Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blue hole

Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Peterson Bay Anchorage A
15°22.8206 S
167°11.6934 E

Today we took the dinghy up Nalaiafu River about 1.5 miles to its source at a "blue hole" where the river almost magically pours forth from the earth in the form of a sixty foot deep by fifty foot wide white sand bottom stone lined pool. A blue hole gets its blue character from a high percentage of dissolved sodium carbonate giving the water its surreal blue cast. The blue, but very clear water is surrounded by ancient banyan trees and the air is filled with musical calls of tropical birds and a endless shower of tree leaves. Arriving at the hole we climbed the near vertical rock bank to the out stretched limb of a banyan tree that competing for sunlight stretches its limbs well over the water providing for an exhilarating climb over the water far below and a plummet into the refreshing water below. If there ever were a place for the ultimate rope swing this would be it! Next donning snorkel gear we explored the magical waters complete with a few brightly colored tropical fish and ancient coral fragments. The clear depths of the pool presented the challenge to test my free diving skills to a known depth. The first dive I came up a bit short and the second I was more relaxed and took my time swimming slower to conserve oxygen and succeeded in touching the bottom without difficulty at fifty eight and a half feet. The view from the bottom of the hole, looking up through the water, to the trees above was nothing short of surreal. It was impossible to discern where the water stopped and the air started! On the way down the river we revealed in the sounds of the jungle birds and the sights of the towering jungle clad banks.

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