Day 15: Caving Cuban style

Tue. 28th August 2012

It rained again in the night and we woke to an overcast day. I am reminded of my mother’s saying from our holidays as children – rain before 7, fine by 11am, and also my Aunt’s – there is enough blue sky to patch a pair of sailors pants. Well neither apply in Cuba (and I am not convinced they were true in the UK either!).

I am glad we are in the group going to Saint Tomas caves and not the beach. As four of us are directed into a taxi we head off and the mountain tops are in cloud which reminds me of the Brecon Beacons but with additional palm trees. However on closer inspection of the state owned Cubataxi it is clear this is not the case. The door handles are no longer there and have been replaced by pieces of wire, the windscreen has a large crack and the air conditioning is provided by open windows.

Waiting for rain to stopThe taxi lets us out beside a building with a sign for the caves but no one in sight. After a wait a lady appears to take our tickets and check our footwear is suitable for what is to come. A further wait and our guide appears and we are each given a helmet with a torch on the front. This is where the Health and Safety aspect ends.As the group includes Germans and Poles it is agreed the tour will be in English. More waiting for the rain to stop and eventually we head off on foot along the road to the side of the mountain – mogote. Free to roam

The guide explains the cave is on 8 levels and we will be going to levels 6 and 7. The path heads straight up the side of the mogote and involves scrambling over wet slippery rocks until we reach a metal fence and door which encloses the entrance to the cave.

Inside the scramble over wet rocks continues grabbing stalagmites and other rock formations to avoid slipping. We squeeze through narrow gaps (not built for Americans jokes our guide) and under overhanging rocks.

This was just the sort of caving I dreamt of exploring as a girl, but UK Health and Safety as well as conservation regulations would never have allowed this. I did go on a caving trip from school once which got close but not as spectacular. Curtain drum kit

This wayDid you know Stalactites are hollow and ring when tapped and that the curtain formations make a great drum kit!

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