Like most avid divers, I use any excuse to be underwater. After countless reef dives, muck dives, wreck dives and the like, I became dissatisfied, looking for a different underwater adventure to fulfil the explorer in me. That’s when I was introduced to cave diving.
Diving the caves of Australia’s Nullarbor Plain is no diving vacation. The 10-day expedition involves significant effort to reach the waters, as well as a truckload of equipment and logistics – a stark difference compared to the easy accessibility of the caves in Mexico, Florida, and Sardinia. However, the reward of stepping into the underworld of the cave and descending into the clear waters makes all the effort worth it.
It is an interesting journey to the water. A sinkhole lying 90 metres above the water (equivalent to a 30-storey building) acts as a portal to the cave. It takes two full days for the team to setup camp, haul the equipment down the sinkhole, and carry it into the cave. We descend over the edge of the sinkhole via a six-metre ladder, shimmying down a gentle slope to a second 12-metre ladder, followed by another round of careful shimmying to the entrance of the cave, where a wooden ladder awaits. From there, it is a short walk to the entrance of the cave. Once inside, we follow the marked path to Weebubbie Lake.
Weebubbie is an impressive limestone cave with crystal-clear water and powdery white walls, decorated with massive white slabs of rock that appear cut to shape – one would think that the passages were mined rather than being naturally occurring openings. The dive site is more like a cave system rather than a whole cave, requiring several dives to explore all the passages.
The main dive is through the Railway Tunnel – a wide channel with a high ceiling that leads to an algae-covered section known as the Snot Room. The depth here reaches 45 metres, so closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) diving is recommended to minimise deco times. To the right of the Snot Room is another passage with two tunnels narrowing to a low flattener that can only be accessed by sidemount. We had to be mindful of trim and buoyancy to avoid white-outs in the narrower passages.
The Dome Room is another tunnel off to the right of Railway Tunnel, with an extremely large, breathable chamber. Forming a perfectly circular lake, the room is impressive in itself. As we continued swimming to the back of this section, we found some good holes to explore that dropped down to about 30 metres deep.
Weebubbie Cave itself has a 26-metre sinkhole situated one metre away from Weebubbie Lake, separated by a natural limestone formation. The sinkhole makes for an easy, short no-deco dive and can be fully explored in half an hour. On the other hand, Weebubbie Lake stretches out for around 150 metres until it disappears into the cave system. The lake area is predominantly shallow, but the outer edges drop to over 30 metres in certain areas. The lake is best explored at the end of a dive, giving divers time to investigate during their decompression stop.