Inside Thunderball Cave

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 24 Apr 2010 20:11
Unfortunately, not having an underwater camera or housing for our digital camera we were unable to take any pictures of our exciting snorkel into the famous cave, although there are various footages of video on the internet should anybody wish to see what's inside.
We were lucky to get there between one group of visitors leaving and another arriving so we had the cave to ourselves for a few minutes which was special. Anchoring the dinghy just off the entrance we slipped into the flat calm water and swam for the low rocky opening. The first thing we noticed was the abundance of fish in the vicinity, but at the cave entrance there was a special welcome from the many resident Scissortail Sergeant Major fish awaiting their next meal. It was as close as we have ever been to swimming in a tropical aquarium. In fact it was difficult to see very far ahead due to the density of fish staring at us through our masks, and it was hard not to make contact when we attempted to move forward. They were certainly not shy but then so many visitors bring sachets of food etc that its in their best interests to be 'up front'.
The cave itself has various entrances and its possible to swim right through from the west side and exit on the east side of the small island. Some of the entrances can only be accessed underwater but at low tide it's quite easy for novices like ourselves. The depth inside ranges from 12 feet to just 6 feet and once the 'meeters and greeters' have lost interest in you or have eaten any food on offer and are marauding around the next group of swimmers you can see more of the other colourful fish life that are picking at the vegetation adorning the rocky bottom. Fortunately any form of fishing in this locality is banned which explains the friendliness of the local fishy inhabitants. We also saw nothing to frighten us - no lurking Barracuda, which makes a change! 
Coral is in abundance throughout the cave, making the whole seascape a mass of beautiful colour. Above the surface the cave has narrow rocky ledges which were probably used in some of the film sequences. Looking upwards shafts of sunlight (assuming the sun is actually shining) penetrate through a hole in the roof illuminating the whole grotto.
As it was getting busy inside we exited and swam along the adjacent rocks where the vista was as every bit as entertaining as inside, with comical looking parrot fish gnawing at the rock growth and many other fish we couldn't identify going about their daily business. All in all it was a very enjoyable hour spent viewing the undersea inhabitants but it was 1700 hours and time for a sundowner back onboard. But first we had to climb back into the inflatable dinghy which is always good for a laugh as we end up usually upside down like two stranded seals with fins everywhere laughing out aloud. But we managed it, just as the incoming tide started to flow around us making it just that little bit more difficult in the swimming department. But we were very pleased to have made the effort to visit the grotto.
Today the west wind blows making the cave untenable.Those fish must be wondering where everybody is and when their food is going to arrive. As for us, we are bouncing up and down with waves bending round the small island making yesterday's tranquillity a distant memory.