660 Feet Deep
Mar 7, 2008
|23 54.6 North
75 03.3 West
Long Island, Bahamas
Wow what a day! We pick up our Toyoto Camry with 190,000 miles on it and quickly begin our tour of the island. I get the feeling that if we just tell the car where we want to go it will be able to automatically take us to that destination. And to beat it all we have to remember to drive on the left.
Our first stop is the world famous Deans Blue hole in Turtle Cove Sound about 15 miles south of Thompson Bay just past Deadman’s Cove and Scruff Bluff Cove that is found without the benefit of a single sign or road marker on and over a rough country road. I am not sure if they are trying to hide this jewel or if the locals grew up with this quirk of nature and see no novelty in its existence. The blue hole is nestles into one end of the cove and runs an incredible 660 feet deep.
The blue hole is set up to accommodate world record attempts for free dive as there is a raft in the center of the lagoon with two lines that stretch to the bottom of the hole. While we were there a group of three elite divers were just finishing up their decompression process from reaching an astounding 345 feet a few minutes earlier. The primary diver spends about 20 minutes hyperventilating in preparation and is then given a 5 minute warning by his crew. After diving in without the benefit of any equipment to help propel him into the deep he very quickly disappears into, well a very, very dark blue hole.
Since I can not hold my breath more than 45seconds anymore it is painful to think that he is down for 2 minutes when his team mate enters the hole with the hugest single flipper on his feet that you have ever seen. The deal is that if the primary diver is not back after two minutes he might have reached a record level and or be in trouble. Knowing that he is good for nearly four minutes, the two minute chase dive is a precaution for the primary diver. As it turns out the chase diver is down for 95 seconds and thankfully he met the primary diver ascending at the 135 foot mark. On this day the primary diver swam 345 feet down and was under water for 3.5minutes!! How cool is that.
In our attempt to establish world records for 1) buoyant-52-year-old-out-of-shape-white-males-who-live-on-a-sail-boat and who’s-last-name-starts-with-“L”, I made it an astounding 21 feet before I completely freaked out looking down into the darkest night mare I have ever seen. But the sight looking up was absolutely incredible as the sun spills over the lagoon edges and pours down into the hole only to lose momentum and disappear.
The only other people at the blue hole is a friendly couple who goes through my normal line of questioning before they admit that they again, are guilty and from of all places Gananoque, Ontario. They live on Mudlunta Island which is right next to Hay Island where we visited our friend Mark Russell a couple summers ago on this exodus. As it turns out and of course, they know Mark and his family. A big hello to Judy & David Orr from the Great White North if they get a chance to check in on the web site. Our world shrinks daily!
After 3 hours of diving off the rocks, swimming around and under the raft we decide that it is time for lunch and pack up our belongings. The Orrs have told us about the Rowdy Brothers Restaurant in Clarence Town and we are off to explore and eat. The recently finished restaurant and lodge also has a fresh water pool that we can use to wash the substantial salt off of our bodies and swimsuits. The view is incredible, the swim refreshing and the food was exceptional. All for $75.
Our last stop for this very busy day is a somewhat remote beach to look for sea beans as the sun sets and our day ends. The wrack is basically untouched, thick and matted as we start to systematically rummage through and over the beach. We eventually pull 1 purse, 10 hamburger and 8 heart beans form the beach in less than an hour.
We make our way back to a winding path along the road, park the car for the night on a darkened dirt road, and barely beat the sunset back to MILANO MYST. Within an hour everyone is in bed exhausted and hoping to sleep through the 20-knot blow that is expected over night.
It is now Saturday morning and we are off to explore the north end of the island. Sleep was hard won as the winds began to build a sea that pounded our bow. Oh well that is why we head off for the day to sleep on the beach!!
MILANO MYST Monitoring 9 and 16 ( and SSB 4045 weather)