OK, so that was kind of cool. We were starting to get over our disappointment at being shut out of Bat Cave. And we still had a couple of nice snorkeling stops ahead of us. But first: Hells Gate. One of three natural bridges around Antigua, this towering limestone archway was sculpted by wind and waves at a spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Getting to the gate may be the hell part, since its surrounded by reef and took some tricky maneuvering to reach. There was a small cave inside it, hooray.
The boat stopped a few yards from Hells Gate and we swam toward it, wearing water shoes. After navigating over the rock-filled shallows, we reached the giant limestone chunk. Pockmarked by wind and dotted with triton snails, Hells Gate resembled spiky lava rock up close.
Following guide Trevor Erskine, we climbed a short, rocky pathway, and crawled down into a small room with a cave pool. Rusty-red with algae blooms, the pool was full of rushing water, with a small opening that led to the sea. Was it big enough to dive through?
Oh, yes, Erskine said. Not on a day as windy as this, but on a calmer day, you can swim through it if youre a strong swimmer. The hard part is getting back on land any land. Pam and I shared a look that said, Well be back. A short walk outside the cave, onto a rocky ledge, revealed more stunning views of the island.
Later on, feeling tired but happy after a day spent outdoors, we ran into Eli Fuller. Surely hed been inside Bat Cave. So what had we missed? I dont know anything about it, other than it was only a tiny one compared to the wonderful caves on Barbuda, our sister island, Fuller said. I have explored many of them.
Barbuda! Yet another island to put on our list. Those wonderful caves wont explore themselves, you know.