Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cueva Balcones

Today Katrina and I finally did something we have wanted to do since we moved here. We went spelunking with two very gracious members of the Sociedad Espeleológica de Puerto Rico Inc. (SEPRI) group.
Katrina and I have always been interested in the natural environment. We go underwater so why not underground. In Washington State we visited the Ape Cave (1 1/4 mile long lava tube) at Mt St Helen's. A few years back I took a cave diving course in Akumal Mexico and while I was in the class Katrina dove in some connecting caverns. Then after the class we took some tours of some local caves there.
We knew Puerto Rico had some great caves and that was another benefit of moving here. I just wish I didn't wait 8 months to make contact with SEPRI.

A self-portrait of me with Katrina, Ivan, and Julio getting ready in the background.

Katrina protecting her new 'do' with a helmet.

We so happened to park right next to a wasp nest. It was well hidden. I would hate to walk into one!

After a short hike in the forest we arrive at Cueva Balcones. Ivan and Julio are very knowledgeable about the area and the caves. They were very good at explaining how Puerto Rico and the caves were formed.

As soon as you enter the cave bats fly all around. If Katrina hadn't gotten her hair cut last week I am sure she would have caught a few in her hair.

The bats were really neat and they were all over the place. Unfortunately just our presence there with bright lights disturbed them. Hopefully they didn't mind too much. The faces were really cute. What wasn't so cute was the bottom of the cave. With all those bat droppings it made for a muddy mess. I wore shorts and managed to get my legs covered in bat guano.

Only minutes into the cave Katrina needed to be moved aside before she brushed into the above poisonous cave tarantula (ha ha).

Many kinds of beautiful cave formations.

We had a great time. This was a "beginner" cave. I only needed to crawl a couple of times a short way until I could stand up again. We learned a lot and want to go a couple of times a month. No rope work was needed for this cave. We need to learn the rope work so we can go in some more difficult caves. You really need to be careful because it is so slippery.
Thanks again Ivan and Julio. Hope to see you soon.

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