Billinghurst Cave – Gozo – Location and General Information
Billinghurst cave is situated in a deeply indented corner of the shoreline on Gozo’s north coast past the Xwejni salt pans and to the west of Reqqa point beneath the village Żebbug. At almost 100 metres, this is one of Gozo’s longest caverns and not a dive for first level divers. It is round in shape, has a dip in the middle, bends slightly to the left and has an airlock at the far end. Very little light penetrates this cave and the inner part is dark. Divers do not have to go all the way in to appreciate the sheer size and stunning silhouette view of the exit. The sides of Billinghurst cave are covered in colourful sponges and coralites.
Billinghurst Cave – Gozo – Access
Access to this dive site is from a short concrete ramp on the coast road past the Xwejni salt pans. The dive trucks are then slowly driven on the uneven limestone rocks westward about 100 metres past Ras ir-Reqqa. Divers kit up near the vehicles and climb down towards a point where they jump 2 metres into the water. Railings were installed to facilitate the descent and a ladder installed near the cave for the summer months can be used to exit the water. Divers often choose to end their dive at Reqqa.
Billinghurst Cave – Gozo – Dive
The 2 metre giant stride lands divers directly over the cave entrance where they start their descent to about 25 metres on the rock wall of the cavern mouth. Divers then enter the cavern and usually follow the left hand wall. Further in, they dive below a dip in the cavern roof and lose natural day light. Some plan their dives to turn towards the exit half way through this huge cavern while others prefer full penetration.
After diving for more than 5 minutes into the cavern, divers can surface in an air lock and keep breathing through their regulators as they cast their light on the vaulted natural rocky ceiling. Shrimps can be seen in many of the cracks and crevasses on the submerged cavern walls. Divers then descend and start diving towards the exit following the cavern walls or on the sandy bottom where they can see anemones and broken bits of Lace Bryozoans. The sight of the blue open water with the sun shining through from the outer reef on the way out of this cavern is a wonderful contrast to darkness of the cavern itself.
On exiting Billinghurst cave, the dive continues along the walls or around the boulders. Divers may plan to exit from the ladder there or to follow the wall towards Reqqa point and spend the last minutes of the dive and their safety stop around Reqqa point.