Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soda Straw Cave (Sorbetos) - In Search of a New Route

On Saturday Jeff, Bro, Anthony, William, Jose F., myself and a few others headed off to Cueva Sorbetos to investigate a couple of spots we had seen on a previous trip that looked like they could continue on. Bro had been talking to old-timers about a spot he and I found that looked like I could fit in and drop down into another hole that looked like it may continue. This time I would explore it and we had webbing so I could get back up (Bro couldn't fit so the concern was that I could get stuck and no one could come after me). We were full of hope...hope that this would be the lost tunnel! Also there had been a sump that felt (with feet anyway) like it may "go" so Anthony came with a scuba tank and mask to check it out. Things did not work out. First we entered into the wild world of crazy soda straw formations. These delicate straws are hollow and still growing. They are extremely delicate so you have to be very careful walking under or near them. It is a wonderland of beauty.

Tucked in with the straws are Helictites which I call the "anti-gravity" formations. These formations grow at crazy angles that make no sense at all. Look at the 90 degree turn on this one. Here's another one stretching out like a long finger.

We rambled around the cave in awe. This was only the second time Jeff and I had been in this cave and really the first time I think I "saw" it. The first time in a cave involves looking for footing, moving forward quickly and really not knowing what to stop to look at or what's "important" about the cave. Look at this hairy Helictite.

So we rambled around looking closely at formations until we reached THE spot...the previously found mini drop. But first Anthony wanted to investigate a sump. He cracked open his stage bottle (tank) and pshhhhhhhhh all the air came rushing out because of a cracked o-ring. It was not to be. So he put on his mask to see what he could see and determined he couldn't see much. Now that he was finished it didn't matter if I murked up the water so he and I headed to the spot Bro and I previously found. We swam to it, climbed into the little window area and tied off the webbing. After some play fighting (it is MY hole) I went down first (it was MY hole) and discovered it didn't go anywhere. One of these times a hole I go into or get sent down had better go somewhere! I did tunnel around a boulder and could peer into another little drop of sorts that was too small for even me. It didn't look promising enough to try to widen so I came back up. Anthony decided not to go around the boulder (pretty tight) since it didn't "go." While I was inside a little tunnel near the boulder Jeff decided to have a peek in the window I guess and he displaced a bunch of water which came tumbling down in waterfall style directly onto me in the claustrophobic tunnel bringing little rocks and silt with it. Needless to say I yelled and every time he moved it made matters worse. So I did get out and unfortunately it was a dead end. When I look at Helictites I imagine circus dancers pulling up and down wires...Here I see a bird hovering above its perch. I can set the scene in motion in my imagination.

So now we went to the slippery slope that went down to a place where water was rushing. This turned out to be a super short (one body length) tunnel that sumped and the tunnel to the right go tighter and tighter and tighter and had a LOT of water moving. I had to take off my helmet and the water almost took it away! So much for finding Atlantis - all leads were now officially explored. We headed back and saw some cave bacon formations. Some more string dancers. (or pole dancers)

There were some nice columns. If you look to the left in this shot you can see a small yellow Jeff. This cave is beautiful. The formations are wonderful and we really enjoyed ourselves.


cassie said...

Cool! We'll have to go caving with you guys someday.

Fran and Steve said...

Amazing photos. I'm glad you are now copyrighting them. It's remarkable that you two have explored and mapped so many Puerto Rican caves. Many of us didn't know there was such beauty and mystery underground. Fran

Fireflyhex said...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful cave!!!! I cant seem to find the roads that lead to the trail. Is there a way to find a trailhead that leads to the entrance?