“Oh, mind your head, Tarantellas!”

CubCave_mainYes, that was just the message I was missing right now. I am inland, in the south of Cuba. I am fully suited up for cave diving and crawling down a narrow passage in the sharp limestone cave to get to the water. I am sweating like crazy and trying to protect my camera from scratches. But of course, I can also watch my head so it doesn’t bump into tarantellas in the cave roof. My mind wonders for a second. “Why am I doing this?” , but I know the answer is just a few minutes ahead.

The cave tunnel ends on a small platform and I can see the water like a mirror 12 feet underneath. It is a narrow drop with walls that are jagged and sharp. The deal now is to jump with my arms and all the equipment close to my body and hit the water precisely in the center. I love moments like this. This is slightly outside my comfort zone. To me, jumping from this height with all this equipment is scarier than whatever deep cave diving comes next. The splash echoes in the cave walls and I feel the cold-water rush into my suit. Wonderful feeling. I take a moment to calm down and just enjoy the sights. The water is crystal clear and taste fresh. I use my torch and see bats in the cave ceiling. I look down and it seems to be an endless drop into the abyss. I cannot see the bottom. We give each other ok signals. I put my regulator in my mouth and look up at the ledge I jumped from. I wonder how we will get back up, but have to worry about that later. Now it is time to sink into the darkness.03
02We sink down into a giant hall. The walls are smooth but with cracks that leads into dark passages. I add some air into my bcd and slows down the sinking to a complete stop. I hang weightless at about 60 feet of water. Underneath I can still not see bottom. I turn around and float on my back looking up. In the clear water I can see everything inside this massive room. It is breathtaking. This must be the closest you get being an astronaut. My buddy hangs suspended 20 feet above me. Behind him I can see the light coming in from the entrance. I adjust my camera and take this picture and I know exactly why I do this.


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