Friday, 7 September 2012

Mariner's Cave

In Samoa there were the Uptula freshwater cave pools. In Tonga there was Mariner's cave.  Guided by charts and the memories of previous crew, we found this under water cave on the side of a Tongan island.  Jumping off the tender into the pacific waters, I spent a lot of time staring at the pitch black hole they called an 'entrance'.   It gave no indication of what would greet us on the other side. So I kept staring at this hole  in a rock. Yep, a big black hole going into a rock which I was planning to swim through. any time.... at any moment I was  going through to who knows what.... Still, my fins didn't move.

Then,  a little reassurance. Our 'Scout' went in (or Mitch the engineer as he is also known) to check all was good. And yes, he did return, memories were correct and it was a 3 metre dive down through the hole.
 Some advise was given; don't come up too quick or you'll hit your head.

Finally I went down, using my hands to pull myself deeper and then along. Into the darkness I kept swimming thinking 'I better come up soon, my breath won't hole much longer.'  Thankfully a friendly face popped down to show me I've made it (otherwise I would've kept swimming!).  Perhaps I took the advise too far.

After the feeling of relief that I'd made it, it was then time to take in Mariner's cave.  With a domed roof, the cave had stella mites, a resident sea snake (which someone nearly stood on), and light pouring from the underwater entrance.  However, my favourite thing was the mist.  As the tide came in, mist would fill the cave and then disappear when the water came out.

 Leaving into the light was a hell of a lot easier than going into the darkness.

* picture by JB

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