Richard Branson to Explore the Depths of the Great Blue Hole in Belize
The legendary British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has just informed Forbes that he plans to be onboard a submarine in Belize when it explores the depths of the Belize Blue Hole. A naturally occurring phenomenon over 1,000 feet (300 meters) across and 400 feet (120 meters) deep, the Belize Blue Hole or Great Blue Hole is a section of dark blue water in the middle of the Belize Barrier Reef that covers a large underwater cave system.
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. The upcoming submarine exploration of the Belize Blue Hole will be helmed by documentarian and conservationist Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacque Cousteau. The two underwater submersible vehicles scheduled to be used for the project will be provided by Canadian-based Aquatica Submarines. Aquatica CEO Harvey Flemming has announced that he will personally be at the helm of one of his company’s Stingray 500 subs.
It is not known exactly when the submarine exploration of the Belize Blue Hole will take place, but Branson told Forbes magazine that it will happen “soon” in the autumn months before the end of 2018. Although Belize has hundreds of world-class dive sites, the Great Blue Hole has always taken pride of place both because of its unique formation and because Jacques Cousteau declared it one of his top five favorite dive sites in the world.
The upcoming plan to explore the Belize Blue Hole 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). Current plans are to also broadcast a live video and audio feed of the underwater journey. Aquatica told Forbes magazine that the exploration of the Great Blue Hole will be partly for entertainment and partly for science with an emphasis on ocean education and marine conservation.
If you’re interested in diving in or exploring the Belize Blue Hole yourself, be sure to rely on the expertise of Adventures in Belize (AIB). AIB is the top local tour company in Belize and is entirely staffed by Belizean professionals who know everything there is to know about the country, including the best ways to explore and dive the Belize Blue Hole and other amazing scuba diving sites on the reef.