Sunday, March 27, 2011


Salt Pond, Long Island, Bahamas 23º16.7N | 75º6.9W

We drove our rental car down an inauspicious sand road, past an unassuming, handpainted sign that said simply:

At the end of the road, we walked down a white sand path and into ....

Dean's Blue Hole.
Here are the facts: A blue hole is a vertical cave filled with water, or, in this case seawater. Dean's Blue Hole is circular at the surface about 100 feet in diameter, surrounded by shallow -- really shallow water -- and plummeting sharply to 663 feet at its center. Above water it is protected on three sides by craggy limestone cliffs and rocky hills. About 66 feet below the surface, it widens into an underwater cavern over 300 feet wide.

As usual the facts don't tell the story -- at all.

Here is the story: This place is magical, capturing the imagination, tripping the senses and tweaking the intellect. Science fiction has had its way with black holes but has clearly overlooked the blue ones. Standing on the precipice in six inches of water, you lean over and peer into the abyss, equal measures of horror and seduction twanging your nerves.

Am I peering into a simple vertical cave of water or is this a portal, a magical transporter into the aquatic world? If I plunge in will I follow the wake of the incredible Mr. Limpet, become a mermaid, a dolphin, a citizen of the deep, or just sink right to the bottom? Can I bear not knowing?

More of my photos of Dean's Blue Hole.
Thoughts on Freediving.
My article about Freediving in the New York Times.

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