I always liked this photo I took quite a few years ago and have scanned from a photographic slide. It shows Jim "Crash" Kennedy rappelling down the 200-foot entrance drop in Cueva Infierno on the Camotera Plateau just outside of the little town of Laguna de Sanchez, Mexico. It was a pretty pit and has a large colony of rare nectar bats in it which we were there to study. And no, he didn't drop something, that is his pack tethered on a rope just below him. Having a heavy pack full of scientific equipment on your back can throw you off balance on rappel so having it on a short leash below you is much easier.
Camping in the cockpit karst of the Dominican Republic needs one thing...water. So much of the area is under-drained that you can walk a long way before finding surface water. But, when on a caving expedition, just find the nearest stream cave! We camped quite close to Cueva Llanada Grande, and there is a Los Haitises National Park outpost nearby as well, because of this clean running water. And it is only a few hours hike from the nearest road.
Notice that this passage would be a crawlway, or even end here, if not for the stream downcutting through all the sediment.
If you are unfamiliar with this rather odd activity, you can google extreme ironing and see some photos. Yesterday I took this photo of extreme ironing at the Natural Bridge in Butler Cave, Virginia. And yes, the shirt came out great.
This cockroach nymph was seen in Fruit Bat Cave, Mulu, Malaysia (Island of Borneo). This cave is either in, or near the boundary for, Gunung Mulu National Park, and is a fairly recent discovery. Not super big by Borneo cave standards, but a nice cave with some interesting bits in it.
Of note, this cockroach seems to have no eyes.
D. Scott Jones in a low-ish airspace crawl in Cueva Llanada Grande in the cockpit karst of the Dominican Republic.
Would you follow those boots down that passage? Could you? Well, I followed them and still do, as that is Jennifer Christenson in a side passage beyond Penn State Lake in Butler Cave.
About a mile into the cave (it has over 17 miles of passages) you come to a place known as The Showers. Clean, cool water rains down from above and you can wash up a bit, while the floor is a giant mud hole getting slime everywhere.
After six rope drops, the longest being about 150 feet, one reaches the stream trunk in Run to the Mill Cave. Some ways down the stream a side passage leads to this rather amazing formation.
Just posted by Nora Rappaport of National Geographic is a cool video of the creepy crawly critters of Gomantong Caves in Borneo. The footage was shot by Guy van Rentergem on our last trip there. I am the guy standing there while McFarlane narrates about how all these bugs gets in your boots and gear. Wild caves to work in and if you follow this blog you have seen many photos from there.
A link to the blog post with the video and text is here:
Here is the video, but it is worth a look at the blog post to read the text, enjoy!
And since I should add a photo of yet another crawly from the cave's guano, here is a greenish-yellow snail mucking about.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist