Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thunderball, Swimming Pigs

Thunderball Grotto was very cool, both literally and figuratively. We were
kind of cold, the air temps had dipped to 76 or so, water temps at 74, and
it was very windy. I now have a better appreciation of the cold wimpiness of
my Nieces and nephews who visit from warmer climes. It seems I have adjusted
to the warmer temps to a surprising extent.

The current was very strong, but not enough to keep the intrepid explorers
out. You swam toward what looked like a normal island, but as you got within
20 feet, you saw the entrance to a cave. We were there at half tide, so we
could stay on the surface as we swam in, but just barely. The current was
very strong in the entrance, but it was forcing you OUT, which was
comforting. If it was forcing us in, we would not have dared. We scraped our
snorkels along the rock overhead as we swam. The entrance was about 25 feet
long, with a low ceiling all the way, then it opened up to a hemispherical
chamber, about 30 feet in diameter. The thunder dome had a lot of fish that
were not afraid, and would surround you when you offered some bread.
Streaming down from the ceiling, there are 4 columns of light that pierce
the darkness of the cave, providing light, and accentuating the darkness of
the far corners of the cave.

Once inside, all you had do was look for the sand bottom to find out where
the current was not running as strong, and swim to that location for a rest.
Where the current ran strong, the bottom was scrubbed clean down to the
coral bottom.

There were a few other entrances, some of them quite small, and with even
stronger currents running, which were fun to shoot through.

More on the swimming pigs later.