Jamaican Caving Notes
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Mar 04, 2003
Field notes: R. S. STEWART
Cavers: R. S. Stewart, I. C. Conolley, M. Taylor
We had made arrangements the previous day to link up with Tony's brother, Victor, the morning of Mar 4, to have a look at several caves that he knew of. We were late getting up to the Schaw Castle district, north of Maroon Town, having had to spend some time in Deeside trying to get through on the cellphone to Zadie, at NEPA, before we headed into the hills and lost the signal. Contact was eventually made, and while waiting I took the opportunity to get a GPS calibration point at the intersection of the Deeside/Dromilly/Wakefield roads. An excellent position was obtained with 8 satellites coming in strong and all of them WAAS differential. This position was later found to plot perfectly on the WGS84 referenced 1:50K topo, confirming the accuracy of sheet 2 for at least this area.
We eventually arrived at Victor's, at about 11:30, loaded up with gear, sprayed with Pyro for the ticks we expected to encounter, then headed off for the first cave.
The hike to the cave was through a cow pasture at one point, as always, but due to the season and lack of recent rain, the number of ticks that found us this time was truely brutal. Grasslice, redback, and silver ticks, the whole works, were out in force. As it turned out later, my application of Pyro had been too light and I got absolutely nailed by grasslice. My many exposures to these little parasites has at least finally resulted in the building up of some immunity to the itchiness that used last for months after each assault.
A hike of about 20 minutes brought us to a large cave entrance that, according to Victor, is unnamed. It is not to be found in the JU cave register. An exploration was carried out and revealed this cave to consist of one medium-sized breakdown chamber with no extensions. It has little potential to offer for a bioinventory. The nature of the rock is similar to Young Gully Cave in that it is very broken up and talus-like on the slope encountered as one descends into the chamber. Movement on this was very difficult, the rocks wanting to tumble downwards with every step. They ranged from about 10 cm to 60 cm, and were dry and clean and differed from Young Gully in that characteristic. The cave is more than a simple shelter, the entrance being only about 15% the width of the chamber, but is not worth another investigation. A GPS position was taken and this cave has been entered in the register as, "Grasslice Cave", in honour of the hordes of beasties that attacked us on the walk to, and from, this cave.
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