Snorkeling in Swallows Cave

Few things in life gets me as excited as snorkeling in clear blue water. Pair that with a cave and I am in adventure heaven.

Vava’u is a group of 1 main and 54 smaller islands and forms part of the larger Tonga Kingdom. These limestone islands have been eroded away for centuries, leaving it porous with some of the most beautiful caves in the South Pacific. My favourite is Swallows Cave on the northwest side of Kapa Island. The small, uninhabited island is only accessible by boat, making each visitor feel like a true explorer.

Leaving the boat just outside, the cave mouth swallows you after only a few feet of swimming. The mouth is about 6 m wide and 4.5 m deep, allowing you to get a good look at the cathedral like cave. Moving further inside,  the entrance wall drops away steeply into the turquoise tropical water. The bottom of the cave at 18 m is pretty barren, except for the hundreds of bait fish making shapes about halfway down.

Swallows Cave gets its name from the murmuration of these massive schools of bait fish in the same way flocks of swallows and sparrows do. Watching the schooling fish change shape as they move away from lurking predators is a sight to behold. It is truly one of nature’s most stunning displays.

At the back of the cave, a small crack in the wall allows visitors to walk into another cave chamber. This, however, is only reserved for those who possess a seriously adventurous spirit as it is dark, steep and the rocks are sharp and slippery. I recommend just taking a few steps in to experience the solitude and eerie silence of the cave and have a rest before taking another dip in the Swallows Cave’s warm water.