Diving in the caves
Speluring in the professional environment is considered one of the most difficult options for scuba diving, requiring very serious experience and training. Complex underwater caves – with cold water, unpredictable currents and other dangers – pose a serious challenge to any “pro.”
However, fortunately amateur divers, caves are different. Including – quite affordable, with water not colder than 20 ° C, visibility up to 100 meters, fabulous formation of stalactites and stalagmites and unique endemic creatures (for example, glowing fish). And in some caves you can observe an amazing phenomenon – halocline. It arises where there are streams of salt and fresh water: mixing and twisting, they distort objects and create a fantastic illusion of “curved space.”
Malta and Gozo, Mallorca and Menorca (Balearic Islands), Egyptian Dahab and Thailand with its limestone cliffs are famous for their sea caves accessible to divers of different levels.
One of the most suitable places to explore the underground-underwater beauty – the Dominican Republic. There are caves that will suit even novice divers with 10–20 dive experience, in some rooms you can come to the surface and admire both the surface and underwater beauty of the vaults. The entrance to freshwater caves is usually located on land – sometimes local landowners charge an entrance fee. And the entrance to one of the caves is right on the golf course!
For real miracles you will need to go to Mexico or the Bahamas. In Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, the longest underwater systems of the world are cut in stalactites and stalagmites, and the Bahamas has the famous Blue Holes, thousands of caves on the coast and in the open sea. Only there you have to be careful with the local currents: they are very powerful and change dramatically during ebb and flow – the entrances to some caves are even found in the whirlpools! In the Bahamas, however, in the caves always accompanies many curious onlookers from among the local underwater wildlife. Even sharks often “escort” divers to a cave dive. Grand Bahama Island has options that are most suitable for novice divers.
Not as spectacular as in Mexico and the Bamaga, but nevertheless very impressive caves can be found in the USA (in the state of Florida). Sea and freshwater caves with stalactites and stalagmites await divers in the British Virgin Islands and Cuba, and in the jungle-covered Belize attracts the cave of the Lighthouse reef, explored by Jacques-Yves Cousteau himself.
Of course, many have already visited the Turtle Cave on the beloved diving island of Sipadan: it used to be considered a mysterious place for turtles to die, but then it turned out that they are just lost in the maze of moves and cannot get back. Those who are not afraid of cold water, you can try yourself in the caves of France (in places Dordogne, Lot, Hero).
For more comfortable dives, it is recommended to take a short special course “diving in caves”, and, in any case, penetration into the caves is possible only when accompanied by an experienced local guide.