Words and Photography by Jill Heinerth
In 1992, Editors Valerie Grey and Joe Prosser published the NSS Cave Diving Manual, which guided my education as a cave diver. Even before my first training class began, I knew I would seek out the location on the back cover of the book. I had never seen anything as beautiful. Years passed, but I never forgot about that image, depicting the immense formations found in Crystal Cave, Bermuda. The site was first discovered in 1905 by two boys who squeezed through a small hole in the ground to retrieve a lost cricket ball. The landowner’s son Bernard Wilkinson was lowered on a rope 140 feet (43m) to illuminate the crystal-covered surfaces with a lamp from his bicycle. Mark Twain was one of the first tourists to see the cave, which the Wilkinson family developed into an attraction that now serves 80,000 people per year.
On one scientific expedition, I was able to view the topside features of the cave, but diving was not allowed. The owners did not want to take any risks that could shutter Bermuda’s most popular tourist attraction. But after several requests, I finally got the answer I wanted. I was fortunate to receive a half-day permit to photograph the ‹Twin Peaks’ formations. On an early morning, before the site opened, two other divers and I had one chance to get the shot that I envisioned. I was pleased with the results but even more excited that I finally got to document a place that few might ever see for themselves.
Leave a Comment