Cottage PondSandy Point Road, North Caicos
Cottage Pond is found close off of Sandy Point Road on North Caicos, and is a 150-foot (45 m) diameter and 250-foot (76 m) deep naturally formed submerged sinkhole.
The feature is technically referred to as a blue hole, and the geological action that created it is called the Karst process. Sea level greatly affects blue hole formation, which is probably why the Middle Caicos Ocean Hole (likely the widest blue hole in the world), found 19 miles (31 km) away has a similar depth.
Cottage Pond is tidal and distantly connected to the ocean, likely through a series of tiny fissures and tunnels. The surface of this pond offers about 20 feet (6 m) of relatively fresh water, which is largely a reflection of the freshwater lens at that region of the island. Under this lens is a halocline mixing layer, and below that, the water is similar in salinity to the ocean.
For most visitors, Cottage Pond really doesn’t offer much other than the sights of a small scenic pond. However, the site is the perfect opportunity to see a tropical blue hole. It offers quite a few interesting features for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, and it definitely warrants at least a quick stop.
The Bottom is Explored
In the past, the depth and structure of Cottage Pond was a mystery, however, in 2001, the bottom of Cottage Pond was reached by the Caicos Cave Project cave diving team.
Due to the depth of the feature, it was necessary to use complex diving techniques and gas mixtures in order to reach the bottom. During these explorations, it was found that past 140 feet (43 m), Cottage Pond opens into a much larger cave. A unique species of marine remipede, christened Kaloketos pilosus, was also discovered during subsequent dives.
Visiting Cottage Pond
Cottage Pond is located on Sandy Point Road, which is the main paved road that leads for about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Sandy Point Marina ferry dock.
The entrance for Cottage Pond is located on the eastern end of the road, about 0.75 miles (1.2 km) from the T-junction (near the small gas station) of Sandy Point Road and Kew Highway.
It’s very easy to miss the entrance to Cottage Pond when traveling southeast from Sandy Point due to the direction the road sign faces.
Cottage Pond does not have any safety handrails or paths. Be aware when visiting with children.