Monday, January 6, 2014

Cueva Perdida

Some friends who have moved to the states were here for the holidays and wanted to go caving. We of course did too so we had to come up with something that would be new to them, exciting, and safe. This "dry season" has been anything but dry this year which really limits our cave choices. The wanted to do some vertical work but a lot of the caves requiring vertical work are wet. Really wet. We came up with Perdida since we wanted to see it again, Diana wanted to see it again, and Tim and Sherly hadn't been there. There were some other caves nearby Tom wanted to explore but with the late start we just didn't get to them this time. As a surprise Bro decided to show up! The walk is under a mile and since it is cooler now wasn't bad at all! We got to the small entrance and could tell they had no idea what was inside! From outside it doesn't look like much at all. Even the initial entryway gives no clues as to what is inside. Once inside though it is a Disneyland-like terrain of flowstone, chest-high moving water and beautiful formations. This cave is free of trash and graffiti which is another huge plus! We crawled through the entryway and popped out on a ledge above the river. We climbed down into the water and followed it up through formations and between rocks etc. There is some climbing, some crawling, and there are a few surprises in this cave. We came here for the first in 2010 and remembered it a little differently. At that point we had only gone into a dozen caves. Now that we have some experience the cave seemed easy and a lot shorter. It is still one of the most decorated caves we have been too. We went upstream and got to the area where the "white room" was. I had remembered an exciting squeeze under a ledge with low clearance, water up to the nostrils and a small hole leading to a collapse and then the room. This was not where we were. We went up a short climb and entered the room that was white, covered in stalagmites and 'tites and helictites and columns and everything! We marveled at the beauty and took care where we stepped giving Bro a heart attack whenever we were near a white column. This area had been surveyed and we stepped on already mudded areas and tried to avoid clean stuff.

Once we were in the room we remembered all the connecting rooms at the upper level and the tunnels. Instead of going through some nice white connections we went back down to the river level and THEN found what I remembered as the fun part! Under the ledge I went slithering into a little hole so I could find the bigger hole for the others. I shined my light and everyone came up. We climbed the collapse and got up into the pretty spot and had a look around. Then it was back down, into the water and downstream. Bro had gone out a hole downstream from where we came in before so he led the way. It got tighter and tighter and was very wet and Jeff got nervous. He didn't think it went out or at least he didn't want to do it. I went a slightly different way, could see him, could squeeze in a small spot to get to him and traveled down further pretty sure it connected. Bro thought it was the right place too. Since weather was iffy and Jeff wanted to turn we decided to look from the outside, I'd crawl up in there and see if I recognized the spot.

From the outside we went to rinse things off and I climbed up into a little waterfall crack and started following it. I went for about 5 minutes, went back to collect other interested parties (Tim and Sherly) and follow it all the way. We ended up at the spot Jeff had been at! It was a little tight for Jeff but he could probably do it. I really like that kind of maneuvering so it was the highlight of the day for me. I think Sherly and Tim enjoyed that part and the others enjoyed NOT going in there. Turns out there are 3 cracks that lead to that way out - we'll call it the "waterfall way." This is a really nice cave with a little of everything - water, formations, climbing, squeezing. It has everything we go caving to see and the walk isn't taxing. Another visitor is coming in a week and might not want to miss this one...Adam? There are so many caves to see it is hard to choose but I can recommend this one and would return again. Since our time on island is limited I am being kind of choosey with what I do now. I don't want graffiti and trash and starving animals to be what I remember. If Perdida is the final cave I do here I am happy with that (we already have done another one though that would be a good one to end on also!). It does look like we will be here possibly for a majority of the dry season - good to get in as many caves as possible!

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