Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fantastical Formations (things this spectacular deserve a made up word!)

All through out this cave there were odd sculptures on a fantastic scale that you just can't understand from a photograph. I call this one the "double fountain" since it makes me think of the fountains that just burble out a small coating of water continuously. Of course I could call it "fountain entrance" since we floated between the two to continue on.

The majority of the cave we were balancing on top of the lips of these formations or sculptures. It was like standing on the rims of barrels, and what it hard to tell from the photo is that the river is about 6-15 feet below where we balance. It was like being in a video game or like some made-up world in a Doctor Seuss book!

In three spots that I recall we found what looked like bits of wood embedded in the walls. We were told that these are dugong fossils. On the way out Ron pointed out what looked like a vertebrate. The walls look like soft sandstone but they are not. This stuff was very very hard and sharp.

This might give a better impression of the 3 dimensional quality of this place. These are the formations we walked on for about 5 1/2 hours. We walked, climbed, hung by fingers, dropped several feet into the river below, stretched to span the chasm...we used a lot of muscles we didn't know we had!

This shows the little rims we walked on. Some of these pools were bathtub sized, some were like sinks, some had water rushing through them and others didn't.

On the way down we hung by fingers and plopped into the water after dropping backpacks. On the way back we had to do some major stretching and climbing and figuring out to get back up. A lot of times we had to balance and hold on with one hand, push a pack up to a person reaching as low as they could who was balancing as well before we could proceed.

A lot of the cave looked like swiss cheese but three dimensional. The scale of the place was just huge! The water below was sometimes over our heads and we floated with our life vests to the next spot we could climb.

This cave was the best ever (but they are all different and all interesting)! It was surreal the whole time from the first moment when we had to remove and drop packs to wedge down into the first hole to the whole 3D video game bizarreness of the landscape. On the way down we just kept going and going trying to keep a good pace and not block other people. We didn't really look at things because we were just trying to plan the next step. On the way back we were able to take it slower and really look at things closely - because we had the time and we had to do some real figuring out in order to climb our way up and out!

A huge thanks to SEPRI for inviting us, Jose Morales and whoever else helped organize this trip and all the other people we were able to enjoy this trip with! Can't wait til the next one!!!!!


Anonymous said...

WOW awesome photos! did u use your new camera? Only nature can creat such amazing things!

Anonymous said...


Jeff and Katrina, thanks again for taking pictures and sharing them with us! Ham

Anonymous said...

Nature is incredible and when you think you have seen it all something new is around the corner to astound you! I did use the new camera and it performed great for a point-and-shoot and survived 5 foot drops into the water (in my wetsuit) and traveling in the backpack and lots of humidity. There are some tricks I am learning (like dipping it in the water before taking a shot to get humidity and fog off the lens). thanks, katrina