LUSCA - Legends of the Blue Holes
Diving the blue holes of Cay Sal Bank is a unique experience. Nekton guests have described their blue hole dives in many ways ranging from beautiful and fascinating to eerie and haunting.
The eerie feeling you get while diving the blue holes might be from the presence of Lusca, the mythical beast of Bahamian legend. Lusca is half-shark, half-octopus. She lurks deep among the waters of the blue holes and inland caverns that are found throughout the Bahama island chain.
Along with mermaids and other legendary creatures, she feeds on marine debris containing plankton and other small creatures that are brought in with the tidal currents. Local legend holds that the tidal currents of the inland blue holes are none other than the breath of Lusca. As she breathes in, water pours in strongly enough in some caverns to form a whirlpool, and when she exhales, cold, clear water boils to the surface.
Each cycle of the tidal flow brings enough food to also nourish the real dwellers of the dark blue holes, such as grouper, lobster and reef sharks. (Note: whirlpools are rarely seen at the Cay Sal blue holes, they are more commonly seen at the inland holes of Andros.) The long, powerful arms of Lusca have long been the guardian of the blue holes. Even today many Bahamian natives steer clear of these sites, which are safe havens for spiny lobster, conch, sharks and large grouper.
The blue holes of Cay Sal Bank are most striking. These holes were most likely formed during the ice age when the area was dry land. As the earth collapsed forming a sink hole, a limestone substrate become exposed. Millions of years later as water began to cover the bank, these narrow ridges of limestone became a perfect base for corals and sponges to attach.
Today, divers can enjoy the ancient coral that covers the rims of the blue holes that begin in about 20 -30 feet of water. Colorful tropical fish dart in and out of the coral. Octopus and huge basket stars come out after dark. And a plethora reef sharks call the blue holes home as well make blue hole dives an exciting experience.
The smallest blue hole at Cay Sal Bank is a hundred yards wide, while the largest is a quarter of a mile in diameter. The depth sounder on the boat reads to approximately 400 feet at the holes' centers. The clear waters can have visibility exceeding 100 feet, revealing galleries of stalagmite and stalactite that are more proof that these holes were once caves on dry land.
The blue holes of the Bahamas mystified the Lucayans long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus on San Salvador. In 1995, a small ceremonial canoe was found near an inland blue hole in the island of Andros, where it lay preserved for over half a millennium. Today, the guests and crew aboard the Nekton Pilot and Nekton Rorqual will continue their quest to bring back that award-winning photo of Lusca!
We know she's down there somewhere.