Monday, July 14, 2008

Green Grotto Caves

Last week we visited the Green Grotto caves. The caves are located in Discovery Bay across the street from the Ultimate Jerk Centre. We had intended to go to YS falls for the day but Pappy wasn't feeling well and so we changed our plans. I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited about going to walk through some caves, for several reasons that I will leave out, but I knew it would make for a good post here on Nathan's Ma.

The entrance to the caves is well marked outlining the history of the caves. It is believed the caves were first inhabited by the Arawak Indians because many primitive artifacts such as bowls and stone tools have been recovered. There are two main caves. The first one is Runaway cave which was given its name because it was once used by runaway slaves. The second cave is the Green Grotto cave which goes way down in the ground...sixty five big steps to be exact.

This was the most interesting tree. It was at the entrance to the caves and these large gourds are called calabash. They amazed me because of the way they grew right out of the trunk of the tree. The insides are carved out to make bowls, (like the Indians did) or the smaller ones are used to make maracas.

This is the entrance to the caves. I love how the greenery grows on the outside of the mountain. The bars are in place I imagine, to make sure the caves aren't used for housing those who don't have a place to sleep.

All rules were displayed and followed.

This is the head gear they wanted us to wear. I was not happy. After I got mine on and in place, Todd asked if it was optional. They said it was, but that we would have to sign a waiver. We quickly asked where the dotted line was and signed on it.

This is the reason for wanting us to wear a hard hat. There are a lot of places where it would be very easy to knock yourself out on the stalactites. We were careful though and no one got a whacky.

Dewayne was our tour guide and he was really good. He offered a lot of information and took extra time with Jacob and Bubby answering all their questions. I was concerned that the boys would not really care for the caves but they were really interested and asked a lot of great questions. They were really excited to see the bats that were in the holes in the top of the caves. There were two different kinds, according to Bubby. There were fruit bats and insect bats.

As we walked along, it became clear to me why they wanted each visitor to wear a hairnet and a hat. It wasn't just for low hanging stalactites. I was very careful to look up when Dewayne stopped us to point out something of interest. I really didn't want any of the bat droppings to land on me.

Yep, more bat droppings. Dewayne told us that all of these bat droppings are harvested and used for fertilizer. Bat droppings are very high in nitrogen.

Minerals dripping from a stalactite. The drippings form stalagmites on the floor of the caves.

This is the first large opening in the caves. It is called the Disco room. Dewayne explained to us that the caves were once privately owned and the owners made this room into a disco. The government realized the damage that was being done and came in and took the caves over and made them a tourist attraction.

There were large openings along the way. These long "roots" are what we know as wicker. Dewayne said that they are gathered to make furniture and baskets.

Bridge over a thin walled cavity.

Bubby, the "archaeologist", asking yet another intelligent question and listening intently to the answer.

As we left the first cave to go to the second one, Dewayne asked the boys if they knew what kind of rock that was. My intelligent son, although somewhat unsure of his answer, announced that it was coral rock. He was right! Dewayne told us that the rock proves that the island was once under the sea.

This is my favorite picture of the day. It is the walkway that runs between the two caves.

In the second cave we had to go down to where the sea comes up into the caves. It seemed like a really long way down, but Dewayne said it was only sixty five steps. Bubby and Jacob had no problem leading the way. At the bottom we came to a ledge that overlooked a pool of water.

The water was crystal clear. We saw small fish, crabs and even a few shrimp. At one point Dewayne turned out all the lights. Needless to say, it was extremely dark.

This picture was taken with the lights out. Dewayne shined his flashlight onto two stalactites coming down from the top of the cave. If you look close their reflection in the water looks like batman. Check out the orbs, too.

At the end of the tour we were given our choice of fruit punch or rum punch. This was a surprise to me because few places offer complimentary drinks.

After we rested awhile we headed back to the car. Bubby or Jacob one must have put their hands into some bat droppings because there was a suspicious black hand print on the back of Bubby's shirt. Yuck!

Here is a short video of the boys interacting with Dewayne:


Anonymous said...

I have to say that I think I would have passed on the head attire as well. All things considered, sounds like you made the best of your schedule change. Hey! And complimentary refreshments-my kinda deal!!!
Love ya!

April said...

NOPE, i will not do cave's. I am a "hinson" after all!!! BUT the girls & I loved the hat, we laughed & laughed.

Nathan's Uncle said...

Sister, you look pert! Yes my nephew is brilliant. And guano is excellent fertilizer. Uncle Howie would definitely like the Green Grotto. Next trip, maybe. I don't think I would get claustrophobia if it's not tight spaces. If it WAS tight spaces . . . NOPE! And I would not like the lights turned off. Too much like Silence of the Lambs!

Uncle Howie

DeeDah said...

You lost me after the head attire. I couldn't recover enough to read the rest of the blog! I'm still laughing! Thanks, I needed a good laugh amidst all the cleaning, purging and organizing I'm doing...ugh!