Jamaican Caving Notes
Mar 29, 2004
CRYSTAL LAKE CAVE
Position: WGS84 - 18 27' 24.8" N, 77 22' 37.8" W, +/- 25 m
Field notes: GUY VAN RENTERGEM
Cavers: G. van Rentergem, Adam Hyde, D. Roggy.
The rediscovery of Crystal Lake Cave, (take 1).
29 March, our first day back at the Green Grotto Caves. Memories came back of 3 years ago when we spent 14 days surveying this labyrinthine cave complex. It was during that period that Adam found a new cave on one of his solo explorations. He reported about a nice cave somewhere in the forests, south of the tourist caves, with beautiful concretions and a very nice lake at the bottom. But due to time constraints, it was not possible to explore and survey this one. So, this cave was high on our to-do list.
It was already afternoon when we followed Adam into the bush. How on earth could he ever find the cave again in this impossible terrain, covered with that dense forest? Well, I can tell you it wasn't easy. Zigzaging, we tried to follow the circumference of the big lake. Some futile attempts to make a shortcut later, Adam decided to follow his original trail. This is going to the other side of this huge lake until we found back an old pumphouse. It took us one hour to reach this important reference point. In fact this was the one and only reference point there was and ever will be. From here on, we had to climb up the hill until the ground levels again. No reference points at all. Or you should count the millions of trees as references? Now, we had to turn to the left. And suprise! Here was an old bushed up trail visible to the trained eye which followed the crest of the hill. At some point Adam left this "path" again and we went through a kind of low valley where at last, at the other side of it, the cave was. It was two hours later since we had left the pumphouse. I have asked myself a million times how Adam could ever have found back this cave. Now I'm sure he has an extra sense. In 2001, it was Adam who discovered the entrance of the Wild Cave. It goes like this: "Oh, there is a cave here. I feel it. I'm sure about it". We, looking sheepish: "how on earth could you find a cave here?". Five minutes later, you can bet he found a new cave.
The cave is very nice. It is in fact much bigger than I had in my mind based on Adam's description of it. It is a huge opening in the rock and goes over a steep slope of boulders right down to the bottom. In the middle of this big shaft is a very nice group af stalactites with a very big one about 7 meter long. At the bottom there is a very nice lake between white formations. This was the place where Adam stopped his brave solo exploration of 2001. It is this lake which gives the cave it's name: Crystal Lake Cave. This time we passed the lake. It is about 15 m long and ends at the other side on a beach of white calcite sand. The dimension of the passage is still huge and continues until it makes a turn to the left. There, it stops at a wall. Looking around, there are still possibilities for further exploration. But time was pushing. For sure, you don't want to be stuck in the forest when it is dark. So we scrambled back to the surface and took the same way back as we came. It was already twilight when we reached the pumphouse. The idea to go back through the forest with this condition of light was not very appealing. So we decided to take the long road starting from the pumphouse which goes the other way along the lake. A good hour later we were back at the Green Grotto Complex. Some Red Stripes profided the perfect end to the day.
More notes for Crystal Lake Cave, April 1, 2004.
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