Swallow's Cave

Another spectacular snorkel report from Vava’u: just beyond the point northwest of Port Maurelle, two caves are carved into the low limestone cliffs lining the shore. The northerly cave is more open, with a skylight shadowed by tree branches and a pool lined with boulders. The rocks are covered with neon blue and pink flora, and the mouth of the cave is guarded by a five foot tall mass of brain coral with a school of bait fish circling it like a halo.

The southerly cave is larger and darker. Stalagmites spindle down from the ceilings into the water; the areas above water and within arm’s reach of a boat deck are covered in graffiti, and the ceiling houses a small colony of white rumped swiftlets. We went for a swim as the sun started to set and sent light beaming through the opening of the cave and into a column of thousands of silver fish.

All of the fish swam as if one organism, and made for excellent swimming as they swirled and ballooned, always darting just out of reach. As seen from below, the cylinder of fish mirrored against the water’s surface, like a tornado of sequins in an indigo kaleidoscope. The walls of the cave reflected as well, seeming to erase the graffiti and making the cavern feel like a cathedral.