Land is great. Sure, it may have its problems—traffic, other people and the like—but mostly, you know where you stand with land. You've been there your whole life, walking around and hanging out and generally living your life. You can breathe up here. You can see the sun rise and set. The moon's kind of cool. Overall, being a mostly earth-bound mammal is a pretty alright gig.
But, as its wont to do, our curiosity can get the better of us. Sometimes, we want to leave the comfort of land to see what lives beneath the ocean's surface, where majestic marine life reign supreme and we totally can't breathe without an oxygen tank and pressure regulator. Plus, who knows what other cool shit you might discover down there? A shipwreck? A mermaid? The deepest recesses of your soul?
To aid you in your subaquatic quest, we've rounded up eight of the most dangerous dive sites on earth, distinguished by merciless currents, suffocating spaces and dangerous depths. They're not for everyone. Actually, they're not for, like, 99% of people. But if you insist...
The Dive: Blue Hole, Belize
The Danger: The Blue Hole, identifiable by its contrasting blue colors, measures nearly 1,000 feet across and plunges 407 feet deep. The first 110 feet or so are engulfed by sheer walls on all sides, but they quickly turn to stalactite limestone formations. For inexperienced divers, the dramatic drop off can be severely disorienting. If they nervously use up their oxygen too quickly, it's a long way to the surface.
The Dive: Coco’s Island, Costa Rica
The Danger: Located approximately 340 miles off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Coco’s Island is one of the most remote dive sites in the world—it takes over 35 hours just to reach it by boat. If plans go awry and divers are encircled by white top reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and massive manta rays, the mainland and all hopes of help are…not close.
The Dive: Samaesan Hole, Samaesan Bay, Thailand
The Danger: Thailand’s Samaesan Hole drops about 280 feet deep, but it’s not the depth that’s so threatening; rather, it’s the strong currents known to have taken many a-diver dangerously off-course. And going off-course in an unmapped site of unexploded bombs—yup, the Samaesan Hole is a former military dumping ground—makes this...an especially perilous place to go off-course.
The Dive: Devil’s Cave System, Ginnie Springs, Florida
The Danger: Of all the caves in the system, the most precarious are the Little Devil, Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear, all of which carry deceptively strong currents. Combined with the narrow passageways that often damage and dislodge diving equipment, the entire Devil’s Cave System is an amalgamation of risks that distress even experienced divers.
The Dive: Egypt’s Blue Hole, Dahab and Sinai, Egypt
The Danger: The submarine sinkhole, Egypt’s Blue Hole, is more commonly known as the “Diver’s Cemetery,” plagued by dead bodies and littered with their dive gear. Nonetheless, daring divers from all over the world come to explore “the arch,” a passageway to open water set 184 feet below the surface; meanwhile, recreational divers are advised to stay about 131 feet. Why? Nitrogen narcosis, which can occur when divers reach depths any deeper, can alter judgment, trigger disorientation and even cause unconsciousness. In the last 15 years, an estimated upwards of 200 divers have taken the plunge, never to emerge again.
The Dive: Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
The Danger: This world-renowned Malaysian dive mecca drops about 2,625 feet. Once in the water, the demanding current drags divers to Barracuda Point, where schools of thousands of barracudas bite them to death. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But there really is a harsh current, and there really are thousands of toothed fish awaiting wide-eyed divers who are easily hauled into the fray.
The Dive: The Shaft Sinkhole, Mount Gambier, Australia
The Danger: Divers swim through a manhole too small to fit both their bodies and their gear, so their equipment is lowered to them after they pass through. After they’re reunited with their tanks, they make their descent through a dark, murky maze of caves, where many have gotten lost. Sure, getting lost in the pursuit of exploration is sort of the idea. But one too many have run out of oxygen before finding their way back...
The Dive: Jacob’s Well, Wimberley, Texas
The Danger: Texas doesn’t exactly summon scuba fantasies, but it boasts a damn deadly diving site. Jacob’s Well is comprised of several underwater cave chambers that, together, create a rather intricate system of silt-lined, narrow tunnels. When swimmers stir said silt, it could cloud the area, which has disoriented many divers before. In panic, an estimated eight divers (at least) have used up their oxygen too quickly and, well...just be careful down there.