Blue Hole, Georgetown

“I’ve never been there”
-Lifetime Georgetown Resident

There are many great mysteries in life, and why on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer Blue Hole will have only ten or fifteen people in it ranks as a real brain teaser. The parking is close. The entrance is free. There are picnic tables under giant oak trees. There is a restroom with running water and water fountains. There is deep water above the dam and shallow water below the dam. The river there stays running through the worst of droughts. There is a nice walking trail that follows the river. It is close to where a lot of people live. If you made a tick list of good swimming hole qualities Blue Hole in Georgetown ticks all the boxes.

It may just be that a swimming hole simply does not fit in with the culture of Georgetown. This is a city that operates six swimming pools. The residents choose to pay money to swim in chlorinated and filtered water in an environment with rules and lifeguards. Meanwhile, a free unmonitored natural water swimming area remains almost deserted. Georgetown is a suburb that emphasises order and conformity. In fact, when you visit Blue Hole there are not signs in the park welcoming you, instead there are numerous metal signs on metal poles warning of all the rules you could be breaking. Signs for curfew in the park are only outnumbered by signs warning you not to jump off the cliffs. Fines for disregarding the curfew or jumping off the cliff are clearly stated. These cliffs have man made stone stairs to the top and are worn smooth from decades of people jumping off of them. Most of those observed swimming can also be observed to also be engaging in non-violent civil disobedience by jumping off the cliffs. Parents can be seen teaching their young children that obeying unjust laws only perpetuates injustice. Every splash becomes not just about the fun and adrenaline of cliff jumping, but takes on larger significance of defiance on impingement of personal freedom.

This attitude of thumbing your nose at authority inherent in Blue Hole may start to explain why the law abiding residents choose to stay away. It would be hard to swim in such a swimming hole and see others breaking the law jumping off the cliff one after the other and to restrain yourself and stay just in the water.