Friday, February 5, 2010

Re-exploring Cuevas Convento and Balcones

Our friend Rob was here for a whirlwind visit and wanted to go into some caves. We have had many shark feeding and diving adventures with Rob and since we've been gone he hasn't done too much diving at all. We planned to do some diving but the caving was what he was most interested in. Unfortunately we only know how to get to a couple of them ourselves that would be appropriate for a first time caver so on Sunday (he got in at 4pm Saturday afternoon) we hopped in the car for a trip to Convento and Balcones in Florida. Tom and Diana also came along. Tom (aka Survivor Man) has explored and mapped Puerto Rico caves extensively but amazingly had not been into either of these.

We headed to Convento first and found it without any problems. It is a very large cave with some nice formations and a few side tunnels.

Jeff, Rob, and Tom are examining some formations here.

This cave was better than we remembered and had a lot of what I call the "mini-civilization" formations ...sculpted areas that I imagine as little cities where the bugs crawling around are the humans and the bats flying over are war planes. Yeah, I know, a little imaginative.

Tom climbed up this ledge to see if there was a way to get across to another upper area that most definitely has small rooms attached. It didn't work this time, but another time we can bring some climbing gear and get up there. He did have a nice view of the "balconies" from up there and you can imagine the sounds of opera in the immense room coming from the diva up top!

There were a lot of these formations and I think they look like spears of cumulus clouds so I'll call them the cloud formations until I know what they really are. Our best dive buddy David came along also - it was his first cave as well. He seemed to enjoy it!

Nice formations. Dirty Diana. The way up to a side room required a climb and us short people have a hard time doing it...our arms aren't that long so we have to get dirtier!

After an outside-the-cave lunch break we headed to Balcones. We got a little mixed up finding the trail and had to back-track but found it. It, too, was better than we remembered. It had really nice formations.

Ice-cream-sundae flowstone creations. Since this was our second time in the cave we were able to explore a lot more since we know what we are doing now. I found a spot that led into a nice little room and had to take off the helmet to get in. It was a tight squeeze, but that is how I like it!

First I got the head out and then proceeded to wiggle around until I could get the rest out!

There weren't any formations to ruin or break so I was able to squirt into this new area and have a look around!

Leaving a cave with a large opening always gives you an other-worldly a large mouth opening up into the jungle!


Ivan said...

Katrina, these pics were taken with the Pentax? They look much better tan previous ones. I told Jeff that you missed the bones we found in Balcones.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ivan - Not the Pentax. Since both caves were dry ones I brought an Olympus evolt 550. The dry caves photograph better for a few reasons - 1) not as much moisture (except for bat rooms) so you don't get lens fogging 2)formations are usually whiter and the light color lets you get more information. The wet caves are really hard and the pictures come out kind of crappy. With the point and shoot you have to have it on a high iso (iso 800) with the dark formations so you get purple, noisy areas. Wish I could take better cameras and lights into the caves...

Rosa said...

I like the picture of you wiggling into that space, I have such a phobia of closed areas that just looking and I feel SOB. But I love the detailed pictures.

Anonymous said...


This forum rocks.. I really liked it...

Adios amigos


Anonymous said...

hey all

I just thought it would be good to introduce myself to everyone!

Can't wait to start some good conversations!


Thanks again!