Monday, November 28, 2005


I haven't left out the 'e', it is travelnots, places that I love to look at and learn about but am never, ever going to travel to.
This gorgeous place is call the Great Blue Hole, off the coast of Belize. It's l,045 feet across and 412 feet down (no metres, more impressive in feet). It's origin goes back to an ice age 15,000 years ago when the sea level dropped and exposed the limestones of Lighthouse Reef. Subterranean caverns formed when fresh water flowed through the limestone deposits, then the roof of the cavern collapsed to form the sink hole.

It's one of the best known dive sites in Belize and the deep blue depression is in the centre of more than 75 square miles of shallow blue-green water. Down in the depths, an overhang forms a cavern ceiling from which hang stalactites more than 3 feet in diameter and up to 20 feet in length. The typical visibility is 100 feet and maintaining orientation on the way down is done by staying reasonably close to the wall. The walls of the cavern are covered with green algae, sponges and encrusting worms. Sharks and turtles are unpredictable visitors. The hole is completely rimmed by living coral except for two narrow passages. It requires expertise to dive into the Great Blue Hole.

Reasons I will never visit:

My phobia about flying or rather my phobia about the plane being big enough to fly with me in it. I saw that new airbus land and it looks promising as long as no-one else is flying in it that day.

My phobia about deep water, that is anything above my knees. At a pinch I can take it up to armpit level as long as I can keep one foot on the seabed and the water is clear enough to show what's lurking down there, sharks, stingrays, barracudda, anything with teeth. Accidently falling into very deep water like a great blue hole would bring on instant myocardial infarction.

Clustrophobia brought on by being squeezed into a wet suit (stop drooling rubber freaks), headache forming face mask and half a ton of metal jammed in my mouth for air. One of my favourite movies is "The Abyss" which I usually watch with doors and windows wide open. I go into meltdown every time Lynsey breathes in water and deliberately drowns.

My phobia about getting hit with a bout of Belize Belly inside a wet suit 100 feet down a great blue hole.

Don't let me stop any of you from going and send postcards, it's the closest I'll get to being there.

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