Nestled along the coastline of the Sinai Peninsula, a few kilometres north of the laid-back town of Dahab, Egypt, lies an infamous dive site known as the Blue Hole.
This submarine sinkhole, a unique geological phenomenon, is a famous blue hole that has captured the imagination and hearts of many divers around the world.
However, beneath its serene azure surface, it conceals a deadly reputation, earning it the ominous name ‘diver’s cemetery’.
The Allure of the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole of Dahab, a seemingly innocent, circular, deep blue patch amid the Red Sea’s turquoise waters, is a magnet for both recreational divers and technical divers. Its maximum depth, approximately 130 meters, coupled with the mesmerising spectacle of coral and reef fish, make it one of the most sought-after dive sites globally.
The hole’s shallow opening, known as the blue hole saddle, gives way to a vertical drop-off, a sea wall that descends straight down into the open ocean.
This wall dive is a stunning underwater cathedral, teeming with a vibrant array of marine life, including reef fish and corals. The surrounding area is equally captivating, with a variety of other blue holes and diving sites to explore.
The Infamous Blue Hole: A Diver’s Cemetery
However, the blue hole’s beauty belies its deadly nature. It has claimed the lives of many divers, earning it the nickname ‘diver’s cemetery’. One of the most famous deaths at this deadly dive site was that of Yuri Lipski, an Israeli diver who met a tragic end in 2000.
His helmet camera captured his involuntary and uncontrolled descent into the abyss, providing a chilling testament to the dangers this infamous blue hole can pose.
The blue hole’s danger lies in its unique structure. Just inside the hole, at a depth of about 52 meters, is the entrance to a long tunnel known as the arch. This blue hole arch, often shrouded in shadows, leads divers through a 26-meter long passage to the open sea.
However, the arch’s deceptive allure has led to numerous fatal incidents, often caused by nitrogen narcosis, decompression sickness, or oxygen toxicity.
The Bone Collector: The Blue Hole Arch
The arch has been ominously dubbed the ‘bone collector’. Many divers, captivated by the thrill of exploring this underwater labyrinth, have succumbed to its treacherous conditions.
The arch’s entrance is located beyond the reach of recreational divers using a single tank of compressed air. However, its lure has proven too strong for some, leading to an uncontrolled descent into the deep water beyond their limits.
Technical divers, equipped with specialised equipment and training, are better prepared to navigate the arch. Yet, even they are not immune to the dangers. The arch’s exit, often obscured by poor visibility and a lack of reference points, can be disorientating. This, combined with the physiological effects of deep diving, such as nitrogen narcosis, makes it a deadly challenge.
Safety Measures and Controversies
Despite the risks, the Blue Hole continues to attract divers from around the world. Local dive centres, aware of the dangers, have implemented safety procedures to ensure divers’ safety. These include mandatory briefings, limiting the maximum depth for recreational divers, and requiring a certified guide for those wishing to explore the arch.
However, these measures have not been without controversy. Some argue that they are not enough, pointing to the continued number of divers lost at this infamous dive site. Others have called for the Egyptian authorities to close the site altogether. Yet, for many an avid scuba diver, the allure of the blue hole, with its stunning sea wall, vibrant marine life, and the thrill of the arch, is simply too compelling to resist.
The Legacy of Yuri Lipski
One of the most famous deaths at the Blue Hole was that of Yuri Lipski, an Israeli diver who tragically lost his life in April 2000. Lipski’s final dive was captured on his helmet camera, the footage of which sent shockwaves through the diving community and beyond.
The video graphically illustrated Lipski’s involuntary and uncontrolled descent into the depths of the Blue Hole, a chilling testament to the dangers of this infamous dive site.
Lipski’s body was later recovered by Tarek Omar, an experienced diver referred to as the ‘bone collector’ due to his grim task of retrieving the bodies of divers lost in the Blue Hole. The haunting footage from Lipski’s helmet camera has since been used as a stark warning to divers about the potential dangers of the Blue Hole, particularly the risks associated with nitrogen narcosis and the deceptive allure of the arch.
The Surrounding Area: Beyond the Blue Hole
While the Blue Hole is undeniably the most infamous diving location in the area, the surrounding region of the Sinai Peninsula offers a wealth of other diving opportunities. The nearby El Bells, another popular dive site, features a narrow chimney opening into a wide amphitheatre, providing a dramatic contrast to the Blue Hole’s vertical sea wall.
The pickup truck, a sunken vehicle teeming with marine life, is another local favourite. It offers a unique dive experience and serves as a reminder of the human influence on this otherwise untouched underwater world. The area also boasts a rich variety of coral reefs and reef fish, offering divers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the Red Sea’s vibrant marine biodiversity.
The Future of the Blue Hole
Despite the controversy surrounding the Blue Hole and calls for it to be closed, it remains a popular diving destination. The Egyptian chamber of tourism and local dive centres continue to promote it as a must-see location, emphasising the importance of safety procedures and responsible diving practices.
The Blue Hole’s future will likely continue to be a point of debate within the diving community. However, one thing is certain: the allure of this underwater cathedral, with its colourful reef fish, breathtaking sea wall, and the infamous blue hole arch, will continue to captivate and challenge divers for years to come.
The Blue Hole of Dahab, with its deadly reputation and mesmerising beauty, remains one of the world’s most famous dive sites. It serves as a stark reminder of the risks and rewards that come with exploring the ocean’s depths.
For those who respect its dangers and adhere to safety protocols, the blue hole offers an unforgettable diving experience.
But for those who underestimate its treacherous nature, this infamous blue hole can quickly become a diver’s cemetery.
FAQ about The Blue Hole Of Dahab
Are there bodies at the bottom of the Blue Hole?
Yes, the remains of two divers were discovered at the bottom of the Blue Hole, out of three who were believed to have gone missing during their dive. This discovery was made during a submarine expedition, which also found a layer of hydrogen sulfide at roughly 300 feet (91 m), marking a point beyond which the water becomes anoxic and lifeless.
What was found at the bottom of the Blue Hole?
Along with the remains of two divers, explorers discovered a 2-liter Coke bottle and a lost GoPro camera containing some holiday pictures. However, the team decided against attempting any recovery due to the inherent risks involved.
What has been found in the Great Blue Hole?
The Great Blue Hole of Belize, which is considered the largest sinkhole of its kind, has revealed massive stalactites, dripstone sheets, and columns within its depths. This underwater sinkhole measures more than 300 meters across and 125 meters deep.
What did they find at the bottom of the Blue Hole?
At the bottom of the Blue Hole, explorers found a 2-liter Coke bottle, a lost GoPro camera with vacation photos, and the remains of two likely out of three people who were lost while diving. The team, however, decided against any recovery attempt.
Why is the Blue Hole special?
The Great Blue Hole, located off the coast of Belize, is renowned as a marvel of the marine world. This submarine sinkhole, spanning 984 feet and plunging to a depth of 124 feet, attracts recreational divers from around the globe, offering them an unforgettable diving experience.
What’s at the bottom of the Blue Hole?
The bottom of the Blue Hole is characterized by a thick layer of toxic hydrogen sulfide that spans the entire width of the sinkhole. Below this layer, there is no oxygen and no life, creating a graveyard for creatures like conchs, conch shells, and hermit crabs that have fallen into the hole and suffocated.
What was found at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole?
The bottom of the Great Blue Hole revealed a 2-liter Coke bottle, a lost GoPro camera with holiday pictures, and the remains of two likely out of three people who were lost while diving. However, the team decided against attempting any recovery.
How many bodies are in the Blue Hole?
Over the past decade, it is estimated that more than 150 divers have lost their lives in the Blue Hole of Dahab, often referred to as the world’s most dangerous diving site. This has earned this submarine sinkhole the grim nickname ‘Divers’ Cemetery’. The exact number of bodies remaining in the Blue Hole is unknown due to the difficulties and risks associated with underwater recovery.
What is the story of the blue hole?
The Blue Hole is a unique pool along the Little Miami River in the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. Its creation dates back to the last ice age, some 12,000-15,000 years ago, when massive ice sheets covered large parts of Ohio.
How deep is the blue hole in Dahab?
The Blue Hole in Dahab reaches depths of around 120 meters.
What did they find disturbing at the bottom of Belize’s Blue Hole?
At the bottom of Belize’s Blue Hole, explorers found a thick layer of toxic hydrogen sulfide. Below this layer, there is no oxygen and no life, creating a graveyard for creatures like conchs, conch shells, and hermit crabs that had fallen into the hole and suffocated.
Why is the Blue Hole so important?
The Great Blue Hole is of great significance due to its rich biodiversity. It is home to several species of sharks, including Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, hammerheads, bull sharks, and black tip sharks, making it a sought-after destination for divers around the world.
What is the story behind the Blue Hole?
The Blue Hole was formed at the end of the last Ice Age when rising seawaters flooded a series of enormous caverns. Geologists believe that these caves first formed about 153,000 years ago and were completely submerged approximately 15,000 years ago.
What two things have scientists found in the Great Blue Hole?
Scientists exploring the Great Blue Hole found a 2-liter Coke bottle and a lost GoPro camera containing some vacation photos. They also encountered the remains of two likely out of three people who were lost in the Blue Hole. However, they decided against attempting any recovery.
Why aren’t bodies recovered from the Blue Hole?
The recovery of bodies from the Blue Hole is highly risky and complex. Below a certain depth, there is a layer of hydrogen sulfide, beneath which there is no oxygen. Anything that falls into the hole and reaches these depths is preserved, creating a chilling underwater graveyard. The absence of oxygen and the presence of toxic gases make recovery attempts extremely dangerous.
What was at the bottom of the Blue Hole?
At the bottom of the Blue Hole, explorers found the remains of two divers, a 2-liter Coke bottle, and a lost GoPro camera with vacation photos. However, due to the inherent risks and complexities involved, the team decided against attempting any recovery.