BELFRY and ORGAN LOFT
and narrower than Cathedral Cavern, Tom's Belfry is nevertheless
as long, reaching 55m inland. With its twin entrances, submerged
stalactites and stalagmites, rock formations and slightly circular
shape, all creating their own special effects against the background
of deep blue light penetrating from the outside world, it is perhaps
one of the most spectacular caverns of the south coast.
Entering through the larger western entrance, which has a depth
of between 7 and 14m, the cavern floor is once again composed of
numerous boulders. Swimming mid water upon reaching a distance of
17m within the cavern, the right hand (easterly) wall turns sharply
away to the right, leading down to the smaller eastern entrance
/ exit tunnel. At this point, a cluster of three spectacular rocky
pillars reach up from the floor to the ceiling, these being the
eroded remains of exceptionally large stalactite / stalagmite formations,
formed many thousands of years ago when the sea level was much lower.
Shortly after this and almost opposite, the left wall curves inwards
for a short distance around the remains of another of two stalactite
/ stalagmite formations, one of which is perhaps 6m tall. Continuing
inwards, the cavern begins to turn slightly round to the left and
as the boulder strewn bottom becomes rocky, it suddenly rises upwards
from a depth of 10m o 3m from where the surface may now be reached,
revealing a magnificent, large dome shaped air chamber with walls
of stalactites - the Belfry. Within this pool, in the left hand
corner are the remains of a very large stalagmite, rising almost
to the surface, behind which access to a rocky shelf above the pool
may be gained. From this vantage point, not only the entire pool
may be seen, but by turning off ones torch the pool takes on a beautiful
deep blue colour, reflecting the little light remaining from the
Plan view of
Tom's Belfry and Organ loft........Drawing
© Oceanic Research & Publishing Ltd.
of Tom's Belfry........Drawing
© Oceanic Research & Publishing Ltd.
in the water and upon commencing the return descent, a short pause
should be made on the 3m deep shelf, and once again lights "off",
as it is from this point that the most spectacular sight is to
be seen, where the deep blue light reflects off the walls and
contours of the entire cavern, from where both entrances are also
Making now for the smaller eastern tunnel and exit, having reached
the three rocky pillars, a number of small crevices may be observed
to ones left. Although too small to even attempt entering into,
these do however lead to the adjacent Organ Loft cavern, which
has its entrance slightly deeper and to the east or left of the
exit tunnel from Tom's Belfry.
So named for
its large formation of stalactites and stalagmites that have taken
the shape of a large organ, this cavern should only be fully explored
by the most experienced divers, as its inner rear section, the
"Organ Loft", is arrow with a large accumulation of
easily disturbed silt, which together with numerous secondary
tunnels could result in a dangerous situation due to disorientation.
The main entrance is easily located, being situated only 6m to
the east of the exit tunnel from Tom's Belfry and has a sandy
bottom at 16m depth and a ceiling of 10m. This 9m wide first lower
section is relatively straightforward and accessible to all, only
taking a few moments to tour around. At a distance of 20 metres
inwards, the left wall of the cavern curves around to a point
in the centre from where a steepening sand covered rocky slope
begins, this being the access point for the more complex rear
Prior to reaching this point it is worth mentioning that above
the left wall, close to the ceiling, a number of crevices may
be observed. These are the same as were previously observed prior
to entering the exit tunnel from Tom's Belfry, some of which also
penetrate up into the rear organ complex of this cave and should
not be entered into under any circumstances, as there is a very
great risk of getting wedged in.
For those with sufficient experience, entering the Organ Loft
should be completed with the greatest care in order not to disturb
the deep layer of fine silt, both for safety's sake and for the
pleasure of those other members of the dive team following in.
Continuing up the steep slope to the right of the cave, the tunnel
becomes much narrower and the bottom now turns to silt, reaching
a minimum depth of 8m where the right hand cave wall turns sharply
to the left. At this point, the "Organ" is situated
to ones left and it is possible to swim right around it. The exit
can now be made by either returning down the access use to enter
the cave or may be made by exiting through a narrow tunnel leading
down from the "Organ" keeping to the left, to reach
a small hole that gives way to the main entrance area.
The Moon Pool
Cave and cavern diving can be dangerous and should never be attempted
without proper supervision and planning.
Do not attempt to enter these caves and caverns if you are either
inexperienced or if you are sufficiently experienced, have not previously
visited them with a suitably qualified dive guide.
Always seek the assistance of a suitably qualified dive guide or
that of a dive centre.
NEVER DIVE ALONE.