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Posts Tagged ‘Caving in Cuba’

Cuevas de Bellamar

P1010076, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Shortly after leaving the tourist section of the Cuevas de Bellamar there was this reddish hump in front – it was a rippled flowstone ramp, over which I wriggled and there in front was …..

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Ontario caver goes Cuban


 

Sloshing through tepid water in the Cuevas de Bellamar I proceeded onwards past the usual path of travel. I am told that these gently sloping tunnels eventually reach the aquifer. Cuba is part of the same limestone plateau upon which is perched Florida and the Yucatan. Oddly this rock in which the Cuevas de Bellamar has formed is reddish – like what you would expect to see on mars and the calcite that has precipitated from within is snowy white – like icing.

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Staying at the Jibacoa – Caving in Matanzas

P1010096, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I think it might be that one evil green eye that led me on beyond the tourist designated tunnels of the Cuevas de Bellamar. I had been given permission to go further by our guide who was an avid caver himself. I still intend to produce an article for a magazine or something about the experience – in fact I have it produced already. Toronto Star had initially suggested that they would be interested in seeing something on Cuba’s caves but that fell through.

As you can see by my wrist band I was at that time resident at one of the Island’s many tourist resorts (Jibacoa). We had picked a quiet place half way between Havana and Varadero – it was beautiful, but the food – Wow, you cant begin to imagine the spagehetti paste filth they served and called it food -stay away from the fish as well, but conversely, some stuff was still edible. The people, now they were great!

Anyway, here I am sweating off the beer from the night before and wading along in tunnels that were just incredible. More pictures to follow soon – please excusee the lack of caving gear, my exploration was kind of winging it, the guide had lent me his little pocket light.

I should be getting back to my essay, I’m supposed to be writing something on health and safety legislation – I’m doing a course in Conestoga taught by a MOL inspector. Pulled off a pretty decent mark on my test – you might remember that I mentioned avoiding it by blogging about my last trip to Dodge. I’m heading back to Kansas for a health and safety conference in Janurary.

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Caves at Escalares De Jaruco – Cuba

P1000527, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Here we are – cruising in the smoking Lada with M… and family. We are at a place called “Escaleras de Juruco” here to see the caves!

As my diary records, ” M… drove us further into the park, thrashing the Lada through the grass and from where he parked we walked along a path in extreme karst pavement, the ground an eroded knot on rock and crevices. We were soon upon several limestone openings – quite obviously sea caves now left high in the hills amongst the palms. Roots hung through the rock and wound over boulders – further in – deeper into the caverns the airflow seemed to stop. I assumed they went nowhere.

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Fantastic Formations in this Cuban Cave

P1010091, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I just got back from Cuba and am busily crafting several travel articles. My intent had been to visit Cuba and do some kind of special on the Cuban caves in the Valle de Vinales but from where we were staying it was just a great big hassle to get there (Around 200 K’s on roads that were anything but straight – also I dont speak Spanish all that well).

Anyway, I still managed to visit the Cuevas de Bellamar and I was given permission by the guide to go beyond the tourist section for a short distance. I believe the Toronto Star might be interested in that article.

The Cuevas de Bellamar were absolutely spectacular – the most incredible glassy helictites that cover the roofs of the caverns and at times go all the way down the walls as well. There were also well formed prismatic calcite crystals an pockets on the walls.

This particular picture is about where I left the tourist section and headed off for a short jaunt on my own. I wish that I could have gone a little further but I did not want to abuse the generosity of my hosts – in particular “Jesus” – my guide. As for the beauty of the formations – alabaster pillars, lacy rimstone dams and fantastic contrast between the red cave walls and the white deposits this place is unsurpassed – more on this to follow.

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