Jamaican Caving Notes
Iron Maiden Cave
May 21, 2005
Team: Stewart, Conolley
Notes: RS Stewart
We had problems finding this cave initially, and had had no luck during our stay at Rock Spring in late March. Dietrich and I had looked for it a couple of times to the east of Swanga, on the same side of the Good Hope road, and as it turned out, it was on the other side. The entry in JU is somewhat deceiving, as it states, "East of Mouth River sink in the floor of a large glade". The large glade is apparently the rising entrance, because the sink is in a narrow valley between hills, and both entrances are a long way from the Mouth River. I finally was able to locate the sink entrance with the aid of the Rock Spring area plan (found in the introductory notes to this chapter) using GPS waypoints that I knew were definite to calibrate the plan, and then plotting it on the topo map, and then moving the resultant positions into the GPS prior to the search. This worked well, and on May 21, Ivor and I found the entrance only 35 metres from where I'd calculated it to be.
An entrance about 1.5 metre wide, and 2.5 high, takes the water of a small stream. There was a minor flow when we there. Inside, it widens and runs through bedding-planes until after about 30 metres the ceiling lowers towards the water. To the left (north) there is a section of small breakdown chamber. When we reached the point where the airspace was only about 30 cm above the water, we decided to not pursue it and turned around. There was detritus stranded on the passage walls right to the roof, and it was rainy-season.
Neoditomyia farri, were present, but I saw no Sesarma. I would suspect that if we had been able to go further into the passage we would have found them, since S. verleyi are found in most of the other Rock Spring caves, along with S. windsor in Printed Circuit and Harties #1.
There was very little silt in the cave, inside of the sink, and it appears that the thick vegetative cover outside is responsible for this.
We have not found the rising for this cave yet, but by comparing the KHE map to our position on the topo map for the sink, we would suggest that it will be found in a cockpit near 18 18 46.3 N, 77 33 54.8 W.
We are listing this cave with a medium vulnerability; if the land-use at the sink were to change, this cave could go the way of Farmyard and be affected by siltation.