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Blue Hole, Santa Rosa NM - Santa Rosa NM


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Blue Hole is a spring 60’ in diameter at the surface (120’ at the bottom) and 80’ deep in Santa Rosa, NM. 62 degrees year round. The Blue Hole is managed by the city. A life guard is on site. Small man-made cliff for jumping in. Stairs for easy access. Plenty of parking. Outside showers. Dive permit required for small fee (highly recommended that you request in advance thru city website) Dive Site Permit/info

Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, has been visited by mammoths, native Indians, Spanish conquistadors and even famous outlaws. This deep well of clear, artesian water now hosts thousands of wet-suit-clad divers each year. Also known as "Nature’s Jewel," it’s a favorite site for dive training because of its consistent year-round water temperature and good visibility. Besides drawing divers from all across New Mexico, the spring attracts migrations of divers from Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Before the Divers Arrived On the northern edge of the Chihuahua Desert about 114 miles east of Albuquerque at a junction of Interstate 40 and old Route 66, the Blue Hole is in a virtual oasis of important watering holes in this arid land of reddish plateaus. Paleo-Indian tribes hunted mammoth and bison in this area 10,000 years ago and later began to settle near these sources of water. Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado traveled to the region in 1541 and reportedly helped name the nearby settlement of Puerto de Luna after watching the moon crest over some rock outcroppings. Native Anasazi Indians, who later became the Pueblo and Navajo tribes, dominated the area around the Blue Hole until the Plains Indians (Comanche, Apache, Ute and others) were forced into the region because of the expansion of U.S. territory. In the late 1800s, young outlaw "Billy the Kid" often visited Santa Rosa and probably cooled off in the Blue Hole before riding into town. "The Kid" was served his last Christmas dinner in Puerto de Luna in 1880 while in the custody of Sheriff Pat Garrett. The first railroad train steamed through Santa Rosa in 1901, and the Blue Hole became a popular swimming hole for both railroad workers and passengers. Less than a mile away, the railroad’s bridge over the Pecos River was later the backdrop for the John Steinbeck novel-turned-movie, "Grapes of Wrath," in which actor Henry Fonda watches a freight train cross the bridge into the sunset in the John Ford epic film. The Blue Hole’s popularity grew around 1930 when the cross-country highway called Route 66 opened up through Santa Rosa and right past the spring on a section of road that is now called Blue Hole Road. The Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway crossed eight states and three time zones. Weary travelers stopped at the Blue Hole for water and a cool dip, plus took advantage of the town’s numerous motels that opened up along the thoroughfare. The highway was moved north a short distance to its present location in 1937. The Swimming Hole Becomes a Dive Site In the 1960s the Blue Hole did a short stint as a government-run fish hatchery and later came under the control of the city of Santa Rosa for use as a recreation site. The invitingly clear water in the 81-foot- (25-m-) deep bell-shaped spring well is produced from a cave system near the well’s bottom that generates about 3,000 gallons per minute. The surface of the site is roughly oval-shaped with a diameter of 80 feet (24 m) at its widest point and approximately 60 feet (18 m) at its narrowest. The Blue Hole widens the deeper it goes until the diameter reaches 130 feet (40 m) across at its deepest depth. Divers are not only attracted to the site’s depth and water clarity, but also to its consistent water temperature that stays between 61 Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) to 64 F (18 C) all year. "Winter is our busiest season of the year," said Stella Salazar, owner and operator of the Santa Rosa Dive Center that is located adjacent to the spring. She estimates that nearly 100-200 divers converge each weekend during the winter months when most other dive sites in the surrounding states are too cold for training purposes. The numbers drop off as summer approaches and lakes heat up. Salazar’s dive store, the only one in Santa Rosa, is only open on the weekends beginning at 8 a.m. and mainly supplies air refills, rental gear and some souvenirs. While the Blue Hole is open to public diving both day and night, the City of Santa Rosa requires that divers purchase a diving permit (see sidebar) from either the City Hall or from the Santa Rosa Diver Center. Police monitor the site for dive certifications and permits. Diving without a permit can result in a $300 fine. Taking a Dive An expansive paved parking lot allows early-bird divers to park within 30 feet of the rock wall surrounding the water’s perimeter, while a natural limestone wall frames the backside. Covered picnic pavilions in the back of the parking lot offer divers a retreat to plan and prepare for their next dive. The only other building besides the dive store adjacent to the spring is an enclosed restroom/change room facility. Next to this structure is a path that leads up over the spring’s cliff face for a great view of the Blue Hole’s aquatic activities. From here you can leap off a rock outcropping over the pool’s surface and splash into the refreshing spring from a height of 12 feet (4 m). Divers enter the water in one of two ways. A rock stairwell with handrails allows for easy entry to the pool where a short ledge rests at about 3 feet (1 m) before falling off into the hole. A concrete ramp protrudes over another section of the site for giant-stride entries. Upon entry, divers can either make a free descent or follow a buoy line down to one of two square, floating platforms. Open Water course students can conduct their training drills in mid-water at a depth of approximately 20 feet (6 m). A buoy line on each corner suspends these floating staging areas. An additional line runs down from the platform to the bottom of the site where it is secured to provide both a steady support for the structure and a handy reference line for deep descents. Passing schools of anonymously donated goldfish, divers find little plant life in the Blue Hole but will discover many crawfish scattered along the bottom. At one edge of the bottom, you can still see the steel grate that keeps divers out of the cave system. City officials had it sealed 30 years ago after a diving accident. A few small rockslides have since covered up most of the grate. Two tombstones rest nearby, reminding divers of the dangers of entering caves without first being properly trained. A Variety of Training Options The floating platforms permit instructors to bring their Open Water course students to the Blue Hole to conduct skills for their training dives, but the dive site is also perfect for advanced instruction. Its depth, accessibility for night dives and its altitude of 4,600 feet (1,393 m) above sea level make it ideal for Advanced Open Water or specialty training courses, such as an Altitude Diver. Any dive over 1,000 feet (303 m) should be considered an altitude dive, so the Blue Hole’s elevation above sea level would certainly be a factor in any dive planning. While the actual depth is 81 feet, (25 m), the theoretical depth at this altitude is about 95 feet (29 m). This is because there is less air pressure (a decline of roughly 3.1 percent per 1,000 feet [303 m]) the higher a diver ascends in altitude. Since driving to a higher elevation after a dive would basically be the same as flying after diving, divers have to observe special rules after conducting an altitude dive. Divers heading back to Albuquerque after diving the Blue Hole have to off-gas several hours because the highway crosses a mountain ridge of more than 7,000 feet (2,121 m). The risk of decompression illness is increased if the route is attempted without waiting the appropriate time. If your travels take you along I-40 through historic New Mexico, you might want to bring your fins and dive gear even though tumbleweeds cross your path. You just may get in a few "kicks" off Route 66 when you dive into the clear depths of the Blue Hole.

Blue Hole appears in the midst of the desert like a great blue gem. ( Agua Negra Chiquita) Once known as Blue Lake, it is one of seven sister lakes connected underground by a vast system of water. This wonder defines Santa Rosa even as it seems to defy the surrounding red mesas. Born of a geological phenomenon called the Santa Rosa sink, the place is magic—as water always is in a land of little rain. Nomadic tribes, cowboys driving their dogies cross the Pecos, and Americans going west on the Mother Road, Route 66, all sought respite here.
In 1932 Blue Hole became a National fish hatchery, morphed into the Blue Hole Recreation Area in the seventies, and more recently expanded to become the Blue Hole Dive and Conference Center. Not just for drivers wanting to get out of the fast lane or divers eager to get on down, it’s more than just a watering hole. Now it’s a destination meeting site for everyone from brides to board chairs. Halfway between Albuquerque and Amarillo, it’s within two hours’ drive of 80 percent of all New Mexicans.

Still, we never forget that the real sapphire is the incredible beauty of the Blue Hole itself. The lake is unsurpassed for its clear, pure water. That’s why we work so hard to protect it, ensuring, for example, that that surface runoff won’t impair its purity. Like scuba divers who drive ten hours to get here, we know it’s the crystalline water that draws them in. Visibility is an astonishing 100’, due to the fact that the water completely renews itself every six hours—it’s truly never the same lake twice. What doesn’t change is the temperature—a constant 62 degrees, ideal for storing a fine Cabernet or tossing in the kids on a hot summer’s day. Within a few minutes of exiting the interchange, they’ll literally be climbing the walls—the lovely rock surrounds of Blue Hole, that is—and jumping in.

Comments

Jayfarmlaw - 10 days 7 hours ago.
Dove here 9-8-18, fun dive, wore a 7 mil full suit, semi-dry hood, 5 mil gloves, and 3 mil boots with socks. Got a little cold the second dive, but mainly because I sat on a ledge at 40 feet watching the swimmers diving in off the ledge. Great visability, especially in the morning before the swimmers show up. The arrived in mass about lunch time. Visability drops, but is still great. Water temp was 62 degrees. Air fills are available on site for $8. $20 permit to dive for a week. We did two dives, ate at the Comet II, and headed back to OK. Wife did not care for the lack of aquatic life, but I’d go back in a second. It’s not boring if you are looking for stuff...
WaterBoy700 - 12/08/2017 4:42 PM
Oooo. Cool place to dive.

Looking for dive buddies on or about the 23rd or so of Dec.

Michael

415-846-2450
aquaphile - 7/09/2017 8:00 PM
Went diving here 7/8/2017, did 2 morning Nitrox dives, then a night dive (also on Nitrox). Viz was ok, about 30-40ft. Someone had put a large wooden treasure chest (temporarily?) on the bottom I think the night before. Tons of swimmers in the morning. 2nd morning dive had to wade through a line swimmers going in/out & there were at least 6-8 other divers in a class group. Saw a few fish on the morning dives, found someone’s log book on the bottom & luckily met the diver at the end of our dive as he was going in!
Night dive was lots of fun, no other divers around, saw a large catfish at least 2ft long, saw several crawfish on the stairs as we were getting out. Thunderstorm had rolled through the area late afternoon but finally cleared up enough by about 7:00-7:30pm so we could dive that night.
divercharles - 6/30/2017 4:27 PM
Rating Added: 3
A nice relaxing dive site. Love it especially during off-season, as one only needs a diving permit to dive it. From Memorial Day to Labor Day one has to have also a parking permit, which I find aggrevating and annoying. I always get the seasonal passes to avoid the aggrevation.
WaterBoy700 - 11/30/2016 9:15 AM
Hello everyone!
I’m not sure yet if I like the parking lot changes yet or not. . ? Is more difficult to get A big truck in the parking lot than before? The picnic tables are A great improvement! But all the parking changes, I m not sure of yet.
Michael Brown
WaterBoy700 - 11/30/2016 9:10 AM
Hello.

I for sure will be going back to the Blue Hole again as soon as possible. Maybe I can see more mermaids, excuse me, I mean fish. 24th of November. I did notice that the parking lot has some changes. Ñ
WaterBoy700 - 11/30/2016 9:07 AM
Hello everyone!
I went diving again in the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico. On the 24th of November. After my dive I ran into A sexy mermaid from Pennsylvania who was swimming in her bathing suit! Cold, I don’t know what was more exciting seeing the very colorful FISH, or her. ! LOL.
aquaphile - 11/27/2016 9:49 PM
Went diving here for the first time on 10/24/2016. Weather was great, sunny, though air temp was a little chilly at about 8:00am (mid 50’s). Wore a cheapie 7mil (Akona) & stayed nicely warm with that, 7/4 mil AquaLung hood, 5mil Mares gloves, 5mil Tusa boots, & just a rashguard & swimtrunks under the suit.
Being a Monday we had the entire place virtually to ourselves, crystal clear vis - so good in fact that down at 50-55 ft (with nobody swimming at the surface) we could look up at midday & clearly see the top of the tallest tree at the water’s edge! Saw several fish, some fairly colorful. Will definitely go back.
joshuabell9780 - 7/02/2016 5:07 PM
I went scuba diving here on 7/2/2016.
Great vis, overall outstanding dive. I was in a Mares 8.6.5 and was comfortable. Water temp was 61 degrees. Swimmers like to leave a lot of trash that ends up in the water so we cleaned it up a bit while we were down there. Saw a few fish and crawfish are out in full force in the evening.
WaterBoy700 - 7/02/2016 11:05 PM
I go there a lot.
NMGoose - 7/02/2016 11:18 PM
I havent been there in a year but heard the city rep is a real jackass. Don’t know what Stella can do for you but, can still talk with her about it. it effects HER business.
WaterBoy700 - 3/16/2016 12:14 PM
I went scuba diving here on 3/12/2016. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
Love This Place. ☺
WaterBoy700 - 3/09/2016 9:15 AM
I went scuba diving here on 3/5/2016. Average viz: 11-15ft/3-5m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
Group of 13 in the Water when I went to the Blue Hole on the 5th of March. Like I said I love this place :)
61 degrees all the time. What else do you want?!
WaterBoy700 - 2/07/2016 11:49 AM
I went scuba diving here on 1/20/2016. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
Very clear water, might be a little more water in the hole than last time.

Warm water in the opening to the caves??
eod13x - 6/09/2015 10:46 AM
Rating Added: 3
Great training Site! Good dive site to do checkout dives as well. Not much to see although the viz is pretty decent, unless a bunch of divers are in the water. Also, it can get pretty crowded since it is one of the few decent dives in the area.
scubawertz - 9/28/2015 4:04 AM
Haven’t been back in a couple of years. Is the visitor center open or is it still closed and vacant?
WaterBoy700 - 12/03/2015 7:20 PM
If they know ur come they will have someone waiting to take ur MoneY.. OR THE risk is yours. 😆
WaterBoy700 - 12/03/2015 7:22 PM
Remember I m afaid 0 sharks . 😕
WaterBoy700 - 12/03/2015 7:22 PM
If they know ur come they will have someone waiting to take ur MoneY.. OR THE risk is yours. 😆
WaterBoy700 - 12/07/2015 8:42 AM
Very cool place, 61 Degrees. LoL. I might get to go there in a week or 2 if my trip goes close.
NMGoose - 2/03/2016 7:25 PM
When I first started going there, there were a lot of trinkets, etc and even an electric guitar attached to the floor but then some group went in and cleaned most of it out saying that these items we tacky. Well, considering what there is and nothing to see the trinkets and other items were an attraction for many.
austinjvaughn - 10/26/2014 6:15 PM
I went scuba diving here on 10/19/2014. Average viz: 31-35ft/9-11m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
austinjvaughn - 10/26/2014 6:14 PM
I went scuba diving here on 10/25/2014. Average viz: 31-35ft/9-11m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
austinjvaughn - 10/19/2014 4:04 PM
Rating Added: 4
It was very clear and a little chilly be sure when you go the sun is out otherwise you get out and you are still cold.
KimmieJordan - 10/16/2014 6:57 AM
I went scuba diving here on 5/17/2014. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
KimmieJordan - 10/16/2014 6:54 AM
I went scuba diving here on 8/10/2014. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
KimmieJordan - 10/16/2014 6:53 AM
I went scuba diving here on 8/9/2014. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m. Water temp: 61-65°F/16-18°C.
japato - 10/14/2014 12:12 PM
I went scuba diving here on 9/28/2014. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m. Water temp: 56-60°F/13-16°C.

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