Have You Seen The Documentary That Introduced Belize’s Great Blue Hole to Millions?

by Khaila Gentle


Now before us, betrayed by its indigo blue in an otherwise azure sea, is the magnificent Blue Hole itself.”

A dark and mysterious pit with no visible bottom as far as the eye can see – that is how the father of scuba diving, Jacques Cousetau, describes the Great Blue Hole in Secrets of the Sunken Caves. The second episode in season four of his TV series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, it aired on February 6, 1972 and uniquely captures the grandeur of Belize’s famous sinkhole from the perspective of the man who introduced the once secret wonder to millions. 

Demystifying the World’s Largest Blue Hole 

Secrets of the Sunken Caves is a captivating and timeless TV documentary, its tone reminiscent of beloved science fiction and adventure films. But Cousteau’s adventure and the Great Blue Hole are very much real. 

In the first half of the episode, Cousteau, accompanied by a skilled crew aboard the Calypso, is unsure whether they can successfully  navigate their way through the shallow waters and coral reefs found inside the Lighthouse Reef atoll.  He calls the Blue Hole one of nature’s strangest geological phenomena, lying almost in the center of the atoll. 

“We would need the whole arsenal of Calypso’s diving gear to probe the mystery of this deep blue cavern in the floor of the sea,” he says. 

Nevertheless, after days of preparation, and some roadblocks, Cousteau and his team make it to the point where light turquoise meets deep cobalt. 

“Tales of sea monsters and doomed ships are soon forgotten in the exhilaration of having reached our goal,” Cousteau comments. 

Similar: Diving The Great Blue Hole: What Lies Below In Belize

How to Experience the Great Blue Hole in Belize 

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The Great Blue Hole in Belize. Photo courtesy Belize Tourism Board

At 1,000 feet wide, ringed by coral, Belize’s Great Blue Hole remains a fascinating attraction for travelers and adventurers from all across the globe.  Here are some of the best ways to experience it. 

Take a flyover tour 

One of the easiest ways to see the Great Blue Hole for yourself is booking a flyover tour with a local airline. The Lighthouse Reef Atoll sits 50 miles away from San Pedro Town. The entire tour takes about an hour. 

Dive into the azure depths

Reserved for Open Water and Advanced Open Water certified divers, exploring what lies below the surface of the Great Blue Hole has been described as a truly magical experience. Witness the limestone columns and stalactites that have existed for thousands of years. 

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An aerial flight of Belize's Great Blue Hole. Photo by Duarte Dellarole
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Stalactites of the Great Blue Hole. Photo by Antonio Busiello/WWF
Photo by Skydive Belize
Image Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez
Do some skydiving

For the adrenaline junkies and those looking for bucket-list worthy adventures in Belize, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with a skydiving tour of the Blue Hole. 

Watch Cousteau’s documentary

Experience the same wonder, awe, and intrigue that the Great Blue Hole sparked in the father of scuba (and in his grandson many years later). Secrets of the Sunken Caves is available to view for free on Youtube. The documentary is 42 minutes long and also explores the fascinating blue holes of the Bahamas. 


“The future is in the hands of those who explore and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.”

– Jacques Cousteau   

Featured Photo by Leonardo Melendez Photography

Similar: The Coolest Way To See The Blue Hole in Belize? Spoiler: It’s Not On A Boat

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