Blue Hole in Santa Rosa
The diving capitol of the southwest may be in Santa Rosa. Every year thousands of scuba divers flock to Blue Hole for the cobalt blue waters and great visibility underwater.
Blue Hole is a cenote. A sinkhole that forms as a result of collapsing limestone bedrock. The artesian spring that feeds Blue Hole supplies 3,000 gallons of water per minute. This constant inflow of water maintains an even temperature even in the depth of winter and heat of summer. The water is a constant 62 degrees year-round. Cenotes are formed in areas where the pressure of standing water above ground interacts with erosion below ground. The conditions around Santa Rosa have formed Blue Hole, Hidden Lake, Twin Lakes, Perch Lake, Bass Lake, Post Lake, and Rock Lake.
In the 1970s, Blue Hole Recreation Area was created and the entrance to the underground caverns suppling the water was sealed due to the deaths of two divers in 1976. During the effort to recover the bodies of the divers, one diver reached a ledge at a depth of about two hundred feet. At that point, he was unable to see either the bottom or sides of the underwater cavern indicting that it must be quite large.
All the lakes are connected by this water-filled system of caverns. There is speculation that the caverns may reach a depth of well-over three hundred feet. Scientific interest about the underwater caverns is high and the process to gain physical access to map the caverns is on-going.