Entering the water the cave entrance is dark and foreboding. An advanced dive with no clear surface and only one way in and out.
Reaching the sea bed the golden sand forms large ripples, following the contours of the cliff face and flow of the sea above.
Heading into the cave, the light decreases and our eyes adjust to the new environment. A narrow field of vision only possible with the light of our torches. The summer daylight is far behind as we pass over boulders increasing in size. The space between our heads and the roof of the cave decreasing with each fin stroke.
Eventually there is nowhere else to go. The end of the cave has been reached. Boulders piled high in front of us stop us going further into this submerged cavern.
Turning with torches extinguished we see the remains of light in the distance. A small glow of white against the black of the cave walls.
But here, in this dark cave, away from currents and tides lives an array of creatures. Adapted for life in the dark they graze the rocks for morsels of food which collect on the surfaces and drift gently in the wash from the outside world. The cave walls and the boulders are coated in colour less intense and more sparse than the walls in daylight, but life can be found even in the deepest corners of the cave.
All unique in their adaptations - a shrimp with glowing eyes, a beautiful, large mollusc and a sea urchin; totally different to the black mounds of spikes found in the light outside the cave. Sponges,corals and anemones fight for a surface to cling to, giving an unexpected colour to the surfaces as the torch moves over them.
Returning to the cave entrance the overhanging roof entrance to our right reveals the first hints of daylight. Increasing in size as we draw closer the sand again returns and the ripples in the surface show the way to the cave entrance.
For this dive macro photography is the best option once you are inside the cave. There is limited light and the life is small and attached to the rocks and walls, but fairly easy to find within a torch beam. Shadows are the biggest problem and so placement of your light source is essential to prevent annoying shadows and back scatter.
Having a second light source for focussing and positioning is useful if you are using a strobe.
Diving Booming Cave Or Billinghurst Cavern
Booming Cave is sometimes known as Billinghurst Cavern. It is located close to the turbulent waters of Reqqa Point in the far north of Gozo. This is a fairly advanced dive as the maximum depth is over 25 metres and there is no clear surface for the majority of the dive. Towards the back of the cave the head space is fairly tight to add to the difficulty. Behind the boulders at the back of the cave there is total darkness.
The entry point is a stride entry from steps which are reached along a rough, bumpy road that runs alongside the salt pans. The walk down to the entry point is fairly steep and rocky and the sea can be rough at times. In winter the ladder may not be in place and so the dive exit is further round at Reqqa Point. The coastline is indented at the cave entrance and it can be seen from the surface in the small cove.