Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Convento Cueva in Florida and a Nearby Cavern

The plan was to meet Ivan and a few other new cavers in Florida PR and visit Balcones (first cave we ever went into) and then explore a couple nearby ones. We were a little late (unlike us - sorry) and arrived at the meeting place only to find that it was Ivan and us! We drove to the location, got the key from the gate keeper, drove in, got the gear on and walked for 30 minutes or so on sort-of trails. Ivan had survey tape to mark trees to make the return less confusing. The walk was up and down and up and down with HUGE palm trees, bromeliads, flowers, ferns and all the beautiful wild plants that in the states you see as house plants or will never see at all. We arrived at Convento - which is not the Convento Cueva we went to before (that one was in Penueles). At first I didn't think it would be interesting because it was dry, didn't have a river, no ropes were needed, and the entrance was HUGE and I like the tiny tunnels and holes (maybe I was a rat in a former life). Boy was I surprised!

This cave was the most decorated we have been in ever. The formations were massive, sparkly with calcite, drippy, ornate, and just plain beautiful. I love being underground (or underwater) anyway, but with formations like these the mind just goes to another place! Jeff is examining a column here. Look at the scale of things. Look at the decorated ceiling.

Here he is taking a closer look.

Ivan is walking under some pretty neat stalactites here. The whole cave was kind of steamy in spots and the whole cave had ceiling decorations like these.

Ivan is traveling through some guano to another room.

Near the entrance he found a bat on the ground that had fallen. I think he put out a finger and the little feet attached to him. Aren't they kind of cute?

Look at that little face! What looks like a horn on his nose is a soft tissue protrusion. We could see all the veins in the wings and could look close up at the little feet. Ivan placed it on a stalactite since bats cannot fly from the ground (something I did not know). At the entrance we also rescued a couple baby swallows that had fallen and couldn't climb the slope. We gave them a ride up the slope to a place they could walk/run/fly from.

These formations look like ice to me. Why doesn't Disneyland have a simulated cave system ride? I swear caving is like an amusement park.

Jeff is looking up at the "tooth" formation -not a real name, but I think they look like gnarly twisted teeth. The next spot we went was really a cavern and neat in its own way but really open without any real rooms or decorations. The day turned out to be wonderful and a huge thank you to Ivan for bringing us out there!


Summer said...

FYI, your post saved a bat. I also was not aware that bats can't fly from the ground. Luckly I read your post today, so I knew what to do with the bat that just landed on the ground on our back porch!

Anonymous said...

I have never been a cave person. Well I went in Rio Camuy caves but thats different, theres lights & people and all. But I have always been scared to go into dark caves where bats are flying around ur head. But that bat actually isnt so scary.. anyway u make caving look fun :)