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Mariner’s Cave / Beach BBQ

Around mid morning Ben and I took the dinghy over to the small island of Luakapa to snorkel as we’d read it was supposed to be pretty good there. The water was certainly clear and it was quite interesting. We’d brought the spear guns just in case there was something worth taking back to eat but there was none of that.

On the way out and on the way back we popped by a few of the boats we knew to invite them to come with us to Mariner’s Cave in the afternoon. It was about 3nm away which is quite far for dinghies. It was recommended to go by boat – perhaps sharing to make it easier. In the end we had quite a few agree to come up – 16 folks in all from Delos, Inspiration Lady, Vagabond, Callypso, Ludmilla, Anthem, Jackster, Imagine & Arctic.

Gary and Jackie from Inspiration Lady were a great help. Not only had they agreed to be the dinghy dock but they also came along just for the ride and social giving us someone to man the boat while everyone got in the water.

At 2pm we had everyone aboard and we motored off to the cave. We found it easily enough as there were two other boats there when we arrived although they left shortly after. Our drop off was a bit far from the cave so we had a bit of a swim to get there. To get into the cave one has to swim down a few feet then along about 12-14 surfacing in a sealed, dark cave. The entrance tunnel was quite large so by going deeper there was no risk of bumping into anything. Inside the cave it is quite amazing. Despite being dark it is well lit from the outside. The surf created changes in pressure that could be felt in the ears. When a partial vacuum was created by the surf going out a mist would form inside the cave momentarily.

There was a second entrance which I’d heard about before. It was about 40 feet down and a little longer – about the limit of what I can do underwater. Forgetting that I’d just done a fairly long swim I went for it. This turned out to be a scary moment as I was gulping for air even when I still had rock over my head. Reaching the surface took forever. I decided to remove my weight belt to help. Just before doing so I realized I shouldn’t do it over the deep water outside of the tunnel exit so I swam over the roof of the tunnel to let it go. In hindsight I could probably have reached the surface in that time. Nevertheless I am here to tell the story but I’ve learned my lesson. The longer underwater stuff can only be done when I’m totally relaxed and not after an exertion. I was soon back in the cave spending a lot longer inside this time with everyone else who were now all inside. Feeling more relaxed I again exited via the lower tunnel finding it a lot easier. Ben also made the exit the same way.

On the way back Ben entertained us by playing on Bamboozle’s piano which we still have. We’d dragged a couple of dinghies out the the cave as a few folks wanted to visit Swallow’s Cave on the way back. We let them go about half way back and headed in.

We agreed to have a beach bonfire/BBQ at 6pm. A few of us went ashore to collect wood while others prepared food. Soon we had quite a crowd ashore and two fires going. We stayed quite late with chatting and some music – mostly furnished by Fergus from Paleides on his hand organ. It was well after midnight before we were finally back aboard. Ben went back to Delos but it looks like he swam back at some point as he’s aboard and there were wet foot prints all over the cabin this morning.