Blowholes

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Blowhole in Grand Cayman
Blowhole in Grand Cayman./ Lee Green, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The most impressive blowholes of the world

Below are listed some of the most unusual, most powerful and most beautiful blowholes in the world. These natural landmarks are arranged by the region.

Africa

Bufadero de la Garita
Bufadero de la Garita. Fountain of a smaller blowhole is seen behind it./ Juan Fco. Marrero, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Blowhole at Port St Johns – South Africa, East Cape. Very impressive blowhole which hits a nice, up to 20 m high fountain.
  • Bufadero de la Garita – Canary Islands, Gran Canaria. Amazing, unusual vortex – blowhole. Here near the sea coast has formed a constantly changing basin. As the waves come, it rises, flooding over the rims. As the waves recede, it empties and water around it falls in it. Near it are smaller blowholes which resemble geysers.
  • Hummock Point Blowhole – Ascension Island. Impressive, a bit slanted blowhole in lava beds at the sea.
  • Le Souffleur – Mauritius. Blowhole in volcanic cliffs. It “works” only at certain weather conditions – but then the water shoots up to 15 – 18 m high.
  • Pointe au Sel Blowhole (Le Souffleur) – Réunion. This blowhole has formed on an old lava flow from the Piton des Neiges. Usually it creates some meters tall fountain but during the storms it may get very impressive.

Asia

Nusa Dua Water Blow
Nusa Dua Water Blow./ Chapsorini, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Blowholes of Mughsail Beach – Oman, Dhofar. Group of three fine blowholes which have been reinforced by masonry and mesh. Fountains are up to 28 m high.
  • Hummanaya – Sri Lanka, Southern Province. Large blowhole. Its water spout is up to 25 – 30 m high.
  • Nusa Dua Water Blow – Indonesia, Bali. A narrow channel in the seaside cliffs. At the end of the channel, waves crash against the cliff wall creating a huge splash – fountain. At rough weather, the view and sound can be very impressive. The enormous splash can be more than 15 m tall and has a huge mass of water.
  • Sakiyama’s Blowhole – Japan, Tohoku. At high waves here through a blowhole forms a tall sea geyser.

Australia and Oceania

Australia

Quobba Blowholes
Quobba Blowholes./ njbawden, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
  • Bicheno Blowhole – Australia, Tasmania. Impressive, picturesque blowhole, which creates a slanted fountain. During the storms, it can get up to 20 m high and might be even dangerous because it hits unexpectedly and with a huge power.
  • Blowhole of De Witt Island – Australia, Tasmania. One of the world’s most impressive blowholes. It can be seen from the boat on a remote island.
  • Breathing Rock in South Bruny Island – Australia, Tasmania. Impressive blowhole which can be seen only from the sea. It is definitely taller than 10 m.
  • Christmas Island blowholes – Christmas Island. In the jagged limestone along the south-western coast of the island have formed numerous noisy blowholes. The sight is even more impressive during the mass migration of red crabs.
  • Dirk Hartog Island Blowhole – Australia, Western Australia. Impressive blowhole at the base of some 40 m high seaside cliffs. At high swells, it creates a deafening noise and shoots up to 60 m high. Then it can be seen from some 20 km distance. Usually, it is around 10 m high.
  • False Entrance Blowholes – Australia, Western Australia. Deep blowholes, penetrated by the wave energy through 30-40 m thick rocks. At high swell jets of water rise from the holes. Usually, only air is pushed through the holes with intimidating howls.
  • Kiama Blowhole – Australia, New South Wales. One of the most popular blowholes with a fountain which is up to 25 meters (reportedly even 60 m) high. One of the highest blowholes in the world.
  • Kiama Little blowhole – Australia, New South Wales. Smaller blowhole if compared to the better known Kiama Blowhole further north. This blowhole though is more reliable – it has a narrower nozzle and thus needs less powerful waves to create a fountain.
  • Pirates Bay Blowhole – Australia, Tasmania. Sea cave with a collapsed roof – blowhole. At rough weather, the splashes are up to 10 m high. The blowhole is some 90 m from the sea.
  • Quobba Blowholes – Australia, Western Australia. Wonderful sight – a group of some 30 blowholes. Water jets are beating up to 30 m high and even higher.
  • Thunder Bay Blowholes – Australia, Western Australia. Unusually powerful blowholes. Here the coastal cliffs (Zuytdorp Cliffs) are more than 100 m high and the wave energy has pierced the rocks, creating several blowholes. If the conditions are right, the splashes are forced up the cliffs and reach the daylight, rising up to 20 m high.

Hawaii

Halona Blowhole
Halona Blowhole. / tobze, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Blowhole in Waianapanapa State Park – United States, Hawaii. This blowhole sometimes produces violent, powerful fountains of seawater. For the most time though it emits a hissing, roaring sound and fountains of mist.
  • Halona Blowhole – United States, Hawaii. A powerful, visually very impressive blowhole which has formed in volcanic rocks. It is especially high – up to 9-10 m – at high tide and on windy days.
  • Nakalele Blowhole – United States, Hawaii. Impressive blowhole in the lava fields of Maui. The approximately 30 m tall fountain beats from a shallow pool close to the sea.
  • South Point Blowhole – United States, Hawaii. A sinkhole of sea cave just some 15 m from the shore. Here the volcanic rock has been washed out by powerful waves. During the storms, the blowhole may create giant jets of water. In calm weather, though some dare to jump in it.
  • Spouting Horn in Kauai – United States, Hawaii. A hissing and roaring blowhole which creates up to 15 m high jets of water.

Other islands of Oceania

Mapu a Vaea
Mapu a Vaea in Tonga./ indietravel, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Alofaaga Blowholes – Samoa, Palauli. Powerful blowholes with up to 30 m high seawater fountains. Local tourist guides put the coconuts in the holes and they are blasted high in the air.
  • Arahoho Blowhole – French Polynesia, Windward Islands, Tahiti. Amazing blowholes, one of them located inland from the coastal trail.
  • Blowhole in Henderson Island – Pitcairn Islands, southern coast of Henderson Island. Powerful blowhole some 100 m from the coast.
  • Mapu a Vaea – Tonga, Tongatapu. Group of spectacular, up to 18 m high blowholes at the sea. Here the wave action has created travertine terraces and pools with numerous blowholes. Fascinating and unusual landscape.
  • Punakaiki Blowholes – New Zealand, West Coast in South Island. In the unique Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are several large, roaring blowholes. These blowholes are especially impressive at high tide and strong south-western winds.
  • Tinian Blowhole – Northern Mariana Islands, Tinian. Beautiful blowhole amidst several natural pools with emerald-colored water. Wave action has formed also limestone terraces. During rough weather blowhole could get up to 60 m high!

Europe

McSwyne's Gun
McSwyne’s Gun./ Sean Perry, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Blaster Hole on the Horse of Copinsay – United Kingdom, Scotland, Orkney Islands. Sea jet and also blowhole which has formed in this small island – sea stack. At strong winds from the east, the water jets can be up to 60 m high.
  • Boscastle Blowhole – United Kingdom, England, Cornwall. Nearly horizontal blowhole which can be observed shortly before or after low tide, at rough sea. Sometimes the fountains go some 30 – 40 m far.
  • Bufones de Arenillas – Spain, Asturias. Some of Europe’s most impressive blowholes which have up to 40 m high fountains if counted from the sea level.
  • Bufones de Pria – Spain, Asturias. Unusual landscape – coastal cliffs that have been pierced by many blowholes. At the right direction of wind, there can be seen 20-30 m high eruptions of numerous blowholes along the coast.
  • Bufones de Santiuste – Spain, Asturias. Group of blowholes, the tallest create up to 40 m tall fountains. A very impressive natural monument which resembles some of the most powerful geysers.
  • McSwyne’s Gun – Ireland, Donegal. Impressive blowhole. Until the 1908ies its fountain was some 60 – 90 m high and could be heard more than 10 kilometers away. Now it is much less impressive but sometimes still very imposing. South from it are two smaller blowholes – Two Pistols.

North America

Caribbean

The Spout in Barbados
The Spout in Barbados./ Dan Costin, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Blow Hole Beach – Bahamas, Exuma. An amazing blowhole which can be seen from the calm lagoon. Limestone hills hide the Atlantic Ocean and the lagoon seems to be calm – but nevertheless from the cliffs rises a fountain of sea water. This blowhole is created by the wave energy on the other side of the island.
  • Blow hole near Bluff – Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac. There are several blowholes in Cayman Brac. The best known is near the Bluff and it sounds as a violently boiling tea kettle.
  • Grand Cayman Blow Holes – Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman. Several scenic blowholes. At rough weather the water fountains here may be more than 10 m high. Water has deposited small limestone terraces around the blowhole.
  • Little Bay blowholes – Barbados. A group of small but expressive blowholes along the Little Bay. Here near the sea have formed “swimming pools” – secluded basins of seawater which at calmer weather are safe to swim.
  • Suplado Blowhole – Bonaire. Spectacular blowhole (or two blowholes) at the northern coast.
  • Suplado – “natural jacuzzi” – Curaçao. So called “natural jacuzzi” which in reality is a dangerous place. Waves push powerful splashes through this large, funnel-shaped blowhole. Nevertheless during calm weather visitors can rest in the warm water around this funnel.
  • The Spout – Barbados. Spectacular blowhole at Ladder Bay. Sea water is blown up from it up to 30 m high.
  • Watamula Hole – Curaçao. Large window – opening. A former blowhole which now for most of the time is too large to create spectacular fountains. During stronger winds and right direction of the wind, there still are observed nice spouts.

Canada

The Spout in Newfoundland
The Spout in Newfoundland./ M.E. Sanseverino, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Blow Hole at Tow Hill – Canada, British Columbia. This blowhole is up to 8 m high and has formed in volcanic rocks. A gorgeous landscape around Tow Hill – eroded volcanic plug at the sea.
  • Talking Rocks – Canada, British Columbia. Sea waves at the end of a narrow chasm have formed a short tunnel in granite and water squeezes through it upwards, like a geyser. Water creates an eerie sound and splashes up to 15 m high.
  • The Spout – Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland. Enormous, wave-powered fountain in a beautiful natural setting – on the cliffs next to a waterfall of Spout River. Unusual blowhole as it is located rather high above the sea and, reportedly, has freshwater in it.

United States

Thor's Well
Thor’s Well./ Oregon Department of Transportation, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Depoe Bay Spouting Horn – United States, Oregon. Interesting, quite active blowhole next to the road. It creates up to 9 m high fountains which often pour on the cars which are passing by.
  • Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm – United States, Oregon. Impressive blowhole which creates a tall, hissing fountain, when a wave enters Cook’s Chasm. The fountain is up to 12 – 14 m high.
  • Thor’s Well – United States, Oregon. Hole in the rocks at the sea which looks as if the ocean is drained in it. This is some 6-7 m wide hole, also 6-7 m deep. It is at its most impressive approximately one hour before the high tide. At high waves, it creates some meters high splashes.
  • Trinidad Blowhole (Pewetole Island Blowhole) – United States, California. Very impressive blowhole on a small, steep, forested island.

Mexico

La Bufadora
La Bufadora./ Squid Ink, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
  • Cozumel Blowholes – Mexico, Quintana Roo. Two blowholes in lava fields. Usually the fountains are not too powerful and visitors often love to stand in them.
  • El Bufadero (Huatulco Blowhole) – Mexico, Oaxaca. Blowhole with an impressive, slanted fountain. Its fountain can be more than 10 m high.
  • La Bufadora – Mexico, Baja California. Magnificent and very noisy blowhole which can be more than 30 m high (above the sea level).

South America

El soplador in Española
El soplador in Española, Galapagos./ Peter Swaine, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • El soplador – Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Española. In the volcanic rocks of Galapagos have formed numerous impressive blowholes but “El soplador” is the best known because it is at the tourist route. At high tide it is up to 25 m high.
  • Suspiro del Diablo Blowhole – Peru, Lima Region. Comparatively small but active blowhole. It emits a several metres high fountain of mist and characteristic noise.

Described blowholes

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General description

What is blowhole?

Blowhole near Tow Hill
Blowhole near Tow Hill, Canada./ Murray Foubister, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The blowhole is an intermittent natural water fountain that is powered by wave energy. Visually it is quite similar to a geyser and often blowholes are just called – sea geysers. But the mechanism of blowholes is absolutely different. Geysers are created by the thermodynamical factors (overheated water under less hot water in a narrow passage), but the fountains of blowholes are created by physical movements of the water – waves.

The term “blowhole” often is applied to several more exciting natural landmarks, such as the entrances in large caves where the air blows in or out. There exist also methane blowholes – craters that have been created by methane exhausts from the ground. This is interesting and at the same time worrying phenomenon in the far northern lands: due to global warming there is thawing permafrost and in the atmosphere is released a huge amount of methane – powerful greenhouse gas. Sometimes giant bubbles of this gas create enormous craters.

Wondermondo though includes on this page only the blowholes – water fountains.

Bufones de Arenillas
Mesmerized goat admires Bufones de Arenillas, Spain./ Alberto Cabrera, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

How blowholes form?

The recipe for a proper blowhole – sea geyser – is as follows:

  • There is needed a shore of the waterbody that is large enough for powerful and frequent waves – oceans and seas. Theoretically, this can be a large lake but thus far Wondermondo knows only blowholes at the oceans and seas.
  • The shore needs to be “made” of sturdy, durable material. Blowholes in some respects are like guns – if the “barrel” is made of flimsy material, it bursts soon. The blowholes which are known to Wondermondo have formed in three kinds of rocks: limestone, basaltic lava, and granite. And even these materials are not durable enough – after some time the blowhole becomes too large and fountains gradually disappear.
  • There is needed a fracture or hole in the rock where the waves can enter… and retreat… and enter again. After some time wave energy creates a hole, then cave, then even larger cave. As the cave grows larger, with each wave more water enters it and leaves it creating higher and higher pressure differences in the cave.
  • The pressure inevitably does what the pressure does best: it looks for weaker places and then breaks through. Such places are not downwards (there is even more rock) of sideways (again – rock). Thus: only upwards! Water finds a small fissure and gradually makes it wider. One day near the sea from the rock starts beating a fountain after each wave. A blowhole is ready and served!
  • Nothing lasts forever. As time goes, the blowhole is eroded and becomes larger and larger. As a result, fountains become weaker and weaker. One day there is just a large hole with raving water on its bottom. Gradually the ceiling of the cave collapses. For a while there forms a nice natural bridge and then it collapses as well. Former sea cave with blowhole has turned into a sea bay. But, most likely, nearby forms a new blowhole…
Jack's Blowhole in New Zealand
Jack’s Blowhole in New Zealand – in fact, just a former blowhole./ itravelNZ® – New Zealand in your pocket, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

How high are the fountains of blowholes?

Nobody has measured, and, most likely, nobody has ever seen the world’s tallest fountains of blowholes: because nobody is there at the right time. It is well possible that the most powerful blowholes are found in remote areas and are active only during the most powerful storms. But we can be sure that the tallest fountains of blowholes are much taller than the world’s tallest waves and taller than any geyser of the world.

The height of the known blowhole fountains in most cases also is just… a guess. At least to some extent. We can compare the fountain with the height of nearby trees, cliffs, other objects and say a rough number, e.g. – 30 meters. In reality, these could be 26 meters or maybe 40 meters. Who knows?

The tallest announced blowholes which are known to Wondermondo are:

Please, remember – these figures are just estimates by (mostly) unknown people.

Tinian Blowhole
Tinian Blowhole in a comparatively calm weather – not so impressive?/ kajikawa, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

How common are blowholes?

Most of the announced blowholes are located in touristy areas: Hawaii, Caribbean islands, Mexican coasts and coasts of Australia. Other well-known blowholes are in areas with many nature and travel enthusiasts: Europe, Canada, the USA, and – also Australia.

Does it mean that blowholes are only there? Does it mean that there are no blowholes in less visited areas, e.g. the Kerguelen Islands or remote shores of Africa or Siberia? Most likely not: there should many fine blowholes along these shores as well.

At the same time, this natural phenomenon is not very common. A proper blowhole requires a coincidence of several specific factors. Most likely there are several hundreds of locations on Earth with proper blowholes. Thus, if you happen to see one, even the most visited one (e.g. Kiama Blowhole or Nakalele Blowhole) – you are privileged to see a rare natural spectacle! Enjoy it!

Hummock Point Blowhole, Ascension Island
Hummock Point Blowhole in Ascension Island – very few people have seen it with their own eyes./ JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Recommended books

Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities: A Book Of The Sea


Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities is about ships, people and the sea. However, unlike many other nautical compendiums, the focus of this book is on the unusual, the overlooked or the downright extraordinary. Thus, someone most of us do not know, Admiral William Brown, is given equal coverage to Admiral Nelson.

Natural Wonders of the World


Discover Earth’s most beautiful and fascinating natural landmarks. From the spectacular granite domes of Yosemite to the reefs of the Bahama Banks and the ice sheets of the Antarctic, this is an unparalleled survey of the world’s natural treasures.

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