Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cueva Barbudos y Monte Encantada

Looking out of cave entrances has go to be one of life's finest joys. Scuba diving used to be our favorite thing to do until we discovered caving. There is something just inherently wrong about going into dark holes...and something amazingly wrong that more people haven't and will never do this! Caves are truly one of the only things left to explore. These two caves are not big, but their entrances are still impressive and the best part is that they are exactly 10 minutes from our house. Yes we have been in them a couple times before, but hey - if we don't have anything else planned it is kind of like walking around your neighborhood. It is still nice. On Sunday we joined Tom and some of his students on a trip here. It is always best to have a couple people who know the way through the cave and jungle in case there is a problem. These caves are a short 10 minute walk off the road. Incredible, huh? So here you can see the little cluster of people on the right. Below that is a photo of beams of light as seen from inside the cave (Monte Encantada) at the bottom of the slope.

I like to imagine these as tractor beams like the ones in Star Trek - if I stand in them I will teletransport to somewhere else. My little camera has a panoramic feature I has just started to try to use. It gives you an idea of the formations. Monte Encantada has a lot of bats in it and guano. The bats huddle together when they aren't flying around disturbed.

We spent an hour or so at Monte Encantada. After that we hiked 8 minutes back toward the road to Barbudos. This is the cave entrance and Jeff on the trail. Once you hike down into the mouth you encounter a stream and this little tube-like entrance. When we were here on Thanksgiving this was completely full of water and we could not get in. This time the way in was open!

Jeff bent over and went through the little hole. The ceiling then becomes lower and lower and the water higher and higher until there is very little clearance.

Most of us took our helmets off so we could do the head tilt to keep our noses out of the water. It then opens up a little more (to maybe head high) and the two water pipes can be seen. This class was a hydrology class and the point was to show them the water pipes. You can feel the vibrations which is kind of creepy. This probably is the water supply for our house. Looking to the back of the photo is looking out of the cave. I didn't continue on (since I'd done it before and a number of students needed to see it) but the cave stays low, constricts some more, opens into a little room, goes up and down on sharp rock and ends at a sump which we have heard is diveable. Here's Jeff swimming out the entrance and climbing back up toward the light. I wouldn't say these are super duper caves, but they are close to home...easy to walk to...and who can beat the way the light was coming through that cave entrance?

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