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Apr 5, 2004

COOL GARDEN CAVE 3


Position: WGS84 - 18 19' 41.2" N, 77 49' 02.6" W

Field notes: R. S. STEWART

Cavers: R. S. Stewart, G. van Rentergem, B. Murray, D. Roeber

Time in: 15:15 EST, Time out: 15:45 EST

THREAT VULNERABILITY: High

(Continued from Cool Garden 1)

Cool Garden 2 was the third of four caves visited on this day, after Rudist Rock and Cool Garden 1. Like the others, it is one of the subject caves of the St James project.

The entrance to Cool Grd 3 is found 225 metres, at a bearing of 34 deg true, from the NE entrance of Cave 1. At the time of our visit, the entrance was very bushed up, but this state was changed by the judicious use of a couple of machetes.

Our previous visit to the Cool Grd caves, on Aug 19, 2003, had included caves 1, 2, and 4, but this one hadn't been located. This day, with the help of our local crew, and Guy van Rentergem, and our volunteer cavers, Brian and Dana, it was found, visited and a thorough assessment was done.

The entrance to Cool Grd 3 faces SW, inclined at about 30 deg from the vertical, roughly circular and apx 3 metres across. At the west side, water that seasonally rises runs through a well-defined gully for 35 m, at a bearing of 320 deg, to sink in the SE entrance of Cool Grd 4.

A scramble of about 2.5 m leads into a stream passage of some 3 m in width and height. At the time of our visit, water was present and a minor flow was occuring. It was soon obvious that this cave benefitted, biologically, from the lack of complete flooding, much the same as Rudist Rock Cave. The entire stream-passage that comprises the cave is only of about 100 m length, and it is several m high throughout. The total slope is not great, and the waters that sink at the mud-choked upstream entrance flow rapidly through the cave, even in the rainy season, to soon exit and then sink in Cool Grd 4.

We followed the passage until we reached the chokes at the end, and then worked our way back out. The entire time, we looked carefully for everything that was living in the cave.

Once again, the sharp eyes of Dana spotted what is for us a new species of invert. Her description follows:

"White, worm-like, apx 6-7 cm long, diam apx 3 mm, stripe along body coloured brown/olive, tapered tail, round light brown head, white pellets visible inside body, slimy, found on wall of passage, moving upwards."

There were also many Neoditomyia farri larvae, (predacious web-spinning beasties that inhabit biologically healthy caves), found along the entire length of the passage.

Roaches were present in minor numbers.

Bats, estimated at under 100, were present in the outer half of the passage. Small amounts of guano were present but no deposits as such due to the hydrological nature of the cave.

The most notable speleothems are helictites found in the further section of the passage.

A GPS position was obtained, eight sat's available and WAAS. The accuracy is better than +/- 5 m.

(Continue to Cool Garden 4)

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