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Mariners Cave / Vava’u (Vavau)
(votes: 1)
Type POI
Country Tonga
City Nuapupu Island
Views: 1592

For boats


18-41.451 S / 174-04.492 W
Mariner's Cave is a cave on the west wall of the north end of Nuapupu Island, a few miles SW of Neiafu.  Unlike Swallows Cave, which can be entered on the surface, the entry to Mariner's Cave is 1 to 3 meters underwater (depends on the tide), and you have to swim about 3 meters underwater to be able to come up inside the cave.  This can be done as a snorkel or a dive.
The cave is not visible above the water. You can go close to the island (on given position) and jump into the water. The cave faces west, so the best time of day to make this dive is in mid-afternoon or later, when the natural lighting is stronger in the cave.
Once inside the only light is the ethereal blue coming through the underwater entrance, and the seal is so tight that when the swell rolls in, the water compresses the air in the cave fast enough to produce an instant fog-out!  As the swell ebbs, the air comes as instantly crystal clear.
A flashlight is useful, but not absolutely necessary in the afternoon.
Dive Profile
There are 2 entrances to Mariner's Cave.  One is 5’-10’ (3m) down, accessible by snorkeling.  The other is at 40' down.
The best dive plan is to go in the 10’ part, explore the cave, then into the deep area, and out the 40’ swim-through. There is a big lobster in Mariner’s Cave near the 40' swim-through--look, don't molest!
When you come out of the cave and turn left, there’s a nice wall. Proceed down the wall.  At about 30 minutes down the wall, at 40’, there is a sand patch, and there are 2 swim-through’s at about 40 feet.  The first one takes you from 40' up to 20'.  When you exit the first one, turn right and see the 2nd one that goes back down from 20’ to 40’.
Keep going a little longer and you end up in 20’ and finish the dive.

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