Virgin Blue Hole
Location: West of Ngemelis Island.
Distance from Koror: 26 miles (45 kilometers) from Koror, 50-60 minutes by speedboat.
Visibility: 40 to 100 feet (13 to 33 m) depending on the tide.
Level of Diving Experience: Advanced, with cave or cavern diving experience.
Diving Depth Summary: Depth of the hole: 90 feet (30 meters). Tunnel exit: 125 feet (40 m).
Currents: The currents along this reef are unpredictable and can be strong.
General Information: This reef starts at New Drop Off, runs through Fairyland, and ends at Blue Corner. The dive usually starts at the mooring buoy to the south of Virgin Blue Hole. Occasionally, if the tide is very low or the swell is high, the dive will commence down along the outer wall and into the tunnel opening.
Reef Formation: The edge of the reef wall starts 4 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) from the surface, then drops to 110 feet (35 m) where it changes to a run-off of sand and broken coral. A circular hole approximately 25 feet (8 m) in diameter on the top of the reef marks the entrance to the Virgin Blue Hole. A vertical shaft plunges downward 90 feet (30 m) through the reef into a cavern with a sandy bottom. A tunnel 30 feet (10 m) wide and 150 feet (50 m) long connects the shaft with the open ocean. The diver can exit the tunnel in either direction. The wall to the north is the most interesting. Four deep canyons cut through the reef and creating windows, crevices and small caves to explore.
Marine life: Large schools of Pyramid Butterflyfish, Anthias, Moorish Idols, Yellowtail Fusiliers and Oriental Sweetlips can be seen outside the tunnel and along the reef wall. Turtles are often seen along the walls and in the deep canyons. At the tunnel exit, on the sandy run-off, look of sleeping White Tip and Leopard Sharks. Dolphins have been seen numerous times along the wall; listen for their telltale sonar squeaks.
Diving: Entering Virgin Blue hole from the top of the reef, you will descend through a shaft to a cavern 90 feet (30 m) deep. For photographers/videographers, shooting up toward the surface will provide good silhouette shots. The tunnel exits the reef to the west. A dive light is recommended to enhance the colors of the soft corals and sea fans on the ceiling of the tunnel. The tunnel exit is at 125 feet (40 m). Ascend to 45-60 feet (15 to 20 m); keeping the wall on your right. Swim along the wall, soon you will come to the first of the four canyons. Take your time to explore the many small caves,arches and ledges found along the reef.
Fascinating Facts: Butterflyfish are renowned for their striking color patters. The family consists of about 120 species that occur mainly in tropical seas. Butterflyfish are active during the daylight hours and seek shelter close to the reef's surface at night, often changing their coloration.