Friday, April 2, 2010

Cueva Candelabra (not sure about the spelling)

Jeff had Thursday and Friday off, so he went windsurfing in Guanica yesterday and today we decided to enter Cueva Candelabra - this cave is 15 minutes from our house. Tom had given the GPS coordinates to us a while ago and Jeff had located it on his own but only gone into it a little because it was low. Today was the day to explore it since all the cavers we know are either enrolled in the cave rescue class or are helping out with it. If we had more experience we would be there too, but figure when the course comes again in 2 years we will at least have been in more caves, more situations, had more rope work, and be in a more experienced position to actually rescue some one! Jeff had said the entrance was small, and here it is.

It got a little larger once we were in, and immediately got low and had tunnels to the left and right. I decided to go right and Jeff hung back (he doesn't like this sort of thing).
I could kind of squat walk in the channel with the head bowed and went and went and couldn't really see much other than that it went and went. Jeff wasn't coming - he doesn't like low, tight spots.

We figured the left side is where Tom had been maybe so we headed that way.

Jeff doesn't like the low ceiling and tight confines. This wasn't as tight or low as parts of Infierno but it was low.

After entering the low spot I got him to join me a little further at a spot where he could sit up on a rock. Then it got low again and I kind of crawled forward some more coaxing him further when I could find the occasional "high" spot. Pretty soon though he wouldn't come any farther and didn't want me going out of light/voice range. I wanted to go further since I could, and nothing could really can't fall when you are on your stomach, you can't slip because you are already on the ground, can't get lost since there is only the one tunnel and if it branched I would stop or mark it, can't drown until the whoosh of water comes (which would take us both out). I think it would keep going and going and who knows? maybe open up? The only problem I could see would be having trouble backing out (I have a technique for this though and haven't been stuck yet). As Jeff got more uncomfortable I kept shining the light and talking and traveled farther until I could tell he was at his limit. He turned around (and I went a little more forward) then I turned around, caught up with him and we left.

This formation reminded me of a tree but it didn't touch the bottom...just hovered slightly above bottom. At the point where Jeff stopped I heard him mutter "infierno" (hell). He was having flashbacks again!

There were formations, but it was a dark and hot cave. We didn't see any bats and were surprised because it was so warm, but the entrance was small and the ceiling was low so I guess there probably weren't any. I could see the water line and it was basically at the ceiling so it wouldn't be a good bat habitat - no bell holes either.

There were some neat helictites.

I don't know what these formations are called but I call them cocks comb formations.

Yeah - here's the water line - not much air space when the water is moving through here.

Another neat cockscomb.

No cave is complete without cave daggers.

After a short time in this new cave Jeff can see the light and makes for the entrance!

He is so happy to be out! I'll have to come back with Tom or someone else willing to crawl...what if it opens up or starts having side passages? You never know what things will look like. Depending on where you enter a system the terrain can look entirely different. I have hopes for this never know until it ends or changes!

A quick 15 minutes and we were back at the car and another 15 brought us home.

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