Fast Fred Ruddock dropping second ledge of Broken Nose on Middle Ocoee with happy guests

Hydrology and Hazards of Blue Hole and Let's Make a Deal
explained by kayaker and river guide Fast Fred Ruddock

Hydrology and Hazards of Blue Hole

301 - Ocoee River Hydrology and Hazards covers many of the rapids of the Ocoee River. This article covers Blue Hole and Let's Make a deal. This has been the scene of at least one death in 1998. This article and its companion video will explain and describe the entrapment hazards present. The the intention of this page is to help other boaters and guides avoid tragedies. While I hope to convey the nature of these hazards these videos are no substitute to taking the time to inspect them in person yourself at low water. I will certainly return to these locations to further investigate. The nature of the world is impermanence. These features are subject to change over time or quickly during high water events. Be informed and be safe out there people.

Video of Blue Hole's Hydrologies and Hazards

The entrance to Blue Hole is named Let's Make a Deal. This is the second class IV rapid you will encounter on the Upper Ocoee. This rapid follows Alien Boof or Mikey's after a long pool. Blue Hole is a short hike upstream from the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Blue Hole is a popular swimming hole for locals. The name derives from the view upward while swimingthrough tunnels in the rocks. I strongly recommend a low water visit. This spot was named long before folks began rafting the Ocoee River.

After you swim and explore the tunnels in the rocks you will understand the hazard present. Additionally there are other undercuts and sieves. This rapid was the scene of an accident during 1998 after broadsiding a rock and dumping crew. Watch the above video about Blue Hole as it describes and shows the hazards as well as showing a possible route through the the rowdy rapid. This rapid is also a good test for how the run down the Olympic Course is going to go.

While these accidents are tragic they are avoidable. When paddling class IV the best plan is prevention. Weak swimmers or non-swimmers should not paddle class IV and above. All crew members should be fit and and alert to follow paddle commands and work smoothly together as a team. Class IV whitewater river are wild places and not amusment parks. Even strong swimmers are likely to take a beating if they swim Blue Hole speaking from personal experience.

Continue reading to learn more about the hydrology and hazards of the Ocoee River.

Fast Fred Ruddock in Ecuador overlooking Otavalo

Got Questions About This Ocoee River Rafting Guide?

I am Fast Fred Ruddock and I would be happy to give you honest answers to your questions about rafting or the Ocoee River. You may email me directly with your questions or concerns at fastfredruddock@gmail.com and if you would like to come rafting with me be sure to check out Fast Fred Rafts for the latest details.

When I started this online Ocoee River Rafting Guide in 2016 there were none available online or in print. I'd like to this this is still the best Ocoee River Rafting Guide available. That said feedback is always welcomed and this is a constant work in progress.


I began rafting whitewater when I was young during the early 1970 with my family. We had several of our own rafts between my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. My family loved playing in the water; I grew up rafting, sailing, and surfing. As I grew older and technology improved I began to get serious about kayaking and creek boating as well. I became an ACA certified kayak instructor and have shared the sport with countless others over the years. Living along the banks of the Green River in North Carolina I have access to some of the best world class rapids to hone my skills.

During my long off-season from rafting I primarily travel solo through Latin America. Ecuador is likely my favorite country to visit but I also enjoy Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Working as a river guide in the southeast during summers in North America I don't earn a lot of money and live close to the federal poverty level. In spite of this I live a rich life on a frugal budget. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Latin America or maybe some frugal travel tips visit Fast Fred Travels.



Curious about how I can travel so light or what I use on the river? Want to know more about the gear I carry abroad on my extend trips in Latin America or while rafting and kayaking? Here's your chance to dig into my Amazon shop for an inside look. If you make purchases via this shop I will get a very small commission but it will not increase your price what so ever.