The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa – A Scuba Diver’s Oasis

A Watery Oasis in the High Desert

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The Blue Hole – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Great big surprises can come in small packages.  The Blue Hole is one of those surprises.  Mid-way between Albuquerque and Amarillo in the town of Santa Rosa, NM, a natural spring fed lake is a respite oasis going as far back as the days of cowboys and indians.  Part of a seven lake system in the area, it was once a hatchery, a recreation area and now a dive training and conference center.

I didn’t know what to expect on my first visit to the Blue Hole.  Watching people walk up the stone steps, I thought it must be over the hill.  As I got closer to the crowds, I was so wrong.  Right on the edge of the parking lot, was the most gorgeous hue of blue water I have ever seen.  And I’ve seen some water in my days.

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Such an incredible BLUE!

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The Blue Hole

Formed by a naturally occurring sinkhole, “blue holes” can be found across the globe.  The waters’ clarity makes it a divers dream.  Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole has incredibly clear water with visibility of 100′  The outflow of water is 3000 gallons per minute, which means the water is completely recycled every 6 hours.   This also keeps the temperature a stable 61 degrees.  The top side diameter is 60 ft, however the bottom expands like a bell to a diameter of 130 ft.

Divers come from hours away to participate in certification dives and others come to dive this Blue Hole. The day I visited, there were at least a half-dozen tents for dive companies.  It all seemed very orderly and divers took turns with their group in the water.  A fact to know if you plan to visit, due to its elevation of 4616 ft., divers must use altitude adjustable gauge tables.

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Giving instructions to divers

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Rescue instruction

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Tanks can be rented or refilled on location

During breaks, young divers took advantage of the rock formations for some fun.  Someone got cold feet at the last second, but eventually jumped.

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The large red and white buoys in the middle of the water are guide lines that divers hold on to when descending toward the bottom.  I have to admit, learning to scuba dive is on my bucket list.  But the “dive wear” intimidates me and my “ample frame”.  Maybe one day?

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Gathering to prepare to dive

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The Blue Hole is NOT just for divers.  

This watery oasis is open to swimmers also.  With the water temp of 61 degrees, swimmers didn’t stay in the water for extended amounts of time.  Many took frequent warm-up periods in the sun.  There is a small area with picnic tables making it an ideal afternoon picnic outing.  Simple tailgating is also an option.  Seating around the water is limited to a few rock ledges.

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Easy access stairs

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Ladies leisurely swim in this high desert oasis

All ages took the challenge to jump from the rocky ledge.  Jumpers watch for bubbles directly under the ledge.  When the area is clear of divers, the jumping begins.  I didn’t see any life guards, so swimming and jumping are at your own risk.

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The Jump…

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Contact…

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Splash Down…

Whether you want to dive or take a leisurely dip, the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is a little oasis for everyone.

A wonder of nature to be enjoyed and treasured.

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Cost: $5.00 Parking Fee; Divers must buy a $20 Scuba permit

Location/Maps

Santa Rosa Blue Hole

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Nancie Lee

Nancie Lee is a freelance photographer and inspired writer with an insatiable desire to explore the world. Her website, Aperture Of My Soul combines her love for photography with her love of travel. Engaging others to pursue their greatest authentic life, she inspires them to "adventure boldly on their journey".

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20 Responses

  1. Virginia says:

    I’ve lived in New Mexico 40 years or so and I’ve never visited this place. Your photos are inspiring!

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Thank you Virginia! I thought it was a beautiful little place. I’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive…maybe one day!

  2. Anda says:

    Scuba diving is not my cup of tea, but in a place like this even I would have fun.
    Anda recently posted…Sparreholm Castle – a Collector’s Dream Come TrueMy Profile

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Anda,

      I think the swimmers enjoyed it just as much as the divers. Even though it was very active with people, the water was very calming. I would like to visit during the week and see if it was less busy and a nice quiet place to enjoy. Thank you very much!

  3. Such crystal clear water! I’m not a diver so it’s awesome to know that this is a fab place for swimming too – glad you had a wonderful day!

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Megan,

      The swimmers seemed to have just as much fun. Just be prepared for the cold temp of the water. On a hot day, I’m sure it feels fabulous! Thank you so much!!

  4. Wow this looks like a great place to dive. Diving is so much fun! Who cares about the wetsuit – we all look the same underwater with our BCDs, tanks and regulators on! Please don’t let size put you off. Divers come in all shapes & sizes, men & women. It’s one of the most non-judgemental sports I have ever participated in! Everyone has to squeeze into their wetsuits – the only way I can get into mine is to slosh soapy water on the inside first to make it easier to slip into! And once you’re underwater – wow, the marine life is incredible! You’ll be distracted by what you can see. Diving groups are really supportive too! You can always do an intro course to start with where you buddy up with another instructor before deciding if you want to go on to become certified. You won’t regret it!
    Juliette @ Snorkels to Snow recently posted…Scuba Diving at South Sea Island, FijiMy Profile

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Juliette,

      Thank you so much for the encouragement!! I’ll have to remember the soapy water trick. I’ve looked at the local dive clubs in the past to take the beginner class to learn the gear, but never signed up. I can make that a 2017 goal for myself. I really want to see the marine life and to hopefully photograph it!! Thank you!!!!!

  5. I am a diver and want to dive a blue hole so appreciate you bringing this one to my attention. I have pinned this for future reference, thank you. #theweeklypostcard

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Angie,

      Glad you have a new place to check out. I’m sure you will have a blast when you get to dive one! Thank you very much!!

  6. Never heard of a blue hole! This would be so much fun to do with my kids. Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂
    Carmen’s Luxury Travel recently posted…Four Seasons Hotel Prague: Czech Elegance and LuxuryMy Profile

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Carmen,

      Your kids would love it! Especially if they like jumping from high places! haha Not me!! It’s a fun family stop. Hope you can get there one day. Thank you so much!

  7. Nancie, I am not into diving or much of a water person, but this does look like a lot of fun. It’s great to see a place that all ages can enjoy together. Thanks for sharing with #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe recently posted…What’s the fuss about Kuta?My Profile

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Lyn,

      I’m thinking during the week there are less divers and more swimmers. I think to stop and cool off, it’s a fun family stop. Thanks for hosting #TheWeeklyPostcard!!

  8. The thought of diving scares me a bit but this looks like a lot of fun! I had never heard of blue holes before either. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted…Spending 24 Hours In Seville: The HighlightsMy Profile

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Lauren,

      I want to learn to dive, but don’t want fish too close to me!! Is that crazy or what?? I just want to take photos from a distance. haha This is a great place for swimmers too. I wonder if during the week there are less divers to maneuver passed. 😉 Thank you so much!!

  9. Sheena says:

    There seems to be more Blue Holes in the world than I thought! More than just The Great Blue Hole in Belize anyway! I didn’t go there but visited another place named the Blue Hole in Belize, believe it or not 🙂

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Sheena,

      I actually thought Blue Holes were only in places like Belize. Never imagined here. Carol from Wayfaring Views says there is one in Utah too. Hope you enjoyed the Belize one! I hope to see it one day. Thanks so much!!

  10. They have a crazy diving hole like that in Utah too- it’s called Bonneville Seabase. So weird to have a tropical diving experience in the desert.

    • Nancie Lee says:

      Carol,

      It really is weird. I ignored the signs for the Blue Hole every time I traveled that way, until a neighbor said how cool it was. She was right. I’ll have to watch for Bonneville Seabase next time I’m in Utah!! Thanks so much!

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