch will have 6 dufferent plums, oeaches and cherries and apricots all growing from the same tree....a yum yum tree for all of us and the birds...he he he xoxoxoxo aunty barbara