Almost all of us played a variation of the game where you take a baseball bat, hold it to the ground with your forehead, and spin in circles around it. The disorienting effect you get from doing that is not very different than what you might find as a diver swimming through The Arch. This vertigo effect is even more enhanced by a dangerous illusion. While swimming in this beautiful vista, you’ll likely think that the journey is much shorter than it actually is. This is caused by various lighting and depth illusions that our eyes aren’t built to deal with.
Many consider the Blue Hole in Sinai, especially The Arch, to be one of the most dangerous diving spots on the planet. It’s been estimated that over 200 people have died in these waters due to the disorienting nature of The Arch. While this sea corner may seem less important in the short term, it will have much more catastrophic consequences if not dealt with. We are talking about the pollution on the nearby shores.
Widely Accessible to All
What made the Great Blue Hole in Belize unique was just how far removed it was from anything in the region. You had to take a long boat ride just to get to it, which meant that there weren’t many visitors there. In contrast, the Red Sea’s Blue Hole, which resides in the Sinai Peninsula, is so easily accessible that you can get to it from the rocky shores of the beach. While Sinai’s Blue Hole is just as captivating and attractive as the one in Belize, it is much more dangerous and potentially fatal to inexperienced divers and unsuspecting tourists.
This attractive area almost calls you to scan it and jump straight in. Everything there looks comfortable and relatively safe, most likely due to its proximity to the beach. This also gives the illusion that because you’re so close to the beach, the water must not be that deep. While it may be true in some areas, it's very much based on your location. Depending on where you enter Sinai’s Blue Hole, you’ll either find yourself in an enjoyable deep dive or in a tough fight for your life.
The main culprit behind Sinai’s Blue Hole's notorious danger is a structure known as “The Arch”. This rocky structure creates a tunnel under the coral reef, it’s a beautiful and dark arch of rocks that stretches into the ocean, providing an exit to the sea. You swim through it to get from the Blue Hole into the open Red Sea, which rests on the other side of the reef. Many divers specifically go into the Blue Hole to have the pleasure of swimming through The Arch, only to find themselves regretting their decision minutes later.
The invisible threat that lurks in these peaceful and beautiful waters is the disorienting effect of The Arch. This passage causes many divers to lose their sense of direction, often making them swim down directly to their deaths. A very common phenomenon in flight is called “vertigo,” which describes a situation where the plane's pilot loses their sense of balance. While we may know about this phenomenon in regards to flying, it also occurs to divers. Nitrogen Narcosis is the illusion’s name, and it doesn’t matter how experienced or talented you may be — this can fatally affect the rest of the dive.
Pollution Extends Further Than You Think
While most people agree that pollution is a very bad thing, most don’t know why or just how bad its extent is. The common belief is that these pollutants can mostly be found on our beaches and waters close to them, but the reality extends much further. Even if you travel all the way to the Mariana Trench, which resides in a distant part of the Pacific Ocean, man’s pollution would still be there. This area, which extends 36,000 away from the Red Sea, is absolutely littered with plastic bags. These are the same plastic bags that you use when buying milk at the grocery store.
Plastic bags act a lot like jellyfish and, by their floating nature, can travel as far as the waters will take them. This means that no matter how far you go into the ocean, plastic can get there. These pieces of non-degradable waste aren’t just bad for the environment, they also kill wildlife. Various scientists and divers try to document the location, amount, and effect of this pollution. They have collected pictures and videos documenting mankind’s wasteful habits for over three decades in the Deep-Sea Debris Database.
The Deep-Sea Debris Database
After three decades of meticulous recording, the Deep-Sea Debris Database reached various important conclusions. First and foremost, plastic is the main culprit behind the ocean’s pollution, specifically plastic bags. While you may find other materials in the oceans, such as wood, metal, rubber, and cloth, none of them are as destructive or as prevalent as plastic. Almost 90% of the plastic found in the ocean is single-use. This means that regular everyday objects such as disposable utensils, plastic cups, and water bottles are the biggest sources of pollution.
This is directly opposed to the common perception that most of the ocean’s waste comes from big corporations and factories, as these are clearly regular household items used by billions of people daily. You may think that a part of the ocean that’s as remote as the Mariana Trench is likely barren of life, but it actually hosts many living organisms, from beautiful coral to large octopuses. Unfortunately, they are in serious danger due to the plastic roaming around in the oceans and sitting at its bottom. When divers found out just how bad things were, they immediately published their findings.