Descending 165 feet into an underground chamber with a 20- to 30-foot-thick ceiling is every acrophobic and claustrophobic’s dream, isn’t it? Add a vertical staircase made from an aged World War I battleship with diamond-cut views overlooking the emptiness below and the combination is breathtaking – literally.

The first 65 stairs from the surface to the beginning of the spiral staircase is narrow, steep and damp. Breathing was manageable until the walls of the cave began to creep closer, inching overhead ever so slightly.

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