So here we are in Santa Rosa New Mexico at the Santa Rosa Lake State Park. In all honesty, not one of our favorite New Mexico State Parks, but we needed to get closer to Aburquerque so Ric could get labs and medications at the VA Hospital located there – we used it on our last BIG trip in 2011, so those VA folks had access to all of Ric’s data. Anyway – Santa Rosa is OK, but that’s it – we canoed the lake in 2011 and there was no real challenge there, and we hike pretty much daily, and there are only 3.5 miles or so of trails in the park so it lacks challenge in that regard. We wanted to give it a fair shot, so, lacking a clear memory of our last visit, we decided to explore “town”. In the process we saw a couple of really interesting things – the first, surprisingly was a Brewery! We did an illegal “U” turn and went back for a closer look.
Unfortunately, after taking the above picture, Ric walked over to the building and looked more closely. The dogs at the house next door barked-more challenging then welcoming-but the place was locked and appeared to be inactive.
“Oh well” – back to exploring – the next sign we saw that intrigued us we just had to follow to its conclusion:
Having survived the billboard broadside for “The Thing” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_%28roadside_attraction%29) on our way west, we had no idea of what to expect, but being the best part of gullible, we bit.
As it turned out, the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is a circular, bell shaped pool, that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the US for SCUBA diving and SCUBA training! This Blue Hole is an artesian well that used to be a fish hatchery. It is a clear blue body of water with a constant temperature of 64 °F (18 °C) according to Wikipedia – though the local sign
states that the temperature is 61 degrees, with a constant water inflow of an incredible 3000 gallons per minute! While the surface is only 80 feet (24 m) in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130 feet (40 m) at the bottom – hence the “bell” shape.
Since this pool is located along Route 66 and Interstate 40 which pass through the Sandia Mountains on the way to
Albuquerque, NM, divers must use high-altitude dive tables to compute their dive analysis and decompression stops when
diving in the Blue Hole.
A local diving permit is necessary to use the pool and can be purchased from the city of Santa Rosa for $8 which allows
one-week of diving.
Followers of our blog know that our daughter, at the age of 3 coined a description for her old man that has stuck for decades – with hands on hips and brow in serious frown mode, she called Ric an “ignor-anus” so many thanks to Wikipedia and its contributors for the definition of a “Blue Hole”! A Blue Hole is a underwater cave (inland) or sinkhole, also known as vertical caves. There are many different blue holes located around the world, typically in low-lying coastal regions. Some better known examples of blue holes can be found in Belize, the Bahamas, Guam, Australia (in the Great Barrier Reef), and Egypt (in the Red Sea).
In general, blue holes are roughly circular, vertical depressions, and are named for the dramatic contrast between the
dark blue, deep waters of their depths and the lighter blue of the shallows around them. Often their water circulation is
poor,(unlike the Santa Rosa example, with its 3000 gallon per minute flow) and they are commonly anoxic below a certain
depth; this environment is unfavorable for most sea life, but nonetheless can support large numbers of bacteria.
The deep blue color is caused by the high transparency of water and bright white carbonate sand. Blue light is the strongest
part of the spectrum; other parts of the spectrum—red, yellow, and finally green—are absorbed during their path through
water, but blue light returns upon reflection.
The deepest blue hole in the world-at 392 meters (1,286 ft) is Pozzo del Merro in Italy. The deepest blue hole in the
world with underwater entrance—at 202 metres (663 ft)—is Dean’s Blue Hole, located in a bay west of Clarence Town on
Long Island, Bahamas. Other blue holes are about half that depth at around 100–120 metres (330–390 ft) which makes the Santa Rosa Blue Hole one of the “shallower” examples in the world at its “paltry” 81 foot depth. The diameter of the top entrance for Blue Holes ranges typically from 25–35 metres (82–115 ft) (Dean’s Blue Hole) to 300 metres (980 ft) (Great Blue Hole in Belize).
Blue holes formed during past ice ages, when sea level was as much as 100–120 metres (330–390 ft) lower than at present.
At those times, these formations were targets of the same erosion from rain and chemical weathering common in all
limestone-rich terrains; this ended once they were submerged at the end of the ice age.
In the past, many different fossils have been discovered that indicate the type of life forms that have existed in
various blue holes. These fossils have indicated different types of flora and fauna life forms that have existed in there
before. For example, one may find fossils of crocodiles and tortoises in a blue hole.
This spot obviously attracts a lot of folks in the heat of the summer, however, unless you dive deep, you probably can never really appreciate the real attraction of this spot, and others like it around the world.
Once again – thank you to Wikipedia and its contributors for the correct information regarding these unique natural