Waterfall Bay Caves on Tasman Peninsula
Contributed by Karen Gowlett-Holmes
The Tasman Peninsula by nature of its topography is mainly only dived by boat. The cliff height on the east coast averages 250 metres for all but Pirates and Fortesque Bays from Tasman Island at the south tip of the Tasman Peninsula to almost Dunalley at the top of the Forestier Peninsula.
Waterfall Bay is considered the best boat diving area as it is only eight minutes from the jetty and offers a range of sites depending on the level of experience of the diver. The most popular dive for open water certification and above is Cathedral Cave.
Eaglehawk Dive Centre run tours of the system from their 6m cat "DIVERSifiCATion". The boat can be moored of the walls under Cathedral Dome allowing easy access to the start of the system. The tour leaves the surface and descends to the bottom below the magnificent Cathedral Arch. The average depth during the dive is 21 metres. From the arch the group is lead down the aisle to the entrance of the Catacombs. This is an area of tunnels that are just big enough for one diver at time once inside the main chamber the guide leads you through the labyrinth to what is commonly called The Back Door.
Retracing the passage to the exit point of the Catacombs and sunlight streams down into the entrance of the passage to Revelation Bend. This is one of the most awesome underwater views that most divers will ever see. The narrow passage up to the bend is dark and barren with a gravel bottom. When the guide stops at the bend and signals to turn off your light and swim past him into the cavern known as the Skull Cave. The cavern is part of the aisle but seen from this angle gives the impression of a round chamber with two large eye holes looking out into the bay. In the chamber itself a cloud of bullseyes dart to and from sight.
At this stage of the dive we turn away from the light and head into the Devils Tonsils which is a tight passage with a upward curve at its end that requires careful negotiation. This usually ends the tour of the cave system but the dive is not over.
The walls below Cathedral Dome have some of the most spectacular displays of jewel anemones and zoanthids found anywhere and they are conveniently found at the level of the 5 metre safety stop.