The Great Blue Hole has been the subject of several books and documentaries, including The Man Who Fell to Earth. Recently, Richard Branson led an expedition to the bottom of the hole. The expedition included Erika Bergman, Fabien Cousteau’s grandson, and several other experts. Since the expedition, researchers have produced 3D maps of the hole’s interior and a mini-documentary about their findings. Erika Bergman discusses her findings with Mark Atherton, a sonar expert on the expedition. Mark Atherton also shares his experience dropping through the hole’s hydrogen-sulfate layer, a layer that has no oxygen.
The bodies of Yuri Lipski, a Russian diver, are among the missing from the Red Sea’s Great Blue Hole. The accident occurred in 2000, when the diver descended into the Blue Hole at a depth of 115 metres. He carried a video camera with him and was attempting to capture the incident with it. However, the water pressure proved too much for him to keep control and he began hurtling toward the bottom of the Blue Hole. He was also carrying too much camera equipment and only had one oxygen tank, making it even more difficult.
Yuri Lipski’s conch graveyard:
Yuri Lipski, a Russian-Israeli diver, died in April 2000 after diving into the Great Blue Hole. His death was recorded by a camera he had worn during the dive. The footage was recovered after his death and has been viewed more than eight million times on YouTube. Lipski’s distress is palpable throughout the video, which is filled with footage of his last moments before his untimely death. He died of nitrogen narcosis (a similar effect to nitrous oxide) after accidentally removing his regulator.
Yuri Lipski’s dive team:
A diver, Tarek Omar, recovered the body of Yuri Lipski after the tragedy occurred. Omar was the best deep-water diver in the world and had failed to warn Lipski of the dangers of the dive. Lipski’s camera was recovered unharmed and the footage of his final moments is now available on YouTube. In the footage, Lipski is seen struggling and disorienting before he suddenly stops breathing.
Scuba diving at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole:
Getting to the bottom of the Great Blue Hole requires a long descent. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you’ll descend another forty feet (12 meters), descending along a sandy limestone shelf that starts as a wall at 1/3 of a meter. At the halfway point, the shelf becomes covered with coral, making for a gradual incline up to the dark abyss. The local dive boat will allow you about a minute to descend before releasing you into the dark. Once you’re free, you’ll see the amazing rock formations and creatures that inhabit this area.
Belize Blue Hole:
Located just 60 miles from Belize City, the Great Blue Hole was created as the sea level rose approximately 400 feet during the last ice age. Originally dry land, the sinkhole collapsed when water began to dissolve limestone, and was eventually submerged by the rising Caribbean. As sea levels climbed, the caves were filled with water and gradually flooded. The Great Blue Hole is a natural wonder that abounds in Belizean marine life.