TOM'S BELFRY and ORGAN LOFT

Smaller 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 outside.


Plan view of Tom's Belfry and Organ loft........Drawing © Oceanic Research & Publishing Ltd.
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Profile view of Tom's Belfry........Drawing © Oceanic Research & Publishing Ltd.

Once back 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 visible.
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.

THE ORGAN LOFT.

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 cave portion.
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.

Visit more caves....

Fossil Cave
Cathedral Cavern
The Moon Pool

Back

WARNING!!!
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.

 

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