Notes and Data
The May 2007 JCO expedition was devoted to several different projects: the start of the St Ann assessment work; monitoring of a subset of caves in the Cockpit Country; preservation of the caves of south Manchester; and a couple of caves done just for the fun of it. We first present below a brief overview of what was accomplished during the expedition, and then detailed notes and data via links to separate pages.
The May 2007 session saw the launch of the St Ann project, being done under NEPA permit. This work will eventually result in a complete inventory and assessment of the caves of the parish. During May 2007, the focus was on the Cave River System, north of Aenon Town. All except Clapham cave, the smallest of the system, were visited, and all of the sections outside of the flood-risk zone were investigated (rainy-season, and not the best time to be in the system). The remaining sections, upstream of Noisy Waters 1 - Holdit Hole Entrance, and Noisy Waters 2 beyond apx 200m downstream, will be done next session, in August 2007. An interim report will be submitted to NEPA by June 15 that supplies data, images, and video that document degradation factors contributing to flooding in the Cave Valley district. The report will also include photographic evidence of the presence of an invasive aquatic crayfish, the Australian Red Claw, which entered the system during the flooding associated with Hurricane Ivan.
Three caves were visited in the Cockpit Country as part of a monitoring project being carried out under NEPA permit. These were Marta Tick Cave, Penthouse Cave, and Welsch Ratbat Cave. Welsch Ratbat continues to have no recovery from the loss of the batroost noted in the past. Penthouse Cave appears to have had no recent guano mining activity of any real scale, and the trog invert inventory continues to be as great as can be expected when the invasive American Roach is present. However, no discernible increase in the bat numbers/species make-up was apparent. As in 2005, the available roosting space is underutilized, with about 20% of the bell-holes occupied. Marta Tick Cave continues to be relatively pristine, but this may change in the near future. Plans are afoot to turn it into a show-cave, which will result in drastic changes. It is our hope that by working with the Forestry Dept, and presenting alternatives, we might prevent this.
On Saturday, Mar 12, we held a public session at Smokey Hole Cave, which is currently threatened by bauxite mining. Alpart chose not to attend, which was very disappointing.
Golding River Cave was finally assessed as part of the Parks in Peril Project. This site required 5 visits before we finally recovered both entrances.
Quashies River Cave was visited as part of our efforts to establish an all-season route to the further sections of the cave. At present, access is severely restricted during the rainy-season due to the lack of solid anchors. A return visit will be made in Aug/07 to push things further.
Detailed accounts follow. As of Jun 11, there are five entries. More will be posted in the following days.