Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tanama River Float and Cueva Sorbetos

Saturday's trip was our third trip down the Tanama River in tubes! This is a hard trip to coordinate because it is weather dependent meaning you have to make sure there is enough water in the river but that it won't rise substantially (rain) while you are on it. There is also coordination that needs to be done (if you are in a large group) with land owners (for safe parking) and the water authority (if you drive a pick up vehicle up to the dam to collect people). Also where you put in is 20 minutes away from where you take out and there needs to be vehicle coordination since parking is limited. Also it involves coordinating people - always a wild card. The day started out late (as always) with the normal (for here) problem of people being late and everyone having to wait for them. This is not a 20 minute unpredictable "late" but more a systemic problem of waiting more than an hour holding up the many for the few. Once we were on the river though all was forgotten. The first time we floated the river it was crystal clear and a nice group of 20 or 30 people. The second time was utter chaos of 100 plus people and a Willie Wonka chocolate river. This time was 15 people or so and fairly clear water. It was cold water but it is November and warmer here than anywhere I can think of. Here Jeff is smiling as always. There were some little rapids for us to babble down, a few places to walk over (or risk rocks bumping the butt) and only 1 or 2 to portage. Here's the happy 3 musketeers - Richard, Jesse and Issac. They came without tubes and lucky for them someone brought extras! There were waterfalls, guineos rapids,, sunny spots and lush vegetation. The smarter people brought paddles (we were not among of them).
The best part though was the cave at the point we take out of the water. Cueva Sorbetos is just above the dam on the other side of the river and a few people in the group had never been there. We all swam across and entered the cave. It is very muddy and when the river rises you can get safely trapped inside. We went through the muddy area into the heart of the cave (our 3rd visit) and were again in awe of what we saw. THIS is why we stay here. Who gets to see things like this every weekend? Magazine readers maybe, but regular people? Don't think so. In this photo you can see Jeff's yellow helmet to the right of the large column. That will give you an idea of the scale of things. This was in the collapse area which I call the TV viewing room since you walk up the collapse, turn around, and there is a "screen" of formations you can watch while you have lunch! Besides the sorbetos (straws of hollow calcite) there are helictites pointing their antigravity formations in odd directions. I am not super knowledgeable about this but have read that capillary action and impurities cause the odd angles that define this type of formation. These are small individual formations but they cover the walls and ceilings that go for 50 feet or more, have some bare patches and start up again. In my head I picture little trapeze artists and invisible animals sliding up and down the poles. Magic!

At the end we came back across the river, walked 10 minutes or so to the walkway over the dam and to the trail. The river recently must have risen a lot to push sticks on the walkway like this. This time a truck picked us up at the top of the trail (in the past we have walked). Then we had the car shuttling before heading back home. I think this will be the last time I do the river and it was nice to have a few friends and sunshine with us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog and the pictures. I have been to many places in Puerto Rico but never even knew this place existed. I'm visiting in January and if I can I want to do this. Awesome cave pictures. If you have any tips please let me know.. or email me at pdsf215@yahoo.com. Thanks, this looks awesome.