In 1976, a system of caves was found at Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, puzzling the New Mexico State Police Force that discovered and diagrammed it. They concluded that the caves reach at least 225 feet deep. After the caves were found, the decision was made to seal them off with a locked grate for purposes of safety, but a group of divers now believe there is more to be found.
“The exploration is a one-time event and cave diving will not become an ongoing practice at the Blue Hole,” the news release stated. “The Blue Hole is a Santa Rosa city park and the entrance to the cave system has been sealed since the recovery of the bodies of two Oklahoma State University divers who were lost in the underwater caverns.”
The Advanced Diver Magazine (ADM) Exploration Foundation came to an agreement with the city that will allow the gates to be opened and explored by a research team of experienced scuba divers. According to the news release, the team is equipped to dive 350 feet down and nearly a mile from the entrance of the cave, as long as the underwater passages allow it. The goal of the team is to explore, document, and survey anything they discover in the caves.
“If the divers find there are more caves to explore and research to conduct than the adventure allows, they might plan a return trip with even more extensive dive equipment,” the news release stated. “In addition to exploration and research, the ADM Exploration Foundation is hoping to gather materials from Blue Hole for a documentary to air on Discovery, National Geographic, or similar outlet.”
The team represents years of work done by the ADM Foundation that has examined thousands of caves in North, Central, and South America. Each team member has been diving for a minimum of 15 to 25 years, so the knowledge base of each diver is high. The team coordinator is Curt Bowen, who handpicked each team member with their specific expertise in mind, which includes things cave biology, surveying, photography, and cinematography. To date, the ADM team currently holds exploration records for the two deepest and longest underwater caves within North America with depths in excess of 450 feet and linear passages of over seven miles, the news release stated.
Blue Hole is known for its superb scuba diving and will remain open for recreational scuba diving as well as the visiting public from beginning September 12 through 19 when the dive will be carried out. Stay tuned to the City of Santa Rosa website to be aware of any changes in diving restrictions during this time.