The Minecraft Experiment, day 20: Tunneling

Tom Francis at

Minecraft Diary - Day 20 - The Cavern

When I first started playing Minecraft a few months ago, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. Now I'm trying to get to hell and back. The diary starts here, and the next entry will go up on Monday.

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World 10, deaths 9

So far, my exciting journey to hell has taken me to an island in a sea of lava, then ditched me there with no hope of escape. I'm surrounded by angry flying jellyfish that fire fireballs, sandwiched between those above and lava below.

I have established that I cannot go up. I'm still certain that I cannot go across, under this much fire. So the only hopeless route left to try is down. Maybe the lava level is different beneath me, or there's some kind of gap in the sea.

After a few minutes of digging, to my amazement, I realise there actually is. I'm well below the sea of lava that surrounds this island, but I'm still digging through gloriously dry and only mildly scalding rock. Is it possible I could actually tunnel my way under the sea?

Once I think I'm low enough, I slam another wodge of hell-mud down. The screaming faces it's made of always face the same direction, so I'm using them as a compass. Facewards is that way, so I dig left.

I dig for a long time. When what's above you is probably a sea of molten rock, it's easy to resist the temptation to surface and find out exactly how far you've come.

After hundreds and hundreds of metres of tunneling, I decide I'm probably safe. I'm careful, though, with a block ready in my quickbar to block any lava-leaks soon after I hit them. I build a staircase, slowly, searching for anything other than this blood-coloured hellstone.

At last, I hit mud. Mud! I've never been so happy to see your tormented faces swirling around in the filth! I'm probably in a cave or something! I'll just shovel this out and burst out into the...

Lava. That's lava, I'd know it anywhere. I have to brick this up now.

It spills out before I can, and my next block doesn't seal the breach. But after fleeing manically for a few seconds, I have time to turn and brick it off properly.

Fine. Back to digging.

It's some time before I get up the courage to surface again, and when I do, I hit neither lava nor open air. I'm in a cave.

It's small, gloomy, semi-detached, and parts of it are actually on fire, but compared to my claustrophobic tunnel it's a mansion. I trundle through it, find a crack to another cave, and break through into there. More space!

These little pockets of air go on for miles, separated by thin walls or small gaps I have to knock a few blocks off to widen. Until eventually, I break through into one that's a little larger.

Next:the cavern.