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Intercom is a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and conservation of caves.
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I N T E R C O M Volume 40, Issue 6 November December, 2004 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hot-Line subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the INTERCOM are January 1 and March 1. Send material for publication, e-mail, disk or hard copy, to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515-986-3219 410 Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E-mail Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502-564-7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. IOWA GROTTO National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Mike Lace Vice Chairman Ed Klausner Secretary Treasurer Phil LaRue Volume 40 Issue 6 C O N T E N T S _____________ Iowa Grotto Meeting Minutes 79 Trip reports: Mammoth Cave Cleanup 80 Patriotic Fungus 81 CRF Thanksgiving 2004 82 Safely In The Park 83 Caving On Long Island 83 Despair 88 Dear Most Competent Caver 88 Cave Maps: Ice Cave 89 Salt Pond Cave 90 78 Angry Chipmunk Cave 91 DinkyÂ’s Bluff Cave 91 Cover Photo: Chris Beck in Hamilton Cave, Long Island, Bahamas. Photo by Mike Lace.


IOWA GROTTO MINUTES November 17, 2004 Regular Meeting The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Chairman Mike Lace, at 7:57 PM after a slide show by Mike. Slides from the grotto collection were shown. These will be used by grotto members to give presentations of the Iowa Grotto activities along with a variety of caves from Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. There were 6 members present and one guest present. Minutes from the October 2004 meeting were not available, nor was a treasurers report. TRIP REPORTS: Ed Klausner reported on a trip to Jackson County where he, Gary Engh and Elizabeth Miller surveyed two caves. Ed also reported on another trip to Jackson County where he, Gary Engh and Rich Feltes surveyed three caves and noted 3 additional leads (two vertical and one horizontal.) Mike Lace reported on a vertical Rescue Training session at Mt. Vernon Fire Station that was given by Doug Schmuecker where three new devices / techniques were demonstrated. Mike also reported on the recent Coldwater trip where John Lovaas collected temperature data. FUTURE TRIPS: The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August, to be held tentatively in Dubuque Co. The NSS convention will be in Huntsville AL. next summer. There will hopefully be a trip to Wonder Cave in January, probably the Sunday after the usual Coldwater trip. OLD BUSINESS: Iowa Cave Map Book Volume 4 is available for $25 along with volumes 1-3 at $25 each. If all four volumes of the map book are purchased at the same time, the set will be $80. No new nominations for grotto officers were received. NEW BUSINESS: Intercom deadline is January 1st. Please return library materials that you have checked out. The grotto meetings for Dec will be the third Wednesday of the month rather that the usual 4th Wednesday due to the holidays. Meetings will move back to the 4th Wednesday of the month in January. With no additional business, the meeting adjourned at 8:18 p.m.. IOWA GROTTO MINUTES December 15, 2004 Regular Meeting The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Vice-chairman Ed Klausner, at 7:45 PM after a slide show by Ed. Slides from Iowa, KY, AR and Puerto Rico were shown. There were 5 members present. Minutes from the November 2004 meeting were read and approved. There was no treasurerÂ’s report available. TRIP REPORTS: Shawn Roberts reported on a trip that he and Mike Lace had taken to start the resurvey of Dance Hall Cave. They mapped a small cave nearby. Loren Schutt reported on the four caves that he, Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and Gary Engh mapped during the same trip while Shawn and Mike were surveying nearby. Gary Engh reported on a trip to Linn County where he, Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller surveyed one known cave and found and surveyed two new caves. Gary also reported on a trip that he and Mike Lace had taken to Jackson County to talk to landowners. They lined up several areas for ridgewalking later this winter. Elizabeth Miller also reported on a cave lead in Davis County. FUTURE TRIPS: The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August, and is to be held tentatively in Dubuque Co. The NSS convention will be in Huntsville AL next summer. There will hopefully be a trip to Wonder Cave in January, probably the Sunday after the usual Coldwater trip. OLD BUSINESS: Iowa Cave Map Book Volume 4 is available for $25 along with volumes 1-3 at $25 each. If all four volumes of the map book are purchased at the same time, the set will be $80. No new nominations for grotto officers were received. The nominations have been closed and the current officers will retain their positions for another year. NEW BUSINESS: Intercom deadline is January 1st. Please return library materials that you have checked out. The grotto meetings for January will move back to the 4th Wednesday of the month. Information on a new book on alpine karst was announced. With no additional business, the meeting adjourned at 8:10PM. 79


80Mammoth Cave cleanup weekend Brad Smith, Liz Robinson November 5,6,7 2004 Mammoth Cave National Park Brad and I left after work Thursday night for the Mammoth Cave National Park fall cleanup weekend. We had not been there in several years so we were looking forward to rejoining the group for this weekend. Since the Green River Ferry is out for the regular Coast Guard inspection, we decided to get a motel in Cave city to avoid the long trip back and forth through Munfordville. Since motels are reasonably priced in the off season., it was possible to get a room at an affordable price. We decided to reserve the room for Thursday night so that we could have plenty of time to do something Friday. We were slightly delayed in arriving about 2:30 in the morning Friday morning since Brad forgot his Primatene Mist and we had to find a 24 hour store where we could pick some up. Fortunately there was one open in Elizabethtown, KY. We slept in late Friday and went to Crystal Onyx Cave the next day. We had never visited there before but had heard from someone who had been working the Indian burial ground dig in the cave some years ago when we were at Speleofest in the Hart County Fairgrounds. We knew pretty close to where it was since we had passed the signs for it on our way to Glasgow a few years ago so we went off and found it easily. When we arrived we found that we were the only people waiting for tour. So that worked out nicely—it mean virtually a private tour with a real conversation with a guide instead of the memorized speeches that you normally get on tours. It also meant that we were able to take the time to set up the camera on the tripod and get some good pictures in the cave. The cave was really beautiful. In accordance with current Federal law, the bones from the Indian burial are no longer on display, although the deceased are not affiliated with any known modern Indian nation. The probability was that the bodies were just dumped into the cave as a convenient place to get rid of them and they were probably either murder victims or sacrifices as there was no care given to the bodies, most of whom seemed to be women and children, according the to guide. The general site is visited as a part of the tour. There is some additional tourist passage in this lovely cave that was not open during our visit. The walkways have become unstable and they will be torn out and rebuilt over the next couple of years and once again be reopened to the public. We hope to go back to see them when the passage is available again. When we left the cave were had hoped to visit Onyx Cave, the commercial cave near Guntown Mountain, however it was closed. Saturday was Brad’s birthday and that allowed him to spend that birthday in one of his favorite places in the world, the underground environment. The next day we got up and went and met everyone for the Mammoth Cave cleanup. The meeting was held at the picnic grounds where everyone signed in and carpooled to the extent that we could, since there was limited parking near the Carmichael Entrance, Violet City sinkhole. The rest of us left our vehicles back at the picnic grounds. Once we got there we waiting for the Wild Tour to enter and for everyone to arrive Some of the drivers made roundtrips to the picnic area to pick up those without a ride. We went down the stairs into the cave and walked to the work area in Stillman Avenue. A few people went on a short tour to the connection in Cascade Hall,including Brad, but I decided to stay and start getting to work. The work consisted of hauling long snake-like electrical conduit to the stairs near the Snowball Dining room. (The haulers, which were in groups of 2-4 people, became known as “snake handlers.”) I hauled one short strand with someone else and on my way back I was asked if I would help with wrapping and coiling some of the wires that were being removed from the avenue. I figured that would be a good thing to do and I spent much of the rest of the day coiling and duck taping the wire which ranged from half inch to 3/4 inch (estimated). Some of it contained several copper wires which will be recycled as well as some pure copper


81wire. There was also a wheelbarrow used to pick up the twisted wires as well as the heavier electrical equipment. At noon we took a break and had box lunches at the Snowball Dining Room. This included a sandwich, an apple, hot soup and crackers, chips and a beverage. Brad and I were glad that they were not forcing us to re-surface as had been done in some past weekends for lunch. As Brad said, “I did not come over 500 miles to each lunch on the surface.” After lunch we continued our work started before lunch. We gathered for the return trip in the Snowball Dining room about 3:30. We got to the surface around 4:30 or so. I was the slowest one returning. After donating blood I traditionally get a cold about a week or 10 days after donating. As a result my breathing passages in my throat and nasal passages were somewhat swollen, making it hard for me to breathe with all of the dust. So I had to stop to catch my breath going up the stairs a few times. Fortunately the Park employee was with me so I was not missed. The next day we gathered at Diamond caverns for the Sunday cleanup. There is a dig that has been started in Diamond Caverns, opening up some new passage. Our job was to form a bucket brigade to haul the rocks up the stairs and out of the cave into a trailer attached to a pickup truck. Additional members of the group were to take turns going into the dig to remove the rock. I joined the bucket brigade and helped with that. Someone supplied us with beverages, popcorn and ice cream and after the bucket brigade was ended we were allowed to wander the tourist passages alone, which Brad and I did. Brad also set up the camera and tripod and took some pictures. We left about 1:30 that afternoon. I was annoyed about leaving so late, however during our trip back we saw a gorgeous aurora all the way from I-74 west of Indianapolis through our arrival. I do not remember seeing one so active and brilliant in the Midwest since my childhood. There were reds, yellows and greens and lots of action. (We get them a lot more in Watertown and Massena, NY). Brad said that if we had had a video camera we could have taken some great movies. When I first saw it in Indiana I thought that I was fooling myself but as we traveled along it was unmistakable. We were unable to get to bed until around 2:30 Monday morning, but by then the aurora was gone. It was well worth getting home late to see. Patriotic Fungus Red Hat, Cabin and Patriotic Fungus Caves, Jackson County, Iowa November 7, 2004 By Ed Klausner Gary Engh, Rich Feltes, and Ed Klausner Several years ago, Rich Feltes and Phil Larue found a small cave along the Maquoketa River in Jackson County that they named Cabin Cave. It had been on the “to do” list for years, but had never been surveyed. On a warm November day, Gary Engh, Rich Feltes and I set off to survey Cabin Cave and a small mechanical cave that Rich had found later on. We decided to ridgewalk some additional land on the way to Cabin Cave. Rich found a small solutional cave on one side of a ravine while I located a very tempting solutional tube high on the opposite side of the ravine. We surveyed Red Hat Cave and then attempted to get in to the hole on the other side of the ravine. Unfortunately, it was too high up with no good way to reach the entrance. We’ll have to come back with vertical gear. We found another pair of holes even higher up the cliff face and noted them for a return trip with vertical gear. In addition, we saw some shadows across the river on land that had not been walked, so there is yet more to do. Cabin Cave was just where Rich remembered it and we surveyed it along with the mechanical cave nearby. There was some shelf fungus with red, white and pale blue rings nearby, thus the name of the mechanical cave. All the caves were less than 20 feet, but we have high hopes for the additional leads that we found. I sent a picture of the shelf fungus to John Lovaas who identified it as Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), which is used by the paper industry to break down wood pulp for paper making.


CRF Thanksgiving 2004 Mammoth Cave, KY By Ed Klausner November 25,26 and 27 2004 Thanksgiving CRF trips to Mammoth Cave are really nice because there are three days of caving and a great Thanksgiving meal with caving friends. Elizabeth, Hannah and I drove to Kentucky the day before Thanksgiving. On Thursday, Elizabeth Miller, Charles Fox, Steve Ormeroid and I took a short trip (9 hours) to survey a cut around on Ganter Avenue and assess the water flow in the first of AlbertÂ’s Domes to see if a longer trip the next day was possible. There has been a recent rain, so the flow of water near the first dome might have made the passage impassable. We entered the Historic Entrance and followed the tourist trail to Ganter Avenue. We followed Ganter Avenue for 124 survey stations and then surveyed the low cut around. There was a fair amount of grumbling about the size of the passage, so we left a 70 foot dead end bellycrawl for another day. We then continued along Ganter to Ryder HaggardÂ’s Flight (a stone staircase that descends two levels to Mayfield Avenue. Mayfield Avenue leads to HenryÂ’s Dome where we had lunch and took some pictures. We left some gear at HenryÂ’s Dome and followed ElmoreÂ’s Pass (a multi-level canyon) to the first of AlbertÂ’s Domes. Recent rains were not enough to block our passage and the trip for the following day. While we were there, we went the short distance to LaJuana Falls as it is a rather picturesque dome with a flowstone cascade. On the way back, we decided to descend to the bottom of HenryÂ’s Dome as there were some leads noted there. The leads turned out to be impassable, so we headed out for the Thanksgiving meal. The following morning, the same crew traveled the same route to LaJuana Falls and then continued on for several more hours to get to the JanetÂ’s River area. JanetÂ’s River is the second connection that has been found between Mammoth Ridge and Flint Ridge. I seemed to remember that there was over a thousand feet of walking passage with a short segment of crawling. Elizabeth pointed out to me that it was really mostly crawling passage with a fairly short section of walking passage. IÂ’ll probably forget that again before the next trip. Once at the JanetÂ’s River area, we had a snack and prepared for the 70 foot tight crawl to reach virgin cave. The crawl was as tight as I had described, but we all got through to an area with 20 to 30 foot ceiling heights. We started surveying the many leads and each one went a short distance before ending in unstable collapse. We were at a valley edge and this is typically what happens. The dome itself had a nice waterfall, but we were out of leads and headed out via the crawlway. On the way back, we surveyed one of the leads noted by the team that surveyed the passage leading to JanetÂ’s River in 1994. We surveyed a 55 foot tube that led to an overlook of JanetÂ’s River 25 feet below the last station. The trip back was uneventful and we were out of the cave in 13 hours. We headed back for Thanksgiving leftovers and a big pot of turkey soup. I had never seen Great Onyx Cave and trips there can be pretty easy, so I requested to be on a survey trip for the last day of the expedition. Dave West, Charles Fox and I were sent to a sandy, dry crawlway to survey, or so we thought. I got to see the entrance area of Great Onyx which is very nicely decorated. Not too far from the entrance of this formerly commercial cave on Flint Ridge, we started the survey of the sandy crawl. That was fine, except that it ended in about 100 feet. What was left was a lead down to where we could hear water. None of us were dressed for surveying in water. We continued our surveying along a sometimes bellycrawl, sometimes hands and knees crawl in and out of some shallow water. This went on for another 7 or so hours. IÂ’m still happy I did it as I got to see Great Onyx Cave. 82


Safely In The Park Well Balanced, Barbell, Shinbone, Ice, Rainy Day, Up-N-Out, Dancehall Caves, Jackson County, IA December 4, 2004 Gary Engh, Ed Klausner, Mike Lace, Elizabeth Miller, Loren Schutt, and Shawn Thomas Slanted Cave, Morehead Shelter, Jackson County, IA December 29, 2004 By Ed Klausner Once again, we needed a safe haven for surveying during shotgun deer hunting season. Many of the caves in Maquoketa Caves State Park needed to be resurveyed because the original maps were drawn to different standards (no vertical control, no profile views and few cross sections). This seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out caving and avoid getting mistaken for a deer. We met in the park and split up. Mike and Shawn started by mapping Up-N-Out cave (23 feet) and then starting the resurvey of Dancehall Cave. They netted 470 feet in Dancehall. Elizabeth did a bat count in Dancehall Cave while Gary, Loren and I headed downstream to resurvey Barbell and Shinbone. On the way, Loren investigated a small opening and thought it would be big enough to survey. There were two passages whose total length was a bit over 20 feet so we surveyed Well Balanced Cave. Surprisingly, it had many small formations. Our next stop was Barbell Cave. The cave has two large rooms separated by a small opening. The small opening has somewhat protected the second room from the vandalism evident in the first room. Neither Gary nor Loren could fit through the opening, so I started surveying it along. A while later, Elizabeth finished her bat count and joined me to help finish the survey. Barbell Cave turned out to be a bit over 50 feet in length. The four of us then surveyed Shinbone Cave, a mostly mechanical cave of 74 feet. The next stop was Ice Cave that had a few formations left and measured about 85 feet. By this time Shawn and Mike had joined us. After we finished Ice Cave, we headed the short distance to Rainy Day Cave. It was getting late, so we saved Rainy Day Cave for another day, most likely another weekend when it is shotgun deer hunting season. On the way out, Shawn climbed into a small hole and thought the passage was easily more than 15 feet in length. This one will also have to wait for another day. I had plenty of vacation time from work, so I took a midweek day and went back to Maquoketa Caves State Park. Unfortunately, I didnÂ’t realize that Jim Roberts was also off from work and looking for someone to go caving with. I had noticed an unchecked talus slope that seemed like it might have a cave or two. It didnÂ’t take long to find a cave formed both from an overhang and talus. Slanted Cave measured 34 feet in length and even had some flowstone. Dancehall Cave was originally called Morehead Cave after its owner at the time. There is a shelter in the park that had a low room at the back that measured 22 feet from the dripline to the back of the room. I also surveyed this cave with two columns and named it Morehead Shelter. There is still more to do in the park besides finishing Dancehall, the cave Shawn found, and Rainy Day Cave. The talus slope needs to be checked higher up the slope and there are a number of holes that may only be accessible by rope. I guess weÂ’ll have somewhere to go that will be safe from hunters next season. 83 Caving on Long Island December 10-20th, 2004 Participants: Chris Beck, Kevin Toepke, Beth Fatesi, Kali Pace-Graczyk, Mike Lace, P.J. Moore, John Mylroie, Marc Ohms and Rene Ohms By Mike Lace Where? No, itÂ’s not the Long Island on the east coast. Located near the southern end of the chain of islands called the Bahamas, Long Island is 173 square miles and no more than 4 miles wide along itÂ’s 60 mile length. The Atlantic Ocean continually pounds against the eastern, leeward, side of the island while the shallow torqouise waters on the west


side are referred to as the Great Bahama Bank. The island is home to around 5000 people and everyone we met was generous, welcoming and very interested in the work we hoped to accomplish. The expedition was approved by the local Department of Agriculture and funded by a grant supporting John Mylroie’s ongoing work to define cave development in the Bahamas. John had been on the island with Jim Carew to begin an inventory of its cave resources. Part of our job was to remap a few of the caves he had seen with a greater degree of detail while locating and mapping “new” caves to add to the inventory which only listed six mapped caves so far. The Caves The caves were formed within fossilized carbonate sand dunes (“eolianite”) by the corrosive action of a salt water/fresh water lens. The Bahamian caves are similar to, but smaller than, the many flank margin caves we’ve mapped on Isla de Mona and the Puerto Rican mainland. As you might have guessed, the caves are comfortably warm and the standard gear includes shorts and a T-shirt. The elevation of Long Isand is relatively subtle, limiting the vertical extent of the caves to less than 20-30 feet but they are horizontally extensive with anywhere from 20 meters to one kilometer of mazelike of passages leading to large, often decorated rooms. Experience had taught us that where there are a few such caves known Š there are are surely more. Salt Pond Cave We started the week with the resurvey of Salt Pond Cave. Originally mapped in 1990, the goal was to generate a highly detailed map for the owners and a tool to allow 3D modelling of the cave. All of us had worked in flank margin caves before on others islands and immediately recognized Salt Pond as another fine example of this type of cave development (see map in this Intercom issue). The cave consists of two large dry chambers connected by a single walkingsized passage. Its internal walls showed the characteristic solutional cusps typical of those formed by a salt/fresh water lens. Several skylights opening to the surface cast a soft glow on the entry passage as did its wide horizontal entrance where the sea had breached the entry chamber long ago. The internal chamber was deeper within the eolianite ridge with no skylights but many shallow pits where the fertile bat guano had been excavated. Mylroie pointed out a clear storm surge line above our heads along the wall that marked where one of the tropical storms had swept saltwater deep into the cave. The surge line hadn’t been there on his last visit. A long, tall passage led off the back wall and looked reminiscent of some large phreatic tube you would find in Carlsbad or elsewhere in the Guadalupes. We had seen some passages like this in portions of a few other flank margin caves but it was unusual nonetheless. We noted flowstone columns, stal., bellholes and plenty of bats. After a quick tour, we split into two teams and had at it, mapping the bulk of the cave before noon. Lunch was spent on the caveowners new balcony overlooking that sun-drenched torqouise water. Meanwhile, back in Iowa, others were braving arctic winds as they trudged through the snow, mapping one small cave after another. We felt guilty, of course, but that quickly passed and it all somehow made the trip that much sweeter knowing that our friends were enjoying the best that an Iowa winter can offer. We wrapped up the survey after lunch, logging over 510 meters (1672 feet) of passage one down and a lot more to go! The evening was spent meeting the neighbors, showing them what we had done that day and how we had done it, before Mylroie gave a presentation (one of three that week) on cave development in the Bahamas. Indian Hole Point Cave, Red Roof Cave and Walkthrough Cave One of the caveowners led us to his place on Indian Hole Point to a series of shallow depressions leading into sizable caves. We split into two groups to map Indian Hole Point Cave which was easily the longest cave of the day. Somehow, Marc’s crew got all the walking84


passage and we ended up in the hot dusty boneyard of crawlways at the far end. We didn’t mind though as a short trip into steamy boneyard was certainly better than any day at work and we had six more days to play with. Meanwhile, PJ, Beth and John had been out scouting for more caves. While Marc doubled back along the trail to map a couple of smaller caves we had passed, Mylroie led a few of us over to yet another small, interesting cave he had just found. Red Roof Cave was named after the red ochre-colored ceiling formed by an old layer of soil (paleosol) that had been trapped within the eolianite as the cave was formed. Its single chamber was breached by three entrances and there was ample decoration, including flowstone columns and rhizomorphs (fossil root casts). We caught up with Marc to help him map Walk-Through Cave the third small cave they had found. In all, we mapped five that day but concluded that one could easily spend a couple more days bushwacking through the dense foliage, finding one hole after another along the point. Hamilton’s Cave and Annex One of our primary tasks was to remap the longest known cave on the island. Hamilton’s Cave is well-traveled by locals and visitors who are directed to the cave for a wild underground experience. There were ample signs of human traffic but overall the cave was in good shape with significant decoration and large, intricate corridors. As with Salt Pond Cave, it looked as if two elongated chambers had formed independently and later connected by a small breach that provided a little crawling in an otherwise walking-sized cave. We hit the survey hard, with two teams leap-frogging one another. It took us just over two days to map over a kilometer of passage in the main cave and, in the end, scrambled to finish before we had to return home. Hamilton’s Cave Annex was part of the main cave before an entrance collapse interrupted the dripline long ago. The Annex is shallower than the main cave and the decoration is markedly different with denser areas of active stalactites and soda straws. It’s a significant cave, with several hundred feet of passage accessed by at least four entrances. Hillside Grocery Cave Bonefishing is a popular tourist industry in the Bahamas and while Marc and Rene were off bonefishing for the day, several of us started work in Hillside Grocery Cave. What looked like a simple segment of trunk passage turned out to be anything but simple. The main passage stretched several hundred feet to a wide open skylight but you could periodically drop into a lower level segment paralleling it below. We saw nothing else on Long Island that even came close to this mini multi-level. There was obvious solutional (possible phreatic?) sculpting of the walls and ceiling throughout the cave as well as a healthy bat presence. Complex side passages led off the eastern side while a small passage dropped steeply to the west into a tidal pool. We logged 303 meters in this fine cave. Spanish Church Cave Four of us set out to map a little cave inundated with brackish water. It was locally known as Spanish Church Cave since it’s found behind an abandoned church just off the main road. I had packed a small PFD (personal flotation device) specifically for this purpose while PJ geared up with fins and what looked like a Fisher-Price air mattress left over from a previous visitor to our beach house. It was easily the most fun we had all week, paddling around a wide chamber lit by numerous skylights and filled with blue water populated by red shrimp. The others told me to “jump right in the water’s fine”. I guessed that the water was a little chilly as Kali was shivering while trying to read the instruments but I slipped in anyway Š very refreshing! We wrapped up the 81 meters of survey and headed back to the beach to clean up and relax.85


Salty Dog Cave, Termite Mound Cave We set out on a diveboat for the day to check a few remote areas difficult to reach from inland, do a little snorkeling and to collect some water samples in one of the blue holes for PJ to test as part of his thesis research. Two of the caveowners we had met generously hosted our day on the water with their diveboat. We poked into numerous small holes and shallow pits here and there that were less than four meters of passage but we ended up mapping five caves on what was technically a “day off” from mapping. The longest cave of the day was Salty Dog Cave at 27 meters. It was a single, wide chamber close to the water. While we surveyed Salty Dog, Chris was off beating the brush and came up with yet another small one Termite Mound Cave (7.5 meters). Kevin Toepke, Marc and Rene Ohms in Hamilton’s Cave. Long Island, Bahamas Photo By: Mike Lace Stella Maris Cave (a.k.a. Party Cave) At the north end of the island, we stopped at a small cave used for local entertainment called Stella Maris Cave (a.k.a. Party Cave). Unlike the “party caves” back home, this one was replete with several concrete tables, a grill and a bar fashioned from the bow of a small skiff not the typical cave survey symbols you’d normally use when sketching. Once again, numerous skylights cast daylight around a very odd cave setting. We mapped 47 meters and almost wished we were doing it while one of the parties was in full swing “survey at table six!” Dean’s Blue Hole/the BEC Caves We kicked back a little on our last day, hiking along the rugged eastern coast of the island. Myroie walked us through some interesting geologic features while we scanned the weathered rock for small caves. We didn’t find any caves but enjoyed one spectacular view after another of white sandy beaches and a couple of really inviting swimming holes. The Bahamas are famous for their blue holes. Deep fractures found inland, and just off the coast, plunge into dark blue caverns ideal for diving. Dean’s Hole is the deepest blue hole in the world at -662 feet and just off the Atlantic side of Long Island. Tucked away in a small cove, Dean’s is a massive dark blue circle in the middle of tranquil light blue water. It was simply gorgeous. Later that afternoon, we quickly ridgewalked a segment of cliff where John had spotted a couple of small caves on a previous visit. There were three, surprisingly complex, little caves altogether (the BEC caves) but we had run out of time and had to head back to our next social engagement. We left more rock to check and a lot more bushwacking to be done. Epilogue As the week came to a close, we had mapped 16 caves in eight days, including the second longest cave in the Bahamas (Hamilton’s Cave), and identified at least another weeks worth of work on the island. As usual, the hardest part of the trip was getting on the plane to come home but our new friends made sure we planned on coming back to pick up where we’ve left off. Thanks to the people of Long Island for making us feel so welcome and for giving us the chance to visit some spectacular Bahamian caves. 86


87 Chris Beck and Beth Fratesi. Walk Through Cave, Bahamas. Photo By: Mike Lace Hamiltons Cave, Bahamas. Photo By: Mike Lace


Despair Coldwater Cave, Winneshiek County, Iowa December 18,2004 By Ed Klausner Mark Jones, Ed Klausner, Shawn Thomas and Larry Welch Completing the upstream loop in Coldwater Cave always seemed like a good thing to do and relatively high water in December provided the opportunity to do it. Dave’s Tunnel of Despair connects two upstream passages (Waterfall and Pete’s Pipe) and forms a loop. It is usually dry and I was told, not very spacious. It was both. Part of the passage was resurveyed last month by Larry Welch, Mark Jones and Jim Roberts. We wanted to complete the resurvey. This was Shawn Thomas’ second trip into the cave. The first was a tourist trip with a UNI class several years ago. John Lovaas was taking a few Minnesota caves on a tour of the cave and that did not seem appropriate for Shawn as he had already done that. We thought Dave’s Tunnel of Despair would work out well for Shawn as he has had experience caving in Iowa and Oklahoma. We decided to approach the passage from the Waterfall Passage side even though it is longer that going up Pete’s Pipe. The Waterfall Passage has far fewer cobbles and makes the hands and knees part more pleasant. We got to Dave’s Tunnel of Despair and took our packs with us when we surveyed so we could exit via Pete’s Pipe if we chose to do so. Surveying went smoothly. I took lead tape, Shawn read backsights, Mark read foresights and Larry sketched. The passage varied between 1 and 1.2 feet high and was relatively dry (and not muddy). Surprisingly, it was nicely decorated. After 300 or so feet of survey, we found the last chip of the previous survey and tied into it. Close by was a stalagmite with what appeared to be a brace leaning against it – like a flying buttress on a gothic church. The stalagmite and brace were almost translucent in parts. I suspect it formed when a soda straw fell onto the stalagmite and got cemented in place. When we continued forward and connected to the Johnson Press, I was not happy to find that the passage remained the same height but had the addition of a few inches of water. I was muddy and my wetsuit zipper couldn’t be cleaned off enough to zip it up for the cold trip through the Johnson Press. Fortunately, I didn’t get too cold while Mark and I zipped through and waited for Shawn and Larry. I think Larry was finishing the sketch and then putting the survey gear away for the trip through the Press. The trip back through the Pipe was not pleasant, but then again, it never is. I destroyed a knee pad on the cobbles and wound up carrying the pad part of the way back. The trip back was actually not too bad and we made good time. The entire trip through the loop with surveying was done in 6 ½ hours, so we were out in time for pizza at Burr Oak. Dear Most Competent Caver Dear Most Competent Caver, I have been very busy caving in sunny locales such as Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Unfortunately, I‘ve been gorging myself on Rum and fried Plantains and now my butt doesn’t fit into my wetsuit anymore. I can’t give up these cushy cave trips, what should I do? Signed, Baby Got Too Much Back. Dear Baby Ect., As in the past, The Most Competent Caver again smells a scam. I’ve heard that these trips are partially to fully subsidized with someone else’s money. Do you realize your getting paid to cave. You should be ashamed. I know I’m ashamed, (ashamed I didn’t think of it first). The best solution for your weight problem, besides Jenny Craig, is for me to take your place on the next trip. While your putting in overtime on the treadmill, I will be setting a good example for our island friends. It will be tough, but I know I’m up for the challenge.88








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