Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cueva Repressa

Cueva Repressa is the third cave we ever went to and we remembered that it was kind of creepy and had water in it but that is about all. The first two caves we went to had been dry and we really thought this one was an adventure. We visited it in September and weren't able to go past a waterfall because of high water. This time the goal was to see the whole thing since it is a really really dry dry season this year! Jeff, Anthony, Bro, Brett, Richard, Rob and I headed across the field to the entrance and then on in. Immediately the cave's dark personality came through - everything was drippy and dark and there was water. Jeff didn't remember much, but I did so I went a little ahead with Anthony to kind of lead the way. It was easy going.
"Easy going" ended at the water fall which was a slight obstacle. This is the spot we stopped the last time we were here. Last time I had managed to pop up onto the top and over it going through a little hole on the side. One of the other guys got up on top as well but the rest stayed down and had lunch. This time it was up and over for everyone. Eventually. The passage continued on and came to a nice section with white columns and stalagmites. Jeff took this photo of me crouching amidst the columns!
Shortly after this section came the "creepy low" section. By this point the group was kind of like 3 groups. Not a good plan. Group 1 ran ahead without looking back. Group 2 wanted group 1 in sight and group 3 in sight. Group 3 was not aware that some folks had run ahead. On top of that there was a slight fork. The right hand fork just came back around and the left involved going into high water/low ceiling which seemed like the implausible choice. This of course was the way. The problem was that when a couple people entered the pool the water rose up on the person IN the water filled tunnel enough to creep that person out and threaten them with the thought of no air. Yes, there was not much clearance. This opening looks big but rapidly gets lower and lower. As each person got through it became clear the front group had run ahead into another water tunnel, which left group 2 having to decide who to ditch. We waited for group 3.
Well group 3 never came. The water never rose and we didn't see lights. I left Richard waiting there and I scouted ahead for the runners. There was no response to yelling and light wiggling. I didn't want to be in a high water area alone without any sounds or lights from people in either direction so I went back for group 3. By now someone in our group had gone back through the tunnel to get them and they had gotten turned around and headed back out. They figured out their mistake. Now we had most of the group together so we could continue. Jeff and I decided to stay back and take some nice photos in the white section while others went on. I had been into that second high-water tunnel and it couldn't really go much further. We spent some time taking photos while the rest of the guys went into that tunnel and a little further before it sumped and they returned.
There were very clean sections of the cave. I really liked the dams and pools. I like the low ceiling situations but you need to be in the right frame of mind.
On the way out Jeff took this shot of me standing near the drapery on some dams. It is a pretty neat cave. So....what did we learn on this one? There needs to be some kind of plan before you set off into the cave. If you aren't going to stay together as a group you need to inform people of what you are doing so everyone can enjoy themselves. If you run ahead (I've done that before) it is always good to have someone with you and have a time limit so people know when you are coming back. That way people don't worry and can come after you after a certain amount of time if you don't show up (like maybe something happened?)  Don't leave any one behind, ever, especially if they are unfamiliar with the cave. Everyone always should be with someone unless they choose to rest or have lunch on their own in a safe, known spot. Maybe 5 is a better number for a group. Part of the fun is sharing these amazing stories afterward, stories when everyone has a shared and enjoyable experience!

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