Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cueva Pencho, Camuy Puerto Rico

There are so many caves in Puerto Rico...some are just holes in the ground that don't go far and others go and go and go. Part of the fun is not knowing which ones will continue on. Another part of the fun is not knowing what you will find inside. When we went into Cueva Infiernillo the only information around implied that it went about 200 meters. That turned out to be way off - in four trips we discovered hours and hours of entertainment along with a 20 foot waterfall and huge lake inside. This cave was thought to be a short cave and indeed it was. Short but spectacular! We drove around in Camuy and ended up at a house. After talking to the owner's son we were led a short distance to the cave. Oh my god...this is what we found...a 100 foot drop down to a HUGE waterfall and lots of water! The photo does not even begin to show the scale of things. Recently a local man had to be rescued from here, and the resident was a little nervous, so we set a rope (it took all 100 feet) even though we were going to enter through a horizontal entrance.
We entered a watery entrance and immediately were in a fast moving river. Jeff and I have seen a lot of water in caves but not water moving like this. This IS the dry season. I don't want to be here when it rains or be here in the wet season. Jeff is inside the entrance in the water and from here you can see out to the waterfall entrance.

We decide to head that way (we were told it "ended') quickly and then go back away from the water area to explore side passages. Once we got there the immensity was awesome! I am halfway down the waterfall looking up at Diana and Jeff. The water is cascading in a couple directions one of which is into a passage-like tunnel. Here Jeff is lounging at the base of it.

There was another drop you could walk around, a pool to swim through and then you could get to the other side of this hole. Here is what it looked like. I made Jeff stand here so you could see the scale of things.

All this water is rushing down these waterfalls which are tall and wide and backing up in a pool. It is a sump and there is no way for us to go anywhere else unless we are diving. Personally I would not want to dive with that much water just disappearing - you'd have no idea how fast the water was moving and how small the hole got...would it open into a bigger passage? This is a lot of water. Here is the view coming from around the other side to the second cascade. You can see the vertical entrance in the upper right. The rope is dropped in from up there. From the opening sun beams burst in and with all the spraying water and noise it was very surreal. Maybe even religious if you are a believer (or an extraterrestrial experience - beam me up!).

We went back to explore a couple side tunnels which were very muddy and involved crawling (my kind of thing). Here Tom is doing his best bat imitation while returning from a sloshy watery pool that I don't think went on. Here's another view of the top of the waterfall. It is times like this that I wish there were better quality, small, waterproof cameras. All these photos are crappy because of mist, fogging on the lens and of course the optics are not great. On the other hand it is pretty great to be able to take any kind of photo in these conditions. So there you have it...a mini Niagara falls 10 minutes behind a guy's house in the jungle. I want a cave in my backyard!


Anonymous said...

Jeff and Katrina,

These have to be some of the most beautiful cave pictures I have seen, ...thanks for sharing! They are my favorite together with the ones from Cueva Sorbetos.

There used to be a cave called Cueva Pajita in Camuy that was a famous hangout place with a bar and a dance floor with live music. Long time ago my parents took us to a restaurant right by the entrance which served the best "Pasteles de Yautia stuffed with Seafood". It has been over 30 years and I still remember that.

Thanks again,

H Jr.

ferni69 said...

You got coordinates?