I am poking about in the dinghy looking for good fishing water behind some of the small islands here around Great Harbor Cay. Driving carefully in water less than 2 feet deep I scan the bottom ahead looking for signs of feeding fish, when I see something I did not at first understand. All around me is shallow sand covered in turtle grass, barely deep enough to float the dinghy. Ahead of me surrounded by white sand, is a dark patch on the water, and I can’t quite make out what it is. As I approach, I realize I have stumbled upon one of the Bahamas’s famous “Blue Holes”.
Blue Holes are a signature geological feature in the Bahamas Thousands of years ago, during the last ice age, sea level was hundreds of feet lower than it is today. Rain water percolated down through the soft coral rock that makes up these islands, and dissolved some of it away to make large underground caves and caverns. Fast forward several thousands of years, and the ocean level has risen, and some of those caves have collapsed. This results in a deep (sometimes a VERY deep) hole that, in the light colored shallow water of the Bahama Bank, stands out as a sudden, deep blue spot. Some of these are famous among divers and snorkelers, others are uncharted and waiting to be “discovered”. Since the one I found is not on the chart, I can without exaggeration proclaim it to be “uncharted”.
This one is a true classic, almost perfectly round, about 150 feet across, it is clearly visible on a Google Earth satellite picture. So while it might not appear in the charts or guidebooks, it is not exactly hidden.
We took our portable sonar over to measure how deep it is, and the answer is: We don’t know; but deeper than 120 feet! To put that in perspective, there is no other water on that satellite image over about 10 feet, and most of it is less than 5.
Snorkeling over the hole, shows, that yes, the bottom is far below what you can see, fading off into endless blueness. And the sides are swarming with fish.
I think i’ll be stopping back there tomorrow with fishing gear and seeing if I can grab a tasty fresh snapper for dinner.