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Blue Hole (Santa Rosa, NM)Trip report. 9-8-18

Discussion in 'Rocky Mountain Region' started by Jayfarmlaw, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    1,285
    1,012
    113
    IMG_2081.JPG IMG_2082.JPG IMG_2081.JPG Long story short...we have a trip to dive Catalina Island next month and I wanted to make sure my wife could dive cool water. Blue Hole was the closest option.

    We live South of OKC so it's about a 6 hour drive for us. I booked a room at the Econo-lodge for $77 and off we went. For us, it's literally go to I-40 and turn left...drive 6 hours. We stopped in Amarillo for a steak at the Big Texan and watched a guy not make the hour deadline for the 56 ounce steak. Steak wasn't bad, wife and I split a 24 oz ribeye for $29.

    We stopped in Tucumcari to top off with fuel, but there is plenty of places in Santa Rosa. We got to the hotel at about 10:30 and no one would answer the door. After ringing the doorbell and knocking for 5-10 minutes, the night manager appeared and checked us in. Room was clean, bed was hard as concrete, room worked for what we needed.

    To get to Blue Hole, Turn South at the Super 8. Drive about a quarter of a mile, turn East, and follow the signs. You have to check in and pay a $20 fee each to dive, don't forget your c-card and drivers license. They don't like solo divers....but they won't turn you away either. Staff is very friendly.

    Once you get there, the dive shops seem to park on the side of the building where the airfill shack is. Lady is really nice. I like having a picnic table to gear up on so we parked East of the main building in the lot with the picnic tables you can back right up to. It's a bit of a longer walk...but not bad. I wore a dive skin, 7mm full suit, 5mm gloves, and semi dry hood. Wife wore a 3mm lavacore, 3 mm full suit, hyperstretch hood and gloves.

    There are two entry points for the Blue Hole, steps, and a giant stride. I recommend to giant stride to get the cool water shock over with. I took a few extra weights with me and dropped them on a ledge about 5 feet deep just in case we needed them. I had no idea how much weight to start with, but 20 pounds for me was right once I swam down to compress the suit. I was fine after that. Wife was 20 pounds as well, but pulled 6 pounds out during the dive.

    Wife's comment was, "there is nothing to see..". I thought, "There is everything to see." True, there is no marine life whatsoever, and I saw two crawdad cacasses (crayfish in Southern speak) The entry to the cave is filled in with a grate installed, and a memorial plaque is place at the entrance. There are a few concrete faces scattered about, a pair of sunglasses, and little bits of trash (we picked up what we found). If you need pretty fish to entertain you...this is not the place for you.

    What it is is Chrystal clear water, especially if you are there in the morning before it gets stirred up, then it is still 40 feet +. You can see the layers of limestone in the walls and the way it collapsed leave lots of short overhead that I enjoyed swimming into. There are 3 PVC rails
    At 30 and 15 feet that were being used by a couple of classes while we were there. There is also a dive platform that swimmers jump off of that is maybe 10 feet above the water. The swimmers showed up in force at about 11:30 or so and made using the stairs to get out a bit crowded.

    There is also a "divers room" with large heaters and very nice clean bathrooms with hot showers. Not lukewarm state park showers, but honest thaw your chilled butt out showers. Other than a dead battery from leaving the suburban doors open too long while gearing up, we had no issues and had a great time. I'll go back anytime, even though I feel like the stay puff marshmallow man in a 7 mm. We met people from around Dallas, Southern Colorado, Clovis, and Sante Fe, and a great dog named Louis. A local swimming with his family jumped our suburban off and we were on our way. Everyone was friendly.

    We only ate at one restaurant, Comet II, it was really good but OMG make no mistake it's spicy. Wife asked for mild and could not finish her meal. Good food, the green chille was amazing, but I may not taste anything for a week. I'd still do it again.

    All in all a good time, it was a long 6 hour drive back but a Red Bull or 2 fought off the need for a nitrogen nap.

    Safe travels,
    Jay
     

    Attached Files:

    Streydog likes this.
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,080
    113
    Nice review!
    Next time ask for the scuba diver rate and get a few more bucks off.
     
  3. beaverdivers

    beaverdivers ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    2,820
    612
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    What day(s) of the week were you there?

    What was the best vis. that you experienced?
     
  4. 1000RR

    1000RR Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Merritt Island, FL
    182
    95
    28
    I used to live in NM for many many years... Am actually going back this week for some business. Always get my fill of Green and Red Chile (locals would call that "Christmas")... NM spice is great! I miss that!
     
  5. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    1,285
    1,012
    113
    Hey BD! I bought 2 MK25evo/s600's from you last year. I only intended to buy one, but I let my wife breath off of mine and you know how that goes. Buying another was cheaper than half of everything I own.... mine was barely used, hers was practically new. Still diving them today and grinning from ear to ear, not only about the deal, but just how good they really breathe. Thanks again!

    We dove Saturday Morning after driving in Friday night. We left at about 4 pm, our last dive ended around 1. Had stuff to do in Oklahoma on Sunday. We did not have any altitude issues since our drive home was downhill, I think yours would be uphill so plan accordingly.

    visability...errr, uhhh, I have a confession, I'm blind if it is past my fingers and I don't have my glasses on. Distance wise, in the morning when there were less than a dozen divers in the water, you could see clearly from side to side, which I think is around 80+ feet. Once the swimmers showed up just before noon, there seemed to be little bits of algae falling like snow but you could still see 40 feet plus. I'm pretty sure you could still see a diver on the other side, just less clear.

    Compared to Oklahoma Lake diving where 5 feet is outstanding visability, this was amazing...but chilly. I don't know that my wife will make the trip, but I will. Actually, I thought the water felt amazing. Full disclosure...I'm happy anytime I'm blowing bubbles. I've never dove a septic tank...but I might...

    It's about the same drive for y'all as it is for me. Probably too far for open water classes, but a great weekend trip.

    Thanks again for the great deal on the regs, still waiting on those edibles...

    Jay
     
  6. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,080
    113
    The diagram of the Blue Hole at the bottom of this site is accurate. It was made by a computer program using actual measurements made using a long cloth tape.

    There is a pretty good flow coming out of the cave below, which is the only inlet. The large snorkel-like device sitting on top of it does restrict that flow somewhat, but it still provides more fresh water than you would expect. You can see how much is coming in by looking at the flow of the outlet stream at the top. That silt is cleared out from time to time. (I mucked up that cave considerably a few times, and it cleared out pretty quickly.) This movement from bottom to top keeps the water pretty clear. Fine gray silt does accumulate on the bottom, and divers stir it up enough to lessen that visibility.
     
    Sam Miller III likes this.
  7. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,865
    3,456
    113
    @Jayfarmlaw

    What a great write up of the Blue Hole !
    (and thank you Boulder John for the info on the filter systems)

    We visited the Blue Hole two years ago on a cross country trailer trip.
    And it is a big hole that the water appears blue Not much larger that a swimming pool but considerably deeper. And I assume colder than the heated back yard swimming pool-- but it is a God send to divers from the desert New Mexico

    I mingled among the divers occasionally stopping to chat and snap a picture as my wife prepared lunch

    One conversation I so vividly recall was with a supper duper instructor I believe from NM. It was an educational eye opener on diving. I was informed that there was absolutely no recreational diving before PADI came along, that PADI created UW instruction programs. which others copied to create sub standard programs, even there were no diving periodicals or books on diving prior to PADI.
    I was informed that he was qualified to teach every thing from diving to UW basket weaving.


    That was not his day to attempt to impress the visitor from California!


    I had a "little chat" but to no avail, so I looked around for the rug to knell on that uninformed divers paid their tribute to such an informed knowledgeable PADI Instructor. Apparently it had not been unloaded so I continued on my way with clean knees and lunch

    Encounters and conversations like this certainly makes me appreciate my friend @boulderjohn - we don't always agree-
    But either does me and my wife- And John she has a doctorate in education from USC, is a retired college president and has been diving over 45 years-- How about that!

    Once again great write up and pictures of the Blue Hole !-- Appreciated- brought back some interesting memories

    Sam Miller, 111

    cc
    @beaverdivers
    .
     
    1000RR likes this.

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