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Booth Camp Spring

May 31, 2006, 09:00-11:00 EST

 

District: Troy

Parish: Trelawny

WGS84 L/L: 18 16 50.6 N; 77 37 05.7 W

 

JAD69: 184517 E, 180891 N

JAD2001: 684628 E, 681180 N

Altitude: 435m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 20m horizontal; +/- 25m vertical *

Type: Impenetrable rising and sink

Accessibility: Impenetrable

Depth: N/A

Length: N/A

Explorers: JCO - May 31, 2006

Survey: None

JU Ref: Text - pg 100, 157; Map - N/A

 

Entrance size: 5m wide (Impenetrable)

Entrance aspect: Zenith

Vegetation in general locale: Bush

Vegetation at entrance: Bush

Rock type: White/Yellow limestone interface (?)

Bedding: Moderate

Jointing: Undetermined

Speleothems: N/A

Palaeo resources: N/A

Archaeo resources: N/A

Hydrology: Wet

Siltation: Low

Sink: Active

Rising: Active

Stream passage with surface activity: Moderate flow

Stream passage without surface activity: N/A

Dark zone: 0%

Climate: Ambient external.

Trog species: N/A.

Visitation: Occasional - local.

Speleothem damage: N/A

Graffiti: None

Garbage: None

Ownership: Forestry

Protection: None

 

Vulnerability: Medium. Booth Spring, although not a speleo site as such (impenetrable), is very unique. It is located at the bottom of the deepest cockpit found in an area two kilometres across, and is in essence a window into an underground stream that is otherwise hidden a hundred metres deep beneath surrounding hills. The obligate cave dwelling crab, Sesarma verleyi, is present in the pool, as is a small species of shrimp (Atya spp). The pool also supplies an important habitat to above-ground terrestrial taxa; surface water is rare in the Cockpit Country - this stream flows year-round, and is in an area that is well-forested.

 

Booth Camp Spring
May 31, 2006
Team: RS Stewart, E Slack, K John, M Newman.
Notes: RS Stewart

Topo section for Booth at 1:25000 Booth Camp Spring was visited in assistance to Kimberly John, of The Nature Conservancy, as part of a water quality sampling project. The JCO had not visited the site before, as it is not a cave, but rather a "window" into an underground stream. We had no solid information on the location, other than the coordinates given in Jamaica Underground, which have an accuracy of 1km. However, Kimberly had visited the site in the past, and believed that she would be able to find it again. Because it would involve the longest hike of all of our targets for the day, it was scheduled to be first. In hopes of getting this one knocked off as early as possible, we had left Miss Buckle's, in Rock Spring, at a decent hour, and by 9:00 AM were in Tyre and hitting the trail.

Booth is to the east of the Troy Trail, and it is by way of this track, and then a side-trail, that the site is found (this from our best-guess for the location, and Kimberly's recollection). After parking at Paul Bailey's, at the end of the road that runs north from Troy (or almost so), we followed the main trail for about 1 km (note that on the 1:50k topo section used in this report that the final kilometre shown as a minor road is no longer used as such, and is now just a footpath), until we hit a side-trail heading northeast that looked familiar to Kimberly. After about a hundred metres, this came to a dead-end in a bushed-up hillside, with no sign of any tracks continuing. We turned around to get back to the main trail, hoping to find another side-trail further on that might be the right one, and during our trek back, Elizabeth, walking slowly, and looking carefully, spotted a path that led down into the bottomland to the northeast. She gave us a shout that she had something that looked promising, and then as soon as we were close enough to her to see where she had gone, she forged on down the trail to see if it carried on. By the time we had gotten to the top of this side-trail, she was some distance ahead, and out of sight. We heard a shout from her, somewhere through the bush, and after having her repeat it two more times, we made out the words, "It goes!". We immediately started down, trying to catch up, and I could quickly see that this was indeed a very old trail, and just the sort of thing we would expect for a site that has been used as a spring for several centuries (rocks moved to the side, the soil of the trail itself depressed by many feet, causing it to be 10-15 cm lower than the surrounding surface, a logical, easy route on the hillside that was decided on over many years). After about 200m (during which time Elizabeth stopped to let us catch up), we arrived at the bottom of a deep cockpit, to reach what was undoubtedly Booth Camp Spring

In truth, at the time when Elizabeth spotted the trail (after the rest of us had walked past it for the second time), I was beginning to suspect that we would not find the site this day; finding targets in the bush, with no real idea of where they are, can be next to impossible. We wouldn't have given up yet, but all the same, we wouldn't have searched again in this area and would have therefore had no luck. Elizabeth saved the day on this one, and it was only thanks to her eagle-eye, and familiarity with the look of old Cockpit Country trails that we were successful.

The track to Booth Camp Spring begins at 18 16 46.2 N, 77 37 13.3 W, WGS84, +/- 20m, on the Troy Trail. The accuracy of this position is not great, but if you have decent reception on your GPS (an external antenna is a big help), and you hike along the Troy trail until it shows you closest to that position, a little looking ahead and behind on the trail will find the junction. At first you will be on a wider, more recent logging track, but if you look carefully on the east side, you will find the old track that cuts northeastward down the hill.

Booth Camp Spring is about 5 metres wide, with a small stream issuing from under a bedding plane on the southeast to flow a short distance until it disappears in a bedding plane on the northwest (I had forgotten to bring my compass, but I believe that the orientation is approximately such). In the stream, near the rising end, Sesarma verleyi were seen. This is our first observation of this species external to a cave; in fact, at first, I assumed it had to be S. windsor, which are not restricted to caves, but body morphology and pigmentation certainly indicated that it was a verleyi. Shrimp were also seen, with identification currently limited to the Atyidae family. Various surface dwelling terrestrials and aquatics were present. Despite the small size of the exposed portion of this subterranean stream, it seems to serve as a particularly valuable habitat, and is an oasis of sorts, in the otherwise dry Cockpit Country. It does not appear to be experiencing upstream siltation, and is not taking silt from the surrounding cockpit, due to good cover. It remains in an almost pristine state.

* A useable GPS position was obtained by way of me sticking the external antenna on someone's walking-stick, and holding it as high in the air as I could. Eventually, three, then four, and occasionally five satellites were coming in, and I set a waypoint. To double-check it, I turned off the GPS, turned it back on, and again held the antenna in the air (this is a good check for gross errors in the first reading, which can occur during times of poor reception). The second reading (averaged over 5 minutes) was 16m distant from the first. I have listed the official position as midway between the two positions. I am stating the accuracy as +/- 20m horizontal, although I believe it to be somewhat better than that. The altitude of the two positions was 444m and 430m, WGS84. I am listing it as 435m with an accuracy of +/- 25m, which is closer to the second position (satellite reception was somewhat better).

The bedding planes here suggest that the stream is running along the yellow/white limestone interface, but this is not definite (we didn't bang off any rocks). The source and destination of the stream are unknown, but to speculate - it's coming from Tyre. As to where it's going, we have no idea other than vaguely north.

By the time I had a position for the site, Kimberly had finished getting her water samples, and we then retraced our route to Tyre, and the vehicles. Next would be Hector's River, in Troy, and then Coffee River Cave, in Auchtembeddie.

Location of Booth Camp Spring plotted on a 30m DEM. Darker is higher.

Topo section for Booth at 1:50000

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