Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Real Halloween Adventure: The Bat Cave

We may be a day late, but today we had a great adventure. This morning we took our dinghy 2.2 miles, then up a river at the tip of Isla Bastiamentos and ended up at Juan's property. It is a lovely piece of land. The path to get on the property is lined with pineapple plants and bananas and plantains are growing nearby. Lots of cocao trees are also fruiting, Chickens, dogs and kids are around the small house and there we met our tour guide, Juan. His compatriot young Aldoberto came along as well (he was the monkey spotter.) Juan speaks no English, so included in the tour was the daily Spanish lesson. We think we understood most of what he was telling us.

Before we got to the cave we hiked along a rather muddy path and saw several sloths, very cool orange poison dart frogs, various different plants, and Aldoberto did manage to spot a white-faced monkey in the trees. We had to stop talking and approached quietly so we could all get to see the rather large monkey.

Then, the giant cave was at the end of the trail. It actually was a bit scary looking into this large dark hole. We had been warned to wear clothes that you could get wet and muddy. The cave is quite long with several different chambers – some very large and others so narrow, you walked through holding on to both sides of the rocks. The water was also at different levels from ankle deep to chin high (for short Barbara). The end chamber is a very deep pool fed by a lovely small waterfall and is deep enough for young Aldoberto to dive into doing various flips and sommersaults as he jumped off the rocks. So we waded through the adventure.

There were large stalactites growing down from the ceiling of the cave dripping with cold water. The temperature in the cave was actually chilly and the water was cold. This is a great adventure for a hot day.

It's called a bat cave for a reason. There are lots and lots of bats that call this hole in the rocks “home sweet home.” You could look up and see them snoozing in the nooks and crannies. There were many, many bats though that were wide awake and seemed to take great pleasure in swooping down and coming very close. Perhas they were attracted by the lights. They got so close to you, you could almost feel their wings hit you and you certainly could hear the whooshing sound as they flew. They were fruit bats and some of these very critters may have feasted on Astarte bananas!

We followed Juan as he led us through the various chambers of the cave – giving us warnings where there were rock ledges and deep water holes. We were wearhing headlamps as was Juan, though young Aldoberto seemed content to roam around in the dark. It was pitch black in the back chambers where no light came in through the opening.

Michael took lots of photos, but unfortunately, our new underwater camera got very foggy because of the cold water and humdity. So most of the pictures look like they are haunted with ghosts.

In the last chamber, there is a small waterfall that feeds into the cave and is very soothing sounding amongst the flurry of bat activity. The pool in this chamber is deep enough that Barbara couldn't touch the bottom. You can get a good soak and swim in here, which we both did.

It was a very fun adventure that we were glad we did. We had planned to do it a week ago, but we got rained out. There were points in the cave where you could see high water lines (or leaves stuck in the rocks). It would not be a good place to be in a sudden downpour. But today, was a sunny, beautiful day – the perfect day for bat man and his sidekick to head to the cave.

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