Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cueva Mucara

Ron Richards invited us to join him on a trip to Cueva Mucara in Aguas Buenas near Caguas. The trip would include Tom and Diana, Jeff and me, Ron and his son Ben and Eddie. We all met, departed on time and entered the cave after a short walk. Ron wanted to survey a large collapse area/entrance. While he was getting organized we took a short tour around since Jeff and I had been here before. We showed Tom where the drop to the river was, where another entrance/ exit was, and then investigated some short tunnels. Jeff then went to the bottom of the collapse, dropped into a hole and went for a bit until he got to a very low spot where he'd have to crawl. He doesn't like that. He came out and encouraged me to take a peek and, well, low and small is my specialty! I did my investigating and came back for the others. No one seemed interested. I ended up going into the area at least 4 times with people who then came out and would tell others to go in! So here we are going in. Ron is up above at the drop-in spot and Diana is making her way down to the main tunnel. It looks like a pipe on the right but it is a root...a BIG root.

Inside this tunnel were some neat formations. This cave is similar to Sistema Vientos in San German with the grey limestone, flow stone and general "look" of the place. You can also see the water-line which is about head high (mud line). The sides of this slot had some neat calcite formations. Then it kind of narrowed and got lower. There were some side tunnels that didn't go far or were plugged up with sediment.

Then came the crawl. Jeff stopped at this point. People don't like to crawl unless it is going to go somewhere and often it is hard to tell. A lot of the time the REALLY small places just get smaller and end. This one, however, opened up after a 6 foot belly-crawl. It wasn't even that tight. Ben is making his way through.

On the other side of the crawl was a big room with some very interesting mud. It wasn't exactly mud. I'll call them transition materials. Tom thinks the room was filled with with this material and over time water has removed a lot of it. Very interesting. This room had a few bats in it. The bell holes were very wide and not initially created by the bats. Bats are opportunistic and started living in existing indentations and further eroding them. See the bats? More mud.

Returning out the tunnel the ceiling decorations were more obvious. Kind of like a line-up of teeth. The mud designs were just fascinating! The striations kind of looked like photos from Mars. Here Eddie is looking at some of the fossils and flow stone inside the room. Formations...

Eddie and Ben near a wall. After these odd mud designs the room ended. There was a small pool of water that may have been a sump on the left. There was an upper stand-up chamber that didn't go anywhere and didn't have water dripping or anything.

Elsewhere in the cave the rooms and passages were very large and open with light grey colored limestone. This was a nice change from the dark broodiness of Hell. Here Tom is straddling some rock to take a measurement. Here's a nice open passage. It looks like Tom might have found some more fossils to look at. Here's a final shot - Ron going out the little tunnel from the lower room!

Afterwards we all headed out for sushi. I had some alcohol (a couple lemon drops - I love lemon drops and don't find them often). Jeff and I went to Starbucks for some chocolate cake (we shared) and I had an espresso shot with whipped cream. Lots of yummy food after a great caving day! On the drive home there was an amazing sunset. I had Jeff stop the car several times so I could photograph it!

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