Las Cuevas de K'an Ba
06/02/2005 - 06/02/2005 25 °C
It was no rain tonight, but morning is cloudy. Humid and warm - forests are all around.
We didn't sleep well last night, our neighbours - S. American teens, managed active night life: first they had fun and it last till 4am, and then they begun intensive packing - for early leave with 5:30 shuttle... thanks God!
It appeared that the landlord of the Posada Las Marias is also an owner (!) of the cave nearby (Oh, yes, it's possible only in S. America!) and they can take us there "on our own risk" for a little fee of Q30. Great!
All that we knew about the cave - it's 7km long stalactite cave, which created with stream of River Cohabon's water. We were said to dress for a walk in water, so we did.
THe guide - short and muscular indigena guy, one of The Family, spoke only Spanish. Oh, yeah? Never mind - we waived. We can manage. We were international bunch of 5 or 6 and didn't know each other before. We received candles (it's complete dusk there, folks - you are inside the rocks). As we entered, we lit our candles and the felt water at our feet slowly rise. The water came from our ankles, to our knees, to our waist and up to our chest ... then, he turned to us and said, “You must swim now, make sure you don’t put out your candle.” Nothing beats swimming in total darkness, with only a candle to light your way!
The first hall was spacious with low stalactite ceiling, it turned into the system of narrow slippy corridors where water got deeper. We were going against the stream, but it wasn't that strong. Soon we reached the wall. Rope ladder was leading into the dusk. We got up to the next level. Then passed in couple of tunnels and woooow.....it was a waterfall inside the cave! Great! What now? Now we climbed up with knotted rope. No, you can't with candle - you need use both of your hands. Gimme your candle, I will hold it. Yes, you climb through the waterfall, yes, yes, inside, against falling water. But it's short! (all this in Spanish)
wow, wooow... what a thing!
Then there were few more rooms, pools, stalactite formations and river-corridors, I'm not going to fool you with excessive detail. And then we arrived to oval hole, actually to oval pool,surrounded by rocks. We were suggested to jump into the pool from the rock and our guide did it first - to show how to do. He mentioned that we'd better jump directly into the center (the bath was not that big), because rocks all around are very sharp. Oh yeah, that's right - alike shark teeth! To add here the element of darkness, weak light of candles (low oxygen), no sabemos español and fact that you are no-where, about 2 km deep inside the mountain, which is in jungle, hours away from civilisation and about a day-ride to the closest hospital. But it's not what you are thinking about a while before you jump. You climb on the rock,and staring into the black water - trying to guess how deep it is. And for any freaky reason you are concerned it may be cold. But it take just a couple of seconds and you jump!
Oh, man!!! Oh it's damn cute thing to do!!! I loved it, I really loved it very much and I jumped more - the second time was not scare already. It's so fun!
We were lucky - guy that took us to the cave was extremely fit and skilled in his job. It is great responsibility - to take people who you don't know to extremal situation and he really cared and tutored us by the best way. Probably we were a cool groop (no one was hysterical or complained), but he also entertained us in the way: dived in one room and appeared in another place, kept candle lightning under the waterfall, etc.
When we were done with jumping, he explained that here we turn back (uuuuuffff!!), we were in about 2km deep the tonnels. The cave continues deeper for another 5km, but it becomes dangerous there and it's only for speleologists with equipment and prof. skills. What ever. We supposed to return same way - it's no emergency exits there. We passed a waterfall, going down with the same rope, and we met another group. We were wet, brave and full with adrenaline, but people we met looked anxious and frightened. Their guide seem not familiar with the cave and look scared himself. Guides had a short talk between them and decided to exchange the groups, we were almost at the exit so a "new" guy went with us rest of the way (really exactly same that we entered). But before he did, we received the last present from "our" guide. Instead of going trough the wide passage we were asked to squeeze through a narrow gap. The water was gushing down a tiny hole in the wall, and the guide cheerfully beckoned us down towards it. Now, jumping into the dark pool seem a joke compared to diving into the drain pipe. Amusement reminded the toilet - the same pressure and total uncertainty about the landing. If you forgot - it was darkness there. "Pipe" had curve shape and was filled with running water - so no any chance to know how long it is and what to expect at the end. I took a deep breath and just jump into it. Yahooo-o-o-o!!! It was like riding a roller coaster! The pipe ended in the water, need just dive under the rock and here you are, near the rope ladder we were familiar with!
The cave was brilliant, but day didn't finish with the end of cave adventure. We entered the cave like strangers and left it being a team. We were all wet and felt excited and happy. Then we hiked up to through jungle to the mountain pick - for fabulous view. Thousands words are not enough to describe this pure beauty of green mountains cracks and grand river running between.
Sounds like the end? No, it wasn't!
We went downhill to the river. Our hostel was located downstream. We sat down in the tubes and floated down the river. Inspite of strong stream and rocks - the float was very relaxing thing. We made a break near the yellow bridge. It's very old 9m bridge that leading to Semuc Champey. We were suggested to jump from the bridge to the river. Water is deep there, it's safe. Two of us did, others did not - after jumping in the cave bridge didn't attract. The river brought us directly to the hostel. We are moored to the shore and before the final step on the dry land we had fun, jumping into water from trapeze swing, tied to a tree above the water.
- I have read in someone's blog: "this part of the world laughs in the face of health and safety". Oh, yeeees! I agree! And I love it!!!
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CALCULATION for 3 nights in "Las Maries":
Total : Q570 = 80US$
Accomodation for 3 nights: - 70x3 = Q210
Transport (minibus to Coban): Q60
Food for 2 days: Q.230
Others (Semuk Champey & caves) 40+ 30= Q.70