Jamaican Caving Notes
May 17, 2005
Team: Stewart, Conolley, Slack
Notes: RS Stewart
This cave was easily located in the area where it was said to be. When we were on the road along the stretch where we expected to find a lane leading to the entrance, we only had to ask two local people before we had it nailed down. It helped that they know the cave by the same name it's listed with.
Access is as follows: Take the westwards of the two roads that lead north out of Thornton. Once near 18 12 19.7 N, 77 43 29.6 W, look for a small road that goes down to the left (that position wasn't GPS'd in the field, but derived from our calibrated topos afterwards). Follow it until it ends in a wet spot. Hike along a bouldered stream towards the cave position found in the table above (that one was taken at the cave). When you're close to those coords, look at the hill to your right, and find a small stream that crosses the glade, flowing from the hill. You'll find the entrances. There are three close together, with one fairly large. They stretch across about 30 metres of hillside, and I don't recall exactly where I was standing when I ran the GPS, but the position will have you close enough to spot it.
Rainy-season prevented us from going too far into this cave, but I did manage to float in 30-40 metres. The outer chambers are being used as roost for Artibeus, in good numbers when we were there (over 500). These chambers soon lower to an active streamway (year-round we believe - definitely used as a spring) that has deep silt on the bottom. I couldn't walk in this, because I just sank away, and instead hung off rocks on the wall of the passage and floated. Before too long, the passage lowered further leaving only about 75cm of airspace above the water, and because of the season, I pulled the plug there.
Sesarma were observed that were not verleyi. A leg was collected, but Dr Schubart at the time of this writing is still working on the DNA analysis for the first batch of legs, and has not done this one yet. To me, it looked much like S. windsor that I've seen at Rock Spring (confirmed by Schubart), but they are not known in this corner of the Cockpit Country - S. fossarum would be a more likely possibility. When results are in hand, they will be included in a supplement to this report.
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