What lies beneath Belize’s and arguably the World’s largest sinkhole, the Great Blue Hole? That is what a marine contingent from Aquatica Submarines and British philanthropist, Richard Branson will unearth as they board two underwater submersible vehicles on this incredible two week underwater expedition scheduled to take place from Sunday, December 2nd, 2018.
The upcoming submarine exploration of the Belize Blue Hole will be helmed by documentarian and conservationist Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacque Cousteau. This underwater expedition will be a coordinated effort between the Branson-funded NGO Ocean Unite, Aquatica Submarines, and a team of scientists from the Roatan Institute of Deep Sea Exploration (RIDE). Aquatica has enlisted a team of scientists, explorers and filmmakers collect scientific data, focusing on a complete sonar scan of the interior. Branson, philanthropist and founder of Ocean Unite, said one purpose of the trip is to raise awareness of the need to protect the seas. Calling the Blue Hole “One of the ocean’s most magical wonders,” he went on to say, “We all share the common goal of conserving, protecting our beautiful global ocean.” Branson is hoping that his involvement in the project will generate awareness around ocean conservation, and is supporting the goal of protecting at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.
A naturally occurring phenomenon over 1,000 feet (300 meters) across and 400 feet (120 meters) deep, the Great Belize Blue Hole is a section of dark blue water in the middle of the Belize Barrier Reef that covers a large underwater cave system that has never been thoroughly explored. The Belize Blue Hole was known to local fishermen for generations, but it was the legendary French marine biologist and documentarian Jacques Cousteau’s visit in 1971 that first brought its existence to the wider world. While little is known about what lies beneath the Blue Hole’s formation, scientists have reported that this incredible sinkhole can be seen from out of Space. And if you’re wondering what it’s like to dive the Blue Hole? Here are some few known facts;
- This natural phenomenon is located at the center of the Light House Reef, some 62 miles offshores of Belize City
- Some 100,000 years ago, this natural marvel was a network of caves that sat above sea level, with ceilings hanging with limestone stalagmites and stalactites.
- The Great Blue Hole was measured by scientists using sonar technology in 1997, but this will be the first since then and by far the most thorough exploration.
- The Belize Blue Hole is nearly perfectly circular in shape, measuring 984 feet (300 meters) across and approximately 410 feet (125 meters) deep.
- The Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System which is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Divers have reported that there is something spiritual about the silent majesty of navigating stone passageways and enormous stalactites that make the Belize Blue Hole a worthwhile experience. It is the hope that the theories to be unearthed in this expedition will shed some light on the demise of the ancient Maya civilization.
Be sure not to miss this exclusive 2-hour event at one of Belize’s most visited natural wonder, on Sunday December 2nd on Discovery Channel since Branson and Cousteau are scheduled to livestream from the bottom of the Blue Hole.