Astonishing Blue Holes of The Bahamas

Scientists probe the enigmas of the blue holes of The Bahamas

The blue holes of The Bahamas, vast underwater cave systems, are enthralling on many levels, among them that of scientific inquiry.  These largely-unexplored depths have no light and very little water circulation.  The lack of circulation deprives them of oxygen, and so they represent certain death for any life form except the types of bacteria known as extremophiles, which love extreme conditions.  But scientists eagerly study these mysterious caverns precisely because of the simple yet hardy life forms.  Living things that can survive without light or oxygen might provide insights into what extraterrestrial life might look like.

Diving at Dean's Blue Hole

Dean’s Blue Hole, located on Long Island of The Bahamas, is a particularly popular tourist destination.  This underwater sea cave goes down more than 200 meters beneath the surface.  Ancient remains can be found along the floor of the cave, providing clues about life forms from millenia ago.  Colorful, intertwining stalactites and stalagmites create an enchanting, alien landscape.  However, only the most qualified divers should attempt the feat of exploring such caves.  Even the most experienced explorers must remain vigilant and constantly attuned to safety concerns, because they know better than anyone the tragic incidents over the years that underline universal human fallibility.  

Divers must master a whole host of procedures, safety checks, and best practices, such as obtaining prior certifications, operating in pairs or groups, and checking equipment.  They frequently use ropes to thread their way through the cavernous saltwater maze, lest they quickly lose their bearings in the otherworldly environment.  One important key to safety is communication.  Divers should confer above the water to discuss their objectives, where they will go, and how they will get there.  Importantly, they should establish the meaning of various hand gestures that might be required for underwater communication.

Freediving in The Bahamas

Dean’s Blue Hole is also renowned in the sport of freediving (holding one’s breath without scuba gear) as the most beautiful and extraordinary place to dive.  While the typical person might be able to hold his breath for one minute, the world records for the longest breath hold are over twenty minutes, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.  In December of 2016, Derya Can set a record for freediving by going down 94 metres into the sea without an oxygen tank.  After 40 meters, the enormous pressure compresses the lungs, limiting the diver’s capacity to breathe.  Coming back up, pulling oneself along a verticle cord, the diver must resist the enormous urge to take a breath.  The stakes involved, the flirtation with death, and constantly pushing the limit and setting personal records: these three things create a rush of endorphins among adrenalin junkies.  

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