CAVING WITH WILDTHENTIC
Caves are incredibly fascinating, they are underground chambers that take hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years to form. Caving, also known as ‘spelunking’ and or ‘potholing’, is the recreational activity of exploring wild, non-man-made, cave systems. The activity requires safety gear and the use of a guide, although relatively safe, it is imperative that proper precaution be taken before embarking on a caving excursion.
Entering the subterranean world of mysterious caves and incredible caverns makes for the perfect adventure.
WHY WE LOVE CAVING
Caving is an interesting activity in that it combines team work and individual sport. Although caving can be performed alone (although not recommended) and without physical assistance it is an activity that usually involves at least three people. The individual adventurer experiences the excursion on his or her own, but they do it near and or around a group. This setting provides companionship and emergency help if needed.
Caving also allows for you, the traveller, to enter a world often left untouched and unvisited especially by the general population.Caves are both rugged and delicate, inviting and forbidden. As humans, we live our life above ground and are rarely ever subject to the elements and sensations of the natural subterranean world, taking the subways doesn’t count. Therefore, caving provides new sensory experiences…a cause for excitement. Not to mention, humans have a long and complex history with caves. Over the years these dark caverns have served many purposes from providing the physical reward of shelter to serving as religious and or mystic burial grounds, art galleries, mythological inspirations, and much more. Not only does caving physically take you out of your comfort zone, it also allows you to come into proximity with animals that we usually do not come into contact with, such as bats, salamanders, eyeless fish and spiders, and in some cases even foxes and bears! Caving allows you to see different animals and foreign shapes, such as speleothems. Plus, many caves have streams and or pools hidden deep inside!
CAVING & THE NATURAL WORLDCaves provide their own ecosystem despite their lack of sunlight. Caves are usually brimming with microorganisms and decomposers such as fungus and bacteria that initiate the growth of a food chain. As the microorganisms thrive, so do small omnivores and herbivores which then draw in other predators such as insects and amphibians. It is important to keep in mind that many cave environments are very fragile, more so than those found above ground. Many speleothems can be damaged by even the slightest touch and some are so delicate that even a breath can cause an impact. Virgin cave systems make up many of the last unexplored regions on Earth.
There are many different types of cave ecosystems. Some caves are lusher than others, some more arid, and some house some of the beautiful lakes and pools on earth, whereas other are home to some of the world’s most unique animals. All caves are fascinating and provide insight into the wonderous world of natural history, regardless of their climate.
SOME TIPS FROM OUR EXPERTS WHILE CAVING
- ALWAYS CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE GOING ON A CAVING ADVENTURE.
- Always go caving with a guide and or experienced professional.
- Always yell "ROCK!" for all falling objects, calling an object by their name, like ‘water bottle’ for example might take too long. Stick to this one syllable word in order to ensure the ‘watch out’ message is received clearly and quickly.
- Make sure you tell a friend and or family member about your excursion and where you will be.
EQUIPMENT USED WHILE CAVING
- Hard hat
- Light sources (preferably one of which are mountable LED lights)
- Extra batteries
- Warm base layer that insulates when wet (if caving in the cold)
- Sturdy clothing
- Wetsuit (if cave is wet and or has many pools)
- Caving boots
- Caving gloves
- Neoprene socks
- Food source (energy bars etc)
- First aid kit
DID YOU KNOW...
- Someone who studies caves is called a speleologist.
- Speleothems are mineral deposits formed from groundwater within underground caverns and are divided into two main categories; Stalagmites and Stalactites.
- Stalagmites are rock formations that rise from the floor of a cave whereas stalactites are formations that form from the ceiling of a cave due to dripping water that contains lime, or calcium bicarbonate. Over hundreds of years, the lime builds up and hardens.
- Voronya Cave in Georgia, is the deepest documented cave. Its lowest drop measured was at an impressive 7,208 ft. (2,197 m).
- The world’s 3 longest documented cave systems are Jewel Cave, South Dakota, USA, 267.6 kilometres (166.3 miles), Sistema Sac Actun/Sistema Dos Ojos, Mexico, 319 kilometres (19 2 miles), and Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, USA, 651.8 kilometres (405 miles).
- Relics uncovered retrieved by spelunkers are usually well preserved. The preservation process is heightened due to many caves having oxygen that is sealed off, this explains why many caves are referred to as time capsules, anything found between the walls of these types of caves doesn't decompose.
- There is a such thing as blind fish, and or fish with no eyes, many of them can be found in the deepest darkest cervices of craves.