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cave
  WHY JAMAICA?

 
A strange question?
Wait till you read the answers!
  • There are a lot of caves.

    Morgans Pond hole Indeed a good reason for a caving expedition.
    Two thirds of the area of Jamaica are covered by cave riddled limestone. There are more than 1000 known caves. Many more waiting to be discovered.

    The deepest cave is since april 2006 Smokey Hole reaching a depth of 194 m with a very nice P 134 which can be done freehanging.

    Before this discovery Dunn's Hole was stated as the deepest cave on the island. After visiting this abyss I can't say this Hole is really a cave! It's only a very big hole covered with a lush vegetation of trees and ferns and with at the bottom a cave. The Hole itself is 190 m deep. If you plan to descend this Hole from the North then you can do a freehanging P190! The cave, Dunn's Hole Cave, at the bottom is an impressive chamber measuring 200 m x 100 m and is 70 m deep. This is for sure the biggest chamber on the island.

    The second deepest is Morgans Pond Hole (186 m). And the longest one is the 3505 m long Gourie Cave.

    You can say that these figures aren't very impressive, but I'm convinced that there are many deeper and longer caves hidden under the impenetrable forests of Jamaica.

    Why?
    Many explorations have been focused on easy accessible regions and caves. Foreign expeditions went nearly always to the Cockpit Country (which is not an easy accesible region, but has a lot of potential) or to the central inlier in search for the big river caves, neglecting other promising regions like e.g. the Red Hills which has a potential of 800 m deep caves. So large regions of karst In Jamaica never have been explored by cavers. Hey, what are you waiting for?

  • Jamaicans speak English.

    Jamaica is a good choice for us Belgians, because we all know English (and French). Going to e.g. Cuba can create some linguistic problems because the people speak Spanish and we can't. This is important. Jamaicans normally don't explore caves but they can show you where the holes are. It is wise to hire a local guide who can help you. If you can speak their language your expedition can go a lot smoother.

  • "Safe" country

    quiet Yes there is crime and theft, but using some common sense it is relative safe travelling around. It is better to keep a "low profile". Don't be a tourist.
    But cavers should take care while exploring the bush, for the well hidden ganja plantations. The growers don't like you crossing their fields and they might do things to you... So It is a good idea to hire a local guide. He can tell you where it is safe to go and with a bit of luck he will show you some unexplored caves.

  • No strange tropical diseases.

    No malaria, no yellow fever, no cholera, no rabies. Even the tap water is of good quality. The only drawback for cavers is histoplasmose. Many caves have huge bat colonies and since we are in the tropics there will be histo. You can try experimental prophylactic doses of Sporanox, but that is no guarantee. Seven of the sixteen Belgian cavers who have visited Jamaica got histo. When you get it you will be sick for about one month being feverish and weak. But normally you will recover 100 % and will have developed some resistance against the disease.
    Please read this very important information about HISTO before considering caving in the tropics!!

  • Good infrastructure.

    Since we only have a limited amount of time we don't want to waste our time travelling to the expedition region. The best to thing to do is to hire a car. Unfortunately this is very expensive on the island. But when you have to count on the public transport...
    Since the caves are within "easy" reach of the airports, Jamaica is ideal for a lightweight expedition. And the caves aren't very extreme, so you won't need 100 sherpas to carry your 10 km of ropes. You can put all your gear in your backpack.

  • Popular holiday destination.

    This means there are a lot of flights and the price of the tickets aren't to high. Food is also no problem. Jamaicans have an excellent kitchen (*****). But if you don't like it hot, there are supermarkets where you can find all you want to cook more European style food.

  • They have excellent beer !

    You must know, we Belgians are the experts...

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You want more info? mail me: guy.van.rentergem@skynet.be