Escape is a term tossed about lightly, but if there is a dive that offers more opportunity for escape than Belize's Blue Hole, I will eat my regulator. The Blue Hole owes its existence to the collapse of a series of caverns that, in the end, formed the world's largest sinkhole, roughly 300 feet across and some 480 feet deep. The physical act goes like this: You follow a slope to a ledge at 45 feet; beyond the ledge, straightaway free-fall; at 110 feet, a cavern with stalactites up to six feet thick and 40 feet long. Blah, blah, blah. Escape is not about numbers. It's about hypnotism, the moment when the mind succumbs.
Finning between the Blue Hole's massive stalactite fangs is less like diving and more like weaving through a fairytale temple, its columns crafted by a power beyond our ken. Thinking back on the dive, I remember a few practicalities: viz like the last of a dusky blue evening, the distant sooty shadows of blacktip sharks. But the rest is gone, wiped clean by nature's hypnotic hand. It is a fine trick, and the Blue Hole performs it with élan. For more information, visit sportdiver.com/belize.