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19 July 2007
Spelunk!
tales from the Venado caves

Woo-hoo! The blog is up and running! It´s going to take me a while to backfill the entries from Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and La Fortuna. And I´m still figuring out how this all works, so bear with me while I get everything in order. In the meantime, I´ll entertain you with tales of spelunking.

For starters, the word "spelunk" is just about the funnest word ever. Use it three times in a sentence today! It´s fun for the whole family! So when my travelbuddy Julia suggested we take a spelunking trip through some rainforest caves, I was all over it. Our guide Guillermo ("Memo" to his friends) picked us up and drove us out to the cave site, stopping briefly at his house to pick up boots and towels. On the 45-minute journey out there, he showed us a promo video depicting people slogging through cave tunnels and sloshing through water, which was meant to serve several purposes. First, here´s a taste of what you´ll be doing. Anyone with bad knees or fear or bats need not continue. Second, check out these great pics you can get from our photographer! Third, seriously, we really don´t want you to schelp your camera around in the muck, you´re much better off letting us handle the pics. OK, point taken. Julia and I agreed to split the $20 fee and share the CD between the two of us.

Sliding on our boots (mmmmm, like slippery bowling shoes!) and helmets with attached flashlight (I´m sure there´s some ridiculously technical term for this device) and feeling ever-so-sexy, we splashed off through the rain to the cave entrance. After double-checking that none of us had any bat phobias, Memo led us into the cavern. The next two hours were filled with scrambling over slippery rocks, wading waist-high through a rushing underwater river, checking out the bats and spiders and other creepy critters, and having an absolutely marvelously muddy time.

Julia got the photo CD, so you´ll have to wait till she gets back to Miami and sends me the pics for the evidence, but trust me when I say that this was one of the most fun tours we´ve done so far. The "Totally ´80s" videos on the ride home brought out some hilarious commentary from our spelunk-mates... my favorite being "Yeah, they´re the one-hit wonder band without the one hit." Good times, good times.

Posted by soniaz at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment
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Re: Spelunk!
Since you asked...there is some technical name for that little light on the helmet, I would tell you but there are many types.

Some are just simple headlamps, often manufactured by Petzl.
Some or Wheat lamps which include a large battery worn on the hip.
Newer technology has moved toward LED, which takes much less power, thus less battery.
Or you could have been old school and had a Carbide light on but you would have noticed the open flame fueled by a carbide/water reaction that produces a flammable gas either from a helmet mounted source or a hip source with a tube running to the helmet.
There is even a hybrid that has both carbide and electrical (thus giving you two of the 3 sources of light all cavers are supposed to carry). That last one is the type I used in my years as a caver. Which gets to the point, it is caving not that fru-fru term Spelunking. ;) Hope you had fun, next up try vertical caving...

Richard
Posted by richard on August 2, 2007 at 10:13 AM

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