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Windsor Great Cave Trelawny - Jamaica

From the Caving Log, with some editorial licence

27 .11.88

Bob Bidmead (just in case anyone thinks I don't cave any more).  Having been in Jamaica since the 23rd of September with a hurricane relief team I at last managed a Sunday off work.  The original plan, to cave with Ian Mason (Bradford P.H.C.) and Barry Poyser (Jam. Spel.) was unfulfilled as the other two were working.  Barry arranged a local guide, however, so I went with Alphonse and the Sheriff - two local lads from Sherwood.

The cave is a major resurgence, with the lower entrance carrying a stream during the wet season, and drying for the rest of the year, when the water rises through the river bed about 300 yards from the cliff face.  The human entrance is about 60 ft. up the cliff face and represents an older level.  The entrance series is much like Peak Cavern, but with a narrower opening.  Having left the twilight zone the roof became covered with calcite tracery, making it look like a church roof.  The passage wound up over a collapsed boulder ruckle, with the streamway a long way down, perhaps 120 ft. or so.  The temperature was high - in the 60's and surprisingly there was a large population of insects, the usual shrimps and hoppers, but also millions of very tiny flies, like fruit flies.  These took to wing as soon as a light beam struck the surface of the rock they were on, and were so small and so numerous they got in eyes, mouth and nose.  Not so surprising were the colony of Rat Bats, so called by the Jamaicans due to their small size and appearance.  These obviously had a built in food supply with the flies, and also took wing when the light hit them.  We ended up dodging an aerial ballet of bats and flies which seemed to fill the chamber - about the size of the main chamber in G.B.

At the top of the ruckle the roof came down, and a strong draught indicated the way through.  Unfortunately at this point my two local guides chickened out - no way were they prepared to carry on through 2' by 3' crawls or duck under the obviously stable boulders.  It transpired they normally took rich American tourists on grockle trips, which was unfortunate.  The thought of being 30 miles from the coast and having a Land Rover with hiccups did not encourage me to continue alone, so the day was curtailed after 1½ hours. Great cave though, and a return is a must.

Several smaller holes were looked at during the work period, but obvious commitments to the restoration of electricity to the island precluded any further detailed trips. If anyone has a free air ticket I have free accommodation available - offers please!

Bob Bidmead - returned 2.1.89