Aerial of the Ocean Hole and Middle Caicos southern wetlands.
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Ocean Hole

Middle Caicos
The Middle Caicos Ocean Hole
The Middle Caicos Ocean Hole. The tiny speck on the blue hole is a boat.

The Middle Caicos Ocean Hole is found off the south coast of Middle Caicos in the shallow Caicos Banks, and is a 250-foot (76 m) deep geological feature that can clearly be seen by air when flying by Middle Caicos. At nearly 2000 feet (0.6 km) in diameter, the Ocean Hole is by far the largest of the many blue hole features in the Turks and Caicos, and at nearly twice the diameter of the Great Blue Hole of Belize and three times the diameter of Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, the Middle Caicos Ocean Hole is likely the widest blue hole in the world.

Like nearly all caves and sinkholes in the country, the Ocean Hole was formed by the Karst Process. In previous ages when sea levels were lower, slightly acidic rainwater would slowly dissolve the soft limestone of the Turks and Caicos plateau as it made its way to the water table. Because this process happened anywhere rainwater puddled, small sinkholes and formations can be seen wherever there’s the harder Turks and Caicos limestone, even on the highest points in the islands.

Not much is known about the Ocean Hole regarding the types of marine life found in the hole or of the presence of more complex Karst features. Several expeditions were made out to the site over the last few decades for sounding and diving, yet visibility and silt issues have limited data gathering. In most weather conditions, visibility is quite poor. Turtles and sharks are quite common, as is apparent on the surface of the hole during very low wind conditions.

Above: The giant Ocean Hole off the south coast of Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands.   Top right:  Top left:  Snorkeling on the edge of the Ocean Hole.   Bottom right:  Top right:  Kiteboarders at the edge of the Middle Caicos Ocean Hole.  

Getting to the Middle Caicos Ocean Hole

The Ocean Hole is quite remote, and access is especially difficult due to the shallow water depths over much of the surrounding Caicos Banks. Small vessels such as flats fishing boats or skiffs are typically the only boats that visit the site. No tour or excursion companies regularly visit the Ocean Hole. For those seeking to do so, the best option is to arrange a custom charter with a bonefishing company.

The entire southern coast of Middle Caicos consists of complex red mangrove channels and wetlands. No roads or trails lead to the coast, so access via land isn’t feasible.

The Nature Reserve

The Middle Caicos Ocean Hole is located in the Vine Point and Ocean Hole Nature Reserve (NR25), which itself is located in the greater Ramsar Nature Reserve. Fishing is prohibited in nature reserves and national parks in the Turks and Caicos.