Stargate Blue Hole | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
an expedition to one of the world’s most fascinating caves! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! Most people, when they think about the Bahamas,
imagine sandy beaches, blue water, and colorful coral reefs. What they generally don’t think
about is this: limestone. The Bahamas are islands built on a base of limestone—the
skeletons of ancient coral reefs accumulated over millions of years. Bahamas limestone often looks like Swiss Cheese,
because over thousands of years, slightly acidic rainwater has dissolved holes in it.
Sometimes those holes get quite large and fill with water. Hence, they become what are
known in the Bahamas as Blue Holes. Many of these Blue Holes have amazing cave
systems within them. The Blue World team has traveled to the island
of Andros in the Bahamas, to explore one of the most famous Blue Holes in the world: Stargate. Our home away from home? Small Hope Bay Lodge
on North Andros. They have a beautiful beach–an idyllic tropical location for rest and relaxation.
Hey, I’ll admit it, I don’t mind Blue World assignments in the Bahamas! I might
even just take a little nap in a hammock outside the dive shop! But not for long, because I have a meeting
with Jeff Birch, the owner of Small Hope Bay Lodge, who is taking us diving! So Jeff tell me where we are going for this
dive? Well we gotta get down here to South Andros,
to Congo Town, because Stargate is just south of that. And of course, these bights go all
the way through the island. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna leave Small Hope
which is right here, and we’re gonna drive to the airport. We’re gonna jump in the
plane, all of us and then we’re gonna fly on down here…all the way down…crossing
the bights. You’re gonna see some Blue Holes along the way, straight to Congo Town. How long of a flight is that? Oh about 25 minutes. And then after we arrive
here, we’ll offload and catch a ride to Stargate. Sounds great, I can’t wait. Oh man, it’s gonna be great, absolute adventure!
It’s gonna be great! So, early the next morning, as the sun rises,
Cameraman Tim, Todd and I get our gear ready for an early departure. We have a long day
ahead, and it starts with a ride to the airport in the back of a pickup truck loaded with
gear! At the airport, we come to the conclusion
that we have way too much gear to cram it all into a Cessna 172 along with ourselves,
so Jeff decides to make two trips down south. We load all our scuba gear into the plane
along with Cameraman Tim for the first trip. Good to know ya! Well, thanks for dropping us at the airport
and leaving us here! Hopefully, Jeff will be back for me and Todd–and
the camera gear–in an hour or so. Jeff is man of many talents. Not only is he
the owner of Small Hope Bay Lodge and a dive instructor, but he is also a pilot with over
40 years experience flying around the Bahamas. When you run a hotel in a remote place like
Andros, an airplane is practically a necessity. For Jeff, his airplane is like a car to many
people. He and cameraman Tim are off on the first
leg of our adventure, delivering the scuba gear to South Andros, which is only accessible
by plane or boat. But it’s too far by boat for a single day. In spite of a strong breeze, flying is the
only practical way to reach Stargate. The 25 minute flight takes Jeff and Tim over
the beautiful and remote landscape and coastal ocean of Andros Island. Soon, they land on
South Andros. At the Congo Town airport, they unload the
scuba gear from the airplane. That’s a lot of gear for a small plane! But Jeff does this
kind of thing all the time—it’s part of being a bush pilot! Soon, he’s back in air, on his way back
north to pick up me and Todd. We’re just sitting around at the North Andros
airport, watching the clouds roll in and wondering what the weather will bring. It’s looking
a little ominous. Jeff lands under a graying sky and the first
droplets of impending rain. We load the rest of the gear, and we’re
off. (music up) Looking out the window, I can see The Guardian
Blue Hole, where we dove last time we visited Andros. But then, things get a little exciting. We
head directly into a huge rainstorm. Rain is pelting the airplane. We can’t see anything
out the windshield. I’ve seen better visibility underwater! Fortunately, its not long before we land safely
in South Andros to meet up with Cameraman Tim. Man, that was a wild ride! With all of our team and gear finally in South
Andros, we can load it all into a van and head out to Stargate. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting,
but Stargate turns out to be practically in the middle of a neighborhood near Congo Town!
It even has a sign. We park the van the van as close as we can
and Jeff points out an interesting formation. That’s it—the Stargate fault line, right
there. Jeff is pointing out a crack in the limestone,
sometimes called a fault or a fracture. It’s actually part of a series of fractures stretching
more than ten miles, formed during the last ice age when sea levels were lower and stresses
within the rock caused some of it to break. Deep underground, this fracture is filled
with water. And we’re about to dive inside it! Look, I’m spanning the fault! It’s very
impressive. Well, you’re not impressed now but you wait, you will be impressed when we’re
diving under it! But before we can dive, we still have another
task ahead of us: hauling all the gear to the Stargate entrance. And you know what that
means! Huffing it on foot through the forest. It’s not a long walk and there’s a clear
trail. But you can really appreciate how heavy scuba gear is when you have to hike it through
the woods! Hiding in the forest, the entrance to Stargate
offers up a little surprise. The water is more than 20 feet down inside the hole! Jeff gives us a dive briefing and goes over
how we will conduct the dive. We’re gonna go down, and then it’s fresh
water here, and you have the mixing zone… Having limited access to the water, we have
to lower our gear down on ropes. It’s not the gear I’m worried about, it’s me! Once the gear is down, we start suiting up
for the dive. It has been a lot of work to get this far, and I can’t wait to see what
Stargate has to show us! So, you are going to demonstrate the proper
technique to throw yourself off this cliff and survive. Survive the near death-defying
height. I will try! Did he survive? Yeah! He’s alive! After Jeff shows us how it’s done, Todd
goes next. Woo hoo! Nicely done! OK, here comes the camera! Lowering my expensive underwater camera and
lighting system down into the water with a rope makes me a little nervous. After Todd grabs my camera for me, it’s
my turn to jump in. I’m a little excited and a little nervous, but there’s no turning
back now. It’s actually pretty fun, but I’m not
sure how we get back out! Cameraman Tim joins us and we start heading
down through the greenish water. Jeff leads us down into the weird, swirly
halocline, a layer where the fresh water at the surface mixes with the salt water below. Jeff points out ancient coral, clearly identifiable.
This is the stuff that makes up most of the limestone of the island. As I examine the limestone carefully, I can
clearly see Star coral….and Brain coral. The overhanging walls of the cavern are covered
in flowstone and stalactites. Todd backlights a stalactite to show its shape. Flowstone is a type of formation formed by
flowing water in a dry cave, leaving behind delicate limestone formations that look like
molten wax on the side of a candle. This formation took thousands of years to form. We follow Jeff into a crack in the wall at
about 80 feet. As we go deeper, the water gets clearer and clearer. There is a safety line for us to follow if
we need it. It points the way out if we get lost or lose our lights. Todd is swimming ahead of me, lighting up
the cave with powerful LED lights. Looking down, I can see the bottom of the
cave at 100 feet but as we progress down this narrow passageway, the bottom is dropping
out of sight. It drops to 200 feet, way too deep for us today. We stay near the top of
the passageway to keep as shallow as possible. The walls of the cave are decorated in all
directions with beautiful and delicate flowstone. The whole place looks like an ornately decorated
wedding cake covered in frosting! It’s hard to believe that during the last
ice age, when sea levels were much lower, this massive chasm was dry and filled with
air. Dripping water from rain up above made all these fantastic decorations. Todd stops to point out a huge flowstone formation.
I’ve never seen anything like it! Everywhere I look, my jaw drops and I am actually
having a hard time knowing where to point my camera. Next we swim into a huge space where the walls
bow outward. The water is so clear that the divers look astronauts hovering in space.
Only their bubbles betray the presence of water. Remember that crack in the ground up above?
Well right now our dive team is about 120 feet directly underneath it. That tiny little
fault line I stood across opens up into this massive submerged chasm! Soon we approach the end of the tunnel. We
reach a place where rocks have fallen in and blocked the passageway. This is where we turn
around and head back. As we head back, the water is filled with
sinking particles dislodged from the ceiling by our rising bubbles on the way in. This is an excellent time to concentrate on
filming close-ups of the delicate formations on the wall, such as these exquisite stalactites
that look like icicles of stone. Jeff points out an incredible flowstone formation
that Todd helps me film using his lights. This formation is so thin, that light passes
through it like a lampshade. Have you ever seen a rock so thin that light passes through
it? Well now you have! Because it’s thin, it’s very fragile. Todd is careful not to
actually touch it. That is cool! Soon we reach the entrance, and make our way
out of the fault and back into the cavern, where the water is green. We ascend slowly
back up through the swirly halocline. We stop at 20 feet where we must undergo 15
minutes of decompression before we can surface. Daylight is tantalizingly close. At last, we surface, thrilled with an amazing
dive. And now, all our gear has to be hauled up
on the rope. Getting ourselves out of the water is another trick altogether. That was one of the most amazing dives of
my entire life. But unfortunately now I have to climb this to get out of the water. A wooden pallet and a thin rope holding it
in place comprise my ladder to freedom. I just hope this rickety contraption doesn’t
break! All right, here we go. This isn’t too bad.
I’ll just climb out. That has got to be the most work I have ever done for a dive.
But it was so worth it. It was totally worth it. So, the Blue World team spent the whole day
hauling gear by airplane, truck and foot to reach this remote hole in the ground. It doesn’t
seem all that special from the surface, but the dive showed me an incredible world of
delicate flowstone formations inside a massive chasm filled with crystal clear water. Quite
simply: magnificent! Every time I think I have seen it all, I see something new like
this and realize there is a lot more to discover in the Blue World.

100 thoughts on “Stargate Blue Hole | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. It seems like the best things happen to Jonathan Blue underwater. Like with all his good luck with animals.

  2. Did my first ever dive a few days ago in the Bahamas and I hope to one day be able to go places like this. I know it'll take a longgg time and lots of experience though

  3. Im just wondering why is your fin kicking technic so different from freediving, or is it matter at all when diving with oxygen tanks?

  4. I had started diving in 1978 and then kind of got out of it in the early 2000s, but after watching Jonathan Bird I've been renewed and started diving again. Bought new equipment Thanks Jonathan.

  5. Hi Jonathan! This dive is awesome! I never thought this would be as beautiful. I'm not sure if you or the producers could read this. I wanted to recommend the St. Paul Subterranean River in Palawan, Philippines. We went there last summer and the cave guides told us that only a kilometer of the cave was discovered yet. I am wondering how long it is and what wonders the depths is hiding.

  6. Jonathan I have a question you took a plane going to stargate but after the dive did you took the plane back? Because after a dive you are suppuose to wait 24 hours before geting on a plane

  7. I absolutely love Blue World and I can't stop watching!! Jonathan You have such a wonderful way of explaining everything so that it's easy to understand. Thank You for opening up a beautiful and strange world .I can "explore" it right along with you!!

  8. Jonathan Bird I want you to know how much your Blue World shows mean to me. I have always loved the ocean and all the life it holds. I was born with spina bifida and I am disabled. I will never be able to travel to these amazing places and I will never be able to scuba dive, but it almost feels like I am there with you, diving and swimming and exploring these wild and beautiful places. Thank You for taking me along !!! Keep up the good work!! I LOVE all your wonderful shows.

  9. A breathtaking journey by these brave men. Keep exploring for all of us. Best of luck!!! Many thanks. Best regards, Nassa

  10. This channel needs more subscribers! And so do I! Please check out my channel that I just started! It's all about animals and adventure! It would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Are there any thin fault lines like that that are hundreds of feet deep? Like you could stand above it and look down and just see far far below?

  12. Im padi certified but since i been certified i dream to do a night dive it would be cool if i could dive with Jonathan awesome videos this allows me to understand more and learn more stuff

  13. Ive just started watching blue world im addicted now to see such beauty under the seas of the world stunning you make perfect videos thank-you you also very educational im learning a-lot god bless

  14. I'm on a vacation relaxing, instead of watching a filim, I prefer to watch Jonathan Bird's videos. Jonathan you are living in the edge man, living a freaking adventurous life, you feel and see the mystery and the beauty of nature so closely

  15. hi! can you please visit the enchanted river of hinatuan here in the Philippines? i really want to see you explore the cave systems below it. hope you'll notice me sir ?

  16. The first person to dive that hole must have some humongous balls. You don't know what awaits in the water. Maybe a giant hand will grab you.

  17. Absolutely amazingly magnificent and jaw dropping. Such clarity!! The "bubbles betrayed the presence of water" well put.

  18. Wow, wonderful. Very beautiful adventure. I have dove several blue hole that I found in the Bight of Old Robinson, Abacos Islands. A big adventure for me but not nearly as spectacular as here. Have also done cavern diving in central Florida. Where I got that same effect of being in space the water was so clear.
    The most dangerous thing you did was the plane ride. ha ha. Thanks for a wonderful Video.

  19. Jonathan Bird- MUCHAS GRACIAS POR TAN ESPECTACULARES REPORTAJES,….CON ELLO NOS DEMUESTRAS QUE LA OBRA DE LAS MANOS DE DIOS ES PERFECTO !!,…QUE EL TE BENDIGA Y TE GUARDE,…SALUDOS DESDE, PERU – ANCASH – HUARAZ.

  20. From my opinion from all episode of blue world, when we see a pond or a sea that's look boring, it actually a gate to a beautiful, wonderful, strange, dangerous and more to the other world. So now i realize that underwater world is a very beautiful world, it is not a scary place, it is heaven with proper way to get in and enjoy it

  21. I can't really imagine how much amount of time I need to get to your level of scuba knowledge and experience. Your videos are incredibly captivating. The way you explain the small details makes me so fascinated about this sport. I became recently a specialty diver and I can't wait for another trip of more dives and courses and "advenchaaaaa". We all love you ❤️.

  22. I travel along on your dive, into a world that is like walking into a mansion. The lighting on certain formations is great for the main hall. It's great to hear, how this form over time. Your camera work is perfection! But my fear ever present though, is the fact that not every where is lighted. The darkness below @ 200 feet as "Nessy" is nibbling at my feet. But my dive now is whole and complete, for Jonathan it's your feet not mine, that she wishes to dine. Bon-appiti Thanks to Jonathan again for your clear, concise, cave-ity, adventure to my fears of the dark unknown this 10-16-2019. It was just a spookacular event. Wheres my smelling salts?

  23. Everytime I see a video of you I want to be there,. I love the way u tell us the story!. Thank you veryyyyy much for share it.

  24. Thank you again friends for making such a video a successful experience.
    I thought the clear water was impressive.
    You were right about the image of floating people under water such clean clear water.
    I thought that thin side of rock flow formations with the light being able to go through it was such a rare site to see. It was worth it I believe.
    Thank you jonathan bird and proyal crew members.
    I was impressed by the safe and careful style of adventuring.
    Thank you so much.

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