Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday's Trip Underground

Hurricane Earl was charging towards us and we decided to take a trip underground. Not to a hurricane shelter, but to an amazing amusement park for adults... the underworld...a cave. This cave is located in the Western part of the island near our home. With Tom as our guide we dropped into the pit after a short drive, chat with property owners, and an hour long bushwhacking through the jungle. First Tom went and I followed.

Jeff came last. This cave has a number of different levels in it and a lot of very deep pits. There were lots of holes to discover and interesting formations. The limestone here looks very different than the limestone in most other caves we travel in. This is the smallest hole I went into. I had to take off the helmet to fit and be careful not to damage this stalactite.
The rock was a myriad of colors that reminded me of sandstone. I thought this heart was interesting. Everywhere I looked there were statues and figures I could imagine.Here Tom is slumped over some rock looking into the abyss.

We could crawl, climb, drop, slide, chimney, squish...this cave has it all! Upper levels, lower levels, levels lower than the lower levels, tiny tunnels, big tunnels, dead ends. Can we fit in here? I think we did.

I call this one the luge. I went first to check it out and it came out at the bottom of an area we had seen from an upper area. From this place we were able to climb up and get to an interesting area we wouldn't otherwise have gone to.

The "Sleeping Trojan Horse" statue. So many places to try to climb to...do we go down or up?

We encountered a Puerto Rican Boa deep inside the cave. It must have dropped in from the entrance and made its' way in the maze in search of bat carcasses. There were a lot of nice formations and the striations in the rock went in crazy directions.

Why pull out a water bottle when you can have a trickle of guano infused limestone water? It's the new rage!
Jeff is resting after finding the end of the upper tunnel area.

Here Jeff climbs down from an area he and Tom climbed up freeform. I went back for a rope since I don't quite have the arm span and height they have...it turned out to be a handy thing for the way down which looked a lot more dangerous now that the thrill of discovery was over! We were going to leave but decided to check one last hole near the entrance that we felt a lot of air coming out of. Tom had not been in it before so after exploring we decided to map it. We were able to do a nice bit of mapping that hadn't previously been done. After that it was up and out the hole to darker skies and swirling winds.

With two GPS devices (and my low tech flagging tape) we found our way back to the cars after a much shorter and less steep jungle walk. There is a lot more to be explored in this cave and we hope to explore some more!

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